Brewpubs

Phantom Carriage Ribbon Cutting

These photos were taken at the Phantom Carriage ribbon cutting which was held Thursday morning at their brewpub in Carson. Typically, the ribbon cuttings I have attended have been later in the afternoon, so I was pleasantly surprised to see the number of representatives from the City of Carson and the Carson Chamber of Commerce in attendance. Two things were pretty obvious; the first was that this was the first time coming to Phantom Carriage for many of them; the second was that they all seemed to enjoy the experience.

The Mayor of Carson, Jim Dear, started things off with a small ceremony out front to sign a petition in support of building an NFL stadium that theoretically would be the new home for the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders. They need about 8,000 signatures but Mayor Dear expects that they will get far more than that. You must be a Carson resident to sign the petition, so if you live in Carson and this is important to you, you might want to keep an eye out for signature gatherers.

After the petition ceremony we all moved inside for the ribbon cutting. Apparently, Dear is a fairly regular customer of Phantom Carriage and he made it clear that he has enjoyed his visits to Phantom and spoke of the success that their great brews and food have brought. One thing is quite certain, the City of Carson is very happy to have Phantom Carriage in their city and Mayor Dear looks forward to “several more” craft breweries calling Carson home. If the success of Phantom Carriage thus far is any indicator, Carson seems willing and able to become the latest craft beer Mecca of the Los Angeles area. Cheers! Continue reading

Phantom Carriage Grand Opening Photos

When Phantom Carriage first announced that they would be opening in Carson and specialize in sours, saisons and barrel-aged brews I know I was not alone in wondering if the City of Carson could sustain a brewery/blendery seeking such a niche audience. When we made our first visit there for the Media Day Soft Open Tanya was less than enthusiastic about even going because their style of brews is just not her thing but she discovered that she pretty much enjoyed everything we tried.

A month later we returned to see what kind of progress had been made and discovered tweaks to the beer and food menus, as well as seemingly small adjustments to the interior lighting and longer hours. It was then that co-owner and founder Martin Svab informed me that the Phantom Carriage grand opening is “now until early March.” Well, it is now early March and Phantom Carriage has officially had their Grand Opening which was held on Saturday.

As we drove down Main Street towards Phantom Carriage we could not help but notice cars parked all along the normally empty street; we had a feeling that these must be Phantom Carriage customers. This was confirmed when we pulled into their parking lot only to be greeted by a “Lot Full” sign and a long line of people waiting to get into the brewery itself. As I had another event to cover later I decided to just grab some photos then return later for close-ups; so if the photos look like they are from two different days, that is because they are. Continue reading

Moab Brewery: Moab, Utah

I feel quite fortunate in that I have been able to drive around most of this country with Alaska and New England being the only areas I have not visited yet. I am a fifth generation Californian and I am very proud of this fact and I think California is the most beautiful of all the states I have visited. That being said, Utah definitely ranks as the second most scenic state and I could spend weeks at a time traveling through it. We have spent days just trying to get out of Utah but there is something amazing around every turn that always seemed to keep us around a few more hours.

In April of 2011 I had an event to photograph in Tempe, Arizona and since it was close to Tanya’s birthday we decided we were going to spend a few more days in Utah, specifically in the Arches National Park area. We decided to stay in Moab the night before entering Arches and that is where we discovered Moab Brewery. Continue reading

Snake River Brewing – Jackson, Wyoming

When I left off the other day, I was reminiscing about a cross-country tour I took with a cousin in July 2011. After leaving Red Lodge Ales we drove through the Beartooth Mountains before dropping down into Wyoming where we were able to attend the Cody Nite Rodeo, then onto visit the Buffalo Bill Dam, Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Teton National Park. I had not been to Yellowstone in well over 40 years and happened to get to Old Faithful a few minutes before it erupted, so that was pretty cool. By the time we got to Grand Teton National Park we were losing daylight so we could not wander too much. We decided to call it a day when we arrived in Jackson, Wyoming. After finding a place to stay we were guided to Snake River Brewery & Restaurant.

One thing I failed to mention was that my cousin has Celiac disease; this means he is one of the people that really cannot have anything with gluten in it. As you might imagine, having a severe reaction to gluten does not make it easy when it comes to enjoying the craft beer experience. Snake River Brewery offers gluten free pasta, which was pretty tasty and my cousin enjoyed it a lot. When I look through the Snake River Brewing list of beers past and present I see that they list a gluten free beer but it was not available the night we were there.

I had a flight of the eight beers they had on tap that night; Guido’s Kolnerbrau (a Kölsch), Golden Buck Ale, Hoback Hefeweizen, Danimal’s Farmhouse Ale, Snake River Pale Ale, Pako’s IPA, Snake River Lager and Zonker Stout. If I am honest with myself, my craft beer palate was still pretty uneducated but I enjoyed everything I tried. Continue reading

Red Lodge Ales – Red Lodge, Montana

Long before I decided to start the Craft Beer Guy website, I blogged about my travels around the United States and Europe on one of my other sites. The road trips I took around the US is where I first discovered craft beer, even if I was not aware that craft beer was a thing or that the marketing term of “craft beer” even existed. As time permits, and as I find the original photos, I will be posting articles and photos of some of the breweries and brewpubs I have stumbled across in my travels. I say “stumbled across” because most of these discoveries were not destinations, but rather somewhere we happened to drive by. The first of these articles is about Sam’s Tap Room & Kitchen at Red Lodge Ales Brewing Company in Red Lodge, Montana.

In July of 2011 I took a road trip with one of my younger cousins through a part of the country that I had not ever visited or had not been to since I was a young boy. We drove from Valparaiso, Indiana to Los Angeles taking the northern route through Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Utah. That is when I first stumbled upon Red Lodge Ales Brewing Company.

Red Lodge Ales is located at the foot of the Beartooth Mountains about an hour south of Billings. It is definitely one of the more scenic brewery locations that I have visited. Red Lodge Ales was established in 1998 and they had about 10 different offerings if memory serves me well. I had a flight consisting of their Czechmate Pilsner, Beartooth Pale Ale, Bent Nail IPA, Jack’s 90 Schilling Scottish Ale, Porter and (I think) Resurrection Doppelbock. They were all solid brews and if I had more time I definitely would not have minded trying a few more. I do not recall why, but we did not try any of the food; most likely because we had eaten elsewhere before we fell into Red Lodge. Continue reading

Phantom Carriage: Officially Open

On Saturday afternoon I decided to stop by Phantom Carriage to see how much has changed since my last visit in the middle of December for their industry/media soft-open. I have been watching the numerous updates Phantom has made on their Facebook page and it was obvious that progress was being made and I want to be sure you are kept in the loop.

The first thing that should be mentioned is that Phantom Carriage is now officially open. When asked when the grand opening would be held, I was informed that the grand opening is “now until early March.” Their hours are currently Thursday and Friday from 11:30 – 10:00 PM, Saturday from noon until 10:00 PM and Sundays are noon until 8:00 PM. The plan is be open six days a week and that should happen within the next few weeks.

The beer tap list has definitely changed since my first visit when they were offering five of their brews and three guest taps that seemed to be thanking local breweries Smog City, El Segundo Brewing and Monkish Brewing for helping them get their start in the days before Phantom Carriage found a location to call their own. When we stopped by yesterday they were offering four of their beers but their guest tap list had increased to eight and definitely reflected the type of establishment it is. Included were selections from Almanac, Firestone Walker, Cismontane and a collaboration between Ommegang and Boulevard among others. The selections complimented the saisons and sours brewed and blended by Phantom Carriage. For those that want something entirely different, there is a wide selection of bottled beers available with everything from a $6.00 Go To IPA to a $42.00 Eclipse. All bottles must be consumed on the premises. Continue reading

Beachwood BBQ & Brewing 3rd Anniversary Celebration

These photos are from Saturday, July 5 at the Beachwood BBQ & Brewing 3rd Anniversary Celebration. As I tried to decide what to write about this event I thought back to their one year party when they had about 12 of their own brews available and made the event “A Tribute to Southern California Breweries.”

By the time their second anniversary rolled around, head brewer Julian Shrago had accumulated close to 30 brews under his belt and the event showcased Beachwood’s brews with a few guest taps also available. At yesterday’s event there were close to 50 Beachwood brews available along with several collaboration brews like Ghost of Jacob Barley and Unapologetic Double IPA; along with rare beers such as Barrel-Aged Jean-Quad Van Damme and Tovarish. There were also special food menus available as well as an assortment of housemade pickles and Scottish pickled eggs. One of the highlights for me was the release of their anniversary beer, Greenshift Double IPA; it is delicious.

There was a line from the time they opened until well into the afternoon, but it was well worth any wait. For those that arrived later, Beachwood helped them out by not tapping certain rare beers until set times of 1:00, 3:00, 5:00 and 7:00 so that no matter when you were there, the craft beer experience would be one to remember. Continue reading

Stone Brewery Dinner at The Brewery at Abigaile Photos

On Wednesday evening, Hermosa Beach brewpub The Brewery at Abigaile held another of their delicious Brewery Dinners, this time featuring Stone Brewing Company. The event was attended by a couple dozen craft beer fans and we were all treated to quite a meal with the food menu put together by Chef Tin and Chef Jorge.

The meal started with Stone’s Go To IPA paired with a grilled peach and arugula salad then progressed to Stone’s Saison paired with a Cuban sandwich that was unbelievable with its intense flavors. The third course consisted of a Sprocketbier paired with Patatas Bravas; which I think would make an amazing breakfast dish. The main course was the Collective Distortion IPA paired with Egyptian curried baramundi (a very tasty fish dish) and for dessert; Chipotle Smoked Porter paired with torn chocolate cake, sweet pickled mangoes, pinenut and roasted banana gelato. I know I am not alone in saying that by the time the meal was completed, we were stuffed; Chefs Tin and Jorge are to be congratulated for putting together another tasty meal. Abigaile Restaurant and The Brewery at Abigaile is located at 1301 Manhattan Avenue in Hermosa Beach. Cheers! Continue reading

Stone Brewery Dinner at The Brewery at Abigaile

stone brewery dinner

Come to the Stone Brewery Dinner, June 25 at Abigaile

It is no secret that I am a big fan of Abigaile Restaurant and The Brewery at Abigaile, not only for the fine beers produced by Brian Brewer but for the food that comes out of their kitchen. It is pretty easy to see that the food menu is meant to compliment Brewer’s brews. On Wednesday June 25 the Abigaile kitchen will pair their foods with Southern California craft beer icon, Stone Brewing Company.

The five course meal will feature Stone’s Go to IPA paired with a grilled peach and arugula salad, Stone’s Saison paired with a Cuban sandwich, Sprocketbier paired with Patatas bravas, Keri Kelli/Kyle Hollingsworth/Stone Collective Distortion IPA paired with Egyptian curried baramundi and for dessert, Chipotle Smoked Porter paired with torn chocolate cake, sweet pickled mangoes, pinenut and roasted banana gelato. Having attended a couple beer dinners at Abigaile I think it is safe to say that there could be some special surprises in store as Brewery at Abigaile head brewer, Brian Brewer will be joining us to answer all your beer questions.

The Stone Brewery Dinner will begin at 6:30 PM on June 25; tickets are $68.00 each plus tax and gratuity. There are limited tickets available so if you want to guarantee a seat or two you can purchase your tickets ahead of time by sending an email to abigaile.specialevents@gmail.com or by calling (310) 798-8227 (ask for Kyle). You can also buy them at Abigaile ahead on time or if you feel lucky you can try coming down Wednesday evening and ask if there are any seats available. Personally, I would not risk it; get your tickets early and be guaranteed a fun time with great beers and amazing food. You will not be disappointed; I hope to see you there.

The Brewery at Abigaile is located at 1301 Manhattan Avenue in Hermosa Beach. That is at the northwest corner of Manhattan Avenue and Pier Avenue. They do have underground parking for your convenience. Cheers!

A visit to the Alpine Beer Company Brewpub

When we left Arizona and headed back home I programmed a slight detour into my car’s GPS system as we took the long way home and headed to Alpine Beer Company, in Alpine, California. As you will likely notice, the photos in this gallery were taken over the course of two separate visits to the Alpine Beer Company brewpub. The first time I went there was last year when I was returning from a trade show, the experience was fun enough that I made a second 100+ mile detour to return there last week.

My first experience that I recall trying an Alpine Beer Company beer was at a bottle share in 2012 when someone brought a growler of Nelson IPA. I was so impressed that whenever I am anywhere close to Alpine, CA I do what I can to go to the source. As fate would have it, both times that I have gone there it has been a Sunday which means the brewery itself is closed. “Settling” for the brewpub is hardly a bad thing as their food, home-style barbecue, is pretty good if you like barbecue but the beer is what is my draw. While I am always pretty vocal about “Top 10” lists and how they are pretty useless when it comes to beer; I will admit that I do look at them once in a while. In my opinion, a Top 10 IPA list that ignores Alpine Beer Company just confirms that my general opinion of Top 10 lists is dead on.

Since it was getting a little late in the day we did not have the time to sample all 10 beers that they had available that day, but we did order a brisket plate and a small flight consisting of the McIlhenney’s Irish Red, Captain Stout, Pure Hoppiness IPA and an Odin’s Raven Imperial Stout. While the Pure Hoppiness was naturally my favorite, all four were very solid brews and the Odin’s Raven was particularly delicious. The downside of the brewpub is that they do not do growler fills, so we grabbed several bottles to bring home. Continue reading

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