Beer Travel

2018 Great American Beer Festival – Day One

These photos were taken Thursday, September 20, which was day four of my Craft Beer Tour 2018 and day one of the 2018 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) which is being held at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

My day started off at the Jameson VIP Tasting which was held at The 360 at Skyline. The event was held to introduce Jameson’s Caskmates, two new versions of Jameson. These whiskeys were aged in barrels that had previously been used to age beer. They offered us samples of their standard Jameson, followed up with the stout and IPA versions. The event continued up on the rooftop of The 360 at Skyline, where we were treated to cocktails, beer, food, and a great panoramic view of the city. When the attendees were done there, we were given a tuk tuk ride to the convention center so that we arrived just in time for session one of GABF 2018. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2018: High Altitude Hops

These photos were taken Wednesday, September 19, at High Altitude Hops Farm in Larkspur, and Lone Tree Brewing Company in Lone Tree; which was day three of my Craft Beer Tour 2018.

Before I left L.A. on Monday, my friend Desiree, a beertender at King Harbor Brewing Company, told me she was going to introduce me to her friends Kris Meese and his wife Aleece, the owners of High Altitude Hops Farm. So when I left Durango I set off towards Larkspur, which is about 40 miles south of Denver.

Kris has been growing hops for about five years, beginning with what was apparently nothing more than a divider between their property and their neighbor. After two years they made their first sale to a local brewery; at that point they decided they needed a larger area if they were going to grow enough to make this a viable business. That is when they moved to Larkspur and a five acre spread. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2018: Colorado

These photos were taken Tuesday, September 18, in Durango, Colorado; which was day two of my Craft Beer Tour 2018.

When I left Flagstaff, I headed east on US Hwy 160 for a 300 mile drive through some very scenic areas. Along the way is the Four Corners Monument, where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado meet; a volcano or two, and some dinosaur footprints you can touch, if desired. As I have already seen that stuff, I just made a mental note of yesteryear and continued on.

If you are in a hurry, this is not a good route to take; there are lots of two lane stretches, and even one one-lane stretch. You go through a couple Indian reservations so there are towns along the way that have 25 MPH speed limits. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2018: Arizona

These photos were taken Monday, September 17, in Kingman and Flagstaff, Arizona.

On Monday I left the South Bay to head to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival. If you followed my journey to GABF last year you may recall that I traveled through Utah to get there. The lack of breweries on that route ensured that I take the southern route through Arizona this time. Day one was much better this year.

My first gas stop was in Kingman, AZ, which was about 330 miles from home using I-40. It has been a while since I was in Kingman, but it is a big enough town that I figured there had to be a brewery there. Google informed me that Black Bridge Brewery was only a couple miles from the gas station I was at, so I set it in my GPS for a seven minute drive. Continue reading

The Mason Jar Brewing Company

Saturday afternoon was set aside to travel to Menifee so I could watch my six year old grandson participate in the finals of a talent show put on by the Boys & Girls Club of Menifee Valley. It was being held at a church, so craft beer was the furthest thing from my mind when we pulled onto New Hub Drive in Menifee. As my sister passed the church, she swung the car around at the first street parking spot. As I stepped out of the car, to my surprise was The Mason Jar Brewing Company.

Mason Jar Brewing opened their doors in 2015, and brew with a 10bbl system and 20bbl fermenters. When I was there, they had 16 brews on tap. A look at the tap list made me think that they brew what they like; they aren’t just brewing it because it is faddish. They don’t distribute, and seemed like a neighborhood tasting room with a lot of regulars. Continue reading

Taking a Craft Beer Tour of the SpaceX Corridor

I was going to begin this article by suggesting, “unless you have been living under a rock, you know of Elon Musk’s SpaceX” but I discovered there actually are some people that are unfamiliar with SpaceX; so I will presume that if you are into American craft beer and follow this site, you are at least somewhat familiar with Elon Musk and/or SpaceX.

What you may not be aware of is that SpaceX is headquartered in the City of Hawthorne and craft breweries and craft beer bars have been springing up in what I now call the SpaceX Corridor and all of them have been vying for the attention of SpaceX employees; and from what I have been able to see, those employees have been enjoying the attention.

Since I named it the SpaceX Corridor, I also get to define the boundaries. El Segundo Boulevard is a little over 5 miles long from the Harbor Freeway (110) and the San Diego Freeway (405). In that stretch there are now four craft breweries and one craft beer bar; all of which I have no problem recommending. Here is how you can complete the SpaceX Corridor Craft Beer Tour from one end to the other in one day, with relative ease. Be advised, this can currently only be done Thursday through Sunday; if you are reading this in six months or a year from now, the hours may be expanded by then.

The locations we will visit are State Brewing Company, Ximix Craft Exploration, Common Space Brewery, Los Angeles Ale Works, and Flights Beer Bar.

For the purposes of this tour, we will begin on the east end of the SpaceX Corridor, at State Brewing Company in Gardena. 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

A Visit to Kern River Brewing Company

These photos were taken Wednesday afternoon at Kern River Brewing Company in Kernville, and Lucky Luke Brewing Company in Palmdale. I needed to do someone a favor in Gorman, and since that was 75 miles of a 175 mile drive, I decided it was time for me to make my long overdue visit to Kern River Brewing Company (KRBC).

As I drove along the Kern River I thought back to the days that I used to ride up to Kernville with my buddy Gary; it was then that I realized that it had to be close to 40 years since the last time I was up in that area. I wondered if I would even recognize the few landmarks that I remembered from our exploits of the late 70’s and early 80’s. 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

Sonoma Pride Tour

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.

When I left Sparks I had friends to visit and breweries to see, so I headed west on I-80. As there had been snow overnight, it made for a very scenic drive. Continue reading

Buy Craft Beer Guy a Beer
Buy A Beer
Archives