The Propagator

Jon Turns 40 Celebration at Propagator and Scopa

I have to admit, becoming “The Craft Beer Guy” has certainly opened up many doors for me, including special events; and I get to meet a lot of interesting people, some of which I have developed friendships with. One of these people is Jonathan Urch, and these photos are from his 40th birthday celebration which began at Firestone Walker’s Propagator and ended down the street at Scopa Italian Roots, where Jon, his wife, and about 25 friends from around the world gathered to celebrate Jon’s 40th time of successfully navigating around the sun with a nice dinner.

I met Jon in October of 2015 at the Guinness Nitro IPA Advanced Tasting and dinner at The Larchmont in Hollywood. At the time, Jon was Diageo Customer Marketing Director. That evening was special in a couple ways; I was able to meet Jon and I was given the first Guinness Nitro IPA ever poured from a tap in the United States. As I have always been a Guinness fan, that was kind of a big deal to me. Continue reading

Photos from The Propagator Turns 2

These photos were taken early Saturday afternoon at Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s, The Propagator Turns 2! celebration, held at the Venice, with a Marina del Rey mailing address, location. These photos are primarily from the VIP session which was held from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

It is hard to believe it has been two years already, but that could be because it was almost eight months after The Propagator opened before they were able to make The Propagator the R&D brewery it was intended to be.

Ticket holders to the sold out VIP session received a brewhouse tour, several tastes of Propagator and/or Barrelworks beers, light bites to eat and a crowler of Propagator brew to take home. Several of people were also able to take part in a taste comparison of three different hazy IPAs brewed with same recipe but fermented with different yeast strains; we were given samples of what each tasted like prior to being dry hopped and after being dry hopped. It was interesting how much difference the yeast made, both before and after being dry hopped. Continue reading

N’owt But Stout Festival at Yorkshire Square

These photos were taken Saturday afternoon at Yorkshire Square Brewery in Torrance where they celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by holding their first annual N’owt but Stout Festival. The N’owt (Nothing) but Stout festival featured nothing but dark beers, like stouts, porters and dunkels from 15 breweries selected by Yorkshire Square’s head brewer, Andy Black. They also had their Early Doors Pub Bitter available because a couple of Yorkshire’s regular customers wanted to come, but did not like stouts. The Early Doors made for a great palate cleanser after drinking something like Mikkeller’s Black Tide.

Besides Yorkshire Square, the other participating breweries were Beachwood Brewing, Stereo Brewing, Verdugo West Brewing, Craftsman Brewing, Eagle Rock Brewery, Karl Strauss, Green Cheek Beer Company, State Brewing, King Harbor Brewing, Firestone Walker’s Propagator, Inland Wharf Brewing, Mikkeller Brewing, Smog City Brewing and El Segundo Brewing Company. Food was available from either Vic’s Smokin’ BBQ, or BatterFish. Continue reading

DBA Turns 21 Beer Dinner at The Propagator

In March of 1996, the fledgling Firestone Walker Brewing Company out of Paso Robles, California released their first beer; DBA British Pale Ale. Thursday evening, 30 or 40 Firestone Walker fans met at Firestone Walker’s newest location, The Propagator, in Marina del Rey to celebrate DBA becoming of age, at the DBA Turns 21 beer dinner, hosted by Firestone Walkers first employee, Jeffers Richardson.

While we enjoyed a pour of Schwarzbier, a roasty German style black lager which was brewed at The Propagator by Ben Maushardt, Jeffers told us about the early days at Firestone Walker; go back as far as his initial job interview which involved babysitting a 5 year-old.

DBA, Double Barrel Ale, is often credit to being developed by Jeffers, but he gives full credit to Adam Firestone and David Walker as it was only because of their insistence that the beer be fermented using oak and stainless barrels, then blending them. It was obviously a great idea, and DBA has become not only a flagship brew for them, but it is also the base for several of their other beers. This beer dinner would celebrate the many uses of DBA as well as the beer itself. Continue reading

Jeffers Drops Acid at Rock & Brews

These photos were taken Wednesday evening as a couple dozen craft beer fans gathered at Rock & Brews in El Segundo, to watch and participate as Firestone Walker’s first employee and current Director of the Firestone Walker Barrelworks (aka Barrelmeister), Jeffers Richardson dropped massive amounts of acid knowledge on us.

I arrived early and immediately noticed that each setting at the tables had nine little cups; eight with what I thought was water and one with a jelly bean. I also noticed five plastic bottles labeled as either Lactic or Acetic Acid, with varying descriptions of their contents. In my head I thought this was going to be way out of my league and I would probably just take photos rather than participate. I could not have been more wrong; this was a very educational event. Continue reading

Firestone Walker- The Propagator Releases Generation 1

On Wednesday afternoon Firestone Walker’s Venice location, The Propagator, officially changed from being a gastropub to a brewpub with the release of their first beer from the million dollar brewhouse; aptly named, Generation 1. While the release of a beer may not necessarily be documented here, I know there are a lot of Firestone Walker fans out there and knowing that they are now able to use their beautiful brewhouse for something other than a display is news we have all been waiting for. The fact that Generation 1 is outstanding is icing on the cake.

Generation 1 is an IPA that is hopped with Citra, Mosaic and Mandarina hops; it is really smooth and has great flavors. It is quite drinkable; and it might be [one of] their best IPAs, in my opinion.

When I mentioned to Propagator General Manager Brad Ellis how impressed I was with the first batch from the new system, he immediately gave credit to the work ethic of Propagator brewer, Ben Maushardt. Ellis had first observed Maushardt up in Paso Robles and he apparently made quite the impression as the choice for brewer at Propagator involved input from the rank and file. Continue reading

Firestone Walker’s Propagator Venice Now Open

The long awaited time has come for Firestone Walker fans in the Los Angeles area; Firestone’s Venice location, The Propagator is now open. While there had been hopes to open it as a brewpub, as evidenced by the $1 million invested in a state-of-the-art brewhouse that is sitting on display when you walk in the doors, the City of Angels has once again shown they don’t quite get it when it comes to craft beer. As a result The Propagator decided to open as more of a gastropub, in a couple years when The City is comfortable and had forced Firestone to jump through just enough hoops, The Propagator will evolve into a brewpub. Until then we will just have to suffer through drinking their old school brews from Paso Robles or the wild ales from Buellton.

When you are standing outside you cannot help but notice the similarities between the new Venice location, Barrelworks and Paso Robles; Venice is just a smaller version from what I could see. They even have a store where you can buy packaged brews and assorted merchandise; well, probably any merchandise they sell.

Once you get inside it looks pretty much like either Paso Robles or Buellton; it is just less crowded, but you know you are at Firestone Walker, for sure. The tap list has all the flagship brews like 805, Easy Jack, DBA, Opal, Union Jack as well as brews like the 2016 Parabola (sorry, one 3oz pour per person), Luponic Distortion, Imperial Smoked Walker’s Reserve, Agrestic, Feral One and several more. Continue reading

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