These photos are from the 5th Annual Beer, Art & Music Festival (BAM Fest), a fundraiser which was held Sunday afternoon in Santa Monica at the 18th Street Arts Center. The 18th Street Arts Center is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization and is the beneficiary of all the proceeds from the fundraiser.
When it comes to beer festivals there are a few things I look for; the first of which would be the breweries in attendance followed by the beers that they bring with them. Anyone that knows me personally or has paid attention to my writing knows that when it comes to beer, variety is my thing. My favorite beer is the one I have yet to try. When one goes to as many local craft beer festivals as I have over the past couple of years it can become a challenge to find something new; especially when the event is a fundraiser that has had the beer donated rather than bought and paid for. The 5th Annual BAM Fest had plenty of beers that I had never had the opportunity to try before and I highly doubt I was alone. A couple standouts for me came from two new craft breweries; Three Weavers Brewing Company and Santa Monica Brew Works. Three Weavers just had their grand opening a week ago and I was unable to attend. They brought their Stateside Session IPA which I thought was an outstanding session IPA. Their Midnight Flight Imperial Stout was also quite tasty and really hid the 9.2% ABV well. I look forward to their tasting room opening on November 7; I hear their double IPA is something else.
Santa Monica Brew Works is a production brewery that has been around since 2013 but this was my first experience with any of their brews; it definitely will not be my last. Santa Monica Brew Works is a production brewery with no tasting room but it is my understanding that their beers can be found at most bars, restaurants and hotels in the Santa Monica area. Their PCH (Pale Chocolate Heaven) is mind blowing; it was the first beer of theirs I tried and it only made me want to try everything else they brew. Keep an eye out for it if you are dining in Santa Monica. Continue reading
On Saturday afternoon, Santa Monica was the site of what was billed as the first ever Vegan Oktoberfest. I happen to have several friends in Germany and when I asked them if they had ever heard of such a thing they agreed that this very likely was the first; it was definitely the first any of them had ever heard of.
Since it is October, it is beer festival season which means I usually have a couple events I can photograph on any given weekend and Saturday was no exception as the Taste of Brews Oktoberfest was happening in Corona while Vegan Oktoberfest was happening in Santa Monica. I am not a vegan by any stretch of the imagination but since triple digit temperatures were expected in Corona and it is three times further away I figured the Santa Monica was the logical choice; after all, you could see the ocean from the festival site, it had to be cooler. Well, if it was cooler it was not by much as the air temperature was in the high 90’s and combined with the event being held on an asphalt parking lot the numbers just went higher.
With 22 breweries represented at this inaugural event, there were plenty of options available for those that wanted beer to quench their thirst but it seemed to me that there were almost as many food vendors and the food lines were definitely longer than the beer lines. We tried one of the vegan options, a grilled cheese sandwich that had macaroni added as a filler. It was enough to make me not want to bother with any of the other food options; like I said, I am not a vegan and tofu is not a viable meat substitute in my opinion. Continue reading
As October steadily creeps up on us, so do the additional Oktoberfest celebrations; including Vegan Oktoberfest which will be held at Beach Park 1 in Santa Monica on October 4. While I am not sure I ever heard of a German vegan, this event looks like it should be pretty entertaining.
This inaugural event is a fundraiser for Expand Animal Rights Now, an organization that uses the legal system to help animals. Since this is a vegan event it is a safe bet that you are not going to find any bratwurst or sauerbraten available but there will be plenty of gluten free pretzels and food trucks such as Sage Organic Bistro, The Grilled Cheese Truck, The Green Truck, and Southern Fried Vegan which will be providing traditional Bavarian food such as pretzels, potato pancakes, chicken, sauerkraut and ice cream. There will be vegan sausages available also.
The breweries in attendance that will be pouring their vegan beer include Angel City, Anderson Valley Brewing, Bravery Brewing, Golden Road Brewing, Saint Archer Brewing, Karl Strauss Brewing, Drakes Brewing, Lagunitas, Bison Brewing, Modern Times Beer, Epic Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewery, Ace Premium Hard Cider, Eel River Brewing Company, Coronado Brewing Company, Hangar 24, Venice Duck Brewery, Four Sons Brewing, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Ninkasi Brewing Company, The Dudes’ Brewing Company, Lammsbrau and Einstock. Continue reading
So far, the craft breweries that will be in attendance are Anchor Brewing Company, Angel City Brewery, Angry Orchard, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, Beachwood BBQ and Brewing, Bootlegger’s Brewery Tasting Room and Pilot Brewery, Boston Beer Company, Brasserie d’Achouffe, Ommegang, Deschutes Brewery, Dogfish Head Beer, The Dudes’ Brewing Co., Drake’s Brewing, Duvel, Eagle Rock Brewery, Einstök Icelandic Craft Ale, El Segundo Brewing Co., Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Golden Road Brewing, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Kinetic Brewing Company, Ladyface Alehouse & Brasserie, Lagunitas Brewing Co, Liefmans on the rocks, New Belgium Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewery, Phantom Carriage Brewery, Port Town Brewing Company, Santa Monica Brew Works, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Smog City Brewery, Stone Brewing Co., Surf Brewery, Venice Duck Brewery and Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewing Co.Continue reading
On Saturday afternoon, about 3,000 people gathered at Lighthouse Park in Long Beach to sample beers brewed by more than 50 different breweries while enjoying the great weather, live music and foods provided by local restaurants Stonefire Grill, Slater’s 50/50 and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company and several food trucks. A portion of the proceeds from this year’s Taste of Brews went to the Long Beach Marine Institute and the 1st Marine Division out of Camp Pendleton.
This was my second time attending Taste of Brews and it was definitely larger than last year’s event with probably 25% more breweries and 50% more attendees. While there more people, there were more breweries with several last minute additions. The lines for some breweries were noticeably longer for some than others, but no one seemed to mind and the beer poured quickly. In fact, a few breweries tapped out within a couple hours; presumably because more tickets were sold than anticipated. Some of the breweries, like Firestone Walker, were well prepared with plenty of brews but as the event drew to a close, even they had poured the last of their brews before the event officially ended. Continue reading
These photos were taken Friday night at the 4th Annual Brew at the LA Zoo, a fundraiser for the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. The craft beer festival featured close to 40 different craft and microbreweries from all over California; including Port Town Brewing, San Pedro Brewing Company, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, Lagunitas, Firestone Walker and Heretic Brewing Company. While the lines were a little longer that what I normally notice at local craft beer festivals, no one seemed to mind as there were smiles everywhere and lots of laughing.
In addition to the wide variety of craft beers there was live music provided by Indian School, the Spazmatics, and Jug or Nots as well as DJ Johnny Hawkes. Most of the zoo was closed off to the public but the 4,000 plus attendees were able to visit zoo exhibits like Elephants of Asia, Campo Gorilla Reserve, LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates and Reptiles) and the new Rainforest of the Americas. The gorillas seemed to be the biggest hams while I got the impression the other animals would have been happy to just go to sleep.
Last year there were 23 breweries and this year there were almost 40, so that is a pretty big leap. I was talking to L.A. Zoo Director John Lewis and he informed me that every year this event seems to get bigger and bigger and the LA Zoo really appreciates the support from the community. As this event has sold out for at least the last two years you must keep in the loop of craft beer events if you want an opportunity to go next year. I will try to find out with enough lead time to alert you next year so you can get tickets if you have not had the opportunity to attend a Brew at the LA Zoo yet. Continue reading
There is a good reason why that event stands out and that is because it had everything going for it. They had over 40 craft breweries, some wine vendors, live music, good food, fun people and it was at the beach! Held at Lighthouse Park in Long Beach, across the channel from the Queen Mary it really was the most perfect location for any festival of any type that I can recall attending. Beautiful weather with cooling ocean breezes and a wide selection of American craft beer; what more could one ask for? How about more beer and a discount?
On August 23, 2014, Taste of Brews returns to Lighthouse Park for the 4th Annual Taste of Brews Long Beach. If you thought 40 craft breweries was good, you are going to love it this year with about 50 craft breweries participating. When I looked through the list of participating breweries compared to last year I noticed that many perennial favorites such as Stone Brewing Company, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing Lagunitas, Strand Brewing and Sierra Nevada Brewing will be returning; but we will also be joined by such powerhouses as Ballast Point, Pizza Port, Clownshoes and Coronado Brewing along with some of Southern California’s newest craft breweries like Absolution Brewing Company and Venice Duck Brewery.
In addition to all the great beer and what promises to be another beautiful day for the beach there will be live music and food trucks including Urban Pie, Viking Truck, Porko Rico, Dogzilla, Slammin’ Sliders and Bacon Mania. Local restaurants Stonefire Grill, Slater’s 50/50 and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company will be providing food samples for attendees to enjoy. Pricing currently starts at $32.50 for the 3-hour session (1pm to 4pm) and $42.50 for the 4-hour session (noon to 4pm) which includes unlimited beer tasters, drinking water, food samples (while available), access to food trucks and live entertainment. A limited number of designated driver tickets will be available at the door for $20.00. As should be expected, all attendees must be 21 or older. Now, because you have read this far you get a special deal; how about $7.00 off each ticket Continue reading
Thursday was day four of the 9th Annual American Craft Beer Week and as the weekend approaches the craft beer festivities picked it up a notch or two with Barrel Night at the venerable Naja’s Place, the oldest craft beer bar in the South Bay. It was appropriate that Naja’s was included in the tour of local craft beer establishments if for no other reason than they were the first place we visited when I first started “celebrating” American Craft Beer Week in 2012. Long before American craft beer was a household word, Naja’s Place was known for their wide selection of beers although, as I recall they were predominantly imports. These days their 88 taps is like a who’s who of craft beers and last night was a fine example of that.
Every month or two it seems that Naja’s has some kind of special event and those in the know know that Naja’s does not do anything half way; go big or go home and fear no beer are the mantras attendees come in chanting to themselves. For American Craft Beer Week Naja’s brought out 43 barrel-aged brews from breweries such as Allagash, Almanac, Ballast Point, The Bruery, Deschutes, Drakes, Epic, Firestone Walker, Goose Island, Ironfire, Russian River, Sierra Nevada, Widmer and many others. The beers ran the gamut of styles with sours, stouts, porters, lagers and pretty much anything that could be barrel-aged making an appearance.
While there was a very large number of people in attendance there was more beer than could be consumed in one evening; so if you look at the photo of the Barrel Night tap list and see something you want to try you might want to head over to Naja’s and grab some before they do tap out. Naja’s Place is located at 154 International Boardwalk in Redondo Beach. Continue reading
These photos are from the 2nd Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest which was held Sunday afternoon in the Alpine Inn at Alpine Village in Torrance, CA. For those of you that attended, thank you very much; for those of you that missed it, you really missed it. I will admit that I took special interest in seeing this event succeed because I went to the first Alpine Kraft Bierfest and I did not want to see a repeat of last year’s dismal attendance. I was aware of the vision Otto Radtke, GM Of the Alpine Village Center, to see his craft beer festival bloom and grow into an internationally recognized beer festival. Last year there may have been 200 attendees; this year there were closer to 500. With growth like that, Radtke’s vision may come to fruition before too long.
An event of this size is rarely going to come off trouble free, but whatever issues were encountered yesterday were relatively minor and everyone seemed to be having a great time. There were about 50 breweries represented with [I am told] 101 different beers to choose from. Probably the most difficult task was tracking down specific beers that I wanted to try because many of the breweries did not send representatives or signage. Luckily, the organizers put together a map to assist attendees locate their favorite brews. Then it was just a matter of figuring out where to start and in what order. One day I am going to sit down and figure out a game plan before the event begins; I have heard of people that tried doing that, although I have yet to meet anyone that was able to stick to their plan.
I would like to congratulate Radtke, Todd Worley and the entire staff of the Alpine Inn for a job well done and I would like to thank all the Craft Beer Guy followers that came up an introduced themselves; I truly do enjoy meeting you. I hope to see all of you next year at the 3rd Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest. Cheers! Continue reading
Next Sunday, November 17, Alpine Village will host their 2nd Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest in the Alpine Inn from 3:00-8:00 PM. This American craft beer festival is shaping up to be an outstanding event with at least 50 different breweries being represented, which means there will be at least 100 different beers to choose from.
According to the Alpine Village website, the craft beers scheduled to be poured are: