This will be my fourth time attending BAM Fest and all I can say is that if you enjoy craft beer, live in the Los Angeles area and have never attended BAM Fest, you are doing yourself a disservice. From the first time I attended in 2012 I have been nothing but impressed; and the event just seems to get bigger and better every year and 2015 appears to be no exception.
These photos are from the South Bay Tap Takeover that was held Thursday evening at Flights Beer Bar in Hawthorne. To say that this event was a success would be an understatement; some might suggest that it was too successful as there were times that the staff seemed overwhelmed with all the customers. The event officially began at 4:00 PM, but when I arrived at 3:30 people had already arrived and by 4:30 it was pretty well packed; and it stayed that way until about 11:30.
There were some delays in getting the beer served in the beginning because there were 40 new taps with beers that had never been poured there and many people were ordering flights. Flights brought in some additional help and eventually the beers were learned and things moved faster. The food situation was pretty much a no-win situation because while Flights could install a new walk-in to store beer, there was no way to increase the size of the kitchen. The food took a little longer to get out to us, but it was the same high quality that we have come to expect.
I do not know how many people showed up last night but I do know that we had 200 t-shirts to give away and I would venture to guess that at least as many people did not get shirts as those that did, so I don’t think estimating a turnout of at least 400 people would not be a stretch. Continue reading
First off, the beer. When I was approached about the idea of having a “Craft Beer Guy” party I immediately knew that I wanted to showcase the South Bay’s breweries. I also knew that 40 new kegs was quite an order so I was pleasantly surprised when Flights owner Jerry Jamgotchian didn’t blink an eye and said that 40 kegs was not a problem. A couple people asked me, “But where is he going to keep all that beer?” It was a great question that only had one solution; he was going to need a bigger cold box; so that is what he did. He had a second, bigger cold box added.
A couple weeks ago someone suggested maybe having a few shirts made and raffle them off; buy a beer, get a ticket. I brought it to Jerry for some input and his response was, “How about we make hundreds and give them to everybody?” Well, that is what he did; there will be free t-shirts for the first couple hundred people that ask for one (as supplies/sizes last). Continue reading
These photos were taken at the last Business and Beer which was held Thursday, August 13 at the Monkish Brewing Company tasting room in Torrance. Do not let the lack of photos lead you to believe that there wasn’t much of a turnout, because that would not be accurate. The reality is that Monkish was so crowded it was a little difficult to move around to set up shots!
As one of the co-founders of the Business & Beer networking group, our goal was two-fold; the first was to provide a networking opportunity for small business owners beyond what a typical Chamber of Commerce might provide and to give greater exposure to our local breweries, brewpubs and gastropubs. I remember a time that when we brought a group of 5, 10 or 15 people to one of our local tasting rooms it actually made an impact on the number of patrons the brewery was having that night. Last night, someone happened to share a photo on Facebook from September 2012; it is fun to remember when we could all fit into the front alcove of the tasting room and there would still be room for the other patrons. On Thursday there was a line out the front door most of the evening; I guess we can declare mission accomplished as far as garnering exposure to our craft breweries. Cheers! Continue reading
While I have been to a few “South Bay tap takeovers” over the past few years, never before have we had 40 taps dedicated to just the South Bay’s breweries. The 10 that will be participating include Strand Brewing Company, Monkish Brewing, El Segundo Brewing, Absolution Brewing Company, Smog City Brewing, Three Weavers, The Dudes’, King Harbor Brewing, Phantom Carriage
and introducing HopSaint! If you are thinking, “But HopSaint isn’t open yet.” you would be correct, but the brewhouse has been delivered and Brian Brewer will be brewing before their new brewpub opens. This tap takeover will likely be the first time any of us will be able to try Brian’s brews under the new label. UPDATE: HopSaint will not be able to make it, in their stead, Cosmic Brewery will step up. Continue reading
When Absolution Brewing Company appeared before the Planning Commission in November of 2013, the standard operating hours of the existing Torrance tasting rooms were pretty much Thursday through Sunday, with the hours of 4:00-9:00 PM on Thursday and Friday; noon until 9:00 on Saturdays and noon until 6:00 PM on Sundays. When Absolution submitted for their Conditional Use Permit they requested that they be allowed to be open from 3:00 until 9:00 PM on Wednesday and Thursday; 11:00 AM until 9:00 PM on Friday and Saturday and noon until 6:00 PM on Sunday. I remember wondering whether or not Absolution would be able to justify being open that many hours a week; it is one thing to have permission from the city, but it is another to have enough of a demand to make it worthwhile to be open that long. Well, time has proven that they can justify being open on the additional days and some of the other Torrance breweries have followed their lead and are now open on Wednesday’s as well. Recently, Strand Brewing Company and Monkish Brewing Company have appeared before the Planning Commission and were given permission to hold private events on Mondays and Tuesdays; Absolution decided to take it a step further and request that they be allowed to be open on Monday through Thursday from 3:00-10:00 PM; Friday and Saturday 10:00 AM until 10:00 PM and noon until 10:00 PM on Sunday.
Although the Planning Department was not entirely in favor of allowing Absolution the ability to be open on Monday and Tuesday, primarily because it had not been done before in Torrance, after hearing arguments in favor of allowing the extended hours, the Planning Commission allowed the extended hours as requested along with the ability to have food trucks and to hold special events. Continue reading
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.Continue reading
Monday was day three of the 2015 LA Beer Week (#LABW7) and the celebration of Los Angeles’ craft beer scene continued with numerous events. I decided to head over to the Three Weavers Brewing Company tasting room in Inglewood where the Los Angeles Chapter of the Pink Boots Society held a fundraiser for their scholarship fund in the form of a tap takeover featuring craft beers from 20 breweries.
I have to admit that when I first heard about the event I figured we would attend primarily because it was a fundraiser for the Pink Boots Society and it would be one way I could give back to the industry. When I got there I discovered that there were some pretty outstanding beers featured and a fun group of people to enjoy them with.
The Pink Boots Society was created “to empower women beer professionals to advance their careers in the beer industry through education.” This is done via regional meetings, seminars and their scholarship fund. An example of the types of scholarships they fund would be the two-day Barth-Haas Hops Academy held in Yakima, WA this coming August. The scholarships are open to Pink Boots Society members and to become a member you must be a woman that has a paying job within the beer industry. Continue reading
Sunday was day two of the 2015 LA Beer Week (#LABW7) and it was Father’s Day. As my daughter wanted to take me out for Father’s Day and I wanted to take my dad out, we decided that we would all go together. My dad enjoys his craft beer but I know I have brought things over to the house that he just was not into; so I asked him if he had ever tried a wild ale or sour beer. He had not, but was willing to give it a try, so we decided that we would head over to Phantom Carriage for their Father’s Day Brunch and Vinyl Sunday.
I brought Elvis Costello’s “My Aim is True” which they put on the turntable while Tanya and I enjoyed Beer-Mosas with their Brewers Breakfast. In the meantime I introduced dad to Muis; it wasn’t his thing and he asked if they had an IPA. I brought him a Hoppy Birthday and his eyes lit up. After learning it wasn’t brewed by Phantom Carriage he said he wanted to try something else by them; I should just surprise him. Well, apparently his palate warmed up and he truly enjoyed the Dolores Nitro I presented.
We got there when they first opened and it had a decent group; by the time we finished eating, drinking and visiting the place was packed. It is good to see that they are continuing to grow. Speaking of which, they now have growlers of Muis available; bottles of some of their other brews will be there before you know it. Continue reading
Monkish Brewing Company was the first production brewery in Torrance to get a Conditional Use Permit to open a tasting room, even though Strand Brewing opened a couple weeks before them. Back in 2011 when Monkish first appeared before the Planning Commission the craft beer landscape was significantly different in the South Bay than what we have today. There was Monkish and Strand in Torrance with El Segundo Brewing in El Segundo. As it was a new scene and no one really knew if craft beer was going to take hold this time (it tried 15-20 years ago with little success); in fact, when Monkish first requested to open the tasting room it was described as a “small accessory” to the brewery itself. As a consumer, I kind of figured that the three brewery owners got together and said, “Let’s open Thursday through Sunday and see what happens.”
Well, the times have changed; Torrance is now a craft beer destination. Instead of having two production breweries and one brewpub (Red Car) in Torrance, we now have five production breweries with a second brewpub (HopSaint) scheduled to open within the next two months. With the addition of each new production brewery and tasting room has come the request for longer hours and the ability to have food trucks. When Strand Brewing Company got the Conditional Use Permit for their new location, they made sure to request the ability to have longer hours and food trucks. Last night’s approval essentially leveled the playing field for Monkish Brewing giving them the ability to be open essentially seven days a week including special events. Continue reading