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Beer News

Oktoberfest: More than a style of beer

Sunday was day 4 of LA Beer Week (LABW5) and as I did not feel inclined to go out to Union Station I decided to take a little ride around the South Bay. My friends at Alpine Village in Torrance told me about a Street Toys car show they were having in conjunction with Sunday’s Oktoberfest festivities, so I pointed my bike out that way. After an hour or so of photographing cars I headed into the big tent they hold Oktoberfest in.

Alpine Village has been having Oktoberfest there for the past 46 years which makes it the largest and longest running Oktoberfest celebration this side of the Rockies. If you have never been, it is a lot of fun. They sell Warsteiner Oktoberfest and Pilsener as well as PBR in the big tent as well as brats and pretzels and other good German snacks to go along with your beer. They have oompah bands, the Chicken Dance and lots of general insanity on Friday and Saturday nights. These photos were from early Sunday, so you can see it is okay to bring your kids, they will have a good time too. You can find out more about the 46th Annual Oktoberfest and purchase tickets online by visiting the Alpine Village website.

Since it was a nice day and it was LA Beer Week, I decided to take a ride out to El Segundo and see what was happening at El Segundo Brewing Company. I had to try that Casa Azul again. Cheers! Continue reading

I Shoot Beer People – A Tribute to Bernie Wire

Have you ever seen the movie Memento? That is kind of what my life seems like at times. If I took your photo I will remember your face, which does not necessarily mean I will remember your name; but it is a start. While I have been taking photos of beer and breweries and anything else that was in my view for many years, I only recently got into taking photos of the local craft beer scene relatively recently; primarily because the craft beer scene around here is pretty new. When I really became aware of what was happening in the South Bay was during American Craft Beer Week in 2012. My girlfriend had changed the meds she had been on and could now enjoy a brew or two with me, so we dove into the new South Bay craft beer scene.

On day two of the 7th Annual American Craft Beer Week, May 16, 2012 I was in Select Beer Store in Redondo Beach and I saw this guy taking a photo of his beer. I was not ready to catch it as it was happening so I asked him if he would oblige me by reenacting the shot for me. Little did I know that we would continue to run into each other and eventually become friends. As it turned out, not only do we both enjoy craft beer, we both like to promote local breweries and we use photography to accomplish this. This was the first time I met Bernie Wire.

Bernie is kind of a legend in these parts and Tuesday evening Mohawk Bend, a gastropub with [a reported] 72 different craft beers hosted an art exhibit of some of Bernie’s works. The photos were nice, but I think Bernie would be the first to admit that the turnout is what really made this event. It is not easy driving out to Los Angeles in rush hour traffic, but people were eager to show their support and appreciation to Bernie. It was a very nice event attended by great people. Continue reading

Photos from the 3rd Annual Local Craft Beer Festival at Rock & Brews

Sunday afternoon, Rock & Brews El Segundo held their 3rd Annual Local Craft Beer Festival which featured many of LA’s finest craft brewers as well as carnival games for the kids and some of the adults. This was my first time attending the Local Craft Beer Festival and I had a blast. While I am readily familiar with many of the beers brewed by our local brewers, a couple of my favorite microbreweries brought out new brews that I had not tried yet and at least one brewer, El Segundo Brewing Company, used the event to introduce their latest addition to their ever expanding list of craft beers.

It was a beautiful sunny day by the beach with families, dogs and craft beer aficionados enjoying each other’s company with lots of delicious food available and since it was held at Rock & Brews, the wafting sounds of rock and roll in the background.

The breweries in attendance included El Segundo Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, Eagle Rock Brewing, Smog City Brewing, Monkish Brewing Company, The Bruery, The Brewery at Abigaile, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Golden Road Brewing, Port Town Brewing, Ohana Brewing Company, Bootlegger’s Brewery, The Dudes’ Brewing Company, Cosmic Ales, Tap It Brewing, Cismontane Brewing Company, Nobel Ale Works, Angel City Brewery and Venice Beach Beer Company.

Rock & Brews is located at 145 Main Street in El Segundo, CA. Continue reading

Photos from the 2nd Annual Drink Good Beerfest at The Factory

Saturday afternoon, September 14, The Factory Gastrobar held their 2nd Annual Drink Good Beerfest in Long Beach, CA. Sponsored by The Factory Gastrobar, Cismontane Brewing Company and Beer Paper LA, this beer festival featured close to 30 different craft and microbreweries from around the country as well as live music provided by Doug Means of the Doug Means Project and Project LBC. There was food and games to go along with the beer and sunshine and it appeared that everyone was having a very good time. Unlike some craft beer festivals, the brewers brought out some of their big guns in addition to their flagship beers. Since it was so hot out and I did have to drive, I forced myself to stick with the lower ABV brews, but there was something for everyone with everything from 3.5 session IPA’s to 11.0’s and above barleywines and barrel aged brews available.

The breweries that I saw in attendance included Bootlegger’s Brewery, Cismontane Brewing Company, Congregation Ale House Chapters Brewing, Crazy Mountain Brewing, The Dudes’ Brewing Company, Figueroa Mountain, Firestone Walker, Eagle Rock Brewing, Epic Brewing, El Segundo Brewing Company, Golden Road Brewing, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Iron Fist Brewing, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Kinetic Brewing Company, Los Angeles Ale Works, Monkish Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing, Ohana Brewing Company, Ritual Brewing Company, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, Stone Brewing Company, Smog City Brewing, Tenaya Creek Brewery, The Bruery and Triple Voodoo Brewing.

In addition to the flowing beer and musical entertainment, they announced the winners of the Drink Good Beer Mash-Up Homebrew Competition of which I was a judge for the Best of Show. The winners were:

Peter & Kimberly Mynar – Tread Lightly (IPA) – First Place
Jon Silvertooth – Lampo Bianco (Saison) – Second Place
Ray Grace – Flop Guts (American Ale) – Third Place
Peter and Kimberly Mynar – Russian Spy (Imperial Stout) -Supporting Category

It was a very good time and I look forward to next year’s Drink Good Beerfest. The Factory Gastrobar is located at 4020 Atlantic Avenue in Long Beach, CA. Continue reading

Rock & Brews 3rd Annual Local Craft Beer Festival – Sunday September 15

Rock & Brews logo

Rock & Brews’ 3rd Annual Local Craft Beer Festival, September 15

This Sunday, September 15, 2013, Rock & Brews El Segundo will hold their 3rd Annual Local Craft Beer Festival from noon to 5:00 PM. Unlike most beer festivals I have attended, this one is family friendly and includes carnival type games such as a dunk tank and high-striker and many others. Win a game and win a prize. In addition to the beer and games, price of admission includes food tickets for tri-tip, pulled pork or barbecue chicken tacos.

Many of the best craft brewers Los Angeles has to offer will be pouring at this event, including El Segundo Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, Eagle Rock Brewing, Smog City Brewing, Monkish Brewing Company, The Bruery, The Brewery at Abigaile, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Golden Road Brewing, Port Town Brewing, Ohana Brewing Company, Bootlegger’s Brewery, The Dudes’ Brewing Company, Cosmic Ales, Tap It Brewing, Cismontane Brewing Company, Nobel Ale Works and Venice Beach Brewing. This should be a good time, and you do not even need to get a sitter for the kids.

Great beer, food, music and games all rolled into one great event. The price is $50.00 for adult [drinking] admission and $10 for children and designated drivers. Adult tickets include admission, commemorative glassware, 10-4 oz pours, and unlimited games. Non-drinking admission ticket includes sodas, cotton candy, popcorn, and unlimited games. Both passes come with three food tickets; additional food and drink can be purchased if you need more. You can purchase tickets online at http://www.rockandbrews.eventbrite.com/. I hope to see you there. Cheers!

Galaxy Defender: A great beer for a good cause

Since this is one of my newer websites, I understand that not everyone knows me as well as those that have been following me for a while You may have noticed that I am not in the habit of discussing or rating individual beers, primarily because I feel that is far too difficult a task to be done objectively and I would not want to have a negative influence on a particular brew simply because it was not my thing. That being said, I will make an exception to this self imposed rule when I find out the beer is part of a fundraising campaign and even more so if that fundraising effort has anything to do with kids. I am all about helping kids and have been for more than 30 years.

Anyway, Friday evening I stopped by Monkish Brewing in Torrance and as is my habit, I requested the brew I had never tried before which was Galaxy Defender on Friday. I am a hop head; and for that I make no excuses; I wear the tag proudly. The fact is that I have talked to Henry Nguyen, the owner/brewer of Monkish Brewing Company about the chances of his ever brewing an IPA and the response had always been the same: he is just not interested in brewing an IPA. I just learned to accept that as fact. When I first smelled the Galaxy Defender I could not believe what I was smelling; one taste had me hooked. This is a true Belgian Pale Ale, it borders on being a Belgian IPA; but like I said, I am not about reviewing individual beers. Suffice it to say, it was good enough that I drove home and picked up a growler to be enjoyed later.

Saturday afternoon I was out and about at the local South Bay microbreweries and during my travels I discovered that there was more to the Galaxy Defender than the great taste; it turns out that $1.00 from every pint is donated to the Los Angeles Galaxy South Bay soccer club, of which one of Nguyen’s kids is a member. They are trying to raise money for scholarships and Monkish Brewing is doing their part by donating money from every sale of the Galaxy Defender Belgian Pale Ale. I knew there were Galaxy Hops, so I presumed that the “galaxy” in Galaxy Defender referred to the galaxy hops; it turns out that the Nguyen’s son is a defender on the LA Galaxy’s soccer club, hence the name, Galaxy Defender. Continue reading

The 3rd Annual Taste of Brews, Long Beach, CA

The 3rd Annual Taste of Brews summer beer festival was held Saturday afternoon, August 24, at Lighthouse Park in Long Beach, CA. Featuring more than 40 craft and micro breweries from around the country along with a couple wineries, several gourmet food trucks and live music by Journey tribute band “The Journey Experience” and 80s cover band “The Pac Men” it was a beautiful day to hang out in the sun with the cool ocean breeze. The Taste of Brews is a fundraiser for the Long Beach Marine Institute and the AIDS Food Store of Long Beach.

Among the many breweries participating were Firestone Walker, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, Sierra Nevada, Packinghouse Brewing, Woodchuck Hard Cider, Legends, Grand Teton Brewing, Belmont Brewing, Strand Brewing, Black Market Brewing, Big Sky Brewing, Ninkasi, Mendocino Brewing, Brewbakers and the Brewluminati Homebrew Club. The food trucks included Urban Pie, Dogzilla and Viking Truck.

While there were several hundred attendees, the number of breweries pouring made it so that none of the lines were too long and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves too much to worry about a little wait in between pours.

Lighthouse Park is located at 200 Aquarium Way in Long Beach. I would like to thank Firestone Walker for the pass to a very entertaining event. Continue reading

El Segundo Brewing Company okays blank growlers

blank growler

Blank growlers now accepted at El Segundo Brewing Company

The other day I was in El Segundo Brewing Company and as I was leaving I happened to notice something I have not seen in a California microbrewery tasting room, other than as a display; that was a stainless steel blank growler. Naturally, I had to do some investigating, especially since I had recently written an article with some facts and my opinion about the state of growlers in the State of California. Besides, I had a lot of people asking me about the growler pictured in the photo above.

Today I am happy to inform you that El Segundo Brewing Company (ESBC) is now accepting blank growlers. My unnamed, but reliable sources have informed me that El Segundo Brewing is indeed accepting blank growlers; but they do not currently have the ability to obscure the labels of existing growlers. There are plans to provide a wrap of some sort, but I am not at liberty to say much about it, plus I know very little about it. It is my understanding that there are qualifications for the growlers, but they have not been posted yet. Again, this is breaking news, so if you want to bring in a blank growler to El Segundo Brewing, make sure it is a quality vessel that is clean. You might even call them first to see if your growler qualifies.

Congratulations to El Segundo Brewing Company and their patrons. ESBC is located at 140 Main Street in El Segundo. They are open Wednesday through Sunday, normal tasting room hours. Cheers!

18th Street Arts Center’s 4th Annual Beer Art & Music Festival October 5

BAM Fest 2012

Good times guaranteed at BAM Fest

On October 5, 2013, the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica will hold their 4th Annual Beer, Art & Music Festival, fondly known as BAM Fest 2013 and it is destined to be better than ever. I went to BAM Fest last year and every person I spoke to that had attended one or both of the prior events told me it was the best ever. Well, last year they had about 30 brewers with taps; this year they have 42 scheduled so far. The reason I say “so far” is that a couple weeks ago I wrote an article about this event and they were talking 30+. At this rate, they could have more than 50; I think space may be their only enemy; everyone wants to pour at BAM Fest.

In addition to the beer there will be three bands, wine and homemade soda tastings and lots of gourmet food trucks. BAM Fest is a fundraiser for the 18th Street Art Center, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, so while you are sipping beer and listening to tunes waft through the air you can visit the studios of most of the artists as they leave them open as a way of showing what you are supporting. Culture and beer with all proceeds going to the 18th Street Arts Center, and you can probably bet the farm that it will be a nice day in Santa Monica. Tickets can be purchased online for $45 each; they will be $50 at the door if there are still tickets available on October 5.

BAM Fest 2012

Come join the fun at BAM Fest 2013

The current list of participating craft breweries is: Continue reading

2nd Annual Drink Good Beerfest Coming September 14

Drink Good Beerfest

The 2nd Annual Drink Good Beerfest

The 2nd Annual Drink Good Beerfest, hosted by The Factory Gastrobar in Long Beach, CA and sponsored by Cismontane Brewing and Beer Paper LA will be held September 14, 2013 from 1:00-4:00 PM at The Factory Gastrobar, located at 4020 Atlantic Avenue in Long Beach, California. This is actually a two-part event, so hopefully I get all the information correct.

This craft beer festival begins with their 2nd Annual Drink Good Beer Mash-Up Homebrew Competition which is an AHA, BJCP sanctioned event. Thursday, August 22 is the final day for entries if you want to participate. The cost is $5.00 per entry and you must provide ten (10) 12oz bottles. Not all categories of beer are being accepted, so if you want more information, I suggest visiting The Factory website for all the rules. The winner gets to brew his entry with Evan Weinberg at Cismonte Brewing so that is pretty cool. The AHA/BJCP judging will take place on Sunday, August 25.

On Monday, September 9 they will have their Best of Show judging and Craft Beer Guy was invited to be a judge for this, so I am looking forward to this opportunity.

On Saturday, the Drink Good Beerfest takes place and the winners of the Mash-Up Homebrew Competition will be announced then. If that was not enough, they will also have more than 60 rare and unique craft beers from over 30 local breweries! Now it’s a party. Among the breweries slated to participate are Ballast Point Brewing, Breckenridge Brewing, The Brewery at Abigaile, Bootlegger’s Brewery, Cismontane Brewing Company, Congregation Ale House Chapters Brewing, Dales Bros. Brewery, Drake’s Brewing, Eagle Rock Brewing, El Segundo Brewing Company, Epic Brewing, Firestone Walker, Golden Road Brewing, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Iron Fist Brewing, Kinetic Brewing Company, Latitude 33 Brewing Company, Lightning Brewery, Los Angeles Ale Works, Monkish Brewing Company, Noble Ale Works, Pizza Port – San Clemente, Ritual Brewing Company, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, Stone Brewing Company, Smog City Brewing, Triple Voodoo, Trumer Pils and The Bruery. Continue reading

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