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The Craft Beer Guy Recap of 2020

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Port Town Brewing – progressing

Well, it is that time of year again. I usually call these articles a “review” of the prior year; but that would be a very short article. I give it two stars out of five, and would not recommend. Instead, this will be a recap of 2020; let’s see what happened.

January 2020

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

Photos of the 6th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover

These photos were taken Wednesday at Tortilla Cantina, where they hosted the 6th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover. This annual event took a little more to accomplish this year, but Tortilla Cantina, our local breweries, and hundreds of their fans made this possible “last hurrah” of 2020 a great success.

My first tap takeover was held on the first Thursday of September in 2015, and as the craft beer scene around here grew, there started to be overlaps when it came to craft beer festival dates and brewery anniversaries, and everyone started changing dates of their events to avoid conflicts. The fact of the matter is that there was just too much going on out there, so I set it in stone that all subsequent South Bay Tap Takeovers would be held on the first Thursday of September; that worked out okay until COVID-19 struck and the State of California and the County of Los Angeles decided restaurants, breweries, and bars had to discontinue in-person dining. Continue reading

6th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover November 25

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6th South Bay Tap Takeover – November 25

So, let’s make this official; the 6th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover is not going to let a little thing like COVID-19 stop it! Yes, in the past I have been pretty adamant that I was not going to deviate from the “first Thursday of September” and for the first five years, we made it work. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has caused some things to be out of my control; however, Tortilla Cantina has been set up for outside dining and they are ready to once again host the South Bay Tap Takeover.

While our past events have had up to 26 South Bay breweries, with 49 taps, this year’s event will be a little smaller.

While four breweries that were in attendance last year have since closed up (Abigaile, State, Ximix, and Zymurgy), this year we have 21 South Bay breweries that have confirmed attendance this year, seven of which did not exist during last year’s tap takeover. Continue reading

South Bay Craft Beer Options Update

UPDATE: February 12, 2021 – The accuracy of this article leaves a lot to be desired. Please check with the brewery directly.

UPDATES: December 14 –The Crac Brewery and Grub now open for to-go beer pickup.
Eureka Brewing Company now open for to-go beer pickup.
In case you had not heard, there is currently NO DINE-IN in LA County.

UPDATES: September 13 – Burnin’ Daylight modifies Sunday hours.
Phantom Carriage adds days for to-go beer pickup.

UPDATE: September 4 – Culture Brewing Company now open.

I was going to update my last article on the South Bay breweries to-go and pickup options, but it looks like just about everything has changed so I might as well start from scratch.

Like the original article, this is solely a reference guide, so all breweries will be listed in alphabetical order for your ease and mine. Hours are subject to change so be sure to contact the brewery directly if you have questions.

Absolution Brewing Company – Cans, bottles, crowlers, growlers and kegs can be ordered online at https://www.absolutionbrewingcompany.com/shop-1. You can also order by phone at 310.490.4860 x101 or by email at orders@absolutionbrewingcompany.com. Deliveries are done Thursday through Sunday; order before 6:00 PM on those days for same day delivery. You can also pick up beers to-go at the brewery Monday through Wednesday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Thursday and Friday from 9:00 to 7:00 PM, or on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 7:00 PM.

Brouwerij West – Brouwerij West now delivers throughout California; please visit https://www.brouwerijwest.com/buybeer for Pick Up, Local Delivery, and Shipping options. You can pick up beer to go at the brewery, daily from noon to 7:00 PM. Credit cards are preferred. Continue reading

South Bay Breweries Begin Reopening – Phase 2 Day 1

These photos were taken Saturday, May 30 at San Pedro Brewing Company, Scholb Premium Ales, and Absolution Brewing Company as breweries in the South Bay began reopening under Phase 2 of the COVID-19 lockdown.

On Friday it was announced that LA County was entering Phase 2 of the reopening of businesses from this lockdown; apparently two breweries, San Pedro Brewing Company and Scholb Brewing had been chomping at the bit waiting for permission to reopen as they were the first two craft beer establishments to begin in-house consumption of beer and food. I decided to visit the two of them to see how close my expectations were to our new reality. Continue reading

Greater Expectations: The New Normal

When it comes to writing, I have a process. Whether my article is going to be primarily photos, or like this one, primarily text, I will start writing the article in my head before I sit down at my laptop. I don’t write the entire thing in my head, but I know what I want to be sure to touch on. If I visited a new brewery, or attended some craft beer event, it is pretty easy because I will always take photos that will remind me of what I wanted to mention so I don’t forget. Articles like this one are typically things I think about when walking Buddy. However, before I ever sit down to write any type of article I have to come up with the title. I guess this comes from my days of writing press releases; but the title keeps me focused on what the article will contain. Sometimes coming up with the title is the hardest part.

The original subject matter for this article came to me two years ago. In fact, it was May 22, 2018 that I first spoke with Gary Magnone of HoppedLA and pitched him my idea. My specific pitch was the article would discuss the expectations of 2018 compared to 2012 when it came to craft breweries. Of course, this would be as far as our local Los Angeles craft beer scene was concerned. I gave him first right of refusal, so while I write this, I am not sure if it will be published on HoppedLA or on CraftBeerGuy. Continue reading

South Bay Breweries To-Go / Delivery Options Revisited

UPDATE: June 24 – Most local breweries now have some sort of dine in service, however, in my opinion this is still far too fluid for me to spend the hours to update manually, so please follow the links provided to see what the updated hours might be.

Phantom Carriage is now open for limited beer pickup.

It is hard to believe it has been more than two months since I wrote my initial South Bay Breweries To-Go and Delivery Options article; but here we are. The fact of the matter is that my initial article is getting cluttered with updates, and some links have been changed by the breweries. This update should be good through the Memorial Day weekend; I will update this as necessary.

Like the original article, this is solely a reference guide, so all breweries will be listed in alphabetical order for your ease and mine. Hours subject to change, be sure to contact the brewery directly. Continue reading

South Bay Breweries To-Go and Delivery Options

Update: May 22 – Please visit https://craftbeerguy.com/south-bay-craft-beer-delivery-options/ for the latest updates.

Updates: April 21 – Brouwerij West expands delivery options.
The Dudes’ Brewing Torrance extends hours, adds delivery.
Smog City expands delivery area.

Updates: April 20 – R6 Distillery extends pick up hours.
Upshift Brewing open three days a week for to-go beer.
The Dudes’ Brewing Torrance extends hours.

Updates: April 19 – Burnin’ Daylight modifies hours for food and beer.
King Harbor Brewing is canning again.
Monkish Brewing goes to online ordering only.
Project Barley modifies hours.
Red Car Brewery modifies hours and days open.
San Pedro Brewing offers growler delivery.
Scholb Premium Ales modifies hours.

Updates: April 9 – Common Space expands pickup hours.
HopSaint modifies hours; closed Mondays.
Burnin’ Daylight kitchen opens Friday and Saturday.

Updates: April 8 – Ximix Craft Exploration modifies hours, closed weekends. Adds limited delivery.

Updates: April 6 – Surfridge Brewing offers to-go pickups.

Updates: March 29 – Absolution Brewing extends weekday pickup hours.

Updates: March 28 – The Red Car Brewery open three days a week.

Updates: March 25 – Three Weavers Brewing now offering cans to go.
Ximix Craft Exploration modifies hours, adds days open.
The Slice and Pint will reopen Thursday, March 26 with food and beer available.
The Brews Hall offers online sales of crowlers with multiple pickup locations.
King Harbor Brewing pick-up hours expanded.
The Dudes’ Brewing in Torrance modifies hours, days open.

Updates: March 22 – El Segundo Brewing and The Slice and Pint are closed until further notice.
King Harbor Brewing now offers crowlers to go.
Absolution Brewing extends same day delivery hours.

Updates: March 20 – Yorkshire Square extends hours to 7:00 PM
Hermosa Brewing Company adds crowlers to menu
Cosmic Brewery modifies hours to 2:00 to 6:00 PM
R6 Distillery offers bottle delivery
Brouwerij West adds new page for available beers, change hours
Honest Abe Ciders & Mead has modified their hours
El Segundo Brewing goes to pre-order only
San Pedro Brewing adds mixed drinks to-go

This Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak has definitely changed things in pretty much everyone’s world. As I am sure you are aware, in Los Angeles County there are new restrictions for breweries and brewpubs. I will attempt to keep you posted with latest developments as far as South Bay craft breweries are concerned, and how you can support your favorite breweries in these trying times.

This situation is, pardon the pun, quite fluid, which is why I did not write this two days ago. That being said, to be on the safe side, you should probably contact the brewery directly or check their social media page to see if things have changed since I published this.

This is solely a reference guide, so all breweries will be listed in alphabetical order for your ease and mine. Continue reading

5th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover Photos

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

5th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover Coming September 5

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Better Weather Sweater Collaboration Brew Team

Clear your calendars; one week from today, Thursday September 5, I will be presenting my 5th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover at Tortilla Cantina in Old Torrance.

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

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