Sonoma Pride was originally conceived by Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing in July 2015 to celebrate living and working in Sonoma County. Since then they have released two beers annually under the Sonoma Pride brand. After the wildfires of early October, Russian River began brewing Sonoma Pride, a blonde ale, with all the proceeds from that beer going to help victims of the wildfires. To ensure the monies they raised went to the people that need it, they teamed with the King Ridge Foundation to begin a fundraiser for the victims of the Sonoma County wildfires. In a show of unity, more than 60 craft breweries and craft beer related businesses joined in to donate a brew that proceeds would be donated from; to date they have raised over $400,000.
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
At the beginning of November I had to go to Sparks, Nevada to bury a friend; since I would be driving up CA-395 I knew there would be several breweries along the way that I had yet to try or visit. I decided to leave a day early and visit as many as possible; George would have wanted it that way.
From the Los Angeles area, the easiest way to get to CA-395 is via CA-14. CA-14 begins in the Antelope Valley and ends at CA-395. As I was in the Antelope Valley far too early to stop by and visit any of their breweries, my first visit was to Indian Wells Brewing Company in Inyokern.
The Indian Wells Brewing tasting room is a pretty interesting place; in fact, I will go so far as to say it may be the most unusual brewery I have ever visited. I walked around a few minutes in what seemed to be a cross between a gift store at a ghost town and a Cracker Barrel with a small museum thrown in just because. With all the soda pop for sale, I had to confirm that yes; they do brew all their beer in-house. Continue reading
These photos were taken Saturday afternoon at Strand Brewing Company’s 8th Anniversary Party. The event featured live music, food by Chefs in Shorts Catering, and 12 Strand Brewing beers on tap. As fate would have it, it was also Strand Brewing Company co-founder Rich Marcello’s 50th birthday, so everyone had even more reason to celebrate.
Congratulations to Joel Elliott, Rich Marcello and the entire Strand Brewing Company team on your success; and happy birthday to Rich.
Strand Brewing Company is located at 2201 Dominguez Street in Torrance; they are open Tuesday through Sunday, sell cans, bottles and growlers to go and are dog friendly. Cheers!
Arguably, one of the most awaited tasting room openings in the South Bay has been that of State Brewing Company in Gardena. These photos have been taken at State Brewing, periodically since June of 2016 and through today, November 10, 2017; the official day of the beginning of State Brewing Company’s soft open.
When I first started going to State Brewing, they had a different brewer and a different idea of what kind of beers they would brew. At the beginning of 2017, State said farewell to their original brewer and welcomed Robert Sanchez and Rob Scott, both formerly of Kinetic Brewing, and things immediately changed. Continue reading
These photos were taken in Anniston, Alabama on October 19; and various parts of Mississippi on October 20, as I continued to work my way home.
There is something to be said for technology, but sometimes I wish I at least carried a decent paper map with me since trying to see the big picture on an S4’s screen is a lot easier said than done. When I left South Carolina I had decided that instead of taking I-20, I would take I-10. Unfortunately, I did not know what city to put in that would force my GPS to head to I-10 so I made a guess that was totally wrong. I would mention where I was, but I have no clue; I was not on an interstate, they were basically county roads. I was in the middle of nowhere South Carolina where it abuts nowhere Georgia. I also ended up on I-20.
What this meant for me craft beer-wise was that nothing in the part of Georgia I went through, including Atlanta, opened until 4:00 PM. I am sorry, but I was not going to stick around Atlanta for rush hour just to wait for a brewery to open. I will hit Georgia on another trip. Continue reading
These photos were taken over the course of two days; October 17 in Columbia and October 18 in Charleston, South Carolina.
When I left Charlotte, I set my sights for Blythewood, South Carolina where I would be spending the night with my brother Steve and his wife. A few weeks back I asked Steve if he had any favorite breweries we could visit; he responded that he had shared a flight once, with our dad, back in 2010. We were going to have to go another route.
Fortunately, Steve has friends that do know craft beer and we were directed to Conquest Brewing in Columbia. Conquest Brewing is a microbrewery that has been open about five years and is Columbia, South Carolina’s first production craft brewery. Continue reading
These photos were taken at Bond Brothers Beer Company, Heist Brewery, and The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery on October 16 and 17 as my Craft Beer Tour 2017 continued into North Carolina.
When I first decided I was going to take this trip I only had five specific destinations; GABF, Three Floyds, Grand Rapids, MI, Charleston, SC and Yuma, AZ. Everything else would just happen, sort of.
Shortly before I left for GABF I was talking to Beer Paper owner (formerly Beer Paper LA), Daniel Drennon about my plans. Since he knows people around the country, I thought he might have a couple of ideas for stops. He handed me a bundle of the latest issue of Beer Paper and asked me to deliver it to his friend Whit Baker, the Certified Cicerone Brewmaster at Bond Brothers Beer Company in Cary. Continue reading
When I left off; my Craft Beer Tour 2017 was leaving the Grand Rapids area and honestly, I was not sure which way I wanted to go. As I saw it, I had two ways I could venture. On the one hand, I have had very little time in New England and the leaves were beginning to change colors, so that would be cool. On the other hand, I knew I was going to head down to the Carolinas, so New England would add another couple thousand miles to my trip. I would have been okay with that, but literally everywhere I went saw their weather worsen with my arrival!
I am not kidding, every evening I would get an alert on my phone that the weather would be anywhere from 10 to 20 degrees cooler the next day. I had people in North Carolina suggest I was Old Man Winter; relatives in South Carolina apologized for not having enough blankets, because “it never gets this cold.” I even heard the Dallas-Fort Worth weatherman say that they may have just experienced their last hot day of the year. Heck, even when I got home it was 102 at 2:00 PM; 24 hours later it was 73. I was getting a little paranoid as I had not really packed for inclement weather. I decided I could not risk the weather in New England and decided to head south instead. Continue reading
These photos are of the breweries I visited in Michigan; in order, they were Founders Brewing (two visits), Bell’s Brewery, New Holland Brewing, Our Brewing, Rockford Brewing, Perrin Brewing, Elk Brewing, and Greyline Brewing Company.
After driving back and forth between Grand Rapids and Detroit, in the pouring rain, and another four hours of technical work, I was ready for Craft Beer Tour 2017 to get back on course. First stop would be the Founders Brewing taproom.
As we were pulling off the freeway it was easy to spot the huge red brick building with “Founders Brewing” emblazoned with yellow letters. As we were parking I could not but help notice the fermenters in the windows; they appeared to be three stories tall, but I could not see clearly enough to see where their feet were. I hoped I would have a good view of the brewhouse, because it looked a little too busy for me to ask for a quick personal tour like I do at the smaller breweries. Continue reading