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Craft Beer Tour 2018: Arizona

These photos were taken Monday, September 17, in Kingman and Flagstaff, Arizona.

On Monday I left the South Bay to head to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival. If you followed my journey to GABF last year you may recall that I traveled through Utah to get there. The lack of breweries on that route ensured that I take the southern route through Arizona this time. Day one was much better this year.

My first gas stop was in Kingman, AZ, which was about 330 miles from home using I-40. It has been a while since I was in Kingman, but it is a big enough town that I figured there had to be a brewery there. Google informed me that Black Bridge Brewery was only a couple miles from the gas station I was at, so I set it in my GPS for a seven minute drive. Continue reading

2018 Boots, Brews & BBQ Photos

These photos were taken Saturday evening at the Switzer Learning Center, in Torrance, where they held their 2018 Boots, Brews & BBQ fundraiser. The event featured unlimited pours of craft beer from about six local breweries, wine, and an open bar. They also had tequila flights available for an additional fee. In addition to the libations, there was plenty of barbecued meat available courtesy of Shady Grow Foods, as well Mediterranean food from Chicken Maison for the vegetarians in attendance.

The adult only event also offered tickets to ride a mechanical bull, or to practice your aiming at the shooting range that had rifles or revolvers available. They also had a spin and win booze wheel, gaming tables featuring blackjack, 3-card poker and roulette, and live and silent auctions. Continue reading

Craft Beer LB Fest 2018 Photos

These photos were taken Saturday afternoon at the second annual Craft Beer LB Fest, which was held at the Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site. The event featured craft beer from 14 Long Beach area breweries, food from a few local restaurant pop-ups, live music, as well as games and activities for every age group. A portion of the proceeds from the event went to the Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site.

Attending this event confirms that the Long Beach craft beer scene is really growing. Like last year’s event, participating breweries included old-timers like Belmont Brewing, Ballast Point, and Beachwood, as well as several breweries such as Ambitious Ales, Hog Canyon Brewing, and Steady Brew Beer Company that have yet to open or just opened recently. Continue reading

3rd Annual Pub at the Club Photos

These photos were taken Sunday afternoon at the 3rd Annual Pub at the Club, which was held at the Manhattan Beach Badminton Club in Manhattan Beach. The event featured at least 22 breweries and cideries, as well as numerous wineries and local restaurants.

100% of the proceeds, which included ticket sales, raffles and the silent auction went to the Manhattan Beach Badminton Club Junior Foundation, a charity dedicated to developing champions on and off the court by supporting all athletes, including special needs and Para-athletes.

Attendees received unlimited pours from such local breweries as Boomtown, Three Weavers, Absolution Brewing, Zymurgy Brew Works, Scholb, Strand Brewing, King Harbor Brewing, El Segundo Brewing, Smog City, Hermosa Brewing, and The Dudes’. Also in attendance were Stone Brewing, Pizza Port, Refuge Brewery, Cigar City, High Water Brewing, Oskar Blues, and new to California, Roadhouse Brewing Company. Continue reading

4th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover Photos

The photos were taken Thursday at Tortilla Cantina in Torrance, where they hosted the 4th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover. While this was their first time for hosting this event, it was the largest collection of local craft breweries since I first started putting on the event in 2015; with 22 local breweries participating and 49 taps of craft beer!

Since this was the fourth tap takeover, I have become accustomed to last minute issues coming up, resulting in either a brewery not getting the beers to the venue on time, or a mislabeled keg. As I have read that this is fairly common with even the most efficiently run craft beer festival, I just kind of grin and bear it as most of the time the attendees never even notice. While I was putting out proverbial fires at 10:30 Wednesday night, by the time Thursday morning rolled around everything somehow was falling into place. Continue reading

Phantom Carriage Bids Farewell to Ryan and Martin

These photos were taken Friday evening at Phantom Carriage Brewery in Carson, where friends and co-workers of Phantom’s co-founder Martin Svab and his girlfriend, Ryan Hughes, gathered to say “until we meet again” to the pair that helped create Phantom Carriage, as Friday was their last official day of handling the day-to-day operations of running the brewpub.

As was announced last week, Martin is relinquishing control of daily operations while retaining his ownership in Phantom Carriage; he will act as a consultant during the transition period.

While Martin and Ryan may be departing from Phantom Carriage, they are not leaving the local craft beer scene, as they plan on continuing putting on events like Festival Obscura, a fundraiser that they put on back in July for Sunnyside Cemetery. Their immediate plans also include owning a bottle shop in Long Beach. Continue reading

Hōkūle’a Brewing Company Soft Open Begins

These photos were taken Saturday afternoon at Hōkūle’a Brewing Company, when they officially opened their doors to begin their soft open, which will go on for a few weeks.

Although I arrived shortly after Hōkūle’a opened their doors, they already had 15 or 20 people seated trying the three Hōkūle’a brews that were available on day one; as well as the ciders from Southern California Cider Company (who shares the spot with Hōkūle’a), and a mead from Honest Abe’s.

Hōkūle’a’s three brews included their Gremmie Pils, Keiki IPA (a session IPA), and Key Lime Pai, a kettle sour. I think I enjoyed the Keiki IPA the most, but Key Lime Pai was definitely a crowd favorite when I was there. Continue reading

Hokulea Brewing: From the Beginning

The long awaited opening of Hokulea Brewing Company is upon us as it was announced today that Hokulea will begin their soft open Saturday, August 18. These photos show the build of Hokulea from when I first visited the location back in June 2017, through today.

Hokulea Brewing combined forces with The Honest Abe Cidery to create a brewpub with a brewery, cidery, and poke bar with 40 taps. Since they are a brewpub, they can sell beers from other breweries which is the plan is while Hokulea builds up its tap list of in-house brewed brews. You may notice the two very large fermenters in the photos; those are for the cider side of the house.

The soft open begins Saturday, and will continue daily until they have their official grand opening sometime in September. In the beginning, they hope to be able to offer food tastings, with the kitchen opening full time as soon as possible. Continue reading

Tortilla Cantina 8th Anniversary Photos

These photos were taken Saturday evening at Tortilla Cantina in Torrance, where they celebrated their 8th anniversary. The event featured craft beer pouring from close to 50 taps, live music from Ashleigh Correa, and Charlie Don’t Surf (Kemo and the boys), and complimentary appetizers for an hour or so.

Tortilla Cantina is a “taco bistro” that offers 18 varieties of tacos and usually has about 48 different beers on tap. They are also the home of the 4th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover, which will be held on September 6, from noon until 11:30 PM, and will feature their standard Happy Hour from noon to 7:00 PM, their wide selection of tacos, and live music by Ashleigh Correa.

The breweries scheduled to attend are Absolution Brewing, Brouwerij West, Common Space, The Dudes’, El Segundo Brewing, Hermosa Brewing Company, The Honest Abe Cidery, HopSaint, King Harbor Brewing, LA Ale Works, Phantom Carriage, Scholb, Smog City, State Brewing, Strand Brewing, Three Weavers, Ximix Craft Exploration, Yorkshire Square, and Zymurgy Brew Works. Continue reading

Strand Brewing Company’s 3rd Annual Backyard Barbecue

These photos were taken Saturday afternoon at Strand Brewing Company’s 3rd Annual Backyard Barbecue which was held at Strand’s production brewery and tasting room.

As I mentioned in my last article, Saturday had several events going on. While the music was just getting started at Absolution, Strand had live music going on all day and the tasting room was jumping with lots of families, with their dogs and kids; and several sub-parties going on at the same time.

In addition to the 12 Strand Brewing beers that were available, the Chefs in Shorts food truck was there providing the barbecued goodies; local live music was provided by Snake Oil Salesmen, Gilbert Louie Ray, South Bay All-Stars, and Ryan Collazo. It is safe to say that a good time was had by all. Cheers! Continue reading

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