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 Thursday evening at Flights during their 2nd Annual South Bay Tap Takeover. This year we featured 15 of the best production breweries in the South Bay; with Absolution Brewing, Brouwerij West, El Segundo Brewing, Honest Abe Hard Ciders, HopSaint Brewing Company, King Harbor Brewing, Phantom Carriage, Rob Rubens Distilling & Brewing, San Pedro Brewing Company, Scholb Premium Ales, Smog City Brewing, State Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, The Dudes’ Brewing, and Three Weavers Brewing filling all four tap lines. I watched as people in the craft beer industry as well as the hundreds of craft beer fans looked with amazement at what a South Bay tap list looks like.
While it did get a little crowded during the peak hours, Flights staff, under the guidance of their manager Michelle Pettie kept food and beer flowing with ease. It was pretty obvious that the additional year of experience by the serving staff made a huge difference; I did not notice any of the delays that were experienced last year. I am sure cutting back on the food menu helped as the kitchen was faster which meant people could eat and drink a little quicker and the steady flow of new guests did not cause any of the lines I heard existed last year. Continue reading
At the end of June I received an email telling me about a relatively new startup called DoorDash. DoorDash is a service that started as an on-demand food delivery service ala Pink Dot or UberEATS; and the reason they were contacting me is that they were getting ready to include alcohol delivery in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties and they wanted all of you to know that you can have cold, fresh, craft beer delivered to you. What was ironic (to me, anyway) was that not more than an hour earlier one of my friends was on Facebook asking someone to deliver him a beer at work; DoorDash will do just that! Continue reading
Cider and mead lovers of Long Beach can rejoice as the long awaited opening of Great Society Cider & Mead is officially beginning their soft open Thursday, August 4 at 4:30 PM. Last night I had the opportunity to attend their private soft opening and if the turnout was any indicator of the future of Great Society Cider & Mead, it is bright indeed.
Great Society Cider & Mead provided 20 taps of ciders and mead as well as numerous bottles that pours could be purchased from. If you are someone that thinks ciders are all apples, pears and pineapple, you really owe it to yourself to check out their wide range of delicious beverages. The first we tried was the Grand Opening Gose prepared for Great Society by 101 Cider House; it really set the tempo for the interesting flavors we would experience. The Gose saltiness with a cider was unexpectedly tasty. The Space Bloody Orange by Ace Cider was my first attempt at a food pairing with a cider; it was great with the salmon cakes we got from the kitchen. The Black Fang and Savage Bois were both delicious examples of the mead available; to be honest, I cannot wait to get back to try even more. Continue reading
I guess the word has gotten out to the craft beer fans and foodies in the South Bay area; Jimmy’s Bar & Grill in Redondo Beach is the place to be on the second Wednesday of the month for their outstanding beer dinners. These photos were taken at Jimmy’s July beer dinner last night featuring the latest production brewery to open in Torrance, Scholb Premium Ales.
When we first started attending Jimmy’s Beer Dinner Series back in September the attendance was probably about 30 people. In the months following the numbers fluctuated a little, but I don’t recall there being more than maybe 50 people at any of them. Yesterday afternoon, Jimmy’s announced on their Facebook page that they had sold out at 60 attendees. I guess not everyone got the message because by the time all was said and done they had over 75 attendees at the dinner. It really was a sight to see. Continue reading
When I stop to think about it, I only have two things that I do every month like clockwork. One is Business & Beer which we will be celebrating four years of in a couple weeks; that has the second Thursday of every month dedicated to it. The other, more recent addition to my routine are the beer dinners held the second Wednesday of every month at Jimmy’s Bar Grill in Redondo Beach. In the past we have enjoyed co-owner/chef Marc Dix’s delightful food pairings with beers from Smog City Brewing, El Segundo Brewing, Avery, Bell’s Brewery and a night of Belgian ales. They have all been great experiences, but I admit I got a little giddy a month ago when I saw that Firestone Walker would be the featured brewery for this month’s beer dinner. As I started trying to guess what might be poured that night I knew one thing for sure, this was going to be a great meal; I was correct.
Joe Cartlidge, LA Market Manager at Firestone Walker Brewing Company, was there to give a little history of Firestone Walker while we enjoyed our welcome beer, Pivo Pils. I know Dix likes to open up our taste buds with a hoppy brew and the Pivo Pils did the trick. Continue reading
A couple of weeks ago, while attending the Endless Rant Release Party at King Harbor Brewing I was approached by a young woman that recognized me from this site and various social media platforms. In the course of our conversation she informed me that she and her husband had recently opened a pizza place by Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and they had a craft beer tap list that they were pretty proud of. She pointed out her husband and mentioned that he was a graduate of El Segundo High School. I figured he had to be in his early 30’s so I mentioned that he probably knew one or both of my kids since they both graduated from there, and El Segundo is a pretty tight-knit community. We decided to find out, and went over to him for introductions.
She introduced me to her husband, Jason Imhoff, and almost immediately after mentioning my son’s name Imhoff began speaking about him with a lot of respect. That is an inside tip; if you want to get on my good side, speak highly of my kids.
Imhoff told me a little about his business, zpizza Tap Room, and invited me to please come by to check them out. My regular readers know that pizza is not exactly a draw for me, but I told them I would stop by the next time I was in the neighborhood. A day or two later I was talking with my son and asked him if he remembered Jason Imhoff. Like Imhoff had done with him, my son had nothing but good things to say about Imhoff; at that point I decided I would not wait until I was in the neighborhood, but would make a special trip out there. This article and the photos are from my visit there last Wednesday afternoon. Continue reading
Wednesday evening we went to Jimmy’s Bar & Grill in Redondo Beach for their monthly beer dinner; this month featuring Bell’s Brewery. As it was the one year anniversary of Jimmy’s first beer dinner, with Absolution Brewing Company, there was Bell’s Brewery swag and Jimmy’s gift cards for all the attendees. That was on top of what promised to be another outstanding meal.
I have mentioned before that Jimmy’s co-owner/chef Marc Dix puts a lot of thought into his pairings and Wednesday’s dinner was no exception. If you did not know, Dix is also a co-owner of the Barley Hops Grill and for this dinner he brought in co-owner/chef Alex Bouffiou to help out in the kitchen; and they did another great job.
As the dinners always consist of five beers and four courses, attendees were all welcomed with a Two Hearted Ale to wake up the taste buds; they were not going to want to miss a thing. Continue reading
These photos were taken Wednesday evening at Jimmy’s Bar & Grill monthly beer dinner. This month’s dinner was a little different than the others Jimmy’s puts on in that instead of featuring one brewery, it featured five breweries from Belgium. When it comes to beers from Belgium, probably one of the most knowledgeable local guys is Select Beer Store owner, Wes Jacobs. Anyone that has visited the Select Beer bottle shop has inevitably noticed the vast variety of Belgian ales they have available there. When Jimmy’s co-owner/chef, Marc Dix, decided he wanted to do a beer dinner featuring Belgian brews, because Belgians are meant to be served with food, it was not a difficult decision to approach Jacobs and ask if he wanted to curate the beer served.
Jacobs readily agreed and told Dix to provide the menu and he would come up with the beers; but that is not how Dix works, he tailors the food to compliment the beer. You will not find the dishes served at the beer dinners on the daily menu. That meant that the first thing that had to be done was to figure out what five beers would be served at the dinner. As you might imagine, that was quite a task in of itself. As I recall, it took about two months of sampling, with up to eight people assisting in the decision making process. Once the beers were chosen, Dix was able to do his thing; and did he ever. Continue reading
On Saturday evening we attended the Hoppy Valentine’s Dinner at Brouwerij West. The dinner was presented by Primal Alchemy Catering and featured the work of Chef Paul Buchanan. Chef Paul specializes in preparing customized menus that are farm-to-table, using locally sourced, sustainable and organic ingredients. A good number of the attendees were obviously fans of Chef Paul as many indicated that they had been to prior events he has put on. If you are a foodie, you will appreciate the menu:
For appetizers we had Rose Petal Ravioli w’ Creamy Leek & Bacon Filling (outstanding), Octopus Tartare on a wonton chip with wasabi, and Bruleed Strawberries with Balsamic Syrup & Goat Cheese. The main course had a mix of various vegetables and pasta along with steelhead trout on Parmesan Polenta and Juniper Crusted Pan Seared Duck on a Bed of Faro with Dried Cherry Chutney. For dessert there was Mason Jar Dark Chocolate Cakes with Farmer’s Market Berry Compote & Chantilly Cream. It was an interesting meal and everyone seemed to really enjoy it.
Of course, I was there for the beer which was probably not the case for many of the attendees but the Brouwerij West classic Belgian style ales definitely made some converts. I spoke to more than one person that said they came for the food, but they would definitely be back for the beer. Continue reading