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.
These photos were taken Sunday afternoon at the Manhattan Beach Badminton Club, where the Manhattan Beach Badminton Club Junior Foundation held their 2nd Annual Pub at the Club Craft Beer, Wine and Food Festival. 100% of the ticket sales went to the Manhattan Beach Badminton Club Junior Foundation, a charity dedicated to developing champions on and off the court by supporting all athletes, including special needs and Para-athletes.
Price of admission included unlimited tastings from more than 15 breweries, 10 vintners, and 10 local restaurants. The breweries that I noticed in attendance included El Segundo Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, Stone Brewing, Rob Rubens Distilling & Brewing, Lagunitas, Eel River Brewing, Coronado Brewing Company, Black Market Brewing Company, Bootleggers Brewery, Smog City Brewing, Sierra Nevada, Speakeasy Ales and Lagers, Los Angeles Ale Works, Ritual Brewing Company, and Santa Monica Brew Works. Continue reading
These photos were taken Thursday at the 3rd Annual South Bay Tap Takeover, which was held at Flights, in Hawthorne. The event featured 18 of the South Bay’s best production breweries and brewpubs, filling up 39 tap handles.
Although I did not arrive until a little after 4:00 PM, my Facebook feed indicated that people began streaming in pretty much as soon as the doors opened. By 6:00 we had the place packed and it remained that way until close to 10:00; after that, people kept arriving to sample some outstanding brews.
I had the opportunity to speak with many of the attendees and discovered that this was the first time visiting Flights; it seems safe to say that they will all return. Continue reading
It is an end of an era for the Los Angeles craft beer scene as long time craft beer photographer and general all-round nice guy, Bernie Wire enters his last few days as a Los Angeles resident.
Saturday afternoon, a steady stream of Bernie Wire fans and friends came to El Segundo Brewing Company to bid farewell to Bernie as he and his wife Anne Marie prepare to move back to Minnesota; Anne Marie hails from the Land of 10,000 (closer to 12,000 actually) Lakes, so they have plenty of family out there.
Bernie took time to visit with everyone that came out, and then treated us to a little concert. After the concert, I noticed lots of tears in the tasting room as people began to realize that this was really good-bye. Continue reading
It was two years ago that I made my first visit to Flights Beer Bar and met the owner Jerry “Jammer” Jamgotchian. Within days of our meeting, Jerry expressed interest in having a Craft Beer Guy event at his recently opened 40 tap gastropub. At the time, the South Bay had 10 production breweries and I requested that all 40 taps be dedicated to these 10 breweries for the 1st Annual South Bay Tap Takeover. Jerry not only agreed to this, but also invested in a new cold box so Flights could store the additional beers that were brought in for the event. To say the event was a rousing success would be an understatement. Continue reading
These photos are from Saturday at the LA Brewers Kickoff of Los Angeles Beer Week 9 (LABW9), which was held at the Los Angeles Center Studios in downtown Los Angeles. This outstanding event featured close to 60 Los Angeles craft breweries along with 30 out of town craft brewers and about 10 food trucks. In addition to the beer and food there were games, live music and plenty of water and shade for those seeking to escape the high air temperature.
I did not ask how many tickets were sold, but I suspect there were about 1,000 people in attendance. With close to 100 booths to visit, lines were never really an issue; with the exception being when a brewery had a scheduled release of a special beer they brought. Even then, once the beer was opened, the lines seemed to disappear rather quickly. Continue reading
These photos were taken Saturday at the Chad’s Beer Cellar IV bottle share which was held at King Harbor Brewing Company in Redondo Beach. This event was the fourth and possibly final bottle share put on by local beer hoarder and King Harbor Brewing investor, Chad Hazen. All the funds from the event went to benefit the Richstone Family Center which is located in Hawthorne. The Richstone Family Center is dedicated to preventing and treating child abuse.
First off, I would like to personally thank everyone that showed up. While my involvement with the event was limited to getting the word out, the previous events never sold out, which I found incredulous considering the quality of the beers that were made available. I made it a personal goal to see that they did sell all 100 tickets this year, and it happened. While all the monies have not been tabulated yet, with ticket sales, raffles and the silent auction, over $8,000 was raised for Richstone. Of course, none of this would have been possible without Chad.
The first of these bottle shares was held in December of 2014 when Hazen decided he wanted to quit drinking beer for a year while he trained for a marathon as he felt his collection of beer was just a little too much temptation. He got together with King Harbor Brewing Company and they decided they would have a bottle share benefiting Richstone Family Center. Continue reading
Late Wednesday morning, I jumped in a Lyft and headed towards the International Boardwalk at King Harbor in Redondo Beach for day one of Naja’s Place 9th Annual IPA Festival.
In the past, the event started at 2:00 or 3:00 PM, and there would be a pretty decent line of people waiting to get in; this year, Naja’s is opening at 11:30 AM and when I arrived at 11:31 there was only four or five people waiting, so that was nice.
Another change this year is the printed beer menu. In the past they have printed one menu for the entire event, so you had to hope the beer you heart was set on was available that day. This year the menu only listed the beers that were available that day; additional menus will be printed daily as some beers tap out and are replaced. Continue reading
These photos were taken Sunday at the 4th Annual South Bay Beer & Wine Festival which was held at Ernie Howlett Park in Rolling Hills Estates. This annual fundraising event was presented by the Rotary Clubs of El Segundo, Palos Verdes Peninsula and South Bay Sunrise; the event featured about 30 craft breweries as well as 15 wineries and food from close to 30 local restaurants. All proceeds fund the community outreach programs of Rotary Clubs within the South Bay and Harbor cities of Los Angeles.
The beer portion of the event was curated with the assistance of Beer Paper L.A.’s own Daniel Drennon, which has caused some to know the festival as the Daniel Drennon (DFD) Invitational. The list of breweries pouring was pretty much an A to Z list of craft with everything from Absolution Brewing and Arts District Brewing to Yorkshire Square Brewery and Zymurgy Brew Works. Of course, the selections were not limited to Los Angeles area breweries as we were joined by Avery Brewing and Ska Brewing from Colorado, as well as such California powerhouses as Sierra Nevada and Firestone Walker. Continue reading
South Bay residents may recall hearing about a terrible crash that happened in Torrance on March 7 that resulted in the death of 16 year old South High School student, Jesse Esphorst, Jr. The circumstances surrounding the accident and Jesse’s death were bad enough; but Jesse’s father, who was driving when they were hit by two cars that blew through a red light, was also seriously injured. The family, who had numerous other obstacles draining their bank account at the time of the accident, now had to deal with funeral expenses for Jesse and medical expenses for his father who is currently unable to work due to his injuries.
If I have my facts right, Jonathan and Laurie Porter of Smog City Brewing live next door to a family whose mother went to school with Jesse’s mother. Being the community involved people that they are, Smog City Brewing held a fundraiser Thursday evening to assist the Esphorst family with their financial burden. Continue reading