These photos are of the breweries I visited in Michigan; in order, they were Founders Brewing (two visits), Bell’s Brewery, New Holland Brewing, Our Brewing, Rockford Brewing, Perrin Brewing, Elk Brewing, and Greyline Brewing Company.
After driving back and forth between Grand Rapids and Detroit, in the pouring rain, and another four hours of technical work, I was ready for Craft Beer Tour 2017 to get back on course. First stop would be the Founders Brewing taproom.
As we were pulling off the freeway it was easy to spot the huge red brick building with “Founders Brewing” emblazoned with yellow letters. As we were parking I could not but help notice the fermenters in the windows; they appeared to be three stories tall, but I could not see clearly enough to see where their feet were. I hoped I would have a good view of the brewhouse, because it looked a little too busy for me to ask for a quick personal tour like I do at the smaller breweries. Continue reading
These photos were taken Thursday evening at the Colorado Convention Center, where the Brewers Association is holding their 36th annual Great American Beer Festival (GABF). The event runs through Saturday.
If you have never attended GABF, think what it might be like to be a kid locked overnight in a candy factory; where would you begin? That is precisely the predicament I faced as I entered the huge venue, filled with 800 breweries pouring more than 3800 beers. In a word, it is a little overwhelming; I probably wandered around for close to 30 minutes, chatting with friends from various Southern California breweries and taking photos before I had my first beer. I did not want to spend my time drinking beer I can easily get at home, but with 800 breweries to choose from, where do you start? Continue reading
These photos are from the 5th Annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival (FWIBF16) which was held this past Saturday afternoon at the Paso Robles Event Center and featured about 50 breweries and 200 craft beers from around the world as well as foods from 33 local area restaurants.
The Firestone Invitational is one of, if not the best run craft beer events I have ever attended. I remember attending last year’s Invitational and being quite surprised to learn that it was only the fourth one as it was run so smoothly; from ensuring ticketed attendees were in the gates and ready to go by the time the event officially started, to making sure water was readily available no matter where you happened to be in the venue. If I did not know better, I would have guessed that they had to be doing it for 10 years instead of four.
Since this was my second opportunity to attend the Firestone Walker Invitational, I used my experience from last year to make this year’s event even more fun. Continue reading
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
These photos were taken at the 4th Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest which was held at the Alpine Inn Restaurant at Alpine Village in Torrance. The craft beer event featured beers from all over the United States with a couple very rare Belgian brews added for good measure. While I did not take the time to count each of the breweries represented or the number of various beers available for sampling, they advertised over 40 breweries and 100 beers. I know there were a couple other craft beer events going on in Southern California this past weekend, but if you drove away from the South Bay instead of towards it, you may have messed up.
The Kraft Bierfest was held over the course of two sessions, beginning Friday evening and concluding with an afternoon session on Saturday afternoon. This was the second time they have split the event up over two sessions. Last year, to avoid the possibility of the best brews running out during the first session, Alpine’s event coordinators decided to split up the beers by day and put up a schedule of appearance for the brews so people could choose which day would have the most beers that they wanted to try. This time they made every brew available on both days but cut off serving brews that were limited on Friday so some would be available on Saturday. While there were people that were not too happy when the Agrestic or Winter Harvest ran out on Friday, the people that showed up on Saturday were quite grateful.
While I do not have the final numbers, it seemed like there may have been people in attendance on Friday night than Saturday afternoon; I doubt if either session had more than a couple hundred people in attendance. The only line I recall seeing that had more than four people in it were the first few people that arrived Saturday and headed straight for the Agrestic. I would not be surprised to see this event go back to being a one session deal. Continue reading
It has been a real pleasure watching the evolution of this craft beer festival; the first one in 2012 had almost as many beers as attendees but attendance has increased every year since. In 2014 it was decided to hold the event over the course of two sessions and it worked very well. Last year each session had different special beers; this year both sessions will have every beer. When asked how they would ensure that certain beers were not tapped out on Friday, leaving Saturday’s attendees without, I was told that they would be monitoring lines and weighing kegs if that became an issue. Continue reading
On Saturday afternoon Tap & Cheer Events presented their 6th Annual Beer, Art and Music Festival, lovingly known as BAM Fest, which was held at the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica. The 18th Street Arts Center is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization and is the beneficiary of all the proceeds from the BAM Fest fundraiser. The event featured beers and ciders from more than 30 craft breweries as well as foods from six food trucks and live music provided by Nick Shattuck, Heaps N Heaps and Whiskey Sunday.
Considering the heat index was well over 100 degrees out when BAM Fest started, they had a very nice turnout. I am not really sure how the crowd size compared to previous years because people seemed to be seeking shade more than normal which probably resulted in more art being seen this time; it did appear that there were more art exhibits opened to the public this year and I am sure everyone that took advantage of them appreciated it. The weather pretty much forced everyone to get to know their neighbor since the parking lot had about three umbrellas that most attendees tried to fit under at some point. Continue reading
This will be my fourth time attending BAM Fest and all I can say is that if you enjoy craft beer, live in the Los Angeles area and have never attended BAM Fest, you are doing yourself a disservice. From the first time I attended in 2012 I have been nothing but impressed; and the event just seems to get bigger and better every year and 2015 appears to be no exception.
These photos are from Saturday at the 4th Annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival (FWIBF15) which was held at the Paso Robles Event Center. The festival included craft beer of 53 breweries from all over the United States, Europe and beyond. This was my first opportunity to attend and I did not attend as any type of “official media” so my experience was probably similar to that of any other first time attendee; except I probably waited in line longer to get in. On Friday night I had heard stories of lines just to get in reaching down the street and around the block, so I walked over to the event center and was there before 9:00 AM. If you are taking notes, the event did not start until noon and there was nothing to be gained by being among the first 20 to be there. If you get there at noon you will be fine.
To be honest, I was not aware that this was only the fourth Invitational and it is definitely run like they have been doing it a lot longer. I had the opportunity to speak with individuals that had attended multiple times before and the one thing that became obvious is that Firestone Walker listened to the feedback they received after each event. For example, in the beginning, attendees had to buy food and water. As the event evolved it now has free food from 26 restaurants and multiple free water stations with enough filtered water to hydrate the 3,000 plus attendees. Now, I have to say, I am not really sure how many tickets were sold but between comments I heard, articles I read and a personal guess, I would guess between 3,000 and 4,000. The thing is, the location can hold a lot more than that and when you divide them between 80 booths there was not much in the way of lines. Naturally, there were some breweries like Three Floyds and Alchemist that had long lines all day; and when breweries like Beachwood or The Bruery had their special pours people started waiting; but most of the lines that I experienced moved rather quickly. Continue reading