Carson

Hōkūle’a Brewing Company Soft Open Begins

These photos were taken Saturday afternoon at Hōkūle’a Brewing Company, when they officially opened their doors to begin their soft open, which will go on for a few weeks.

Although I arrived shortly after Hōkūle’a opened their doors, they already had 15 or 20 people seated trying the three Hōkūle’a brews that were available on day one; as well as the ciders from Southern California Cider Company (who shares the spot with Hōkūle’a), and a mead from Honest Abe’s.

Hōkūle’a’s three brews included their Gremmie Pils, Keiki IPA (a session IPA), and Key Lime Pai, a kettle sour. I think I enjoyed the Keiki IPA the most, but Key Lime Pai was definitely a crowd favorite when I was there. Continue reading

Hokulea Brewing: From the Beginning

The long awaited opening of Hokulea Brewing Company is upon us as it was announced today that Hokulea will begin their soft open Saturday, August 18. These photos show the build of Hokulea from when I first visited the location back in June 2017, through today.

Hokulea Brewing combined forces with The Honest Abe Cidery to create a brewpub with a brewery, cidery, and poke bar with 40 taps. Since they are a brewpub, they can sell beers from other breweries which is the plan is while Hokulea builds up its tap list of in-house brewed brews. You may notice the two very large fermenters in the photos; those are for the cider side of the house.

The soft open begins Saturday, and will continue daily until they have their official grand opening sometime in September. In the beginning, they hope to be able to offer food tastings, with the kitchen opening full time as soon as possible. Continue reading

Phantom Carriage Three Year Anniversary Photos

These photos were taken Saturday evening at Phantom Carriage Brewery in Carson, where they held their 3 Year Anniversary Party & Nuclear Blast Beer Release party. The event featured more than 20 of Phantom Carriage’s wild beers, including cellared rarities, plus rare guest beers from local craft breweries. Naturally their house-smoked BBQ was available, as was the music; the horror films, as usual, were available inside.

If you had not heard, Phantom Carriage has stepped up their brewing game and are actually canning some of their beers now; on Saturday they released a collaboration they did with Nuclear Blast USA, the self-described “world’s biggest independent heavy metal record label.” The beer, Blast Beast, is a Black India Pale Lager. I do not know how much is still available; you should probably just head over now if interested. Continue reading

Lugosi Bottle Premiere and Halloween Celebration at Phantom Carriage

These photos were taken at the Lugosi Bottle Premiere and Halloween Celebration that was held Saturday evening at Phantom Carriage blendery and tasting room in Carson. The event featured the release of a bottled version of Lugosi, a high gravity dark wild sour ale aged in oak with Brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and Pediococcus; featuring sweet cherry, vanilla, and stone fruit.

Since it was also a Halloween party, Phantom Carriage played Universal Studio’s 1931 version of “Dracula” on a large screen in the back parking lot. As Dracula starred Bela Lugosi, and they were releasing the bottled version of Lugosi, it only made sense that this would be a good time to invite Bela Lugosi, Jr. to join the fun, which he accepted and brought along a good portion of his family. Continue reading

Phantom Carriage Celebrates One Year

When I left off, we had left the Froth Awards at Saint Rocke and headed to Carson to catch the tail end of Phantom Carriage’s One Year Anniversary party which was held Saturday afternoon. Phantom Carriage pulled out all the stops which required them to take over the parking lot as well as the blendery’s tasting room.

I got there pretty late, but even as it may have been clearing out you could tell that this sold out event was rocking as everyone was in full party mode. With the beer selections that had been available earlier, it is no wonder why everyone was in a great mood. They had cellar blends Volume 1 through 5 to accompany Oude Muis, Muis, Citra Muis, barrel-aged Centennial Muis, Broadacres, Strawberry Broadacres, Triple Berry Melange Broadacres, Dragonfruit Broadacres, barrel-aged Peach/Nectarine Broadacres, Bergman, Blackberry Bergman, Baskerville (clean and on Brett), Wit Zombie, Pineapple Wit Zombie, Amarantha, Lugosi, Dolores, Tagalong Dolores, Toasted Coconut Dolores, Fleet Street IPA, Tripel Curse and Fog Island. As soon as I walked in, brewer Brendan Lake approached me with the last of the Vermiste Kat which was their collaboration with Cascade, so even though a lot of the super-rare varieties were already gone by the time I got there, the Vermiste Kat was a great way to start off. Continue reading

A Visit to The Honest Abe Cidery

A couple weeks ago, Honest Abe Hard Ciders owner Spencer Chambers invited me to come down and visit The Honest Abe Cidery, as LA Beer Hop was bringing a group there and Chambers would be having a little soft open of sorts. I got there a little early and had a chance to talk with Chambers and his significant other, Kimberly.

While enjoying samples of his [current] four ciders, apple, pineapple, honey and blueberry (with Mosaic hops) I asked Chambers about how long he had been making ciders and what got him into it. It turns out the answer was rather simple and logical. Growing up in Kentucky and being surrounded by apple orchards, it was just something the kids did around there. Since Abraham Lincoln was from Kentucky, the name was a no-brainer.

When I asked Kimberly about her cider experience she confessed that she was more of a wine person but that palate has pretty much made her the official taste tester for Honest Abe. Chambers said his ciders are pretty much designed for her palate. Continue reading

The Craft Beer Guy 2015 Year in Review

HopSaint brewpub

HopSaint Brewing Company Now Soon!

Well, there are still a couple of days left in 2015 but I think it is safe to write my year-end review of 2015. To be honest, there has been so much activity in the craft beer world this past year that I would not be surprised to have something new pop up before Thursday night.(So, this is taking me a while to write, and yes, there have been updates since I started).

There were several beer buyouts that seemed to dominate most other craft beer sites, but the craft world in my immediate domain only seemed to increase. Yeah, Golden Road got bought, but I only went there for special events and I guess that means there will be fewer of them there in the future. In the meantime, the reach of this site seems to be increasing. In the beginning people pretty much pigeonholed this site as covering the South Bay craft beer scene only. This year I covered various local beer events from the Antelope Valley to Orange County. Attendees have come up asking if I am now covering the west side, or wherever we might be. I guess the answer is yes; and I will expand my area as long as it is requested.

2015 in the South Bay ended pretty much as it started, with the soft open of a new brewpub. In January Phantom Carriage officially opened, and at the end of December HopSaint Brewing Company opened their doors. While they are open daily, the official opening of HopSaint will be January 1, 2016 when they will start serving lunch at 11:30 AM. Continue reading

Photos of the Samhain Ball at Phantom Carriage

These photos are from the Samhain Ball which was held Saturday evening at the Phantom Carriage blendery and tasting room. For those that would otherwise have to Google it, Samhain is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. As you may have noticed, this is another culture’s celebration that falls within our Halloween season and Dia de los Muertos. Like visiting Bravery Brewing was the logical choice on the 4th of July, Phantom Carriage was pretty much made for these types of holidays. Besides, it was also co-owner and founder of Phantom Carriage, Martin Svab’s birthday so it truly was the logical choice.

We were among the first to arrive and there was a little stress because there was not a line outside, but it was pretty early, on a Saturday night and it was Halloween; there would be nothing to worry about. Within an hour the tasting room began filling up with TV and movie characters, ghouls, sexy Indians and the clamor of a few hundred people having a good time.

The Samhain Ball featured an evil DJ spinning Halloween-inspired tunes, a costume contest and haunted horror film screenings throughout the night both. Of course, they also had a special beer list including their own Haunted Dolores and Lugosi as well Alesmith’s “Evil Dead Red” and Tap It Brewing’s “No Soul Sour Red”. It was a fun night with good beer and imaginative people; congratulations to Phantom Carriage and happy birthday to Martin Svab. Cheers! Continue reading

A Review of LA Beer Week 2015

LABW7 schedule

Unity release at Smog City Brewing

It has been a week or so now since LA Beer Week 2015 (LABW7) and I think I am ready to give a review of the “week-long” event. I say “week-long” because LABW7 officially ran from June 20-28 but some venues started celebrating early and others ended on the 27th. Heck, Smog City Brewing held their Unity (the official beer of LA Beer Week) bottle release on the Wednesday before, and Absolution Brewing released their LA Beer Week brew, AD/JD on Thursday. No matter when you started, it was a very long week with some very good beers to be found. There are a few events I attended but did not write about; if you want to see those photos please visit my Facebook page.

The LA Beer Week Kickoff Party was held Saturday, June 20 at Exposition Park. I have to be honest, even though I have been documenting LA Beer Week since LABW4 in 2012 I have never attended any of their kickoff events. This was due primarily to preconceived misconceptions of what a madhouse it would be; plus I really do not like driving to DTLA. On the Wednesday before the kickoff party I happened to notice an email that came in from Absolution Brewing to members of their Mug Club in which they were offering VIP tickets to the first five “Muggers” that asked for them. I asked Tanya if she wanted to go and she responded immediately with, “No!.” This was because I had been saying we were not going for the past week, so I think she was just making sure I knew she was okay with it.

As I was going to the Torrance City Hall that night anyway for a Planning Commission hearing and Absolution was basically on the way home, it was decided that we would stop by after the Planning Commission hearing and see if any passes were still available. In other words, I was going to let others have an opportunity to score the passes before me. We showed up to Absolution shortly before they closed and no one had claimed any of the passes, so we decided to attend the kickoff.

Absolution Brewing staff

Thank you to Absolution Brewing for the VIP passes

Continue reading

LA Beer Week 2015: Father’s Day

Sunday was day two of the 2015 LA Beer Week (#LABW7) and it was Father’s Day. As my daughter wanted to take me out for Father’s Day and I wanted to take my dad out, we decided that we would all go together. My dad enjoys his craft beer but I know I have brought things over to the house that he just was not into; so I asked him if he had ever tried a wild ale or sour beer. He had not, but was willing to give it a try, so we decided that we would head over to Phantom Carriage for their Father’s Day Brunch and Vinyl Sunday.

I brought Elvis Costello’s “My Aim is True” which they put on the turntable while Tanya and I enjoyed Beer-Mosas with their Brewers Breakfast. In the meantime I introduced dad to Muis; it wasn’t his thing and he asked if they had an IPA. I brought him a Hoppy Birthday and his eyes lit up. After learning it wasn’t brewed by Phantom Carriage he said he wanted to try something else by them; I should just surprise him. Well, apparently his palate warmed up and he truly enjoyed the Dolores Nitro I presented.

We got there when they first opened and it had a decent group; by the time we finished eating, drinking and visiting the place was packed. It is good to see that they are continuing to grow. Speaking of which, they now have growlers of Muis available; bottles of some of their other brews will be there before you know it. Continue reading

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