Tuesday, April 7 is National Beer Day which commemorates when prohibition on beer was lifted on April 7, 1933. To commemorate this milestone event, I accepted an invitation from the Yard House in Long Beach to attend an event they were having in conjunction with Firestone Walker. Firestone Walker had a very limited release of their Traveling Oak which is Parabola aged in oak barrels that originally aged Old Rip Van Winkle Bourbon for over 10 years and then were used to age Del Maguey Mezcal. After that, Firestone Walker’s Master Brewer, Matt Brynildson got a hold of them. The Parabola was added and aged for a year. To say it was different would be an understatement; pretty much everyone said they really enjoyed it.
Now, I visit Yard House at various times, usually because they are somewhere close that I know is going to have something I like. If I go to Staples, there is a pretty good chance I am stopping at Yard House. What I did not understand was why a limited release beer, that they say will never be made again, would only be made available at six locations in the country (Boston (Fenway), Denver (Downtown), Long Beach, CA, Portland, OR and Seattle), and they are all Yard House locations. Well, Yard House, in addition to having what must be a couple hundred taps of craft beers from around the world, also have a few house brews. While they are currently contract brewing with Uinta Brewing Company out of Salt Lake City, Firestone Walker brewed their beers beforehand.
To help welcome the Traveling Oak, Firestone Walker Master Brewer, Matt Brynildson was spotted serving snifters to customers while such beerlebrities as Firestone’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Dave Macon and Regional Sales Manager, Shane Kral chatted to the fans that showed up. As there is just a small amount of Traveling Oak available for each location, I do not know if they blew the keg or not; but I would not expect it to last past Wednesday if it makes it through the night. Like I said, they have a couple hundred taps so if it is gone, do not despair; I am sure they will have something you like. If you live in one of the cities I named above, check out your local Yard House to see when Traveling Oak is traveling there. Continue reading
It goes without saying; this is a great time to be living in Southern California when it comes to craft beer. I cannot imagine where the beer scene would be if it had taken off in the 1980’s the way it has in recent years. Living in the Los Angeles area when I became of legal age, I really knew nothing of craft beer. As I spent a lot of time in San Francisco, Guinness was my “special occasion” brew, but that was not really easy to find around here so I found myself drinking the typical Bud and Miller Lite with the occasional Beck’s Dark thrown in for good measure.
About 10 years ago I started discovering craft beer, even though I did not know it was called craft beer; to be honest, I am not even sure they called it “craft” yet. As I ventured into places like BJ’s and Gordon Biersch I started learning names like Pale Ale, IPA, Hefeweizen, Marzen, and Pilsner. Today, there are literally thousands of craft breweries around the country and worldwide; and there are relatively new, at least to me, styles than are coming on like gang busters. A new vocabulary had to be learned with sours, wild ales, lambics and guezes. As the beer drinking public developed their thirst and palates for sours, a few local breweries have decided to try their hand at brewing various sour styles and this has resulted in a new word that is becoming more popular, blendery. Continue reading
This morning, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing held their drawing for the 4th Annual Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle at their Long Beach location. To enter the contest, one merely paid $5.00 for a chance at a full pint of the 2015 Pliny the Younger. This year Beachwood raised about $11,600 from the ticket sales which equates to about $40,000 being donated over the course of four years to the beneficiary of the raffle, the Melanoma Research Foundation. The drawing was streamed live via the Four Brewers podcast and 140 winners were picked; to my surprise, I actually was one of the winners and I rarely ever win raffles.
For those that were unable to watch the Four Brewers Podcast, the winning raffle ticket numbers have been posted on the Beachwood BBQ website. Winners will also be contacted via telephone and/or email so you will want to check your email today and be sure to answer your phone, even if you do not recognize the calling number. Winners must collect their pint of Pliny between Tuesday February 24 and Thursday March 5, 2015. You must bring your raffle ticket with you and redeem it at the location designated. Unfortunately, where you bought the ticket may not be where you will have to go to redeem it (100 will go to the Seal Beach location and the other 40 will redeem their winning ticket at the Seal Beach location). If you do not claim your pint of Pliny by March 5 it will be considered donated to the staff of Beachwood and they thank you from the bottom of their collective hearts. Continue reading
For the past four years Beachwood has been having a charity raffle for chances to win one (or more) of the 130 pints they will have available between their Seal Beach and Long Beach locations. The beneficiary of 100% of the monies raised goes to the Melanoma Research Foundation done in memory of a long time Beachwood friend, Tony Carbone who passed away in 2008 from Stage 3 Melanoma.The process is simple and if you read this through to the end, there is a special offer for you. Raffle tickets are $5.00 each and there will be 130 winners. Tickets are on sale at both the Seal Beach and Long Beach locations between January 20 and February 21, 2015 at 10:00 PM. All ticket purchases are cash only. The drawing will be held Monday, February 23 and will be streamed live via the Four Brewers webcast. Winners will be directed to which location they can get their pint and they must be redeemed between February 24 and March 5, 2015; you want to drink Pliny fresh. Continue reading
Sunday was day two of the 6th Annual LA Beer Week and I decided to start the day off by visiting a couple of the Torrance tasting rooms since they were not around last year. The afternoon began at Torrance’s oldest production brewery, Strand Brewing Company. It was not particularly crowded, but they did have a nice group in there; due in part to LA Craft Beer Tours bringing a group in. I had the opportunity to visit with a few people and wish Nikki good luck as she will be leaving us soon to take on a new job with Drake’s Brewing. Congratulations, Nikki. Strand Brewing Company is located at 23520 Telo Avenue in Torrance.
I then headed over to The Dudes’ Brewing Company to see what has been going on there since their grand opening last week. The first thing I noticed was that they now have ample seating for everyone; to celebrate LA Beer Week The Dudes’ held raffles for beer, shirts, hats and other swag over the weekend. In addition to eight or nine beers on tap they also offered one on nitro and one on cask. It looks like The Dudes’ have gotten the hang of the tasting room and they should be quite successful as time goes on. The Dudes’ Brewing Company is located at 1840 W. 208th Street in Torrance.
For my final production brewery stop, I paid a visit to Absolution Brewing Company. It has been a few weeks since I was there and again, one of the first things I noticed was that they rearranged their pews to make it easier for people to sit together and talk while enjoying a guilt free Absolution brew. Judging by all the new kegs that were waiting to be filled it would be safe to presume that their distribution to bars and restaurants must be doing pretty well. Absolution Brewing Company is located at 2878 Columbia Street in Torrance. 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
These photos are from Saturday, July 5 at the Beachwood BBQ & Brewing 3rd Anniversary Celebration. As I tried to decide what to write about this event I thought back to their one year party when they had about 12 of their own brews available and made the event “A Tribute to Southern California Breweries.”
By the time their second anniversary rolled around, head brewer Julian Shrago had accumulated close to 30 brews under his belt and the event showcased Beachwood’s brews with a few guest taps also available. At yesterday’s event there were close to 50 Beachwood brews available along with several collaboration brews like Ghost of Jacob Barley and Unapologetic Double IPA; along with rare beers such as Barrel-Aged Jean-Quad Van Damme and Tovarish. There were also special food menus available as well as an assortment of housemade pickles and Scottish pickled eggs. One of the highlights for me was the release of their anniversary beer, Greenshift Double IPA; it is delicious.
There was a line from the time they opened until well into the afternoon, but it was well worth any wait. For those that arrived later, Beachwood helped them out by not tapping certain rare beers until set times of 1:00, 3:00, 5:00 and 7:00 so that no matter when you were there, the craft beer experience would be one to remember. Continue reading
Tuesday was day two of the 9th Annual American Craft Beer Week and I really wanted an IPA. For those not in the know, we have been enduring a pretty bad heat wave and a couple cold beers were just what the doctor ordered. An IPA and some air conditioning would be even better. I decided to start off by heading to Long Beach for a visit to the Great American Beer Festival’s 2013 Mid-Size Brewpub of the Year, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing.
While Long Beach sounds like it would be cool, it was actually 105 degrees which was 10 more than home so the beer and air conditioning were quite welcome. When it comes to IPA’s, most locals would have to admit that it is pretty tough to beat the superb options provided by award winning head brewer Julian Shrago. Like I usually do, I opted for a flight consisting of three IPAs, Laurel, Pole Position and The Falcon which are all three fine examples of the West Coast IPA style. I finished the flight off with their Onyx Imperial Stout. In addition to their own fine brews and good food, Beachwood has a pretty amazing guest tap list. This just shows the confidence they have in their own beers. I decided to try the San Clemente IPA (Artifex Collaboration) from Pizza Port San Clemente and it was great. While Beachwood is not having any planned American Craft Beer Week events (because every week is American Craft Beer Week there) they were have a special bottle release for their Jean-Quad Van Damme Bourbon Barrel Aged Belgian-Style Dark Ale that was to be held Tuesday evening. They only bottled 100 so there was a limit of one bottle per customer. While 100 bottles would not usually last very long, Beachwood only announced it on the Instagram account and I mentioned it last night on the Craft Beer Guy Facebook page so there was limited exposure. I just called and there are still some bottles left so head over and grab one; or bring a friend and grab two. Be sure to tell them Craft Beer Guy sent you. Continue reading
On Wednesday evening, craft beer fans headed to Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach to join Beer Paper LA as they celebrated their one year anniversary. Beer Paper LA is an online and monthly print paper that dedicates its pages to the local breweries and gastropubs in the Los Angeles, Orange County and Inland Empire areas of Southern California. As they had their launch party last year at Beachwood it made sense that they return for the anniversary party.
As anyone that frequents Beachwood knows, in addition to the fine beers Beachwood brews they always have a stellar guest tap list. Last night was no different with a selection of crafted brews from local craft breweries from central California to the Mexican border including The Brewery at Abigaile, Ladyface Ale Companie, TAPS Fish House & Brewery, Smog City, Strand Brewing, Noble Ale Works, Firestone Walker, Ohana Brewing Company, Pizza Port San Clemente and many more. It was a night to remember with many fine beers available.
Congratulations to Beer Paper LA on completing their first year and becoming practically a household name in the local craft beer scene. Cheers! Continue reading