Jonathan Urch

Craft Beer Tour 2018: Yakima, Washington

These photos were taken in Yakima, Washington on Thursday and Friday, September 27 and 28, days 11 and 12 of my Craft Beer Tour 2018.

To be completely honest, when I started this journey, I kind of figured that my Portland area friend might take me into Washington, but it would probably be a border town like Vancouver; but things have a way of changing when you try to juggle multiple friends, and their schedules.

The night before I left Boise, I contacted my friend Jon Urch to let him know that I would be meeting him in Bend, Oregon the following day; that is when he notified me that he would be leaving Bend pretty much as I arrived, and I should consider going to Yakima, Washington instead. When I contacted my Portland area friend Matt, I discovered he was going to be working a show over the weekend. That sealed it; I headed off to Yakima instead. Continue reading

Jon Turns 40 Celebration at Propagator and Scopa

I have to admit, becoming “The Craft Beer Guy” has certainly opened up many doors for me, including special events; and I get to meet a lot of interesting people, some of which I have developed friendships with. One of these people is Jonathan Urch, and these photos are from his 40th birthday celebration which began at Firestone Walker’s Propagator and ended down the street at Scopa Italian Roots, where Jon, his wife, and about 25 friends from around the world gathered to celebrate Jon’s 40th time of successfully navigating around the sun with a nice dinner.

I met Jon in October of 2015 at the Guinness Nitro IPA Advanced Tasting and dinner at The Larchmont in Hollywood. At the time, Jon was Diageo Customer Marketing Director. That evening was special in a couple ways; I was able to meet Jon and I was given the first Guinness Nitro IPA ever poured from a tap in the United States. As I have always been a Guinness fan, that was kind of a big deal to me. Continue reading

Craft Breweries of Sparks Nevada

As I mentioned in my last article, I went to Sparks to bury my good friend, George. I did not bother using Google to check out the craft beer scene in Sparks because I did not know how much free time I would have; besides my friend Jon Urch had gifted me a bottle of Leafy Greens from Revision Brewing a couple months ago, so I had a good idea where I was going to head after the reception.

The reception after the funeral was held at Paddy & Irene’s Irish Pub, which meant nothing to me at the time but when I pulled into the Victorian Square parking lot I immediately got the feeling that George was looking out for me as right across the walkway from Paddy & Irene’s was Great Basin Brewing Company. Continue reading

Guinness Beer Dinner Debuts Guinness Irish Wheat

On Tuesday evening, a couple dozen craft beer fans, social influencers and Guinness beer ambassadors met in Los Angeles at the Salt’s Cure restaurant to participate in the debut of the latest creation coming from Open Gate Brewery at St. James’s Gate, Guinness Irish Wheat.

Anyone that really knows me knows that my desert island beer is Guinness Stout, so whenever I am invited to try anything new from Guinness, you can be sure I will do my best to be there.

Guinness Irish Wheat is probably best described as a hefeweizen created with 100% wheat grown in Ireland and the same Guinness yeast found in every pint of Guinness Draught. My initial sip of Irish Wheat was crisp and seemed slightly lemony/citrusy flavor which was followed by subtle clove with a banana finish. My immediate thought was that this was the perfect time of year to release this beer as it comes across as very light compared to your standard creamy pint of Guinness; I was not the only one to suggest that this would be a very good beer to drink after mowing the yard or while grilling burgers and steaks in the back yard. I would go so far as to suggest that this might be one of the few beers I would consider drinking from a bottle at a barbecue. Continue reading

A Tour of Beachwood Blendery

Readers may recall that at the beginning of October I was invited to an advanced tasting of Guinness’ new Nitro IPA; while the beer and meal was quite nice, the best part of the evening was meeting a couple Guinness representatives, Keith Dunne and Jonathan Urch who had hosted the event. Dunne came out from St. James’ Gate in Dublin while Urch came out from New York City. By the end of the evening we had formed a pretty good relationship and before I left they informed me that they had one day to explore the LA craft beer scene and asked what breweries were a “must” to visit before they left. While we have several breweries that could fall under that category, one that really stands out is Beachwood Brewing & BBQ; after all, they won gold in 2013 and 2014 for Best Mid-Size and Best Large Brewpub at GABF. When I suggested Beachwood and told them of some of the awards they had received it was decided that we would meet at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing the next day. Dunne mentioned that it would be great if he could meet the owners and I said I would do my best.

I reached out to Beachwood’s Creative/Marketing Manager, Aaron Carroll and was informed that co-owner/head brewer Julian Shrago was out of town and the other co-owner, Gabe Gordon might be at the Seal Beach location but he would do what he could.

The next day we all met at Beachwood and the Guinness reps loved everything they tried. During our tastings Carroll joined us at our table and informed us that Gordon would not be available, however, he did invite us to tour the new Beachwood Blendery. They jumped on the opportunity. Continue reading

Guinness Nitro IPA Advanced Tasting & Dinner at The Larchmont

These photos were taken at the advanced tasting of Guinness’ new Nitro IPA which was held Thursday evening at The Larchmont restaurant in Los Angeles. The event was put on by Taylor Strategy and featured Guinness Beer Ambassador, Keith Dunne and Diageo Customer Marketing Director, Jonathan Urch. While I am the Craft Beer Guy, we all had to start somewhere; for me, it was Guinness Draught. The fact of the matter is that if I was going to be stuck on a desert island and could only have one beer for the rest of my life, Guinness please.

For every article you read here about a beer dinner or special release I attend, there are probably five or six invitations I turn down; especially if it requires my driving to Los Angeles. When I got the invite to attend the Guinness Nitro IPA advanced tasting and dinner I put aside my disdain for rush hour traffic and accepted the invitation.

As Guinness has been doing these tastings around the country, I started seeing comments and links to articles about the experiences of others that had tried the Nitro IPA over the past week or so. Admittedly, the reviews were not exactly glowing but I am not the type to judge a beer by what someone else thinks (which is why this site is not a beer review site), and I had no idea if a guy from Philly even knew what a good IPA tasted like. Continue reading

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