Having observed the surge of craft breweries in the Greater Los Angeles area, with an almost inside view of the South Bay craft scene in its infancy, the sheer number of new breweries around here is nothing short of amazing. I mean, El Segundo has four breweries now, Lomita has two! It is easier to name the cities that don’t have a brewery than to remember all of them that now do; and they all have multiple breweries, except for Hermosa Beach which had The Brewery at Abigaile close while writing this.
Beyond the obvious expansion of breweries, and that’s not even counting all the satellite taprooms that are popping up, one thing that has really surprised me is how quickly these new breweries have started canning or bottling. I remember when mobile canning was a thing, which wasn’t really that long ago, but everyone is getting their own canning or bottling line, and you have El Segundo Brewing with one of each. Burnin’ Daylight is celebrating their one year anniversary this Saturday, and they have been canning for probably six months. That was just unheard of few years ago. One of the spinoffs of this trend is that of can art. Continue reading
These photos were taken Saturday evening at the Switzer Learning Center, in Torrance, where they held their 6th Annual Boots, Brews & BBQ fundraiser. The event featured unlimited pours of craft beer from seven craft breweries and cideries, wine, and an open bar. They also had tequila flights available for an additional fee. In addition to the ample liquid refreshments, there was plenty of barbecued meat available courtesy of Harry’s Oklahoma Style Smokehouse BBQ, as well some great tamales from Tortilla Cantina, new home of my annual South Bay Tap Takeover.
The western-themed, adults only event also featured a shooting range that had rifles or revolvers available, a few lawn games, gaming tables featuring blackjack, craps and roulette, and live and silent auctions. Continue reading
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
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
These photos were taken Saturday at the LA Beer Week Kickoff Festival which was held at the Los Angeles Center Studios in Los Angeles. This event marked the beginning of the 11th Annual L.A. Beer Week and featured more than 90 independent local craft breweries, pouring a reported 250 brews.
Similar to last year, it was a pleasant, mostly overcast day, which sure beats the 100+ temperatures of years past. I did not even notice the sunburn on my face until Sunday.
The annual event also featured games, a DJ, live music, a panel discussion, and food trucks and popups from Slice and Pint, Simmzy’s, Bartz Barbecue, Cousin’s Maine Lobster, Baby’s Badass Burgers, Angry Pig, and Street Kitchen. Continue reading
These photos were taken Friday evening at the Strand Brewing Company tasting room in Torrance, where friends, fans, family, and former co-workers gathered to say good-bye and congratulations to long time taproom manager, Jonas Neubauer, who is leaving Strand Brewing after more than seven years to pursue his career as a professional gamer.
In case you were not aware, Jonas happens to be a seven time Classic Tetris World Champion, a title that has only been around since 2010. In other words, he has been the champion seven out of nine times. He came in second place in 2014 and again last year in 2018. Since then, Jonas has not been seen at the taproom very much as his most recent second place finish has made him more popular than ever in the gaming world. As such, Jonas has been able to monetize his Twitch and YouTube channels to the point that it made sense to devote more time to gaming; besides, he has to concentrate on winning back the title of Classic Tetris World Champion.
Good luck Jonas, we will be rooting for you. Cheers! Continue reading
These photos were taken Sunday at Strand Brewing Company in Torrance, where they transformed their tasting room into a mini-carnival for young children that are undergoing cancer treatments, confined to wheelchairs, or diagnosed with critical illnesses. The event featured face painting, snacks and sodas, live music, and appearances from such big names as Batman, Robin, Thor, and Iron Man. The highlight of the day though, had to be the ability to make the kids fly like a superhero!
The event was put on by Flying Hero Club, formerly known as the Smile High Club, Inc. They were founded by Jim Churchman, a stunt coordinator for 25 years which included working on some of Hollywood’s biggest superhero movies. The Flying Hero Club, which seemed to consist of volunteers from Georgia and Arizona, some of whom work in the film industry, set up a computerized flying system, the same system that has flown the likes of Kate Beckinsale, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, and Robert Downey Jr. The kids were strapped onto a belly board and given the gift of flight for a couple hundred feet. Depending on the age and bravery of the child, the crew was able to adjust the speed of the flight. You could see that there were a couple kids that were nervous at first, but after their first flight most were ready for a second try. Continue reading
These photos were taken Sunday afternoon at Strand Brewing Company in Torrance, where they held a viewing party of the 2018 Classic Tetris World Championship, featuring seven time world champion Jonas Neubauer, who also happens to be the taproom manager for Strand Brewing.
The Classic Tetris World Championship (CTWC) was established in 2010, and Jonas has won every year except 2014, when Harry Hong defeated him. Sunday’s competition would include Hong as well as a new star in the game, 16-year-old Joseph Saelee. The interesting back-story on Saelee is that he learned Tetris strategy by watching Jonas play online. Saelee is also the first player to ever reach Level 31 in Classic Tetris. It was set to be an intense match. Continue reading
These photos were taken Saturday evening at the Switzer Learning Center, in Torrance, where they held their 2018 Boots, Brews & BBQ fundraiser. The event featured unlimited pours of craft beer from about six local breweries, wine, and an open bar. They also had tequila flights available for an additional fee. In addition to the libations, there was plenty of barbecued meat available courtesy of Shady Grow Foods, as well Mediterranean food from Chicken Maison for the vegetarians in attendance.
The adult only event also offered tickets to ride a mechanical bull, or to practice your aiming at the shooting range that had rifles or revolvers available. They also had a spin and win booze wheel, gaming tables featuring blackjack, 3-card poker and roulette, and live and silent auctions. Continue reading
These photos were taken Sunday afternoon at the 3rd Annual Pub at the Club, which was held at the Manhattan Beach Badminton Club in Manhattan Beach. The event featured at least 22 breweries and cideries, as well as numerous wineries and local restaurants.
100% of the proceeds, which included ticket sales, raffles and the 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.
Attendees received unlimited pours from such local breweries as Boomtown, Three Weavers, Absolution Brewing, Zymurgy Brew Works, Scholb, Strand Brewing, King Harbor Brewing, El Segundo Brewing, Smog City, Hermosa Brewing, and The Dudes’. Also in attendance were Stone Brewing, Pizza Port, Refuge Brewery, Cigar City, High Water Brewing, Oskar Blues, and new to California, Roadhouse Brewing Company. Continue reading