On Saturday afternoon, Santa Monica was the site of what was billed as the first ever Vegan Oktoberfest. I happen to have several friends in Germany and when I asked them if they had ever heard of such a thing they agreed that this very likely was the first; it was definitely the first any of them had ever heard of.
Since it is October, it is beer festival season which means I usually have a couple events I can photograph on any given weekend and Saturday was no exception as the Taste of Brews Oktoberfest was happening in Corona while Vegan Oktoberfest was happening in Santa Monica. I am not a vegan by any stretch of the imagination but since triple digit temperatures were expected in Corona and it is three times further away I figured the Santa Monica was the logical choice; after all, you could see the ocean from the festival site, it had to be cooler. Well, if it was cooler it was not by much as the air temperature was in the high 90’s and combined with the event being held on an asphalt parking lot the numbers just went higher.
With 22 breweries represented at this inaugural event, there were plenty of options available for those that wanted beer to quench their thirst but it seemed to me that there were almost as many food vendors and the food lines were definitely longer than the beer lines. We tried one of the vegan options, a grilled cheese sandwich that had macaroni added as a filler. It was enough to make me not want to bother with any of the other food options; like I said, I am not a vegan and tofu is not a viable meat substitute in my opinion. Continue reading
It seems like we have been waiting forever, but the day has finally come; The Dudes’ Brewing Company has officially opened their tasting room to the public and the public turned out en masse. Even though they opened their doors at 3:00 PM, when most people are at work, there was a line forming by the time I got there; and I got there early. In the last minutes before the doors were officially opened, finish work and clean up was being completed on the new tap room. When the doors opened everyone lined up at the bar to order one of the many beers brewed by The Dudes’. The brews included the familiar Double Trunk, Grandma’s Pecan, Kolschtal Eddy, Blood Orange and Grinning Face with the not as well-known South Bay Session and the newly introduced California IPA and El Duderino Agave Wheat.
The grand opening continues Saturday and Sunday when The Dudes’ will be open from noon until 10:00 PM. Throughout the weekend various cask offerings will be made available along with giveaways and special beer pricing. There will also be food trucks for those seeking food.
The Dudes’ Brewing Company is located at 1840 W. 208th Street in Torrance. Their hours, for the time being, will be Thursdays and Fridays from 3:00-10:00 PM and 12:00-10:00 on Saturdays and Sundays. I had a few people come up and tell me that some of the brews that they had tried before seemed even better straight from the source, and I believe that would be tough to dispute. Welcome to the South Bay, Dudes. Cheers! Continue reading
Since this is their first Oktoberfest I cannot provide photos and a description of how much fun I had last year, but I have gone to two of the Taste of Brews Long Beach festivals and had a blast, so if history is any indicator, this should be another good time. Some of the breweries that will be in attendance are Inland Empire locals Black Market Brewery, Brew Rebellion, Bootlegger’s and I & I Brewing along with such beer festival regulars like Fireman’s Brew, Samuel Adams Brewery, Firestone Walker and BJ’s restaurant.
In addition to the beer, Oktoberfest provides live entertainment including Linda Herman’s Alpine Band and Inland Empire locals, The Tomcats. Of course there will be German foods available along with other food trucks. And since no Oktoberfest would be complete without dancing and games there will be Chicken Dance contests, beer stein endurance contests, balloon blowing contests and yodeling contests. Prizes will be awarded for best costumes, so if you own lederhosen this would be a great time to break it out.
There are two packages available for this event; the Bavarian, or the VIP package which includes three 14 ounce beers in a souvenir mug along with a 5 ounce sampling mug with 10 tastes. This package is limited to 250 sales. The Prost package includes a 5 ounce sampling mug with 10 tastes and two 10 or 12 ounce beers. Refills will be available for $5.00 at the venue’s discretion. The Bavarian package is $45/each and the Prost is $35/each; however, if you order early and use the PROMO CODE: CRAFTBEERGUY you will save $10 on each ticket purchased by September 21; after that, the promo code will save you $5.00 per ticket. Continue reading
So far, the craft breweries that will be in attendance are Anchor Brewing Company, Angel City Brewery, Angry Orchard, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, Beachwood BBQ and Brewing, Bootlegger’s Brewery Tasting Room and Pilot Brewery, Boston Beer Company, Brasserie d’Achouffe, Ommegang, Deschutes Brewery, Dogfish Head Beer, The Dudes’ Brewing Co., Drake’s Brewing, Duvel, Eagle Rock Brewery, Einstök Icelandic Craft Ale, El Segundo Brewing Co., Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Golden Road Brewing, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Kinetic Brewing Company, Ladyface Alehouse & Brasserie, Lagunitas Brewing Co, Liefmans on the rocks, New Belgium Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewery, Phantom Carriage Brewery, Port Town Brewing Company, Santa Monica Brew Works, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Smog City Brewery, Stone Brewing Co., Surf Brewery, Venice Duck Brewery and Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewing Co.Continue reading
On Saturday afternoon, about 3,000 people gathered at Lighthouse Park in Long Beach to sample beers brewed by more than 50 different breweries while enjoying the great weather, live music and foods provided by local restaurants Stonefire Grill, Slater’s 50/50 and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company and several food trucks. A portion of the proceeds from this year’s Taste of Brews went to the Long Beach Marine Institute and the 1st Marine Division out of Camp Pendleton.
This was my second time attending Taste of Brews and it was definitely larger than last year’s event with probably 25% more breweries and 50% more attendees. While there more people, there were more breweries with several last minute additions. The lines for some breweries were noticeably longer for some than others, but no one seemed to mind and the beer poured quickly. In fact, a few breweries tapped out within a couple hours; presumably because more tickets were sold than anticipated. Some of the breweries, like Firestone Walker, were well prepared with plenty of brews but as the event drew to a close, even they had poured the last of their brews before the event officially ended. Continue reading
There is a good reason why that event stands out and that is because it had everything going for it. They had over 40 craft breweries, some wine vendors, live music, good food, fun people and it was at the beach! Held at Lighthouse Park in Long Beach, across the channel from the Queen Mary it really was the most perfect location for any festival of any type that I can recall attending. Beautiful weather with cooling ocean breezes and a wide selection of American craft beer; what more could one ask for? How about more beer and a discount?
On August 23, 2014, Taste of Brews returns to Lighthouse Park for the 4th Annual Taste of Brews Long Beach. If you thought 40 craft breweries was good, you are going to love it this year with about 50 craft breweries participating. When I looked through the list of participating breweries compared to last year I noticed that many perennial favorites such as Stone Brewing Company, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing Lagunitas, Strand Brewing and Sierra Nevada Brewing will be returning; but we will also be joined by such powerhouses as Ballast Point, Pizza Port, Clownshoes and Coronado Brewing along with some of Southern California’s newest craft breweries like Absolution Brewing Company and Venice Duck Brewery.
In addition to all the great beer and what promises to be another beautiful day for the beach there will be live music and food trucks including Urban Pie, Viking Truck, Porko Rico, Dogzilla, Slammin’ Sliders and Bacon Mania. Local restaurants Stonefire Grill, Slater’s 50/50 and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company will be providing food samples for attendees to enjoy. Pricing currently starts at $32.50 for the 3-hour session (1pm to 4pm) and $42.50 for the 4-hour session (noon to 4pm) which includes unlimited beer tasters, drinking water, food samples (while available), access to food trucks and live entertainment. A limited number of designated driver tickets will be available at the door for $20.00. As should be expected, all attendees must be 21 or older. Now, because you have read this far you get a special deal; how about $7.00 off each ticket Continue reading
Saturday was day six of the 9th Annual American Craft Beer Week and it was also the one year anniversary for Torrance production brewery, Smog City Brewing. To say that Smog City went all out on this event would be an understatement. I mean to say that Smog City’s previous events have always been well done with lots of special beers but their one year of experience combined with the experience gained by hosting large events made this one quite smooth. There were close to 700 attendees throughout the day, but with the use of three separate filling stations the lines seemed to move quickly.
The day started with a VIP session that allowed ticket holders to get a two hour head start on the general public thereby ensuring access to the small batch specials that were made available like Quercus Circus and The Tempest, two brews that tapped out fairly early. I made two visits to Smog City, so the photos begin with the VIP session and then a few hours later when I returned. Downtown Dogs provided a special menu for those that needed some food to soak up all the good beer.
Congratulations to Smog City Brewing on a great year; you are a great addition to the South Bay’s craft beer scene. I cannot wait to see what the next year brings. Speaking of which, one of the things the next year will bring is Smog City Brewing bottled beers. Tentatively scheduled for June 7, Groundwork Coffee Porter and The Nothing will be the first beers to be bottled. The only question is will the labels get there on time? We shall see. Cheers! Continue reading
On Friday afternoon Torrance’s newest production craft brewery, Absolution Brewing Company (ABC), held their official grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The ribbon cutting was attended by Mayor Frank Scotto and several members of the Torrance City Council as well as the Torrance Chamber of Commerce and assorted other officials. After the ribbon cutting and presentations the beer flowed with the addition of three new brews to the extensive Absolution Brewing tap list with their Holy Cow milk stout, Wanderin’ Possessed Easter Candy English porter and their Cloistered red ale. The Creative Eats food truck was on-hand with a special menu that was paired with the various ABC brews.
As you can tell from the photos, it was a very well attended event. In fact, I left after an hour or so and came back a couple hours later to what seemed to be an even larger group than before. It is probably safe to say that Absolution Brewing Company is a very welcome addition to the local craft beer scene. Absolution Brewing Company is located at 2878 Columbia Street in Torrance. Cheers! Continue reading
Absolution’s Chief Tasting Officer Nigel Heath told me, “Everyone should come and enjoy all of ABC’s brews including: The Wicked double IPA, Purgatory Heff, Tribulation Cream Ale, Trespasser Belgian Ale, Trespasser Saison with organic strawberry, Sinner Stout, Possessed Porter, Cardinal Sin Crimson IPA, Angel’s Demise IPA finished with Mosaic and L’il Red Angel Sessionable IPA.”
“We will also be releasing some special surprise beers which will be paired with gourmet foods prepared by Chef Travis Porter of Creative Eats,” Heath added. “This should be a fun afternoon with fun promos all afternoon.”
Absolution Brewing Company is located at 2878 Columbia Street in Torrance. They will be open from 11:00 AM until 9:00 PM with the ribbon cutting ceremony beginning around 4:00 PM. I hope to see you there. Cheers!
The craft beers scheduled to appear on tap will be their Harvest Ball Belgian Style Orange Witbier (4th Anniversary Ale), White Sand Imperial IPA, Black Sand Imperial IPA, Beach House Amber Ale, 24th Street Pale Ale, Atticus India Pale Ale and Expression Session Pale Ale. There will be numerous casks tapped throughout the day, with Harvest Ball starting things off. I have also heard that their Batch 100 on coffee will be made available.
As no celebration would be complete without at least some celebrity appearances, be sure to bring your autograph books as rumor has it that the four-time reigning Tetris World Champion Jonas Neubauer will be there pouring beers. For the first time that I can recall, Strand Brewing Company will also have a food truck there; Taco Man. We all know how well tacos pair with craft beer.
Strand Brewing Company is located at 23520 Telo Avenue in Torrance. This is in an industrial park north of Lomita Boulevard and west of Crenshaw. In the interest of being good neighbors, attendees are requested to park in the street. Do not worry, there is plenty of street parking and there are no parking meters in Torrance. This will be a great time, I assure you. I hope to see you there; cheers!