microbrewery

Introducing Ximix Craft Exploration Brewery

Gardena now has two craft breweries; State Brewing Company and a little under a mile away, Ximix Craft Exploration, which will officially open Thursday, April 5, 2018.

I first met Ximix (pronounced “zim ex”) co-founder and head brewer Erik DeBellis 18 months ago during a visit to HopSaint Brewing Company; at the time he told me he was opening a brewery and we exchanged numbers. But you know the old saying, “out of sight, out of mind”; we had not seen each other since then and DeBellis was keeping things pretty close to the vest so I had completely forgotten about them until the owner of Lawndale Brewhouse asked me what I knew about Ximix. As the name did not ring a bell I was pretty surprised when I discovered I had already liked their Facebook page. When I reached out to them, DeBellis reminded me we had met previously; a couple days later I headed out to Gardena for my first visit to Ximix Craft Exploration. Continue reading

A Return Visit to the Valley of the Sun

Every year at this time, I make my annual trek to the Valley of the Sun, which is essentially the Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe area of Arizona. I returned there last week and as I was preparing to write my article about my most recent beer travel, I came to the realization that while I went to Arizona last year and took photos, I never wrote about it. These photos will begin with my visits to O.H.S.O. Eatery & nano-Brewery, and McFate Brewing Company in 2017; and will end with my visits to Wren House Brewing, Scottsdale Beer Company, and Blasted Barley in 2018.

My typical Valley of the Sun weekend begins with go-kart racing in Scottsdale and ends with a convention in Tempe. This means that I set my GPS for a brewery that will get me closest to the race track in Scottsdale. In 2017 my first destination was O.H.S.O. Eatery & nano-Brewery, a brewpub located in the Arcadia area of Phoenix. Continue reading

Absolution Brewing 4th Anniversary & St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

These photos were taken Saturday afternoon at Absolution Brewing Company’s Torrance location where they held their 4th Anniversary and St. Patrick’s Day Celebration. The event consisted of a ticketed VIP session from 1:00 to 3:00 PM, then the doors opened to the general public until 7:00 PM. VIP attendees received a nice, limited edition, 4th Anniversary Mug (20oz), unlimited firkin cask tastings or four 20oz pours, after that, they received 20oz pours the rest of the day.

As usual, Absolution brought out several specialty beers, including their Holy Moly Anniversary Ale, a porter with whole chipotle and cocoa nibs, St. Pat’s, an Irish red ale with cascara of cacao, and Oasis, a bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout with hints of coconut. They had some good stuff there. Continue reading

Brouwerij West 2nd Anniversary Photos

These photos were taken Saturday evening in San Pedro at the Brouwerij West 2nd Anniversary and Concert which was held at the production brewery’s massive tasting room and outside beer garden. The concert was headlined by legendary Los Angeles punk rock band X and featured Mike Watt & The Missingmen, L.A. Witch, and Bombon; with DJ Paul E Wog spinning his vinyl prior to the concert starting, and between sets.

Anyone that has visited Brouwerij West has probably figured out that they do things big, beginning with their 25,000 square-foot facility with the 30 BBL brewhouse with fermentation space for 8,000 barrels; this party was going to be big. If you attended their grand opening you know that they can draw a crowd. This anniversary party was huge and the staff at Brouwerij West handled it like the pros they are. Continue reading

Pints with Purpose: International Bird Rescue

These photos were taken Thursday evening at Smog City Brewing Company, where they held their weekly Pints with Purpose fundraiser; this month the beneficiary is International Bird Rescue, a global leader in responding to man-made disasters affecting wildlife, such as oil spills and marine debris.

Every Thursday in March, Smog City will donate a portion of their gross daily receipts to the International Bird Rescue, which has a San Pedro location. Continue reading

Common Space Brewery Ribbon Cutting

These photos were taken Thursday afternoon at the ribbon cutting for Hawthorne’s newest craft brewery, Common Space Brewery. The event was attended by several City of Hawthorne representatives, as well as numerous friends and family. There were games set up for the kids, food was made available by The Berlin Truck; naturally, there was plenty of Common Space beer for the rest of us.

Thursday was the first official day of Common Space’s grand opening weekend. On Friday the festivities continue from noon to midnight with food trucks, ice cream and DJs. Saturday will be the main day, again being open from noon to midnight, but there will be multiple food trucks, ice cream, face painting and balloon animals for the kids. Sunday they will conclude the festivities from noon to 10:00 PM with a food truck, live music, and an Oscars watch and after party. It should be a great weekend. Continue reading

Common Space Brewery: From the Beginning

Hawthorne now has their second craft brewery, Common Space Brewery, and these photos document their build since I started visiting their location in July of 2017 up through their soft open which ended Wednesday evening. The production brewery and tasting room are massive, utilizing a 24,000 square foot warehouse with 27′ high ceilings and a 1,000 square foot outdoor patio. The beer is pretty good too.

Founded by South Bay local Brent Knapp, Common Space brought on former Speakeasy Ales & Lagers Head of Brewing Operations, Kushal Hall, which means Common Space is starting off with a brewer that is well-versed in brewing large amounts capable of distributing. As you look through the photos you can’t help but notice how large the brewhouse is and they have plenty of fermentation vessels to keep the South Bay and beyond satiated with Common Space brews. Continue reading

A Visit to Kern River Brewing Company

These photos were taken Wednesday afternoon at Kern River Brewing Company in Kernville, and Lucky Luke Brewing Company in Palmdale. I needed to do someone a favor in Gorman, and since that was 75 miles of a 175 mile drive, I decided it was time for me to make my long overdue visit to Kern River Brewing Company (KRBC).

As I drove along the Kern River I thought back to the days that I used to ride up to Kernville with my buddy Gary; it was then that I realized that it had to be close to 40 years since the last time I was up in that area. I wondered if I would even recognize the few landmarks that I remembered from our exploits of the late 70’s and early 80’s. Continue reading

The Craft Beer Guy 2017 Year in Review

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.

steelcraft soft open

Smog City – Steelcraft – Bixby Knolls

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.

Just a bit of trivia; while there were about 50 LA County Brewers Guild members in January of 2017, today there are almost 70! 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

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