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 Wednesday evening at Abigaile Restaurant and Brewery in Hermosa Beach, where Head Brewer Josh McCombs teamed up with Executive Chef Tin Vuong, and Chef de Cuisine Matt Sprister to put on a delicious six course dinner paired with beers brewed by McCombs.
The first course was their Apple-Chicken Liver on country toast with an onion confit paired with McCombs Hurley McSurley Pilsner. To be honest, when I saw this on the menu I was not sure I was even going to try it; I am glad I gave it a shot because it was amazing. It reminded me of when I attended PAIRED last year in Denver. I knew this was going to be a good night.
The second course consisted of their African Red Mango curried scallop with a tomato relish, which was paired with their Big Boss Brut IPA. The slight sweetness of the IPA went nicely with the scallop. Continue reading
These photos were taken Saturday at Abigaile Restaurant and Brewery, where they held another in what is becoming their regular series of Brewtopia craft beer festivals. Saturday’s event featured unlimited tastings from Brewery Draconum, Common Space, Firestone Walker, Hand-Brewed Beer, Karl Strauss, King Harbor Brewing, MacLeod Ale, Pacific Plate Brewing, and The Brewery at Abigaile, as well as cider offerings from 101 Cider House. Attendees also had access to a complimentary buffet, and were automatically entered in raffles that included swag, a growler fill from Abigaile and a gift certificate to Abigaile as prizes.
People that attended Brewtopia in February, and there were several, were treated to a much better version on Saturday; I spoke with most of the people that attended both events and everyone agreed that it was like night and day. Saturday’s event had a wider selection of beers, free food, and definitely more attendees, so I guess their improved advertising made a huge difference; even if there was a last minute date change from Sunday to Saturday. Continue reading
These photos were taken Sunday afternoon at the Brewtopia beer festival in Hermosa Beach’s Alta House, formerly known as Ocean Bar, which is the upstairs area of Abigaile and The Brewery at Abigaile. The event featured craft beers and ciders from The Brewery at Abigaile, 101 Cider House, Angel City, Zymurgy Brew Works, Firestone Walker, and Santa Monica Brew Works.
Admission to the event included unlimited pours from the above mentioned breweries and access to a special brunch menu.
Long time followers may recall that The Brewery at Abigaile had done the Brewtopia beer festivals back in 2015; Sunday’s event was a mini-version of the prior events, but the few dozen people that did attend had a beautiful Sunday afternoon to enjoy craft brews on the Alta House patio. Continue reading
These photos were taken Friday evening at Alta House, formerly known as Ocean Bar, which is the upstairs area of Abigaile and The Brewery at Abigaile. The event was hosted to introduce The Brewery at Abigaile’s new brewer, Josh McCombs.
A question that I have been asked pretty frequently lately is, “What’s going on at Abigaile?” It was a legitimate question since their last brewer that I was aware of, Mitchell Riser, left several months ago and since they are licensed as a brewpub, they need to be brewing beer. That issue was resolved at the beginning of January when Josh McCombs came onboard as their new brewer. Continue reading
These photos were taken Thursday at the 3rd Annual South Bay Tap Takeover, which was held at Flights, in Hawthorne. The event featured 18 of the South Bay’s best production breweries and brewpubs, filling up 39 tap handles.
Although I did not arrive until a little after 4:00 PM, my Facebook feed indicated that people began streaming in pretty much as soon as the doors opened. By 6:00 we had the place packed and it remained that way until close to 10:00; after that, people kept arriving to sample some outstanding brews.
I had the opportunity to speak with many of the attendees and discovered that this was the first time visiting Flights; it seems safe to say that they will all return. Continue reading
It was two years ago that I made my first visit to Flights Beer Bar and met the owner Jerry “Jammer” Jamgotchian. Within days of our meeting, Jerry expressed interest in having a Craft Beer Guy event at his recently opened 40 tap gastropub. At the time, the South Bay had 10 production breweries and I requested that all 40 taps be dedicated to these 10 breweries for the 1st Annual South Bay Tap Takeover. Jerry not only agreed to this, but also invested in a new cold box so Flights could store the additional beers that were brought in for the event. To say the event was a rousing success would be an understatement. Continue reading
These photos are from Saturday at the LA Brewers Kickoff of Los Angeles Beer Week 9 (LABW9), which was held at the Los Angeles Center Studios in downtown Los Angeles. This outstanding event featured close to 60 Los Angeles craft breweries along with 30 out of town craft brewers and about 10 food trucks. In addition to the beer and food there were games, live music and plenty of water and shade for those seeking to escape the high air temperature.
I did not ask how many tickets were sold, but I suspect there were about 1,000 people in attendance. With close to 100 booths to visit, lines were never really an issue; with the exception being when a brewery had a scheduled release of a special beer they brought. Even then, once the beer was opened, the lines seemed to disappear rather quickly. Continue reading
Recently there have been a couple articles circulating around social media claiming to list all of the South Bay breweries; one that went around yesterday missed four or five of them, depending on whether or not a tasting room was required. As the Craft Beer Guy I have been fortunate to have this craft beer boom explode all around my home; I also feel obligated to provide an accurate list of all the breweries currently brewing in the South Bay as well as the next two scheduled to open.
In order to not show favoritism, and to give credit where credit is due, I will list all the South Bay breweries by the date they opened. As I have visited each brewery, I will provide a link to each so you can look at my articles to determine if you want to visit them. The photos are in order as well. Continue reading