El Segundo

Rob Rubens Distilling & Brewing Opens This Weekend

Back in September I informed you that Rob Rubens Distilling & Brewing would be opening in El Segundo; in fact, I predicted mid-2016 as when the doors would actually open. It turns out I was correct, as just in time for LA Beer Week, Rob Rubens will open their doors to the general public this Friday, June 17 with their soft open beginning at 4:30 PM and they will continue to be open seven days a week from that point on.

These photos include a few visits that I made over the past nine months while documenting their progress as well as their Friends & Family party that they had at the production brewery’s tasting room on Wednesday evening.

Since distilling spirits takes a little more time and money than brewing beer, Rob Rubens Distilling & Brewing is starting off with providing craft beer with the spirits becoming available in the coming months. Last night we were able to sample a few of Ruben’s flagship beers, such as their Gunpowder Cream Ale, Hitman Ale Altbier, a yet to be named pale ale and a stout. The brews were all solid and I learned something about cream ales; it is not about vanilla flavors at all. Cream ale is essentially ale brewed with ale or lager yeast at lower temperatures, and then cold aged. It reminded me of a hoppy lager with a pilsner finish; it makes for a very tasty session brew. Continue reading

Smog City & El Segundo Brewing Birthday Bash Photos

These photos were taken Saturday, when Smog City Brewing in Torrance and El Segundo Brewing in El Segundo combined forces to celebrate Smog City’s third and El Segundo’s fifth anniversaries.

I started the morning off at the VIP session of Smog City’s festivities. They had opened up the cellar room that connects directly to the south of the main tasting room where they added two beer stations. One had their sours, like Cuddlebug, Snugglebug and Jason’s now famous Cuddle Paloma; and a citrus station where you would find Bloody Optimist, Mexican Vacation and Kumquat Saison. The main taproom had an additional Brewers Station back in the brewhouse where you would find brews like Bourbon O.E., Infinite Wishes and The Nothing. The Old Fashioned O.E. made its return from last year; I was glad Tanya got one so I could taste it.

The group was limited to 200 people which might sound like a lot for the tasting room, but with the cellar room being opened up, it was quite comfortable and the Smog City staff was keeping up handily with any lines that formed. Continue reading

Anthony Games Cicerone Celebration at El Segundo Brewing

According to cicerone.org a Cicerone is defined as:

The word “Cicerone” is a trademarked term used to designate those with a demonstrated expertise in beer service. Because the term is a certification trademark, only individuals who have passed the examination for Certified Cicerone® or Master Cicerone® may call themselves a Cicerone when involved in any aspect of beverage alcohol service or sales and related education activities.

There are multiple levels of being a Cicerone beginning with “Certified Beer Server” which has more than 8,000 people added yearly. To become a Certified Cicerone is significantly more difficult and only about 200 people a year reach this level; one of those that was recently certified was the South Bay’s own, Anthony Games. Continue reading

Rock & Brews’ 5th Annual Local Craft Beer Fest

These photos were taken Sunday afternoon at the El Segundo Rock & Brews Garden on Main 5th Annual Local Craft Beer Fest. The family and pet friendly event featured beers by 16 breweries, from Valencia to Redlands and all over the South Bay area. Included in the price of admission, attendees were treated to a nice barbecue, a raffle, face painting, and games for people of all ages.

A few of the breweries in attendance included Absolution Brewing, Strand, El Segundo, Three Weavers, Phantom Carriage and Barley Forge. There was also a first time attendee for any festival I have attended, Reel Brewery. Reel Brewery is currently contract brewing but hope to open a tasting room in 2016 in Van Nuys, around the corner from MacLeod’s. I noticed that Santa Monica Brew Works was converting people with their PCH – Pale Chocolate Heaven. I tried Reel Brewery’s Hollywood Pilsner which was their take on Firestone’s Pivo Pils with their heavy dry-hopping; it was interesting enough that I look forward to visiting their tasting room when it does open. Continue reading

Business & Beer visits the new ESBC tasting room

These photos are from the Business & Beer networking event that was held Thursday evening at El Segundo Brewing Company. As this was Business & Beer’s first return to El Segundo Brewing since they opened the new tasting room, there was a lower than expected turnout; although I did get a text 10 minutes after I left that a couple more people had arrived. Those that did attend were treated to pizza and some of Tanya’s mustards that she created using El Segundo’s White Dog IPA; it turns out that homemade mustard and pizza go pretty well together. And of course, there was the beer. El Segundo has a couple new brews up including Pine Tar Incident, Wet Hop Simcoe Pale and Spark Plug; of course, Power Plant has returned as well. In addition to the Free Beer drawing, Reverend Dee brought some Mystifying Mints that she gave away in a drawing.

Business & Beer is a small networking group that meets on the second Tuesday of every month and has been doing this for over three years. If you are a small business owner or networking is what you do and you enjoy craft beer, this is the group for you. Friendly people, no dues, great beer and they meet at all the production breweries and brewpubs in the South Bay that you have always wanted to visit. Next month they are meeting at the new Strand Brewing Company location. You can get on their mailing list, found on the BusinessNBeer website or Like them on Facebook to be kept in the loop. Cheers! Continue reading

Coming Soon to El Segundo: Rubens Distilling & Brewing

Rubens street view

Rubens Distilling & Brewing

As you might imagine, I hear a lot of rumors about what may or may not be happening as far as the craft beer scene in this area. As a result, I get asked questions like, “What is happening with Strand Brewing Company’s old brewhouse?” Well, while the fermenting tanks are moving to their new Dominguez location, the brewhouse is moving to a new home in El Segundo; Rubens Distilling & Brewing. Yes, I said distilling and brewing. Wednesday morning I made a visit to the home of this future distillery and craft brewery and met Rob Rubens, the owner of Rubens Distilling & Brewing to find out a little more about what the plans are.

Rubens grew up in Illinois and he has relatives that opened a speakeasy in Chicago during Prohibition, so I guess one could say that whiskey is in his blood. Rubens Distilling & Brewing will be the first combination distillery and brewery in the Los Angeles area, and one of three in the state; the others being Ballast Point and Anchor Steam.

Rubens today

Future distillery and brewery

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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: Friday at Smog City & El Segundo Brewing

The 2015 LA Beer Week (#LABW7) is flowing along with more beer and events than any one human can possibly keep up with; I know I definitely took it a lot easier this year than in past. Anyway, it is Friday and I guess it is day seven of LA Beer Week. As I have an early event on Saturday, Euro Bierfest at Alpine Village, I decided to keep it mellow Friday night. Smog City had San Diego beerlebrity, Nate Soroko in attendance as a guest bartender.

Soroko is the chef at Toronado in San Diego, and a pretty well-known beer aficionado in the San Diego area. I happened to run into him in early 2014 during a visit to Alpine Beer Company. I was taking pictures and someone told me I should take his photo too as he was a big deal; so I did. After formally meeting him tonight I came away with the fact that he is a nice guy; and he likes his beer. While I did not see Soroko actually “tend bar” he did sweep people off their feet and had a couple chugging contests that he dominated; but I am not entirely sure he won the last one. Dan’s mug was pretty dry. Continue reading

Day One Hammerland at El Segundo Brewing Company

In early February, El Segundo Brewing Company’s Hammerland DIPA was chosen as best in show at the 15th annual Double IPA Festival at the Bistro in Hayward, California. El Segundo Brewing Company had already planned on bottling Hammerland but with the awarding of their first ever medal they decided to turn the bottle release into a party.

They opened early Friday for those that had the day off and the tasting room began filling up as soon as the doors opened. They had a big party scheduled for Friday evening, which was undoubtedly a great time but I already had other plans so I headed down there early.

There is still plenty of Hammerland DIPA available, so head on down to El Segundo Brewing Company this weekend to try some; it is delicious. Congratulations to the entire crew at El Segundo Brewing. Cheers! Continue reading

Photos from Crude, Cocoa and Donuts at El Segundo Brewing Company

On Sunday afternoon, El Segundo Brewing Company held their Crude, Cocoa and Donuts Christmas Party along with their Second Annual Ugly Sweater Contest. The event was held in conjunctions with the El Segundo Main Street Christmas Parade, which took place right outside the door to the tasting room.

Crude, Cocoa and Donuts featured the return of Bourbon Barrel-Aged Standard Crude, as well as Standard Crude on Cask along with all the other wonderful brews currently on the El Segundo Brewing Company tap list. For the kids there was free cocoa along with cinnamon and sugar donuts. Rumor has it that these paired well with the Standard Crude; I would not doubt it.

The Ugly Sweater Contest first place winners Matthew McIvor and Jennalee Infanto won a penny growler fill for every month of 2015, a set of glassware and an ESBC shirt and hat. Second place winner Z Dewart won a penny pint for every week of 2015. I took third place winning a tour and tasting for four; stay tuned on this as I will come up with a contest to share this prize with people that have installed the Craft Beer Guy mobile app or follow the Craft Beer Guy Facebook page. Cheers! Continue reading

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