The day that many South Bay area craft beer aficionados have been waiting arrived Saturday, March 1 as Absolution Brewing Company officially opened their doors to the general public. And the public was waiting, perhaps a little earlier than expected due to an error in a Daily Breeze article that said they opened at 11:00 AM when in fact they were not scheduled to open until 1:00 PM. I am not sure how early the doors ended up opening but we got there early and there was already a respectable group assembled enjoying their beers. By the time it was 1:00 the place was packed with beer fans waiting to get their first taste of Absolution’s brews. Flights seemed to be a crowd favorite.
They offered 10 different brews along with the root beer and cream soda they brew. In the couple hours we were there some beers ran out but there are still plenty of options available. Their regular hours beginning Sunday, March 2 are Sunday 12-6:00; Wednesday and Thursday 3-9:00; and Friday and Saturday 11-9:00. Absolution Brewing Company is located at 2878 Columbia Street in Torrance. When you are going east on Columbia from Maple, it is the third driveway and all the way to the back. Cheers! Continue reading
Since we have been on the road lately, I decided that this weekend we would stick around and give a little love to the South Bay’s craft beer brewers for the Valentine’s Day weekend. Friday, Valentine’s Day, we headed over to The Brewery at Abigaile, a brewpub in Hermosa Beach. Since it was Valentine’s Day and we had not made any reservations we took advantage of their Happy Hour seating and grabbed a couple seats at the bar where we were able to enjoy a flight of their brews; including their 002 2nd Anniversary DIPA and Dark Matter a Belgian dark ale that can only get better with age. One of the best things about the release of the 002 DIPA is that it means the anniversary party for Abigaile must be coming soon.
On Saturday I headed over to Smog City Brewing where they were hosting a fundraiser for the LA Derby Dolls Enforcers. The Derby Dolls are a Southern California, all-female banked track roller derby league. The Enforcers are the referees for the league. The fundraiser consisted of a raffle for Derby Dolls and Smog City swag as well as beer floats in four different varieties and a pie versus cake sale. Between the people that came out specifically for the fundraiser, the various beer tour buses and those that just wanted to come have a beer, Smog City was packed to the brim. After sampling a couple beers and Tanya’s Death by Chocolate (The Nothing with chocolate ice cream beer float) we headed over to Monkish Brewing.
We got there about the same time as the LA Craft Beer Tours van, so we found Monkish to be almost as crowded as Smog City. When I think back to when we first started going to Monkish and compare it to today it is pretty obvious that the craft beer scene in Torrance is really exploding. People frequently ask me if there are too many breweries here; when I visit multiple local breweries like I did Saturday I can’t help but think how crowded these locations would be if there were only one or two available. Continue reading
Sunday we arose to another drizzly morning and a desire to get home by day’s end. Since it was a Sunday the availability of brewpubs in the immediate area was limited and we did not feel like waiting around for them to open so we headed south. There were a lot of breweries to choose from in the area and we decided to check out BarrelHouse Brewing Company, a microbrewery in Paso Robles. I have to say, of the 19 breweries and brewpubs we visited over the course of five days, BarrelHouse was the nicest aesthetically; and they had some wonderful brews.
BarrelHouse Brewing is getting ready to celebrate their first year of business, but the quality of their brews certainly seems to indicate that they have had lots of practice. We ordered a flight of all eight beers, ranging from their BarrelHouse Templeton Session Style Ale Kölsch to their BarrelHouse Harvest Ale Spiced Brown Porter. I have to say, all of their beers were well done with their unfiltered IPA being my personal favorite. Tanya liked them all so much that she purchased bottles of everything they had available. When I looked at the information about their upcoming one year celebration I am tempted to head back up there. We had a very nice time there.
After loading the beers in the trunk and the dogs in the car we headed off to Dunbar Brewing, a microbrewery in Santa Margarita. One of my cousins has a nephew that works there and I was looking forward to trying out their brews. As it turns out, Dunbar Brewing recently went through some renovation and they had none of their brews available. Luckily, they had a pretty nice guest tap list in the interim so I got a Matt’s Burning Rosids, an Imperial Saison created by Stone Brewing Company in honor of Matt Courtright, an employee that recently died due to an accident at the brewery. It was quite tasty, I am sure Matt would have enjoyed it. Everyone at Dunbar seemed quite friendly, but this trip was about sampling beers brewed at the brewery itself, so we will have to return later. Continue reading
Friday evening, Torrance’s newest production craft brewery, Absolution Brewing Company, held a private launch party for members of their ABC MUG Club. The MUG Club is an exclusive membership for fans of Absolution Brewing Company that has many perks, one of which was being invited to last night’s launch party. They had a very nice turnout with about 75-100 people showing up. MUG Club members received Absolution Brewing Company t-shirts, caps and custom stainless steel growlers; and beer, lots of good beer.
The craft beers offered included their Tribulation Cream Ale with both the house yeast and an experimental; Sinner Stout, Wanderin’ Possessed Porter; Cardinal Sin Red Ale, again with both the house yeast and an experimental; and Angel’s Demise IPA with both the house yeast and an experimental yeast. In addition to the beers there was Forbidden Cider, Sweet Reformation Dry Strawberry Mead as well as their Redeemer Root Beer and Confession Cream Soda. For a launch party they really had a lot to offer and I think it is pretty obvious that Absolution Brewing Company is going to be a great addition to the South Bay craft beer scene.
While membership to the ABC MUG Club is limited to 125 the first year, there are still some openings left. As a member of the ABC MUG Club you will get to experience all of Absolution’s new beers before they are released to the general public and you will be invited to their exclusive MUG events and cask nights. In addition to the above you will receive an Absolution Brewing Company t-shirt, cap and a custom 64 ounce growler with a free first fill. Members also receive $1.00 off every full pour at the tasting room as well as $1.00 off every subsequent growler fill and receive 20% off any additional ABC gear purchased. You can find all the details on the Absolution Brewing Company website or by calling them at (310) 490-4860. If last night was any indication of things to come I think it is safe to say this is going to be a great investment. Cheers! Continue reading
It was a year ago that I first stumbled upon Anaheim Brewery, a microbrewery located at 336 S Anaheim Boulevard in Anaheim, CA. I had attended the Easyriders Bike Show at the Anaheim Convention Center and noticed that they were virtually around the corner from Disneyland and the convention center; so I made the inevitable stop. On that visit, January 5, 2013, I had the opportunity to meet the owners and discovered that they were into motorcycles so we chatted for a while before they had to leave. The six beers they offered on tap were good and I made a mental note to stop by again on a future date. As it turns out, I do not really have a lot of reasons to travel to Anaheim; so when I found myself at the Easyriders Bike Show again on Saturday I knew I would have to stop by again to see what was new there.
Anaheim Brewery was initially established in 1870 at a different location in downtown Anaheim; pre-Disneyland. Actually, this is the 4th location for Anaheim Brewery, due in part to Prohibition which resulted in a 90 year closure. This most recent location was opened in 2010 and is on the site of the former Packard Building, a 1920s structure within the city’s Historic District.
Anaheim Brewery offers six different beers on tap at any one time. Their four flagship beers are their Anaheim Gold, Anaheim Hefeweizen (truly delicious), Anaheim Red and their steamed style beer, Anaheim 1888. They have two seasonal taps, one of which is usually an IPA. As I mentioned, this was my second visit and both times were in January, so I suppose the seasonals have a reason to be similar. The first time I went there their seasonal taps were Anaheim Chocolate Porter and Old Pacific IPA. On my most recent visit the seasonal taps were Mocha Porter and Coast to Coast IPA. The IPAs both have essentially the same description (Columbus hops and California grown barley) so I am not really sure what the difference might be other than the name. Both were tasty and smooth. I spent some time talking with Alisha, their Tasting Room Manager and she informed me that they would soon have a Scottish Ale available. When I looked at their Untappd history I noticed they have had several different varieties of beers available, so I guess it might pay to stop in a little more frequently. Continue reading
These photos were taken Saturday, December 28 at Smog City Brewing Company’s Battle of the Casks. This was a very fun event which featured five beers on cask, each created by the five Smog City team members; Jonathan and Laurie Porter, Chris Walowski, Mike Freeman and Ryan Trousdale. The contest was pretty cool; using their Bloody Knuckle Porter as the base beer, which is the base beer for their award winning Groundwork Coffee Porter, the five came up with their own recipes which were served on cask; with the attendees voting for their favorite. The options included a Fruit and Maple Cask, containing dried orange, cranberries and maple syrup; a Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cask, containing dried peanut butter, chocolate powder and cocoa nibs; and a Mint Chocolate Cask, containing chocolate powder, cocoa nibs, mint oil and vanilla beans. There was also a Toasted Coconut Cask which contained toasted coconut and vanilla beans; and rounding it off with a Raspberry Chocolate Sticks Porter Cask which contained raspberry puree, freeze dried raspberries, coco powder, cocoa nibs and vanilla beans.
It was a pretty tight competition but in the end, after all the votes were tallied, Porter’s Fruit and Maple Cask took third place, Ryan’s Toasted Coconut Cask was the first runner up with Chris’ Raspberry Chocolate Sticks Porter Cask getting the most votes; thus entitling him to the coveted Budweiser Belt and bragging rights until the next time.
In addition to the Battle of the Casks competition they raffled off lots of Smog City Brewing swag including shirts, caps, growlers and growler fills. For those seeking food, Serendoggity was there with their organic hotdogs. All in all, it was another great event at Smog City Brewing Company.
For those interested, Smog City will be open this Monday and Tuesday (December 30 and 31) from 2:00 – 5:00 PM for growler fills if you want to bring a growler or two to your New Years Eve party. Growlers are $2 off those two days. Cheers! Continue reading
On Saturday, December 14, El Segundo Brewing Company (ESBC) held their Standard Crude Tapping and Bad Sweater Contest at their brewery and taproom. The craft beer event was held to acknowledge the bottling of the 2013 Standard Crude and to introduce ESBC’s latest offering, Mayberry IPA which will be available throughout the winter, at least. To mark the release and tapping, they opened up the back and middle bars and brought in Larry’s Tacos who provided tacos and quesadillas. To say there was a brew for every palate would be an understatement as El Segundo Brewing pulled all the stops. The front bar offered Standard Crude 2013, Hyperion’s Vanilla Stout, Two 5 Left DIPA, Hop Tanker DIPA, White Dog IPA, Blue House IPA and a cask of Standard Crude on bourbon soaked oak.
The back bar offered Blue House Pale, Blue House Citra Pale, Blue House Amarillo Pale, Blue House Simcoe Pale, Schot in Het Donker, Smoky Hollow Scotch Ale and bottle pours of the 2012 Standard Crude. Getting a flight of all three Standard Crude options provided an excellent means of seeing what difference a year of aging can do for a big beer like Standard Crude. The middle bar provided the Mayberry IPA; a Mosaic™ hopped brew. I have to say, I am quickly becoming a fan of Mosaic hops.
Since it is only a couple weeks until Christmas and it was the warmest day of the month, it only made sense to hold a Bad Sweater Contest. Visitors to the taproom that wore Christmas sweaters had their photos taken by the ESBC staff which were immediately posted on the El Segundo Brewing Company Facebook page. The photos that get the most likes will be declared the winners. The grand prize is a new growler with 10 fills, with the runner up receiving a tasting for four people. Voting will continue until 5:00 PM on Sunday December 15; there are 14 contestants so feel free to head over to the ESBC Facebook page and vote for your favorite “bad sweater.” Cheers! Continue reading
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
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!
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.
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!