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.
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.
Sonoma Pride was originally conceived by Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing in July 2015 to celebrate living and working in Sonoma County. Since then they have released two beers annually under the Sonoma Pride brand. After the wildfires of early October, Russian River began brewing Sonoma Pride, a blonde ale, with all the proceeds from that beer going to help victims of the wildfires. To ensure the monies they raised went to the people that need it, they teamed with the King Ridge Foundation to begin a fundraiser for the victims of the Sonoma County wildfires. In a show of unity, more than 60 craft breweries and craft beer related businesses joined in to donate a brew that proceeds would be donated from; to date they have raised over $400,000.
This past Sunday was Tanya’s birthday and I wanted to do something special for her. Initially we had discussed doing a craft beer tour down in San Diego or perhaps head up the California coast towards Paso Robles; both ideas were definite possibilities until I asked, “Do you want to go have sushi?” It was at that point that craft beer became a secondary destination and Matsuyama Japanese Fusion in Roseville became our primary destination.
Now, one might think that driving 400 miles for sushi was a little extreme, but if you have ever had a meal prepared by Matsuyama’s owner Song Kim, you know that it isn’t all that extreme. I have known Song since around 2008 and have introduced his work to friends of mine from around the world and everyone has loved it; even those that were not sure that they even liked sushi. Heck, Tanya would never consider sushi until she tried Song’s. I figured that since Roseville is up by Sacramento, and Sacramento’s craft beer scene has been growing, it should be easy to find a craft brewery not too far from Matsuyama. Continue reading