Smog City Brewing

LA Beer Blogger Summit #7 at Angel City Brewery

Saturday afternoon I headed out to Los Angeles and visited Angel City Brewery as they were hosting the LA Beer Bloggers Summit #7; a networking event made up of beer bloggers from all over LA and Orange County. This is the third one I have attended and each gathering seems to be larger than the last. This particular event we were treated to a short talk by head brewer Dieter Foerstner who told us a little about his LA Beer Week (LABW5) release, Honey Chrysanthemum Ale, and how he was able to purchase the tea at the Japanese market across the street from the brewery and how he got his honey from a local source that never considered using honey in beer. After Dieter’s talk and some samples of their Scrumdiddlyumptious Brown Ale they had a panel moderated by John Verive of Beer of Tomorrow with panelists Tomm Carroll, LA correspondent for The Celebrator; Sarah Bennett, a writer for LA Weekly and Beer Paper LA; and Whitson Gordon, the Editor in Chief of Lifehacker.com. It was interesting and I know I got some ideas on the direction I should take with this craft beer adventure.

It was my first time visiting Angel City Brewery and I must admit I was not expecting what I discovered. The place is huge and quite photogenic, I could spend some time wandering around and catching interesting sights. My one disappointment was self inflicted; for some reason I did not even ask about flights until after I ordered a pint, so I only got to try two of the eight they had on tap. I guess I have no choice but to go back there and try again. Angel City Brewery is located at 216 South Alameda in Los Angeles. They do not serve food, but they have food trucks that stop by; you might want to look around at one of the nearby restaurants though as they allow you to bring food in and have plenty of tables to enjoy your food and beer at.

On the way home we stopped by to check out the crowd at Smog City Brewing. Cheers! Continue reading

Day two of LA Beer Week #5 – Drinking local

Friday was day two of the 5th Annual LA Beer Week (LABW5) and since I knew that there would be plenty of driving involved over the duration of LA Beer Week (which runs through September 29), I decided I would take the bike and dedicate today to the Torrance microbreweries, Strand Brewing Company, Monkish Brewing Company and Smog City Brewing Company. However, I did make one exception; this morning King Harbor Brewing Company (KHBC) had some of their tanks delivered so I popped over to get a few shots. I can only guess the move went smoothly because when I returned an hour or so later, they were gone. KHBC is really making progress; just a few more months until it is beer.

I began my tour of the Torrance microbrewery tasting rooms with a visit to the oldest of the Torrance microbreweries, Strand Brewing Company. While they are probably best known for their Atticus IPA and Beach House Amber Ale, I think their Second Sleep Imperial Russian Stout is one of their best beers. Today they tapped a cask that has been oak barrel aged for the last six months; it is delicious. If you are in the neighborhood I highly recommend it (if it is still available).

I then headed over to the second oldest microbrewery in Torrance, Monkish Brewing Company. Monkish Brewing specializes in Belgian style ales and has 10-12 different varieties with everything from singles and saisons to dubbels and tripels. He has a new single hopped Belgian pale called Galaxy Defender that I, as a hophead, find amazing. They now have something for everyone.

I ended my journey at the newest of the Torrance microbrewery tasting rooms, Smog City Brewing. The one thing I can count on about Smog City Brewing is that even if I go there every week, every week they will have something new to try. There is always an “experimental” on tap and today it was their Grape Ape IPA. The grapes really made it different from any of the IPAs I have tried from Smog City thus far. They are also offering their Bloody Knuckle porter which is the base beer for their award winning Groundwork Coffee Porter. I would like to try the two of them in a blind taste test; it was very good. Cheers! Continue reading

Photos from the 3rd Annual Local Craft Beer Festival at Rock & Brews

Sunday afternoon, Rock & Brews El Segundo held their 3rd Annual Local Craft Beer Festival which featured many of LA’s finest craft brewers as well as carnival games for the kids and some of the adults. This was my first time attending the Local Craft Beer Festival and I had a blast. While I am readily familiar with many of the beers brewed by our local brewers, a couple of my favorite microbreweries brought out new brews that I had not tried yet and at least one brewer, El Segundo Brewing Company, used the event to introduce their latest addition to their ever expanding list of craft beers.

It was a beautiful sunny day by the beach with families, dogs and craft beer aficionados enjoying each other’s company with lots of delicious food available and since it was held at Rock & Brews, the wafting sounds of rock and roll in the background.

The breweries in attendance included El Segundo Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, Eagle Rock Brewing, Smog City Brewing, Monkish Brewing Company, The Bruery, The Brewery at Abigaile, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Golden Road Brewing, Port Town Brewing, Ohana Brewing Company, Bootlegger’s Brewery, The Dudes’ Brewing Company, Cosmic Ales, Tap It Brewing, Cismontane Brewing Company, Nobel Ale Works, Angel City Brewery and Venice Beach Beer Company.

Rock & Brews is located at 145 Main Street in El Segundo, CA. Continue reading

Photos from the 2nd Annual Drink Good Beerfest at The Factory

Saturday afternoon, September 14, The Factory Gastrobar held their 2nd Annual Drink Good Beerfest in Long Beach, CA. Sponsored by The Factory Gastrobar, Cismontane Brewing Company and Beer Paper LA, this beer festival featured close to 30 different craft and microbreweries from around the country as well as live music provided by Doug Means of the Doug Means Project and Project LBC. There was food and games to go along with the beer and sunshine and it appeared that everyone was having a very good time. Unlike some craft beer festivals, the brewers brought out some of their big guns in addition to their flagship beers. Since it was so hot out and I did have to drive, I forced myself to stick with the lower ABV brews, but there was something for everyone with everything from 3.5 session IPA’s to 11.0’s and above barleywines and barrel aged brews available.

The breweries that I saw in attendance included Bootlegger’s Brewery, Cismontane Brewing Company, Congregation Ale House Chapters Brewing, Crazy Mountain Brewing, The Dudes’ Brewing Company, Figueroa Mountain, Firestone Walker, Eagle Rock Brewing, Epic Brewing, El Segundo Brewing Company, Golden Road Brewing, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Iron Fist Brewing, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Kinetic Brewing Company, Los Angeles Ale Works, Monkish Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing, Ohana Brewing Company, Ritual Brewing Company, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, Stone Brewing Company, Smog City Brewing, Tenaya Creek Brewery, The Bruery and Triple Voodoo Brewing.

In addition to the flowing beer and musical entertainment, they announced the winners of the Drink Good Beer Mash-Up Homebrew Competition of which I was a judge for the Best of Show. The winners were:

Peter & Kimberly Mynar – Tread Lightly (IPA) – First Place
Jon Silvertooth – Lampo Bianco (Saison) – Second Place
Ray Grace – Flop Guts (American Ale) – Third Place
Peter and Kimberly Mynar – Russian Spy (Imperial Stout) -Supporting Category

It was a very good time and I look forward to next year’s Drink Good Beerfest. The Factory Gastrobar is located at 4020 Atlantic Avenue in Long Beach, CA. Continue reading

17th Annual Pacific Brewers Cup at Smog City Brewing

These photos are from the 17th Annual Pacific Brewers Cup Homebrew Competition which was held Saturday, September 14, 2013 at Smog City Brewing Company in Torrance, CA. The Pacific Brewers Cup competition is hosted on a rotating basis by three local home brewer clubs; Strand Brewers Club from Torrance, Long Beach Homebrewers and Pacific Gravity from Culver City. This year the Long Beach Homebrewers were the hosts. The Pacific Brewers Cup 2013 was an AHA sanctioned homebrew competition and used the beer style guidelines published by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP).

While I have sampled a few beers in my time and acted as a judge recently for a small homebrew competition I have never been to a competition of this magnitude before. I was told that there were over 450 entries so before I got there I wondered how the heck you get enough people to judge that many beers in one sitting. To be honest, as of this writing all indications are that the judging is still going on. As you can see by the photos they broke the beers down by category so the judges only had to rate one style of beer at a time. Of course, I was only there within the first two hours of the event so there is a pretty good likelihood that after one style was finished they had to move on to another. The Best of Show winner gets an opportunity to brew his winning beer at Ohana Brewing Company, so there was a lot of incentive to put out an award winning beer.

I did not get an opportunity to try any of the submissions, but I did not see a lot of beer being poured into the bucket so it looked like judges were not having too much trouble enjoying their Saturday morning. I know it gave me some incentive to look into learning to be a BJCP certified judge. Once I learn who the winner was, I will come update this article. Good luck to all; cheers!

The winners of the Pacific Brewers Cup have been announced. Please visit http://pacificbrewerscup.com/?q=node%2F16 for details.
Continue reading

Business & Beer returns to Smog City Brewing

These photos are from the Business & Beer networking event that was held last night, September 12, at Smog City Brewing Company, a Torrance microbrewery. We had an excellent turnout of more than 20 people with a majority of them being first time attendees. In addition to the wide variety of delicious brews and multiple networking opportunities, Laurie Porter, co-owner of Smog City gave a little talk on the history of Smog City covering everything from how they chose their name and logo to how her husband and head brewer Porter comes up with the interesting tweaks to his base beers to come up with something a little different. After that, Laurie turned us over to assistant brewer Chris Walowski who took us on a tour of the operation. It was quite informative and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves.

If you live or work in the South Bay area and networking is part of your job description or it is a vital part of your business’ success, you might want to take a look at Business & Beer. Business & Beer is an informal networking group that meets on the second Thursday of every month at a different microbrewery or brewpub in the local South Bay area. Our geographical boundaries are limited to between El Segundo and Torrance. We have no dues, no rules or mandatory meetings. Since it is held after normal work hours, you are more than welcome to bring your significant other or a friend. No special invitations are required; if you are free, stop on by. You can find the upcoming schedule and sign up for the mailing list on the Business & Beer website at BusinessNBeer.com. Cheers! Continue reading

Rock & Brews 3rd Annual Local Craft Beer Festival – Sunday September 15

Rock & Brews logo

Rock & Brews’ 3rd Annual Local Craft Beer Festival, September 15

This Sunday, September 15, 2013, Rock & Brews El Segundo will hold their 3rd Annual Local Craft Beer Festival from noon to 5:00 PM. Unlike most beer festivals I have attended, this one is family friendly and includes carnival type games such as a dunk tank and high-striker and many others. Win a game and win a prize. In addition to the beer and games, price of admission includes food tickets for tri-tip, pulled pork or barbecue chicken tacos.

Many of the best craft brewers Los Angeles has to offer will be pouring at this event, including El Segundo Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, Eagle Rock Brewing, Smog City Brewing, Monkish Brewing Company, The Bruery, The Brewery at Abigaile, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Golden Road Brewing, Port Town Brewing, Ohana Brewing Company, Bootlegger’s Brewery, The Dudes’ Brewing Company, Cosmic Ales, Tap It Brewing, Cismontane Brewing Company, Nobel Ale Works and Venice Beach Brewing. This should be a good time, and you do not even need to get a sitter for the kids.

Great beer, food, music and games all rolled into one great event. The price is $50.00 for adult [drinking] admission and $10 for children and designated drivers. Adult tickets include admission, commemorative glassware, 10-4 oz pours, and unlimited games. Non-drinking admission ticket includes sodas, cotton candy, popcorn, and unlimited games. Both passes come with three food tickets; additional food and drink can be purchased if you need more. You can purchase tickets online at http://www.rockandbrews.eventbrite.com/. I hope to see you there. Cheers!

2nd Annual Drink Good Beerfest Coming September 14

Drink Good Beerfest

The 2nd Annual Drink Good Beerfest

The 2nd Annual Drink Good Beerfest, hosted by The Factory Gastrobar in Long Beach, CA and sponsored by Cismontane Brewing and Beer Paper LA will be held September 14, 2013 from 1:00-4:00 PM at The Factory Gastrobar, located at 4020 Atlantic Avenue in Long Beach, California. This is actually a two-part event, so hopefully I get all the information correct.

This craft beer festival begins with their 2nd Annual Drink Good Beer Mash-Up Homebrew Competition which is an AHA, BJCP sanctioned event. Thursday, August 22 is the final day for entries if you want to participate. The cost is $5.00 per entry and you must provide ten (10) 12oz bottles. Not all categories of beer are being accepted, so if you want more information, I suggest visiting The Factory website for all the rules. The winner gets to brew his entry with Evan Weinberg at Cismonte Brewing so that is pretty cool. The AHA/BJCP judging will take place on Sunday, August 25.

On Monday, September 9 they will have their Best of Show judging and Craft Beer Guy was invited to be a judge for this, so I am looking forward to this opportunity.

On Saturday, the Drink Good Beerfest takes place and the winners of the Mash-Up Homebrew Competition will be announced then. If that was not enough, they will also have more than 60 rare and unique craft beers from over 30 local breweries! Now it’s a party. Among the breweries slated to participate are Ballast Point Brewing, Breckenridge Brewing, The Brewery at Abigaile, Bootlegger’s Brewery, Cismontane Brewing Company, Congregation Ale House Chapters Brewing, Dales Bros. Brewery, Drake’s Brewing, Eagle Rock Brewing, El Segundo Brewing Company, Epic Brewing, Firestone Walker, Golden Road Brewing, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Iron Fist Brewing, Kinetic Brewing Company, Latitude 33 Brewing Company, Lightning Brewery, Los Angeles Ale Works, Monkish Brewing Company, Noble Ale Works, Pizza Port – San Clemente, Ritual Brewing Company, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, Stone Brewing Company, Smog City Brewing, Triple Voodoo, Trumer Pils and The Bruery. Continue reading

2013 International IPA Day in the South Bay

Thursday, August 1, 2013 was the 3rd Annual International IPA Day; a day devoted to admiring a style of beer that probably has more myths about its origin than the early Egyptians had gods. To me it does not matter if it was first brewed in the early 1700’s or the late 1700’s, or if the first IPAs were cask conditioned on the trip to India (it wasn’t). I love my IPAs and will take advantage of any IPA Day that presents itself. Personally, I think it should be International IPA Week because there are far too many to enjoy in one day. Even those brewed in the South Bay are so numerous that I had a problem visiting everywhere I wanted to hit in a single day. Guess I need to start earlier next year.

These photos start off with a visit to Monkish Brewing, a Torrance microbrewery that specializes in Belgian style ales. While Monkish does not brew any IPA and head brewer/ owner Henry Nguyen has stated he will never brew an IPA, I had not visited them in a couple of weeks so we decided we would start there and see what was new. I had yet to try their Brown Habit which I discovered is a very good saison. They usually have about 10 different styles of Belgians, so if you are in the Torrance area and want to try something different, you should check out Monkish Brewing Company.

I got my first of several IPAs at our next stop, just around the corner, Smog City Brewing Company. Smog City usually has an IPA or two available, with their Amarilla Gorilla and Hoptonic IPAs being the IPAs they had plenty of. To celebrate IPA Day, head brewer Jon Porter brought out two IPAs on cask; Dr. Hoo-Peach Hoptonic IPA on Simcoe hops and Dr. Hoo-Mango Hoptonic IPA on Chinook hops. Both were delicious and were gone quickly; it seemed like everyone was there to try these special brews. Continue reading

Crude Brew Crew Taste-cast at Smog City Brewing

According to the Brewers Association there are more than 2,400 craft and microbreweries around the United States. Even before craft beer became so popular there were home brewers experimenting with various hops, malts and yeasts to create their own special brews. One might ascertain that due in part to the Internet, these home brewers would start socializing with each other and soon there were home brewing clubs popping up where their members could brew together as well share their ingredients and ideas and drink the results of this social interaction. In fact, if you read the biography of many of craft beers head brewers; they started off as home brewers with many of them being members of home brewing clubs. One of these local home brewing clubs is the Crude Brew Crew which is located in Torrance, CA.

This past Saturday, June 22, the Crude Brew Crew (CBC) met for their monthly meeting and podcast at Smog City Brewing Company, also in Torrance. Head brewer and co-owner of Smog City, Jonathan Porter was at one time a home brewer and a member of a local home brewer club so it made perfect sense that the CBC hold a meeting at Smog City. They did a podcast, with an interview of Jonathan and Laurie Porter that was supposed to be followed with a Q and A session. Smog City’s building is large and there were a lot of people there, so they had to improvise on the Q and A portion but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves as well as enjoying the new releases the Smog City was pouring. They also brought out a Hop Rocket which infuses fresh hops to their Amarilla Gorilla IPA which made it almost creamy. The Little Bo Pils was quite refreshing.

While the podcast was not available at the time of this writing, it should be available on the Crude Brew Crew website before too long. Smog City Brewing Company is located at 1901 Del Amo Blvd, Torrance, CA. Continue reading

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