Smog City Brewing

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The Craft Beer Guy Recap of 2019

As the year comes to an end it is time for me to sit down with a beer and try to figure out what I did that made this year go by so quickly. To be honest, I feel like I have really slowed down on my coverage of the local craft beer scene, but the growth has been so rapid that I cannot keep up. Heck, there were two new breweries getting ready to open in El Segundo that I did not know about until three months before they opened! Oh well, I will continue to do what I can; if I don’t visit a particular brewery as much as I used to it is probably because there are so many breweries around here now. In fact, while my personal craft beer life may have slowed, the growth over the past year is kind of mind blowing. Let’s see what happened in 2019.

tortugo brewing

Tortugo Brewing, Inglewood

January 2019

In my review of 2018 I had mentioned there were two new local breweries that I still had not visited, one of those was Tortugo Brewing. I started off 2019 by remedying that. If you have not been, it is a nice location and they have some good brews; you should check them out. Continue reading

Pawsitive Pints – A Great Christmas Gift for Craft Beer Fans

Get $1 Pints at participating taprooms

As the Christmas season swoops in on us like a cheetah on a baby gazelle, those last minute gifts and stocking stuffers can be difficult to come up with, and getting to the mall can be a real pain; so as I find them, I will try to bring them to your attention in time for you to scratch another gift off your list. Today, I want to introduce you to the Pawsitive Pints card.

Pawsitive Pints is a fundraiser for Zelda’s Foundation for Animals, formerly known as Dirty Dog Squad, a small, all-volunteer organization that saves homeless and abandoned pets on death row at high-kill shelters. They depend completely on private donations to continue their mission.

Holders of a Pawsitive Pints card will get one pint for $1.00 from up to 50 craft breweries, brewpubs, and gastropubs between Santa Barbara and San Pedro. The list of participating breweries includes: Continue reading

2nd Annual Cask’s Not Dead Fest Photos

These photos were taken Saturday afternoon at Yorkshire Square Brewery in Torrance, where they held their second annual Cask’s Not Dead Fest which featured 29 cask ales provided by 27 craft breweries primarily from around the Los Angeles and Orange County area as well as a couple entries from as far away as Chico (Sierra Nevada Brewing) and Redwood City (Freewheel Brewing).

Like last year, the ticketed event was a fundraiser for the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild as well as being a friendly competition to determine who made the best Traditional Cask Ale and Abnormal Ale; the Abnormal Ales are cask ales that included adjuncts such as cacao nibs, oak chips, vanilla beans, and such. Unlike last year, there were no food trucks as the Snap Tin Eatery is now open; a special menu was set up for the event. Continue reading

Smog City West Ribbon Cutting Photos

These photos were taken Wednesday afternoon, October 23, at Smog City West, the newest of Smog City Brewing’s satellite tasting rooms, where they held a ribbon cutting to formerly open their newest location. They event was attended by a few dozen Smog City fans as well as Torrance mayor, Pat Furey, a couple city councilmen, representatives from LA County, the State of California, and several members of the Torrance Chamber of Commerce.

Attendees at the event had a tap list of 17 Smog City beers to choose from, including eight of which that came from the Smog City Wood Cellar and are only available at Smog City West; some of the Smog City Wood Cellar ales are also available in bottles to go. Continue reading

2019 Great American Beer Festival – Day Three

These photos were taken Saturday, day three of the Brewers Association Great American Beer Festival which is being held at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

After the GABF Awards ceremony, everyone headed to the convention center for the first of the two sessions scheduled for day three of the Great American Beer Festival and the Brewer Lunch which was put on by Yeti. After a quick sandwich I headed back into the hall to visit parts of the country I had missed the first two days, like the Southwest, Southeast, and Mid-Atlantic breweries. Continue reading

Smog City West Soft Open Photos

These photos were taken Wednesday afternoon at the soft open of Smog City West in Torrance; the second of Smog City Brewing’s satellite tasting rooms. Located at the space formerly occupied by Zymurgy Brew Works & Tasting Room, the interior has been completely redone, save the cold box and draft lines. Smog City West has a nice bar to sit at, as well as numerous tables and stools; so there is plenty of room for patrons to enjoy the 18 beers they currently have available.

The tap list currently includes seven Smog City favorites such as Little Bo Pils, Smog City IPA, and Bourbon O.E., but they also have eight of their small batch and experimental brews that are not available anywhere else; primarily saisons, sours, and barrel-aged blends. So if those are the style of beers you enjoy the most, Smog City West is where you want to be.

The soft open hours will be 3:00-9:00 Wednesday thru Friday, 12:00-9:00 on Saturdays, and 12:00-8:00 on Sundays. The soft opening will continue through Saturday, October 12, at which time the hours will change to 3:00-9:00 on Wednesday and Thursday, 12:00-10:00 on Friday and Saturday, and 12:00-8:00 on Sundays. Continue reading

4th Annual Pub at the Club Photos

These photos were taken Sunday afternoon at the Manhattan Beach Badminton Club Junior Foundation’s 4th Annual Pub at the Club; which was presented by Porsche South Bay and held at the Manhattan Beach Badminton Club in Manhattan Beach. The event featured at least 12 breweries and cideries, as well as numerous wineries and food from local restaurants.

100% of the proceeds, which included ticket sales, raffles and a silent auction went to the Manhattan Beach Badminton Club Junior Foundation, a charity dedicated to developing champions on and off the court by supporting all athletes, including special needs and Para-athletes.

Taking into consideration how hot and humid it has been the past week, Sunday’s weather was amazing, with plenty of sunshine combined with a nice cooling ocean breeze. 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

collaboration brew

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

Photos from Small Town Feel at Burnin’ Daylight

These photos were taken Saturday afternoon at Burnin’ Daylight Brewing Company in Lomita, where they held their Small Town Feel Summer Beer Festival. Like their grand opening of a few months ago, they took full advantage of their parking lot and ability to pour guest taps by utilizing several pouring stations to provide 20 different brews, including several collaboration brews.

The tap list showcased just how busy Burnin’ Daylight co-founder and head brewer Brendon Lake has been over the last few months. Burnin’ Daylight brews included their Brewtiful Blueberry Blonde, Strawberry Lemon Lager, Raspberry Lime Grove, Small Town Feel DIPA, Nana’s Porter with Peanut Butter, Rolling Pils, Switchgear Imperial Stout aged bourbon barrels, Bourbon Daylight, Dark Harbor Coconut on Nitro, and Peach Sour Dry Hopped with Citra. Continue reading

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