Tortilla Cantina

The Craft Beer Guy Recap of 2020

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Port Town Brewing – progressing

Well, it is that time of year again. I usually call these articles a “review” of the prior year; but that would be a very short article. I give it two stars out of five, and would not recommend. Instead, this will be a recap of 2020; let’s see what happened.

January 2020

2020 started off mellow enough; little did we know what was in store for us. The highlight of the month, and possibly the year for some, was the Hop Culture Juicy Brews Beach Party Craft Beer Festival held at Brouwerij West. It was a very fun event featuring craft beer from more than 25 of the top breweries in the country.

The month ended with a going away party for Smog City’s taproom manager Jason “Breezy” Briseño as he and his bride prepared to move to Australia; I think COVID put a temporary damper on those plans. Continue reading

Photos of the 6th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover

These photos were taken Wednesday at Tortilla Cantina, where they hosted the 6th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover. This annual event took a little more to accomplish this year, but Tortilla Cantina, our local breweries, and hundreds of their fans made this possible “last hurrah” of 2020 a great success.

My first tap takeover was held on the first Thursday of September in 2015, and as the craft beer scene around here grew, there started to be overlaps when it came to craft beer festival dates and brewery anniversaries, and everyone started changing dates of their events to avoid conflicts. The fact of the matter is that there was just too much going on out there, so I set it in stone that all subsequent South Bay Tap Takeovers would be held on the first Thursday of September; that worked out okay until COVID-19 struck and the State of California and the County of Los Angeles decided restaurants, breweries, and bars had to discontinue in-person dining. Continue reading

6th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover November 25

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6th South Bay Tap Takeover – November 25

So, let’s make this official; the 6th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover is not going to let a little thing like COVID-19 stop it! Yes, in the past I have been pretty adamant that I was not going to deviate from the “first Thursday of September” and for the first five years, we made it work. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has caused some things to be out of my control; however, Tortilla Cantina has been set up for outside dining and they are ready to once again host the South Bay Tap Takeover.

While our past events have had up to 26 South Bay breweries, with 49 taps, this year’s event will be a little smaller.

While four breweries that were in attendance last year have since closed up (Abigaile, State, Ximix, and Zymurgy), this year we have 21 South Bay breweries that have confirmed attendance this year, seven of which did not exist during last year’s tap takeover. Continue reading

River Visits Tortilla Cantina

These photos were taken Sunday afternoon at Tortilla Cantina in Torrance, where they hosted a family event for one of their regulars, Paul Quintana. You may recall that back in July I covered a baby shower at Tortilla Cantina; Sunday’s family gathering was the formal introduction of the Guest of Honor of that shower, River, to his extended family.

There had to be at least 50 friends and family in attendance and River seemed to be enjoying all the attention he was getting as much as the aunts and cousins giving it to him.

Tortilla Cantina is a great place to hold events like this, especially if you have friends and family that enjoy craft beer. You could never provide Tortilla Cantina’s beer variety at home, and they provide really good food; I will personally vouch for the taquitos. Continue reading

The Craft Beer Guy Recap of 2019

As the year comes to an end it is time for me to sit down with a beer and try to figure out what I did that made this year go by so quickly. To be honest, I feel like I have really slowed down on my coverage of the local craft beer scene, but the growth has been so rapid that I cannot keep up. Heck, there were two new breweries getting ready to open in El Segundo that I did not know about until three months before they opened! Oh well, I will continue to do what I can; if I don’t visit a particular brewery as much as I used to it is probably because there are so many breweries around here now. In fact, while my personal craft beer life may have slowed, the growth over the past year is kind of mind blowing. Let’s see what happened in 2019.

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Tortugo Brewing, Inglewood

January 2019

In my review of 2018 I had mentioned there were two new local breweries that I still had not visited, one of those was Tortugo Brewing. I started off 2019 by remedying that. If you have not been, it is a nice location and they have some good brews; you should check them out. Continue reading

2019 Boots, Brews & BBQ Photos

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

5th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover Photos

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

5th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover Coming September 5

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Better Weather Sweater Collaboration Brew Team

Clear your calendars; one week from today, Thursday September 5, I will be presenting my 5th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover at Tortilla Cantina in Old Torrance.

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

South Bay Collaboration Brew at Smog City Brewing

These photos were taken Friday morning at Smog City Brewing, where brewers and owners of 21 of the South Bay’s breweries and cideries met to brew an anniversary beer to commemorate the 5th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover which will be held Thursday, September 5 at Tortilla Cantina in Old Torrance.

A couple months ago I got the idea that since this was the 5th anniversary of the South Bay Tap Takeover that perhaps participating breweries might want to each do an anniversary collaboration with CraftBeerGuy.com. I had spoken with a couple breweries that hinted they might be interested when I went to State Brewing and their head brewer Rob Scott and he suggested that perhaps we could do a collaboration that included all the participating breweries. I immediately knew this would be a much better option so I started thinking about which local brewery would be big enough and central to everyone. To me, the logical choice was Smog City Brewing, so I approached Porter about it; he readily accepted. Continue reading

Shelby’s Baby Shower at Tortilla Cantina

These photos were taken Sunday afternoon at Tortilla Cantina, in Torrance, where local craft beer aficionado Paul Quintana held a baby shower for his daughter Shelby, and her boyfriend Zach, to help welcome his first grandchild into the world.

While you may not find a lot of baby shower photos on this site, Paul and his daughter both follow Craft Beer Guy, either via this website or its Facebook or Instagram pages; or all of the above. Combine that with the fact that they were holding the event at Tortilla Cantina, the new home of the South Bay Tap Takeover, and it was an invitation that would be hard to turn down; in retrospect, I am very glad I attended, it was a fun event. Continue reading

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