Gastropubs

Jimmy’s Bar & Grill Beer Dinner Featuring Scholb Premium Ales

I guess the word has gotten out to the craft beer fans and foodies in the South Bay area; Jimmy’s Bar & Grill in Redondo Beach is the place to be on the second Wednesday of the month for their outstanding beer dinners. These photos were taken at Jimmy’s July beer dinner last night featuring the latest production brewery to open in Torrance, Scholb Premium Ales.

When we first started attending Jimmy’s Beer Dinner Series back in September the attendance was probably about 30 people. In the months following the numbers fluctuated a little, but I don’t recall there being more than maybe 50 people at any of them. Yesterday afternoon, Jimmy’s announced on their Facebook page that they had sold out at 60 attendees. I guess not everyone got the message because by the time all was said and done they had over 75 attendees at the dinner. It really was a sight to see. Continue reading

Firestone Walker Beer Dinner at Jimmys Bar & Grill

When I stop to think about it, I only have two things that I do every month like clockwork. One is Business & Beer which we will be celebrating four years of in a couple weeks; that has the second Thursday of every month dedicated to it. The other, more recent addition to my routine are the beer dinners held the second Wednesday of every month at Jimmy’s Bar Grill in Redondo Beach. In the past we have enjoyed co-owner/chef Marc Dix’s delightful food pairings with beers from Smog City Brewing, El Segundo Brewing, Avery, Bell’s Brewery and a night of Belgian ales. They have all been great experiences, but I admit I got a little giddy a month ago when I saw that Firestone Walker would be the featured brewery for this month’s beer dinner. As I started trying to guess what might be poured that night I knew one thing for sure, this was going to be a great meal; I was correct.

Joe Cartlidge, LA Market Manager at Firestone Walker Brewing Company, was there to give a little history of Firestone Walker while we enjoyed our welcome beer, Pivo Pils. I know Dix likes to open up our taste buds with a hoppy brew and the Pivo Pils did the trick. Continue reading

A Visit to zpizza Tap Room at LAX

A couple of weeks ago, while attending the Endless Rant Release Party at King Harbor Brewing I was approached by a young woman that recognized me from this site and various social media platforms. In the course of our conversation she informed me that she and her husband had recently opened a pizza place by Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and they had a craft beer tap list that they were pretty proud of. She pointed out her husband and mentioned that he was a graduate of El Segundo High School. I figured he had to be in his early 30’s so I mentioned that he probably knew one or both of my kids since they both graduated from there, and El Segundo is a pretty tight-knit community. We decided to find out, and went over to him for introductions.

She introduced me to her husband, Jason Imhoff, and almost immediately after mentioning my son’s name Imhoff began speaking about him with a lot of respect. That is an inside tip; if you want to get on my good side, speak highly of my kids.

Imhoff told me a little about his business, zpizza Tap Room, and invited me to please come by to check them out. My regular readers know that pizza is not exactly a draw for me, but I told them I would stop by the next time I was in the neighborhood. A day or two later I was talking with my son and asked him if he remembered Jason Imhoff. Like Imhoff had done with him, my son had nothing but good things to say about Imhoff; at that point I decided I would not wait until I was in the neighborhood, but would make a special trip out there. This article and the photos are from my visit there last Wednesday afternoon. Continue reading

Jimmys Bar & Grill Beer Dinner Featuring Bells Brewery

Wednesday evening we went to Jimmy’s Bar & Grill in Redondo Beach for their monthly beer dinner; this month featuring Bell’s Brewery. As it was the one year anniversary of Jimmy’s first beer dinner, with Absolution Brewing Company, there was Bell’s Brewery swag and Jimmy’s gift cards for all the attendees. That was on top of what promised to be another outstanding meal.

I have mentioned before that Jimmy’s co-owner/chef Marc Dix puts a lot of thought into his pairings and Wednesday’s dinner was no exception. If you did not know, Dix is also a co-owner of the Barley Hops Grill and for this dinner he brought in co-owner/chef Alex Bouffiou to help out in the kitchen; and they did another great job.

As the dinners always consist of five beers and four courses, attendees were all welcomed with a Two Hearted Ale to wake up the taste buds; they were not going to want to miss a thing. Continue reading

Firestone Walker’s Propagator Venice Now Open

The long awaited time has come for Firestone Walker fans in the Los Angeles area; Firestone’s Venice location, The Propagator is now open. While there had been hopes to open it as a brewpub, as evidenced by the $1 million invested in a state-of-the-art brewhouse that is sitting on display when you walk in the doors, the City of Angels has once again shown they don’t quite get it when it comes to craft beer. As a result The Propagator decided to open as more of a gastropub, in a couple years when The City is comfortable and had forced Firestone to jump through just enough hoops, The Propagator will evolve into a brewpub. Until then we will just have to suffer through drinking their old school brews from Paso Robles or the wild ales from Buellton.

When you are standing outside you cannot help but notice the similarities between the new Venice location, Barrelworks and Paso Robles; Venice is just a smaller version from what I could see. They even have a store where you can buy packaged brews and assorted merchandise; well, probably any merchandise they sell.

Once you get inside it looks pretty much like either Paso Robles or Buellton; it is just less crowded, but you know you are at Firestone Walker, for sure. The tap list has all the flagship brews like 805, Easy Jack, DBA, Opal, Union Jack as well as brews like the 2016 Parabola (sorry, one 3oz pour per person), Luponic Distortion, Imperial Smoked Walker’s Reserve, Agrestic, Feral One and several more. Continue reading

Belgian Beer Dinner at Jimmy’s Bar & Grill

These photos were taken Wednesday evening at Jimmy’s Bar & Grill monthly beer dinner. This month’s dinner was a little different than the others Jimmy’s puts on in that instead of featuring one brewery, it featured five breweries from Belgium. When it comes to beers from Belgium, probably one of the most knowledgeable local guys is Select Beer Store owner, Wes Jacobs. Anyone that has visited the Select Beer bottle shop has inevitably noticed the vast variety of Belgian ales they have available there. When Jimmy’s co-owner/chef, Marc Dix, decided he wanted to do a beer dinner featuring Belgian brews, because Belgians are meant to be served with food, it was not a difficult decision to approach Jacobs and ask if he wanted to curate the beer served.

Jacobs readily agreed and told Dix to provide the menu and he would come up with the beers; but that is not how Dix works, he tailors the food to compliment the beer. You will not find the dishes served at the beer dinners on the daily menu. That meant that the first thing that had to be done was to figure out what five beers would be served at the dinner. As you might imagine, that was quite a task in of itself. As I recall, it took about two months of sampling, with up to eight people assisting in the decision making process. Once the beers were chosen, Dix was able to do his thing; and did he ever. Continue reading

Jimmy’s Beer Dinner Featuring Avery Brewing Company

Last night we attended the monthly beer dinner held at Jimmy’s Bar & Grill in Redondo Beach, which featured beers from Avery Brewing Company to go along with the custom dinner menu prepared by chef/partner, Marc Dix. Avery Brewing Company was represented by their regional brewery rep, Christina Roberts who was more than happy to explain the history and nuance of each brew.

I know I have said it before, and I am sure this will not be the last time I write something similar, but of all the beer dinners I have attended, no one does it better than Marc Dix and his staff at Jimmy’s Bar & Grill. The primary reason, in my opinion anyway, is that Dix does not choose something off his menu and pair it with one of the available beers; he chooses the beer then tailors the dish around it so they complement each other. Since Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, and many people do not eat meat on that day, our meal consisted of different fish variations.

Last night began with a Joe’s Pilsner as a welcome beer which was followed with our first course; a delicious salmon with a sweet chili ginger glaze that was topped with a pineapple mango salsa. This was paired with a Raja Double IPA. The tropical nose of the Raja made perfect sense when paired with the salsa. Continue reading

Flame Pizzeria, Reseda: Best Pizza & Beer or Best Anywhere?

The other day I got a phone call from “Joseph” telling me that he had just gotten involved with a pizzeria and that they had an outstanding tap list that I really should try. In the course of discussion he mentioned that he and his business partner were the new owners of Old Orange Brewing Company. Oh yeah, he did mention that his partner was one of the founders of Shelton Brothers; the importers that bring you great beer and outstanding beer festivals. My interest was slightly piqued; but as I told Joseph, Reseda is kind of a drive from the South Bay. I would “try” to make it out but in my heart, I had a feeling it wasn’t happening because pizza and beer is rarely worth a 60 mile round trip drive in LA traffic. That’s just reality.

Joseph had followed up the telephone call with an email containing a PDF of the craft brews they had on tap. The only ones I was readily familiar with came from Old Orange, and I probably knew more about the brewery than the beer. But I was definitely intrigued, the fact that I would have to look up every beer made me very interested.

I perused the Flame Pizzeria website that listed none of the beers I had been presented but it spoke highly of their chef, Chef Richard Florczak. Chef Richard has been a personal chef for such local celebrities as Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tyson Chandler and Kevin Nealon. Continue reading

Beer Dinner at Jimmy’s Bar & Grill Featuring El Segundo Brewing Company

On the second Wednesday of every month, Jimmy’s Bar & Grill in Redondo Beach holds a beer dinner featuring a specific craft brewery; frequently they pair up with one of our local breweries. Last night the four course meal was paired with fine brews from El Segundo Brewing Company. As I mentioned before, Marc Dix is the chef/partner at Jimmy’s and he is one of the owners of Barley Hops Grill, a popular food truck frequently seen at various tasting rooms; this has enabled Dix to do in-depth research and chose the perfect beer for the dishes he serves. I have the opportunity to attend many beer dinners and I can say without reservation that it would be tough to find anywhere that puts in as much effort and thought as Dix does for the Jimmy’s beer dinners.

While these dinners are four courses, they always start off with a beer to get your taste buds flowing; last night we began with a Citra Pale Ale. The first course was a chicken thigh brined in Mayberry IPA, with a butternut squash, coconut milk puree that was amazing; naturally it was paired with the Mayberry IPA.

The second course consisted of a baby spinach and kale salad with roasted mushrooms and goat cheese with an orange-bacon vinaigrette. The bacon almost made you forget you were eating a salad. This was paired with a Hop Tanker DIPA. Continue reading

A Visit to STACKED Torrance

Regular readers of my site may recall that back in March I visited a STACKED restaurant in Cerritos for a beer tasting put on by Craft Beer Guild Distributing. While we had a very good time exploring the STACKED menu and trying the various craft beers that had been presented, Cerritos is almost 20 miles from my home so the likelihood of my returning just for dinner was not very good. While we were at the Cerritos location I was informed that STACKED has four locations; Cerritos, Thousand Oaks, San Diego and Torrance, which is about five minutes from my home, so I made a mental note to check it out sometime.

As a result of my article the public relations company for STACKED began inviting me to events at their other locations; but as the invites were always to Thousand Oaks or San Diego the distance was just too far to justify the drive. After the last invitation I reminded them that I lived in the South Bay; I was then invited to visit the Torrance location. After a few emails back and forth, I was told to head over to the Torrance location and was given a couple names to ask for when I got there. When we arrived yesterday I found out that the two names were managers at the Cerritos location. This was not a good start.

Tanya and I went outside to decide where we would eat when Ashley Brown, manager for the Torrance STACKED came out and asked what brought us there in the first place. After hearing that there must have been a mix-up somewhere and not wanting to lose the opportunity for some exposure, Brown invited us back in. Continue reading

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