2020 started off mellow enough; little did we know what was in store for us. The highlight of the month, and possibly the year for some, was the Hop Culture Juicy Brews Beach Party Craft Beer Festival held at Brouwerij West. It was a very fun event featuring craft beer from more than 25 of the top breweries in the country.
The month ended with a going away party for Smog City’s taproom manager Jason “Breezy” Briseño as he and his bride prepared to move to Australia; I think COVID put a temporary damper on those plans. Continue reading
These photos were taken Thursday, September 5, at Tortilla Cantina Taco Bistro and Sports Bar in Torrance, where they hosted my 5th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover. This year’s event featured beer, cider and mead from 26 of the South Bay’s best breweries and cideries, and live music featuring Ashleigh Correa. For the first time, there were two anniversary brews commemorating five years of putting on the South Bay Tap Takeover.
One of the anniversary beers was Better Weather Sweater IPA, which was a collaboration beer brewed at Smog City last month with 20 South Bay breweries. Better Weather Sweater came out amazing; it is very well balanced and with a 5.9 ABV, it is perfectly crushable for this heat we are going through. Better Weather Sweater will be released today (Friday) at all the Smog City locations and at several brewpubs throughout the Los Angeles area. It is perfect for those that complain about IPAs being “too hoppy” as that is not going to be a complaint from anyone. The second anniversary beer was 2nd Cold War Russian Imperial Stout, a collaboration I did with Zymurgy Brew Works back in April. As Zymurgy was sold to Smog City, this was officially the last Zymurgy beer to be commercially available. Continue reading
If you have attended any of the previous four tap takeovers, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect; if you have never been I can summarize with at least 25 South Bay breweries/cideries pouring from 50 taps.
When I started this in 2015, we had 10 South Bay breweries with 40 taps; in 2016 there were 15, and in 2017 we had 18 South Bay breweries with 40 taps. In 2018 there was a change of management at the original venue (Flights), and they decided they wanted to do their own thing. I wished them luck, and then approached Rick Gomez of Tortilla Cantina to see if they would be interested in hosting the 4th annual tap takeover. I approached Rick for three reasons; I knew he was a big supporter of the local craft beer scene, every South Bay brewery owner I spoke with knew and really liked Rick, and I knew he had 48 taps. I do not think Rick really knew what he was in for, but he went all-in and the 4th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover ended up featuring 22 local breweries participating, and with the help of a jockey box, 49 taps of craft beer! Continue reading
These photos were taken Friday morning at Smog City Brewing, where brewers and owners of 21 of the South Bay’s breweries and cideries met to brew an anniversary beer to commemorate the 5th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover which will be held Thursday, September 5 at Tortilla Cantina in Old Torrance.
A couple months ago I got the idea that since this was the 5th anniversary of the South Bay Tap Takeover that perhaps participating breweries might want to each do an anniversary collaboration with CraftBeerGuy.com. I had spoken with a couple breweries that hinted they might be interested when I went to State Brewing and their head brewer Rob Scott and he suggested that perhaps we could do a collaboration that included all the participating breweries. I immediately knew this would be a much better option so I started thinking about which local brewery would be big enough and central to everyone. To me, the logical choice was Smog City Brewing, so I approached Porter about it; he readily accepted. Continue reading
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.
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.
These photos were taken at the 2nd Annual L.A. Local Craft Beer & Artisanal Food Fest which was held at the Steinhaus at Alpine Village in Torrance on Saturday afternoon. The event featured 31 Los Angeles area craft breweries and maybe a dozen artisanal food vendors from the LA area.
L.A. Local provided the first opportunity for most of the attendees to try brews from several breweries that have opened within the last year like Scholb Premium Ales, Dry River Brewing, Brouwerij West, HopSaint, Iron Triangle, Mumford Brewing, State Brewing and Honest Abe. Other breweries in attendance included Three Weavers, Port Town, Smog City, Monkish, Phantom Carriage, The Dudes’, Claremont Craft Ales, Ohana, Enegren, California 101 Cider House, King Harbor, Strand, Absolution, MacLeod Ale Brewing and several others. Continue reading
This event will be pretty similar to their inaugural event in that all the beer and food will come from the Los Angeles area and you will get unlimited pours of beer and unlimited samplings. Just so there are no surprises, many of the food vendors make jams or sauces, so you get a spoonful. You are probably not going to fill up on the food, but there were some tasty items there. Continue reading
There were several beer buyouts that seemed to dominate most other craft beer sites, but the craft world in my immediate domain only seemed to increase. Yeah, Golden Road got bought, but I only went there for special events and I guess that means there will be fewer of them there in the future. In the meantime, the reach of this site seems to be increasing. In the beginning people pretty much pigeonholed this site as covering the South Bay craft beer scene only. This year I covered various local beer events from the Antelope Valley to Orange County. Attendees have come up asking if I am now covering the west side, or wherever we might be. I guess the answer is yes; and I will expand my area as long as it is requested.
2015 in the South Bay ended pretty much as it started, with the soft open of a new brewpub. In January Phantom Carriage officially opened, and at the end of December HopSaint Brewing Company opened their doors. While they are open daily, the official opening of HopSaint will be January 1, 2016 when they will start serving lunch at 11:30 AM. Continue reading
It has been a real pleasure watching the evolution of this craft beer festival; the first one in 2012 had almost as many beers as attendees but attendance has increased every year since. In 2014 it was decided to hold the event over the course of two sessions and it worked very well. Last year each session had different special beers; this year both sessions will have every beer. When asked how they would ensure that certain beers were not tapped out on Friday, leaving Saturday’s attendees without, I was told that they would be monitoring lines and weighing kegs if that became an issue. Continue reading
These photos are of the 2015 Taste of Brews Long Beach which was held Saturday afternoon at Lighthouse Park in Long Beach. The event featured dozens of craft breweries, food trucks, live music, games and great weather. A portion of the proceeds from this event were donated to the Long Beach Marine Institute.
As you know, I attend a lot of beer festivals; and there is no question that some are a lot better than others. For me personally, I like to find the breweries and beers that I have never had before. With the number of beer festivals that are held around here every year, I have come to accept that this goal is going to be more difficult with each successive beer festival I attend. The thing about Taste of Brews Long Beach is that they could have the same beer every year and I would return just because it is a great venue to hold a festival.
Yesterday was my third time attending Taste of Brews and this event just keeps getting better. There were supposed to be between 60 and 70 breweries; I did not count them but there was beer enough for everyone. The food trucks were spread around evenly throughout the park and there were two stages for the live music which featured The Tomcats and RedEye Redemption. And then there was the beer. Continue reading