Craft Breweries

The Brews Hall at Del Amo: From the Beginning

I guess it was the end of 2018 that I started hearing rumors that a new brewery was coming to Torrance. The details were vague, but I heard it was going to be over by the Del Amo Shopping Center and it was being opened by Mike Zislis, the man behind such local favorites as Brewco Manhattan Beach, Rock & Brews, and Rock’n Fish. I figured there were only a couple spots at Del Amo that could fit a brewery, so I made a mental note to drive by whenever possible to see if I could figure out the new location. One afternoon I noticed a building that used to house a cross-fit gym that had the familiar Notice of Application to Sell Alcoholic Beverages; I knew I had the location correct.

On February 19 I happened to be at Brewco in Manhattan Beach for the Pliny the Younger release, when Mike Zislis, Dave Furano (Co-founder at Rock & Brews), and George Lopez came in and sat at the table next to me. Naturally, I used the opportunity to confirm that my research matched up with the rumors I had heard; it did. I also used to opportunity to get the okay to photograph the build, which was granted. I started photographing the location on February 28 and the photographs end today, November 4 as they are now in the soft open phase. Continue reading

R&D Tasting Experience of Firestone Walker’s Rosalie

These photos were taken Saturday morning at Firestone Walker’s Propagator in Venice, where a dozen Beer Media L.A. members were treated to an educational session showing us the steps in the research and development of Firestone Walker’s Rosalie, a true beer rose.

The morning began with samples of their Auld L’enzyme Brut IPA while we waited for everyone to arrive, at which point we went across the parking lot to the Propagator offices where David Walker introduced The Propagator’s Head Brewer Evan Partridge, and their Sensory Analyst Lab Technician from Paso Robles, Robert Emery, who both walked us through the steps they took in the year it took to create Rosalie. Continue reading

The Craft Beer Guy 2018 Year in Review

It is that time of year again, when I try to summarize what has happened in the past year, as far as local craft beer is concerned and the highlights of the Craft Beer Guy year. As I typically do, I read over last year’s review to see what predictions I may have made, and how they panned out.

Burnin' Daylight

Burnin’ Daylight Brewing – Coming soon!

Last year I predicted that Burnin’ Daylight Brewing Company, a brewpub in Lomita; and Port Town Brewing, a production brewery in San Pedro would be open by the end of 2018. While I am sure the respective owners would have loved to see that come true, alas, it was not to be. That being said, Burnin’ Daylight is now brewing beer and they are just waiting for some final checks from places like the county health department. If all goes well, Burnin’ Daylight should be open for at least a soft open by mid-January 2019. Port Town Brewing had a larger obstacle, aka the City of Los Angeles, but they are making progress and might just open their doors before 2019 ends.

I have to admit, with all the growth that is going on around here, I kind of feel like a slacker. It used to be a lot easier to keep up, but I am ashamed to say that there are at least two breweries in the South Bay that I have yet to visit; trying to keep up with the Long Beach area has proven tough. I have to rely on craft beer festivals like Festival Obscura to keep me somewhat in the loop. Continue reading

Bravus Brewing: Craft Beer for Your Designated Driver

Bravus IPA

Bravus Brewing IPA – Non-Alcoholic Beer


For those of you that are considering beginning 2019 with a Dryanuary; or if it is your turn to play designated driver for this year’s New Years Eve party, Bravus Brewing may have just what you are looking for, non-alcoholic craft beer. Yes, you heard me right; non-alcoholic craft beer!

Bravus Brewing, out of Santa Ana, California, is the first brewery in the United States to brew solely non-alcoholic beer. If you are as old as me and your only experience with non-alcoholic beer was with Near Beer, you might ask, “Why bother?” For Bravus founder Philip Brandes it was two-fold. Firstly, Brandes’ brother was a sales rep for a brewery and would take him to various beer fests where he first learned about the craft beer craze. Secondly, and I think probably more importantly, he spent a weekend in Mexico with a friend that brought the only non-alcoholic beer he could find, Sharp’s and O’Doul’s. That was enough to convince Brandes that something had to be done. Continue reading

A Return Visit to the Valley of the Sun

Every year at this time, I make my annual trek to the Valley of the Sun, which is essentially the Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe area of Arizona. I returned there last week and as I was preparing to write my article about my most recent beer travel, I came to the realization that while I went to Arizona last year and took photos, I never wrote about it. These photos will begin with my visits to O.H.S.O. Eatery & nano-Brewery, and McFate Brewing Company in 2017; and will end with my visits to Wren House Brewing, Scottsdale Beer Company, and Blasted Barley in 2018.

My typical Valley of the Sun weekend begins with go-kart racing in Scottsdale and ends with a convention in Tempe. This means that I set my GPS for a brewery that will get me closest to the race track in Scottsdale. In 2017 my first destination was O.H.S.O. Eatery & nano-Brewery, a brewpub located in the Arcadia area of Phoenix. Continue reading

The Craft Beer Guy 2017 Year in Review

As the year draws to a close, it is time to think back on what 2017 has brought to the craft beer world; more specifically what has happened in the Craft Beer Guy world. As 2016 came to a pretty crappy end for me, I did not do one last year; for that reason, I will begin with the end of 2016 as it segued into 2017.

steelcraft soft open

Smog City – Steelcraft – Bixby Knolls

My coverage of 2016 ended pretty much the way 2017 started, with the opening of Smog City Brewing Company’s satellite tasting room, Smog City – SteelCraft in the Bixby Knolls area of Long Beach. They opened the location at the end of December; by the middle of January they had applied for, and were granted the ability to sell growlers and bottles to go.

Later in January the inaugural L.A. Beer and Food Festival was presented by the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild. The sold-out event featured close to 50 member breweries of the LA Brewers Guild as well as 15 local food vendors. This year the L.A. Beer and Food Festival will be held Saturday, January 27. Buy your tickets now, before it sells out.

Just a bit of trivia; while there were about 50 LA County Brewers Guild members in January of 2017, today there are almost 70! Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2017: Texas

These photos were taken over the course of three days in Texas, beginning with Grapevine Craft Brewery on October 21, Jester King Brewery, Freetail Brewing, and Pint & Plow on October 22, and finishing with Ode Brewing on October 23.

When I left Louisiana I set my sights on Grapevine, Texas and Grapevine Craft Brewery.

Grapevine Craft Brewery is a production brewery that has been around for four years. I picked it as a destination primarily because I thought Grapevine was Van Horn; which meant once again I had no idea where I was. I had meant to avoid Dallas, but there I was; at least I had a friend that lived down the road a piece and she met me at Grapevine. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2017: North Carolina

These photos were taken at Bond Brothers Beer Company, Heist Brewery, and The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery on October 16 and 17 as my Craft Beer Tour 2017 continued into North Carolina.

When I first decided I was going to take this trip I only had five specific destinations; GABF, Three Floyds, Grand Rapids, MI, Charleston, SC and Yuma, AZ. Everything else would just happen, sort of.

Shortly before I left for GABF I was talking to Beer Paper owner (formerly Beer Paper LA), Daniel Drennon about my plans. Since he knows people around the country, I thought he might have a couple of ideas for stops. He handed me a bundle of the latest issue of Beer Paper and asked me to deliver it to his friend Whit Baker, the Certified Cicerone Brewmaster at Bond Brothers Beer Company in Cary. Continue reading

Central Arizona Craft Beer: It is exploding

For those of you that noticed that this site was a little silent last week, that was due to the fact that I made my annual journey to Tempe, AZ to photograph a trade show. Since I do not have a lot of time to go out and explore when I am working, I pretty much had to rely on what the hotel bar or Hooters had on tap; which was generally Bud, Guinness and Kilt Lifter for what seemed forever.

In 2013, World of Beer opened a couple blocks from the event location, so my free time was generally spent there as they have a great selection of beers from not only breweries around the world, but around Arizona generally as well.

In 2014 I decided to come into Tempe early and discovered that there were quite a few breweries in surrounding cities that were not too far away, but nothing that was going to be close enough for me to visit while working. World of Beer to the rescue; again. Continue reading

A Craft Beer Valentine’s Day in the South Bay

As I sat down to write this, I asked Tanya what we did last year for Valentine’s Day. Neither of us could recall off hand but after a little research we discovered that we may be becoming creatures of habit with traditions we did not realize we had.

Anyway, this year Smog City Brewing re-released their Death By Hops DIPA so we decided to start the day off there. They had a brisk business going on with many beerlebrity sightings as hop heads from near and far came to check out the latest release; they would not be disappointed. Regular readers of Craft Beer Guy have probably noticed that I do not do beer reviews on this site (you can visit my Untappd account if you want those) but I will say that this batch is amazing. If you enjoy a good in-your-face hop bomb you will want to get over there before it is all gone. One thing that came to mind as I enjoyed it was just how lucky we are to live in an area that turns out so many great brews and the double IPAs. When you stop to think about Smog City’s Death By Hops, Strand Brewing’s White Sand, El Segundo Brewing’s Hammerland, and The Brewery at Abigaile’s Beetlejuice, to name but a few, the South Bay is turning out some of the best brews around.

After enjoying a beer at Smog City and speaking with a few people we headed down Western to Mulligan Family Fun Center to race go-karts. They have gas powered karts and governors equipped to prevent them from going very fast but it was still a lot of fun. No photos of this part of the day are available because I have yet to figure out how to race and work the camera at the same time. Continue reading

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