LA Beer Week 2016 (LABW8) started off in prime form Saturday afternoon by showcasing more than 45 of the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild breweries with almost as many special guest breweries, pouring more than 200 different beers; a few of the breweries represented used the LA Beer Week Kickoff Festival to release new beers.
The sold out kickoff festival was held at the Los Angeles Center Studios and in addition to the massive amount of beer there was live music, plenty of food trucks, and lots of water. Luckily, the heat wave that struck Los Angeles was kind enough to wait until the next day; that is not to say it wasn’t hot, but it probably wasn’t over 90. Luckily, the Los Angeles Center Studios is a pretty massive location so there was plenty of shade and somewhere to go sit if desired. Continue reading
These photos are from the 3rd Annual South Bay Beer & Wine Festival, which was held Sunday afternoon at Ernie Howlett Park in Rolling Hills Estates. Presented by the Rotary Clubs of El Segundo, Palos Verdes Peninsula and South Bay Sunrise this charity event featured almost 40 craft breweries as well as 15 wineries and food from about 36 local restaurants. In addition to the beer, wine and food, music was provided by Detour.
Moving the festival to Ernie Howlett Park was a smart move as it is much more spacious than the South Coast Botanical Gardens, where the event was held last year, as there were probably 10 more breweries than last year and it allowed them to sell more tickets. When I asked how many attendees came out, I was told they sold about 1,400 tickets, which was almost double from last year. The additional space made it really difficult to judge the number of people in attendance because it was so spread out. The main thing is that there were no lines that had more than four or five people in them. Continue reading
These photos are from the Dog Adoption Sunday event held at Brouwerij West this past Sunday afternoon. The Los Angeles Animal Services and ARF Harbor Shelter brought six dogs to the Brouwerij West tasting room for adoption; I know at least two of them found new homes that day. I have to say, I had an opportunity to meet most (if not all) of them, and they were really very well-behaved dogs. I kept thinking they must have brought the cream of the crop.
In addition to the adoptable dogs, many others brought their pups to the obviously dog friendly tasting room and they all seemed to enjoy the company of the others. ARF Harbor Shelter is looking for homes for their residents and I am sure volunteers are always welcome.
I also had a personal first, and that was my first time having chorizo. Apparently I had it from one of the best, The Chori Man; a fourth generation chorizo artisan from San Pedro. I definitely recommend stopping by if you see his food tent set up anywhere. Cheers! Continue reading
These photos were taken at the 2nd Annual L.A. Local Craft Beer & Artisanal Food Fest which was held at the Steinhaus at Alpine Village in Torrance on Saturday afternoon. The event featured 31 Los Angeles area craft breweries and maybe a dozen artisanal food vendors from the LA area.
L.A. Local provided the first opportunity for most of the attendees to try brews from several breweries that have opened within the last year like Scholb Premium Ales, Dry River Brewing, Brouwerij West, HopSaint, Iron Triangle, Mumford Brewing, State Brewing and Honest Abe. Other breweries in attendance included Three Weavers, Port Town, Smog City, Monkish, Phantom Carriage, The Dudes’, Claremont Craft Ales, Ohana, Enegren, California 101 Cider House, King Harbor, Strand, Absolution, MacLeod Ale Brewing and several others. Continue reading
The craft breweries were assembled by Beer Paper L.A.’s own Daniel Drennon; if you were there last year and thought he did a great job, wait until you see who is scheduled for this year’s event. On tap include Absolution Brewing, Anchor Brewing, Artifex, Avery, Ballast Point, Beachwood, Bottle Logic, Drake’s, Arts District, Brouwerij West, El Segundo Brewing, Firestone Walker, Fireman’s Brew, Founder’s, Ironfire Brewing, King Harbor Brewing, Ladyface, Mission Brewery, New Belgium, Phantom Carriage, Pizza Port Brewing, Red Car Brewery, Baja Brewing, Headlands, HopSaint, Sierra Nevada, Smog City, Stone Brewing, Strand Brewing, Tenaya Creek, Mother Earth, Ska and Three Weavers will all be providing brews to sample. Continue reading
On Saturday, San Pedro’s latest production brewery opened their doors to the general public as Brouwerij West held their grand opening. To say it was well attended would be on the same level as suggesting beer is damp. When I was at Brouwerij West on Friday evening for the Founders’ Club pre-opening party I was speaking with the ever humble co-owner and head brewer, Brian Mercer, and he seemed to have concerns on whether people would show up the next day or not. When their event coordinator asked me how many people I thought would show up, I guessed that they would probably hit 1,000 with ease. The event began at noon, when I arrived a little after 3:00 I immediately knew I had severely underestimated the turnout. I had failed to take into consideration how supportive San Pedro residents are to their local businesses. I would be willing to bet they had at least 2,000 people show up throughout the course of the day.
Update: On Sunday evening Brian Mercer texted me to say that they actually had 4,500 people attend their event with a maximum of 1,500 at any point in the day. I don’t know who else around here could handle a day like that with virtually no issues other than maybe running out of a couple beers. They are definitely to be congratulated.
While most craft beer tasting rooms could not handle a group of that size, Brouwerij West has a couple advantages over the others. Their tasting room is huge and they have a large area outside that not only took care of the overflow of people, but it also held four food trucks, an auxiliary pouring station and a stage for the live entertainment. If there is any brewery around here that is built for a crowd as large as they had Saturday, Brouwerij West is the place. Continue reading
These photos are from the Founders’ Club party that was held at the Brouwerij West tasting room on Friday evening. The Founders’ Club is a yearlong membership for supporters of Brouwerij West, and one of the many perks is invitations to special events at the brewery; as their Grand Opening is Saturday, this pre-opening party was the first event for Founders’ members.
We were treated to samples of their latest releases, Buckwheat Sour and Mør Mør, as well as the seven other brews they had on tap including Sour Orange Wit, Super Orange, Bitter Blonde, Dog Ate My Homework, My First Rodeo, Tripel and Spelt Saison. Vella Pizza was also on hand providing their delicious pizza slices. There were a few hundred supporters in attendance and everyone seemed to have a great time.
The Founders’ Club is $175.00 for a year-long membership and benefits include six Brouwerij West bottle releases, 10% off Brouwerij West beer and merchandise, a growler and fill, a limited edition Founders’ Club t-shirt and glass, and other perks like VIP access to special events as well as events just for Founders’ members. Continue reading
I guess it was at The Festival 2014 put on by the Shelton Brothers back in November of 2014 that many learned that Brouwerij West was planning on opening in the warehouse next to CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles. As people waited in line to enter The Festival, it would have been tough to not see the notice painted on the side of Warehouse No. 9 declaring that Brouwerij West was planning on opening in the spring of 2015. Of course, anyone that has been paying attention has probably noticed that the actual opening of a brewery is rarely constant with the dreams and desires of the brewery owners. But good things come to those that wait and patience is a virtue; Brouwerij West will have their Grand Opening on Saturday, February 27, 2016 from 12:00-9:00 PM!
Brouwerij West’s owners/founders Brian Mercer and Dave Holop were kind enough to allow me to photograph the building of their brewery so these photos begin back in March of 2015 when it consisted of a huge room with an old leaky roof. As time went on I was able to be there when their brewhouse was being assembled, during one of their first brews, and ending with the Hoppy Valentine’s Dinner that was held this past weekend.
Saturday’s Grand Opening will feature brewery tours, a beer garden, live music and food trucks. The live music begins at 5:00 PM featuring three local San Pedro bands; Bombon, Crow Baby and Underground Railroad to Candyland. After experiencing their Valentine’s dinner I can say with no reservation that this is going to be a fun event; you are going to want to come out to San Pedro if you can. Continue reading
On Saturday evening we attended the Hoppy Valentine’s Dinner at Brouwerij West. The dinner was presented by Primal Alchemy Catering and featured the work of Chef Paul Buchanan. Chef Paul specializes in preparing customized menus that are farm-to-table, using locally sourced, sustainable and organic ingredients. A good number of the attendees were obviously fans of Chef Paul as many indicated that they had been to prior events he has put on. If you are a foodie, you will appreciate the menu:
For appetizers we had Rose Petal Ravioli w’ Creamy Leek & Bacon Filling (outstanding), Octopus Tartare on a wonton chip with wasabi, and Bruleed Strawberries with Balsamic Syrup & Goat Cheese. The main course had a mix of various vegetables and pasta along with steelhead trout on Parmesan Polenta and Juniper Crusted Pan Seared Duck on a Bed of Faro with Dried Cherry Chutney. For dessert there was Mason Jar Dark Chocolate Cakes with Farmer’s Market Berry Compote & Chantilly Cream. It was an interesting meal and everyone seemed to really enjoy it.
Of course, I was there for the beer which was probably not the case for many of the attendees but the Brouwerij West classic Belgian style ales definitely made some converts. I spoke to more than one person that said they came for the food, but they would definitely be back for the beer. Continue reading
Primal Alchemy Catering is owned and operated by Chef Paul Buchanan who specializes in preparing customized menus that are truly farm-to-table, using locally sourced and organic ingredients. Chef Paul has been doing this for more than 10 years and after looking at some of the menu options suggested on their website, this should be an amazing meal.
Of course, when it comes to beer dinners the food is only half the fun; you have to have good beer to go along with it. I know many of you have tried Brouwerij West’s brews from when they were contract brewing, but forget whatever you recall from before because even if some of the beers retained their names, like Mør Mør, My First Rodeo or Dog Ate My Homework, the beers are not really the same due to changes in the water, brewing equipment, ingredients and the love and attention that they are able to put into every batch now that they are brewing on their own system. I have had an opportunity to try several brews from the new brewhouse and they are delicious. I am really looking forward to trying more and this Valentine’s Dinner will be the perfect time. Continue reading