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Lloyd Brown

LA Beer Bloggers Holiday Potluck at Sunset Beer Company

Back in June I became familiar with the LA Beer Bloggers, a group of altruistic craft beer bloggers living or working in or around the City of Los Angeles; working together to foster craft beer culture. As King Harbor Brewing Company’s Head Brewer Philip McDaniel put it, these are the people that keep the local craft beer breweries in business and help make them successful. After all, there is only so much one can hope to accomplish with paid advertising, especially for start-ups that do not really have a large advertising budget. Nothing beats word of mouth when it comes to referrals and the LA Beer Bloggers do just that via their blogs and other forms of social media.

Sunday evening, December 8, the LA Beer Bloggers held their first annual Holiday Potluck at Sunset Beer Company, a bottle shop and tasting room located in Los Angeles. We had about 20 people show up with munchies ranging from bread sticks to shrimp and hummus to salads. As it is the Christmas season, there were quite a few sweets involved but when mixed with craft beer it made for a pretty healthy meal. For our part, Tanya made breadsticks, pretzel rolls and mustards using spent grains and beers donated by Redondo Beach’s first production craft brewery, King Harbor Brewing Company (KHBC). For dessert she made Russian Tea Cakes / Mexican Wedding Cakes from flour she produced using brown ale malted grains also donated by KHBC along with various dipping sauces; some of which were flavored with KHBC’s Brown Ale. Judging by the responses to these treats, I suspect all the LA Beer Bloggers will be heading to Redondo Beach when King Harbor opens their doors early next year.

It was a good time of networking and enjoying beer and food; as you can see from the photos, everyone seemed to be having a good time. Thank you to the LA Beer Bloggers for the invitation and to Sunset Beer Company for hosting the event. Special thanks to those that contributed to the meal with food or special beers that were brought from home or purchased in the bottle shop; and extra special thanks to King Harbor Brewing Company for donating the main ingredients to our contributions.

Sunset Beer Company is located at 1498 Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles. King Harbor Brewing will be at 2907 W. 182nd Street in Redondo Beach. Happy Holidays and cheers! Continue reading

Strand Brewing Company 4 Year Celebration Photos

As Rich Marcello, co-owner of Strand Brewing Company, describes it, he was sitting on his surfboard Saturday morning, not sure if anyone would show up for the scheduled 4 year Celebration that was to begin at noon. “Even at 11:55, I was ready to open the doors and was still not sure if anyone was going to show up.” Well, show up they did; and in throngs. Friends, family and fans of Strand Brewing’s handcrafted ales showed up at noon and they kept coming in. I could only stay for the first half and in addition to the nine beers on tap there were four special beers on cask that had all been drained by 3:00 PM. Personally, I never doubted that there would be a great turnout, but Rich is a pretty modest guy.

Equally modest is the other owner and head brewer, Joel Elliott. One must admire what he has done considering he had no intentions of being the brewer at Strand; things happened and he stepped up to the plate. When I think back to my first visit to the Strand Brewing tasting room in May 2012 they had four beers available; Beach House Amber, 24th Street Pale Ale, Atticus IPA and Batch 100 Stout. Today, in addition to the original four they offered Harvest Ball Witbier (4th Anniversary Ale), White Sand Imperial IPA, Black Sand Imperial IPA, Expression Session Pale Ale and Musashi Black IPA on tap. They had two casks going at a time for as long as they lasted, beginning with their Atticus IPA with Citra hops and their Harvest Ball Witbier with blood oranges. When those were emptied a cask of White Sand Imperial IPA with Mosaic hops and a cask of Batch 100 on coffee were brought out. As you can see, for someone that never intended to be a brewer, Joel has been really spreading his wings.

In addition to the great beer and celebrity appearances, four-time reigning Tetris World Champion Jonas Neubauer poured beer much of the day, Villegas Tacos was there providing food for those in need. Some of the guests even brought in a few tasty treats, making it a fun afternoon. Congratulations to Joel and Rich and we all look forward to your 5th Anniversary celebration. Cheers! Continue reading

Just in time for Christmas: The ABC MUG Club

ABC growlers

Absolution Brewing Company Growlers & Glassware

If you will recall, two weeks ago I announced that Torrance is getting another craft brewery, Absolution Brewing Company (ABC). Now, just in time for Christmas, Absolution Brewing Company has announced their ABC MUG Club.

The ABC MUG Club is an exclusive membership for fans of Absolution Brewing Company and if you are looking for a one-of-a-kind Christmas present to give the craft beer aficionado in your family, this might be exactly what you are looking for. Membership is limited to just 125 people the first year, so it is definitely exclusive. As a member of the ABC MUG Club you will be invited to the ABC exclusive soft opening at the brewery/tasting room and get to experience all of Absolution’s new beers before they are released to the general public. In addition, you will also be invited to their exclusive MUG events and cask nights. As if this was not enough, in addition to the above you will receive an Absolution Brewing t-shirt, cap and a custom 64 ounce growler with a free first fill! I hate to sound like the ShamWow guy, but that’s not all. You will also receive $1 off every full pour at the tasting room as well as $1 off every subsequent growler fill and you will receive 20% off any additional ABC gear. You get all of this for a guilt free $125 plus tax, the shipping is free. Heck, this is a great Christmas gift to give yourself. Remember, there are only 125 openings this first year and some of those openings are already taken; yes, I got one of them.

You can read all the details, including the fine print on the Absolution Brewing website or call them at (310) 490-4860. You know you are going to end up buying a growler anyway, so you might as well get it now and get one of the custom growlers. They are pretty cool and I cannot wait to get mine filled. Those of you that have been following along on Facebook know that I have been following the progress as the ABC team readies their tasting room and as I watch their attention to detail in the construction phase of the brewery and tasting room, I am really looking forward to trying their brews. Cheers!

Strand Brewing Company to celebrate 4 years December 7

Batch 100

Celebrate 4 years of Strand Brewing Company

Strand Brewing Company is Torrance’s oldest production brewery and they are preparing to celebrate four years of craft brewing excellence. Saturday, December 7, Strand Brewing Company will open their doors from 12:00-8:00 PM with an extravaganza of beers never before seen in one location.

The craft beers scheduled to appear on tap will be their Harvest Ball Belgian Style Orange Witbier (4th Anniversary Ale), White Sand Imperial IPA, Black Sand Imperial IPA, Beach House Amber Ale, 24th Street Pale Ale, Atticus India Pale Ale and Expression Session Pale Ale. There will be numerous casks tapped throughout the day, with Harvest Ball starting things off. I have also heard that their Batch 100 on coffee will be made available.

White Sand

Torrance’s original production brewery

As no celebration would be complete without at least some celebrity appearances, be sure to bring your autograph books as rumor has it that the four-time reigning Tetris World Champion Jonas Neubauer will be there pouring beers. For the first time that I can recall, Strand Brewing Company will also have a food truck there; Taco Man. We all know how well tacos pair with craft beer.

Strand Brewing Company is located at 23520 Telo Avenue in Torrance. This is in an industrial park north of Lomita Boulevard and west of Crenshaw. In the interest of being good neighbors, attendees are requested to park in the street. Do not worry, there is plenty of street parking and there are no parking meters in Torrance. This will be a great time, I assure you. I hope to see you there; cheers!

Photos from Sophie’s Movember Social

In 2003, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery from Melbourne Australia were having a beer, discussing fashion trends and mustaches. Apparently, in Australia they were few and far between and Travis and Luke decided they were going to bring it back in fashion, at least for the month of November. Inspired by a friend’s mother who was fundraising for breast cancer, they decided to start a campaign about men’s health and prostate cancer. They got 30 friends to join them in growing mustaches for the month of November, and Movember was born. Unfortunately, they raised no funds that first year but a tradition was born. 10 years later, 4 million people around the world were participating in the Movember movement and more than $433,649,258 has been raised since 2003.

Sophie’s Place, a gastropub in the Riviera Village section of Redondo Beach has been participating in Movember for the past few years (as long as I have known them anyway) with the owners and employees participating in the fundraising effort with their Movember Team “Sophie’s Stache’s.” Wednesday evening they held their annual Sophie’s Movember Social. The evening had drink specials and donations to “Sophie’s Stache’s” were accepted. It was a fun night for a good cause.

Sophie’s Place is located at 1708 S. Catalina in Redondo Beach. Cheers! Continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving from the Craft Beer Guy

Just a quick note to say Happy Thanksgiving to each of you and your families. Today, Tanya and I will head over to my dad’s for dinner with my daughter and a bunch of siblings. There should be about 15 people there. Since Tanya has been experimenting a lot with her baking, she got put on dessert detail which resulted in three pumpkin pies made from scratch; she even used fresh pumpkin instead of that canned stuff. She also made up some vanilla whipped yams, so the food should be delicious. Naturally, I was assigned beer duty, so Wednesday I traveled around to a few of my favorite places.

I started at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing where I picked up a growler of Annihilator, a 12% American Barleywine. I then moved along to Monkish Brewing where I brought home a growler of Magnificat, a 10.1% Belgian Strong Dark Ale, spiced for Christmas. My next stop was El Segundo Brewing Company because no meal is complete without an IPA. I walked out with a growler of Two 5 Left, an 8.2% Double IPA. For dessert we headed to The Brewery at Abigaile where I picked up a growler of Coconut Imperial Red; a 9.4% Imperial Red Ale. I think everyone should be able to find something they will like.

Have a safe day and appreciate all you have. Cheers! Continue reading

Photos from Alisha & Shane’s going away party

As I mentioned in a recent article, the craft beer scene around here consists of a pretty tight-knit community. Something about craft beer just seems to bring people together; perhaps it is because craft beer is really breaking out here and we are excited and happy to be part of it. Traveling to the various tasting rooms and brewpubs is like going off to visit friends and family as much as for the beer. This is especially true whenever we walk into Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach; everyone that works there seems to like each other and they appear to really enjoy their jobs. Last night, the craft beer community met at Beachwood to say good-bye to two of the family; Alisha Inkrote and Shane Stewart.

Alisha and Shane are moving to Denver on Friday and they held a going away party last night at Beachwood’s Long Beach location. Even though Beachwood is normally closed on Monday, owner Gabe Gordon opened it up so a few of Alisha and Shane’s friends and family could gather for a final beer together. The kitchen was closed, so some people brought food and others brought bottles of their favorite brews to share. It really was a fun night; Alisha and Shane are going to be missed. If you were not able to make it last night, they will be there Tuesday and Wednesday if you want to stop by, say good-bye and wish them well.

Beachwood BBQ & Brewing is located at 210 E 3rd Street in Long Beach, California. Cheers! Continue reading

Timeless Pints: Lakewood’s first craft brewery

I guess it was early September when I was covering an event out in the Bixby Knolls area of Long Beach when I first heard that there was a new craft brewery opening in the area. Unfortunately, I was not familiar enough with Long Beach to know that this new microbrewery, Timeless Pints Brewing Company, was less than two miles from me. This lost opportunity was made up for Sunday afternoon when I met up with some friends at a gathering they were having at Timeless Pints.

When I walked in the tasting room the first thing that caught my eye was the brewing equipment; it was a smaller operation than what I have become accustomed to seeing around here. The second thing I noticed was that they had nine taps and 10 different brews available (one of the brews was a blend of two of their beers). As I recalled that Timeless Pints had only been open for about three months I was impressed that a brewery of this size with only a couple of months of history could have such a wide variety of brews available. I am not talking about a bunch of IPAs with different names; they legitimately have nine different styles of beer. They have a witbier, blonde ale, oatmeal stout, porter, pale ale, amber ale, and a couple of IPAs. The names owner and head brewer, Chris Sparacio came up with are interesting as well; The Expeditious Guest, an American IPA; A Swarm and a Hatter, a Blonde Ale; and A Precarious Proposal, an Amber Ale are just a few examples. I suspect the biggest challenge besides continuing to come up with tasty brews will be continuing to come up with interesting names to go along with it.

Timeless Pints Brewing Company is located at 3671 Industry Avenue in Lakewood, California. While I do not use this site to review individual beers I will suggest getting a flight to try them all. Their Winter Festivale porter was one of the more interesting brews I have tried in recent memory. If it is available, give it a try; I think you will enjoy it. Cheers! Continue reading

Damn You Dengue Fever Benefit for Helen Kral

If there is one thing I can say about the craft beer community in Los Angeles, it is a very tight-knit group. This goes beyond the brewers for the numerous breweries we have in the area, who are known for being eager to help each other out. It extends to those that own or manage bottle shops and gastropubs, people that write about craft beer and the sales teams for the various craft beer distributors in the area. This community and camaraderie was displayed again Saturday evening as friends and family of Firestone-Walker Regional Sales Manager, Shane Kral gathered in Huntington Beach for the ‘Damn You Dengue Fever Benefit’ for Shane’s wife, Helen.

During what should have been a dream vacation for Helen and Shane’s Hawaiian getaway last July, Helen apparently was bitten by a mosquito carrying Dengue Fever; an infectious tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. While the symptoms can be as minor as a fever or headaches, Dengue Fever can be life threatening. In Helen’s case, she became paralyzed. As time continued, Helen’s condition improved and she is now able to maneuver her wheelchair and last week she was able to stand with assistance. Prayer, positive thoughts and physical therapy are helping, but as Helen must stay in a nursing home and expenses are piling up. Saturday evening’s benefit was held to help alleviate the family expenses.

For a small donation at the door we were treated to food and drink with plenty of Firestone-Walker beers available. There was also a raffle and silent auction for the host of items that were donated to the cause. Some of the items donated included tickets to selected performances at Club Nokia from Yo Gabba Gabba to Mushroomhead, skate decks from Attic, artwork from Bernie Wire and Stork, gift certificates from restaurants and gastropubs from Manhattan Beach to Newport Beach, signed sports memorabilia, brewery tours and hard to find-one of a kind-blow your mind beers including Firestone X-XVII. Continue reading

Discover Torrance presents: Shop, Hops & Slumber Fest

Shop, Hops & Slumber in Torrance

Shop, Hops & Slumber in Torrance

You may have noticed that I frequently write about the burgeoning craft beer scene in the South Bay; more specifically the influx of craft breweries coming to Torrance. Believe me; it is wonderful; especially since each of our breweries is so much different than the other. They may all be brewing beers, but their styles could not be more different from each other. Those of us that live in or around the South Bay know how good we have it and now Discover Torrance Visitors Bureau has set up a convenient way for you to experience it yourself.

Shop, Hops & Slumber Fest,” a holiday campaign spearheaded by Discover Torrance Visitors Bureau has decided to take advantage of the craft beer craze in Torrance by combining our numerous tasting rooms with the ability to shop at the fifth largest shopping mall in the country and providing numerous locations for you to relax and get some sleep before doing it again the next day. The concept is pretty simple.

Book a room during the promotion which runs from November 4, 2013 through January 6, 2014 and automatically receive a “Shop, Hop & Slumber Fest” kit that includes a shopping tote for trips to the Del Amo Fashion Center, a beer mug and a sleep kit with eye mask, ear plugs and more. Participating hotels are offering special rates and added value to make an overnight shopping stay a no-brainer. I was looking through some of the hotel rates and I would have no problem referring a friend to any of these locations and the prices were very reasonable.

As far as the hops portion of this deal, Torrance is home to Strand Brewing Company, Monkish Brewing Company, Smog City Brewing and the Red Car Brewpub. LA Beer Hop is participating with a discount special of $20 off. If you spend a night or two, I would suggest reviewing my South Bay Beer Guide of local breweries, brewpubs and gastropubs and make it a very special visit. Continue reading

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