I was going to begin this article by suggesting, “unless you have been living under a rock, you know of Elon Musk’s SpaceX” but I discovered there actually are some people that are unfamiliar with SpaceX; so I will presume that if you are into American craft beer and follow this site, you are at least somewhat familiar with Elon Musk and/or SpaceX.
What you may not be aware of is that SpaceX is headquartered in the City of Hawthorne and craft breweries and craft beer bars have been springing up in what I now call the SpaceX Corridor and all of them have been vying for the attention of SpaceX employees; and from what I have been able to see, those employees have been enjoying the attention.
Since I named it the SpaceX Corridor, I also get to define the boundaries. El Segundo Boulevard is a little over 5 miles long from the Harbor Freeway (110) and the San Diego Freeway (405). In that stretch there are now four craft breweries and one craft beer bar; all of which I have no problem recommending. Here is how you can complete the SpaceX Corridor Craft Beer Tour from one end to the other in one day, with relative ease. Be advised, this can currently only be done Thursday through Sunday; if you are reading this in six months or a year from now, the hours may be expanded by then.
The locations we will visit are State Brewing Company, Ximix Craft Exploration, Common Space Brewery, Los Angeles Ale Works, and Flights Beer Bar.
For the purposes of this tour, we will begin on the east end of the SpaceX Corridor, at State Brewing Company in Gardena. Continue reading
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
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
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
Regular readers of my site may recall that back in March I visited a STACKED restaurant in Cerritos for a beer tasting put on by Craft Beer Guild Distributing. While we had a very good time exploring the STACKED menu and trying the various craft beers that had been presented, Cerritos is almost 20 miles from my home so the likelihood of my returning just for dinner was not very good. While we were at the Cerritos location I was informed that STACKED has four locations; Cerritos, Thousand Oaks, San Diego and Torrance, which is about five minutes from my home, so I made a mental note to check it out sometime.
As a result of my article the public relations company for STACKED began inviting me to events at their other locations; but as the invites were always to Thousand Oaks or San Diego the distance was just too far to justify the drive. After the last invitation I reminded them that I lived in the South Bay; I was then invited to visit the Torrance location. After a few emails back and forth, I was told to head over to the Torrance location and was given a couple names to ask for when I got there. When we arrived yesterday I found out that the two names were managers at the Cerritos location. This was not a good start.
Tanya and I went outside to decide where we would eat when Ashley Brown, manager for the Torrance STACKED came out and asked what brought us there in the first place. After hearing that there must have been a mix-up somewhere and not wanting to lose the opportunity for some exposure, Brown invited us back in. Continue reading
These photos were taken at the Smog City Beer Dinner which was held Wednesday evening at Jimmy’s Bar & Grill in Redondo Beach. I want to begin this by stating that over the past few years I have attended quite a few beer dinners but I am not sure that I have ever attended one that had such obvious thought put into the pairing of the food and beer as what we experienced last night at Jimmy’s. Marc Dix is the chef/partner at Jimmy’s and he is one of the owners of Barley Hops Grill, a popular food truck frequently seen at various tasting rooms. Regular readers have probably picked up on the fact that I don’t usually pay much attention to the food trucks I run across at various events, preferring to leave the food choices to Tanya. After experiencing our meal last night and speaking with attendees that assured me that Barley Hops Grill is one of the best food trucks in the area, I am sure I will give more input when Tanya asks what I want to eat.
I live around the corner from Jimmy’s and have been here for 30 years, so I have seen lots of businesses come and go from that location. A few years ago a sports bar, 20/20, opened there, but did not last long. We had checked them out as a possible location to have a Business & Beer gathering but were left unimpressed. It was not long before I noticed 20/20 was closed and a lot of remodeling was being done. A short time later, Jimmy’s Bar & Grill was opened. I suppose I was misled by the “bar & grill” portion of Jimmy’s name as I had a preconceived idea that burgers and fries would be the main fare but last night’s menu definitely cleared up any misconceptions I may have had. Continue reading
These photos are from the South Bay Tap Takeover that was held Thursday evening at Flights Beer Bar in Hawthorne. To say that this event was a success would be an understatement; some might suggest that it was too successful as there were times that the staff seemed overwhelmed with all the customers. The event officially began at 4:00 PM, but when I arrived at 3:30 people had already arrived and by 4:30 it was pretty well packed; and it stayed that way until about 11:30.
There were some delays in getting the beer served in the beginning because there were 40 new taps with beers that had never been poured there and many people were ordering flights. Flights brought in some additional help and eventually the beers were learned and things moved faster. The food situation was pretty much a no-win situation because while Flights could install a new walk-in to store beer, there was no way to increase the size of the kitchen. The food took a little longer to get out to us, but it was the same high quality that we have come to expect.
I do not know how many people showed up last night but I do know that we had 200 t-shirts to give away and I would venture to guess that at least as many people did not get shirts as those that did, so I don’t think estimating a turnout of at least 400 people would not be a stretch. Continue reading
First off, the beer. When I was approached about the idea of having a “Craft Beer Guy” party I immediately knew that I wanted to showcase the South Bay’s breweries. I also knew that 40 new kegs was quite an order so I was pleasantly surprised when Flights owner Jerry Jamgotchian didn’t blink an eye and said that 40 kegs was not a problem. A couple people asked me, “But where is he going to keep all that beer?” It was a great question that only had one solution; he was going to need a bigger cold box; so that is what he did. He had a second, bigger cold box added.
A couple weeks ago someone suggested maybe having a few shirts made and raffle them off; buy a beer, get a ticket. I brought it to Jerry for some input and his response was, “How about we make hundreds and give them to everybody?” Well, that is what he did; there will be free t-shirts for the first couple hundred people that ask for one (as supplies/sizes last). Continue reading
While I have been to a few “South Bay tap takeovers” over the past few years, never before have we had 40 taps dedicated to just the South Bay’s breweries. The 10 that will be participating include Strand Brewing Company, Monkish Brewing, El Segundo Brewing, Absolution Brewing Company, Smog City Brewing, Three Weavers, The Dudes’, King Harbor Brewing, Phantom Carriage
and introducing HopSaint! If you are thinking, “But HopSaint isn’t open yet.” you would be correct, but the brewhouse has been delivered and Brian Brewer will be brewing before their new brewpub opens. This tap takeover will likely be the first time any of us will be able to try Brian’s brews under the new label. UPDATE: HopSaint will not be able to make it, in their stead, Cosmic Brewery will step up. Continue reading
As I have mentioned before, friends and followers of this site frequently direct me to the latest beer bar that they visited, or that they had heard was opening in the area. I have learned to not bother rushing off because as often as not the selection isn’t really that special or the business is not going to survive the winter. I first heard about Flights Beer Bar in late March or very early April. When I asked my informant what was special about the place they could not tell me as they had yet to visit.
Over the next two months a few more people approached me; some inquiring because they had not been there yet either, and a couple that had made their way over to Hawthorne to check it out. I ended up getting a personal invitation from the owner and another recommendation or two from people that have similar tastes as me, so I decided that I would begin my birthday weekend by going to Flights for a beer and maybe take some photos if it was warranted.
Flights is located at 5119 W. El Segundo Boulevard in Hawthorne, which means it is right off the 405 on the east side of the freeway; it is also on the north side of the street so you need to know it is there or you will do some u-turns to get back there. To make it easy, it is between the Subway and Burger King. The sign is big, but the color scheme isn’t ideal at 12:30 PM. I was told it does light up at night and they have several runway lights above it on the roof. I will have to return at night time to see how visible it is. Continue reading