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Smog City Brewing Company 2nd Anniversary

These photos were taken at the Smog City Brewing Company’s 2nd Anniversary party which was held at their tasting room on Saturday afternoon and evening. Unfortunately, at this time of year there are a host of beer events going on just about every weekend and even some mid-week. It makes it difficult to attend every event that I would like. This, combined with the fact that for some reason I thought Smog City was open until 9:00 PM when the reality is they are only open until 8:00 PM on Saturdays, resulted in my very late arrival to the festivities. To be honest, when we arrived the parking lot was still packed so it did not really dawn on me that it was close to closing time.

Entering the tasting room, things were still in full swing even if some of the specialty brews that had been available were tapped out and several of the bottled beers were sold out. If you did not get a chance to visit Smog City on Saturday you might want to head over there today to see what you can grab before it is gone. Smog City Brewing is open until 6:00 PM on Sundays and is located at 1901 Del Amo Boulevard in Torrance. Congratulations to the entire Smog City family/team; you have been a great addition to the local craft beer scene and I know I speak for many of us when I say we cannot wait to see what develops over the next year. Cheers! Continue reading

Photos from King Harbor Brewing Company’s 1 Year Anniversary Party

On Saturday afternoon King Harbor Brewing Company (KHBC), Redondo Beach’s only production brewery, held their one year anniversary party at their tasting room. King harbor used the celebration to raise funds for the Richstone Family Center in Hawthorne. And when I say celebrate let there be no mistake, King Harbor pulled all the stops with this event.

While the tasting room remained open for the general public to join the party for free, the parking lot was transformed into party central for those that wanted to attend the fundraising portion of the event. Included in the price of admission was access to many cask and one offs brews including their Single-Barrel Anniversary Ale and a Belgian style pale ale that King Harbor did in collaboration with Telegraph Brewing Company. Live music was provided by local musicians Nick Shattuck, Dankrupt and The Thirsty Crows. There was also a dunk tank that featured local celebrities and a couple craft beer celebs such as Beer Paper L.A.’s Daniel Drennon and yours truly. Everyone that came to the parking lot portion also received a nice commemorative mug and a bottle of their Sh!ft 1 Anniversary Ale, an Imperial Brown Ale aged in Corsair Whiskey Barrels with graham crackers and cacao nibs. Food was available for purchase from Fill R Up Gastro Garage and Los Angeles Fry Company. Continue reading

Business & Beer returns to The Dudes’ Brewing Company

On Thursday evening the Business & Beer networking group held their April gathering at The Dudes’ Brewing Company tasting room in Torrance. This was Business & Beer’s first return to The Dudes’ since their meeting last August and quite a lot has happened with The Dudes’ in the past eight months. They have gone through a couple assistant brewers, expanded distribution and had to deal with a grain mill that broke down.

I had a brief conversation with head brewer Jeff Parker and he informed me that their issues with equipment have been resolved and that we should begin seeing more experimental brews coming from their pilot system. One example would be their OrganiWeisse which was made available on Thursday evening.

To be honest, the turnout for Business & Beer was not very good which I am not sure the cause; families are gone for Spring Break and tax season is ending. As Parker mentioned; “You can’t pack the house every time.” Continue reading

Bourbon O.E. & Goldie Bottle Release at Smog City Brewing

These photos are from Smog City Brewing Company’s Bourbon O.E. Barleywine and Goldie Golden Ale bottle release that was held Saturday afternoon at the Smog City tasting room. I got a somewhat late start, not arriving until a couple hours after they opened, but photos I saw on my Facebook feed indicated that there was a line of Smog City fans waiting outside when they opened. By the time I got there the tasting room was still pretty crowded but the lines moved quickly for those that came for bottles to go, and for those that wanted to try the new releases.

To be honest, my main concern with my late arrival was that the bottles might be sold out; luckily, they bottled about 500 more of each than the last time and there were still bottles of both left when I left. Since Smog City is closed today, Easter Sunday, there might be some bottles available if you show up when they open their doors next Wednesday; I highly doubt they will last much longer than that.

If you do show up at Smog and they are out of bottles, do not despair as there is plenty on tap. They are not selling growlers but a bourbon barrel-aged flight would be highly recommended. They brought out last year’s Goldie to compare to the newest release and the difference is pretty noticeable right from the start with the nose revealing that the bourbon is going to be pretty forward. I believe Belgian Bourbon Candy was the phrase I heard most often. Continue reading

Absolution Brewing Company Celebrates One Year

These photos are from Absolution Brewing Company’s one year anniversary party that was held at their tasting room this past Saturday. While Absolution may have gotten off to a shaky start with their Grand Opening that found several brews tapping out before the day was over, I do not think anyone that has watched their progress over the past year can deny that Absolution Brewing has weathered the storm and have established themselves as a brewery that will be here for the long run.

When Absolution Brewing first opened the initial goal was to gain acceptance with the style of beers they brewed. Using “Old World styles and New World ingredients” their beers are not your typical “west coast” style; for example, you would never confuse any of their IPAs with any of the others brewed around here. Variety is what prevents over-saturation, so their style was welcomed by me and obviously many others as their tasting room always seems to have a nice group sampling their beers.

In November their original head brewer, Wes McCann, moved back east as his wife was transferred; so Absolution was forced to find a replacement which they did by bringing in Bart Bullington. The change in style and recipes was noticed almost immediately; Bullington’s tweaks to McCann’s recipes seemed to be just what Absolution needed to satisfy the palates of South Bay beer drinkers. Continue reading

Business & Beer Pays Visit to Strand Brewing Company

On Thursday evening the Business & Beer networking group paid one of its final visits to the Strand Brewing Company tasting room with a handful of attendees. The reason I say it was one of their final visits to the Strand Brewing tasting room is that Strand Brewing should be moving over to the Ale Triangle section of Torrance before too long. For those unfamiliar with the area I just described as the Ale Triangle, that is the part of Torrance that Smog City, Monkish Brewing and The Dudes’ are located; over by Western and Del Amo. I will have more information on that move as it becomes available and I am allowed to disclose it.

After the poor showing at last month’s Business & Beer networking event, the question arose; “Has Business & Beer run its course? Should we continue?” Between the handful of people that came to Strand Brewing for the event and those Strand customers that were curious enough to come over and talk to us about the group, it was decided that the group shall continue; at least for the time being.

One of those that came over and asked about the group was Nikki of Nikki’s Atomic Oven. She does meal preparations and came bearing gifts, some really delicious cookies. Hopefully Nikki will be able to join us at future gatherings. Continue reading

Phantom Carriage Ribbon Cutting

These photos were taken at the Phantom Carriage ribbon cutting which was held Thursday morning at their brewpub in Carson. Typically, the ribbon cuttings I have attended have been later in the afternoon, so I was pleasantly surprised to see the number of representatives from the City of Carson and the Carson Chamber of Commerce in attendance. Two things were pretty obvious; the first was that this was the first time coming to Phantom Carriage for many of them; the second was that they all seemed to enjoy the experience.

The Mayor of Carson, Jim Dear, started things off with a small ceremony out front to sign a petition in support of building an NFL stadium that theoretically would be the new home for the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders. They need about 8,000 signatures but Mayor Dear expects that they will get far more than that. You must be a Carson resident to sign the petition, so if you live in Carson and this is important to you, you might want to keep an eye out for signature gatherers.

After the petition ceremony we all moved inside for the ribbon cutting. Apparently, Dear is a fairly regular customer of Phantom Carriage and he made it clear that he has enjoyed his visits to Phantom and spoke of the success that their great brews and food have brought. One thing is quite certain, the City of Carson is very happy to have Phantom Carriage in their city and Mayor Dear looks forward to “several more” craft breweries calling Carson home. If the success of Phantom Carriage thus far is any indicator, Carson seems willing and able to become the latest craft beer Mecca of the Los Angeles area. Cheers! Continue reading

Phantom Carriage Grand Opening Photos

When Phantom Carriage first announced that they would be opening in Carson and specialize in sours, saisons and barrel-aged brews I know I was not alone in wondering if the City of Carson could sustain a brewery/blendery seeking such a niche audience. When we made our first visit there for the Media Day Soft Open Tanya was less than enthusiastic about even going because their style of brews is just not her thing but she discovered that she pretty much enjoyed everything we tried.

A month later we returned to see what kind of progress had been made and discovered tweaks to the beer and food menus, as well as seemingly small adjustments to the interior lighting and longer hours. It was then that co-owner and founder Martin Svab informed me that the Phantom Carriage grand opening is “now until early March.” Well, it is now early March and Phantom Carriage has officially had their Grand Opening which was held on Saturday.

As we drove down Main Street towards Phantom Carriage we could not help but notice cars parked all along the normally empty street; we had a feeling that these must be Phantom Carriage customers. This was confirmed when we pulled into their parking lot only to be greeted by a “Lot Full” sign and a long line of people waiting to get into the brewery itself. As I had another event to cover later I decided to just grab some photos then return later for close-ups; so if the photos look like they are from two different days, that is because they are. Continue reading

Craft Beer Guy Contest Winners at El Segundo Brewing

Back in December, El Segundo Brewing Company held their Crude, Cocoa and Donuts Christmas Party along with their Second Annual Ugly Sweater Contest; I happened to take third place, winning a tour and tasting for four. I knew I wanted to use the prize to help promote El Segundo Brewing Company; I just wasn’t sure how I would do it. Ideally, I would be able to bring four people there as first time visitors.

In January Beachwood BBQ & Brewing announced that they were going to hold their 4th Annual Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle and I decided that I would add some incentive for my followers to buy a ticket. All you had to do was take a photo of your ticket(s) and then tag Craft Beer Guy on Facebook or Instagram. Two winners would be chosen and each could bring a guest. On the day that Beachwood held their raffle I utilized an online number randomizer and picked the winners to my contest. The winners were Jessica Casey of Long Beach Hopheads and Dan Parker, a homebrewer and member of the Strand Brewers Club.

These photos are of the tasting and tour that we were given last night by El Segundo Brewing Company taproom manager, Pete Crowner. As luck would have it, Jessica and her husband, while somewhat familiar with El Segundo’s beer, had never visited the tasting room before. Dan had been there once before, briefly, so I was pleased that I was able to introduce new faces to the tasting room. Continue reading

Brouwerij West at the Port of Los Angeles

Sometimes it is hard to remember that just a few years ago you could count the production breweries and brewpubs in the South Bay on one hand; now you need both of your hands and a foot to count them all and new locations are being constructed as you read this. A common question that has been debated frequently over the past couple of years is that of over saturation.

As a craft beer consumer, over saturation never really comes into play for me although I can understand how a brewery owner might not feel the same way. Of course, I might not feel the same way if all of our breweries were merely churning out the same brews and styles as the next guy, but the reality is that even though we have a dozen tasting rooms and brewpubs to visit in the general vicinity each is unique in their own way. I feel that as long as this trend continues the only problem the consumer will have is deciding which brewery to patronize on any particular day.

On Wednesday afternoon I headed over to the Port of Los Angeles and the future home of Brouwerij (pronounced: brewery) West. Those of you that were fortunate enough to attend The Festival 2014 at CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles back in November you probably remember the big Warehouse No. 9 that was located across the way from the warehouse that The Festival was held. This will be the new home for Brouwerij West. Continue reading

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