Posts Tagged ‘Epic Brewing’

The age of the domestic beer monopoly in the United States shrinks with each passing day. The beer industry around the world dominates the alcoholic beverage industry, as consumers drink 3,500 bottles of beer for every one glass of wine – that makes 8,000 times more beer consumed by the liter. Annually, consumers worldwide drink 189 billion liters of beer, but only 24 million liters of wine. While drinking habits may peak during certain times of the year such as holidays, the consumption of beverages remains fairly consistent and rarely makes huge changes in consumption from one day to the next. The changing seasons do have a great effect on the types and styles of beers consumed, as more people start to prefer light and portable beers. When pool or beach parties come to mind, canned beers logically make sense; after all, we would not want to risk broken glass in an environment where people walk around in their bare feet. To commemorate the start of summer, check out this special Cans Edition of craft beers to try this summer, all of which you can find at your local bottle/can shop in Southern California.

5. Epic Brewing‘s Brainless On Raspberries

Heading into the summer, we leave behind the flavors that we tend to want during cooler climates, which include “dark” flavors like chocolate or spices that traditionally warm us up. Now we want lighter, refreshing flavors, especially fruits. Regardless of the type of fruit, any fruit can help us cool down, and Epic Brewing has captured that perfectly with their Brainless series. While the Brainless series of Belgian ales comes in multiple flavors, the Brainless On Raspberries highlights the fruit flavoring the best. The raspberries version clocks in at 9.1%, a hefty ale with hints of raspberry and bubble gum aromas, while the raspberry fruit comes out very well yet does not inundate the palate. With such a bold taste, Brainless On Raspberries stands well on its own as a delightful treat to drink.

4. Anderson Valley Brewing Company‘s Briney Melon Gose

In the summertime, people crave sweet refreshing flavors. Most fruits provide this, but some come off as more refreshing than others, especially citrus and melons. Many breweries have started to use watermelons in their ales, including Anderson Valley Brewing Company. People typically associate watermelons with picnics and the outdoors, and Anderson Valley has captured that perfectly with their Briney Melon Gose. At only 4.2% abv, this gose boasts a thirst-quenching tartness balanced with watermelon flavors and aromas. The gentle addition of sea salt creates a harmonious blend of acidity and fruit sweetness that leads to a clean dry finish. Enjoy this brew the next time your find yourself lounging outdoors.

3. Victory Brewing Company‘s Cage Radler

When the weather warms up, we want something to refresh our bodies. Citrus flavors complete this task quite well, and Victory Brewing has a grasp on that. The summer weather can result in strange things, from absolute dry heat to monsoonal humidity to hail in the desert and lots of thunderstorms. Regardless of what mother nature throws at you, you can always enjoy a Cage Radler from Victory Brewing. This combination of a shandy and radler combines the freshness of lemonade with the crisp finish of a lager. The notes of lemonade, lemon zest, and grains will tickle your scent senses. At just 3.0% abv, Cage Radler will make you feel good in more ways than one.

2. Ska Brewing Company‘s Mexican Logger

Summertime usually means swimming pools, beaches, and outdoor grilling. Grilling usually reminds us of meats on the grill, such as steaks, barbecue, and carne asada. Mexican food goes great on the grill, and a nice cold lager pairs great with grilled meats as well, something that Ska Brewing has realized. No stranger to crossovers, Ska Brewing has a wide selection of brews coming out of their home in Colorado, and that selection includes their summer seasonal release, the Mexican Logger. As the name suggests, this Mexican-style lager has a pale yellow color along with aromas of pale grains and grassy hops. At 5.2% abv, the Mexican Logger goes down easy with its light body and nice flavor, making it a great beer to enjoy with your outdoor grill food.

1. Uinta Brewing Company‘s Sum’r Summer Ale

When you crave a drink in the summer time, you want something refreshing for your palate, something that will not inundate your senses. For a crisp, refreshing summertime ale, take a look at what Uinta Brewing has. Despite their location in a cold area, Uinta has a history of great beers and awards to prove it. They recently just put out their summer seasonal beer, Sum’r Summer Ale. This organic ale pours a nice golden body made with light malts and Sorachi hops, an uncommon hop from Japan. At only 4.0% abv, the clean citrusy flavor makes it a great ale to enjoy poolside or anywhere else out in the sun.

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San Diego Steampunk March Meeetup
6:30 pm – 9:30 pm, March 28
Fuddruckers, Mira Mesa, San Diego
http://www.sdsteampunk.com/

Mix and mingle with other steampunk enthusiasts tonight in Mira Mesa.

Avery Brewing Night @ Far Bar
7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, March 29
Far Bar, Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.farbarla.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/1723947904486830/

Little Tokyo’s Far Bar will have a bunch of Avery Brewing beers on tap this Tuesday night. Stop on by and enjoy a cold one or two.

Epic Brewing Tap Takeover
4:00 pm – 10:00 pm, March 30
Blue Palms Brewhouse, Hollywood
http://www.bluepalmsbrewhouse.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/190006874713410/

Epic Brewing will take over the taps at Blue Palms Brewhouse in Hollywood this Wednesday evening. This event has no cover charge – simply show up, and enjoy a few cold ones.

2nd Annual SOCO Uncorked
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm, March 31
South Coast Collection, Costa Mesa
http://southcoastcollection.com/soco-uncorked/

Enjoy small bites, wine sips, and live music this Thursday evening at the SOCO Mix Mart in Costa Mesa. General admission costs $75 presale or $95 at the door, and starts at 6pm. VIP admission costs $100, and starts at 5pm. All attendees receive unlimited food and drink samples while supplies last.

Ragnar Relay So Cal 2016
5:00 am – 8:00 pm, April 1-2
Waterfront Beach Resort, Huntington Beach
http://www.runragnar.com/event-detail/relay/southerncalifornia

Take part in an epic overnight relay race that stretches from Orange County down to San Diego this weekend starting Friday morning. Grab a team, grab supplies, and make the trek from point A to point B, finally finishing at Crown Point in Pacific Beach.

First Fridays
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, April 1
Various locations
Long Beach: http://firstfridayslongbeach.com/
Venice: http://www.abbotkinney1stfridays.com/

This monthly artwalk occurs on the first Friday of every month. Each location offers different activities, but most will contain food & drink specials, art exhibits & displays, street performers, and more. Venice and Long Beach have the two largest gatherings of all First Fridays. Other locations include Westchester, Fullerton, and City of Industry. Most First Fridays locations cost nothing to attend, while the local businesses uphold their standard rules (e.g. bars 21+ only).

4th Annual VinDiego – San Diego Wine & Food Festival
6:00 pm – 8:30 pm, April 1
3:00 pm – 7:00 pm, April 2
NTC Liberty Station, San Diego
http://www.vindiego.com/

VinDiego returns this year, bigger and better! On Friday, select small tastings and seminars will take place to allow guests to taste and learn about different wines. On Saturday afternoon at Liberty Station, enjoy tastings of over 75 different wines from California’s top wineries, and delicious eats from many of San Diego’s top restaurants and chefs. General admission presale costs $105 and allows entry at 4pm, while VIP admission costs $135 and allows entry at 3pm.

Hardcore Punk Night @ Characters Sports Bar
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, April 1
Characters Sports Bar, Pomona
http://www.gonzopresents.com/event/243003

Release some inner aggression at this hardcore punk night this Friday night in Pomona. The cover for this show costs $5. No one under 21 may enter. Guests can find plenty of free street parking in the area, and can avoid paying to park in the adjacent lot.

The Secret Affair – 60’s Night
9:00 pm – 1:00 am, April 1
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach
http://www.alexsbar.com/event/1133197-secret-affair-long-beach/

Occurring on every month’s first Friday, this 60’s night at Alex’s Bar will play all vinyl music of motown, northern soul, boogaloo, 60’s pop, and more. Feel free to dress up too, as the bar staff will hold costume contests and dance contests.

2016 Formula E Long Beach ePrix
7:00 am – 4:00 pm, April 2
Long Beach Grand Prix Track, Long Beach
http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/calendar/2016-long-beach.aspx

Check out the world’s first fully-electric racing series this Saturday on the same track as the Long Beach Grand Prix. This Saturday will represent round six of the year-long racing tournament. General admission costs $30 for adults or $20 for children and seniors.

BeerFit San Diego 2016
9:00 am – 2:00 pm, April 2
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego
http://runbeerfit.com/event/san-diego/

Run a 5k while drinking beer. If you think you can handle this, registration starts at $50.

21st Annual Uptown Whittier Spring Antique Street Faire
9:00 am – 3:00 pm, April 2
Greenleaf Avenue, Uptown Whittier
http://whittieruptown.org/faire/

Check out over 90 vendors selling collectibles, jewelry, art, furniture, glassware, and more at this street fair this Saturday. Free to attend for all ages, guests will find many rare merchandise from local businesses and home vendors. Guests can dine at any of the local establishments, which will remain open under their normal business hours. Guests can park for free on the street in adjacent neighborhoods.

24th Annual Riverside Airshow
9:00 am – 4:00 pm, April 2
Riverside Airport, Riverside
http://www.riversideairshow.com/

See all things aviation at this FREE and all-ages air show at the Riverside Airport this Saturday.

A Current Affair: Pop-Up Vintage Marketplace
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, April 2-3
Cooper Design Space, Downtown Los Angeles
http://itsacurrentaffair.com/

Check out over 40 vendors selling vintage apparel and accessories this Saturday in Downtown Los Angeles. Regular admission costs $12 and starts at 12pm, while early entry for 10am costs $20.

6th Annual Brew With A View
10:00 am – 8:00 pm, April 2
Packinghouse Brewing, Riverside
http://www.pbbeer.com/

Watch the Riverside Airshow from Packinghouse Brewing this Saturday, free of charge. They will have mobile food vendors, live music, and of course, lots of beer.

Long Beachland
11:00 am – 2:00 pm, April 2
Art Theatre Long Beach, Retro Row, Long Beach
http://www.arttheatrelongbeach.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/1671099253179679/

Enjoy a local comedy slide show this Saturday in Long Beach. Admission costs $29.

5th Annual Winners’ Circle BBQ Championship
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, April 2
Santa Anita Park, Arcadia
http://santaanitabbq.com/

Enjoy some traditional BBQ meats this Saturday afternoon at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia. Admission to this all-ages food fest costs $5 per person, and once inside, tasting tickets cost $1 each. Each vendor takes a varying amount of tickets depending on the item offered.

Spring 2016 Brewery Art Walk
11:00 am – 6:00 pm, April 2-3
Brewery Art Association, Los Angeles
http://breweryartwalk.com/

This FREE semiannual art walk features hundreds of residents artists showcasing their finest work. Guests may even purchase art they like from the artists. Free to park and enter for all ages, the facility even includes an in-house restaurant, so bring your friends and family to look at some great art.

San Diego Craft Beer Relay
11:00 am – 8:00 pm, April 2
Bates Nut Farm, Valley Center
http://www.craftbeerrelay.com/

Basically, a four-person relay team takes on a 5k obstacle course while sampling craft beer along the way. If you think you have a group that can handle this, registration costs $289 per team.

2016 San Diego Uncorked Wine Festival
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, April 2
Embarcadero Marina Park North, San Diego
http://uncorkedwinefestivals.com/san-diego-wine-festival/

Enjoy a wine festival with over 60 different wines, food trucks, live music, and more. General admission costs $55 and starts at 2pm, while VIP admission costs $65 and starts at 1pm. All attendees receive unlimited wine tastings while supplies last. Food comes at a separate cost, so bring cash for food. No one under 21 may attend.

Meet The Brewer: Good Beer Company
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, April 2
Stateside Crafts, Long Beach
http://www.statesidecrafts.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/1779973905558798/

This Saturday in Long Beach, meet the brewers from Good Beer Company, and try a flight of their beers as well for $7.

King Harbor Brewing 2nd Anniversary Celebration
2:00 pm – 6:00 pm, April 2
King Harbor Brewing, Redondo Beach
http://kingharborbrewing.com/event/2nd-anniversary/

Redondo Beach’s King Harbor Brewing turns two years old this week, and to celebrate, they will hold a beer tasting event this Saturday at their tasting room. General admission costs $30 and comes with a souvenir glass, unlimited beer pours, and access to the dessert bar. VIP admission costs $40, and also includes a bottle of their anniversary brew.

2016 World Pillow Fight Day
3:00 pm – 6:00 pm, April 2
Worldwide
http://pillowfightday.com/

Ever participate in a flash mob? No, not the kind of flash mob where everyone breaks out in dance. I speak of the infamous pillow fight flash mob. On April 2nd, communities around the world will gather to unleash a fray feather-fueled frenzy on unsuspecting combatants. Due to the unorganized nature of a flash mob, no one can control what occurs, so anyone can join in, yet anything goes. Note that most locations take place in dense areas, so prepare to pay for parking. At the time, nobody has announced any Southern Californian events. Check the website for confirmed locations throughout the world.

Night Nation Run – Orange County
6:00 pm – 12:00 am, April 2
OC Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa
http://www.nightnationrun.com/orange-county-2016/

People always seem to want to find any way possible to make running less boring. Introducing Night Nation Run, a glow run that now involves EDM. Run a course complete with lights, glow sticks, lasers, EDM, and more. Registration costs $30 presale or $60 once presale registration runs out, and includes a t-shirt, a glow necklace, a goodie bag, and access to the after-party with more EDM.

Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival
11:00 am – 4:00 pm, April 3
Bowers Museum, Santa Ana
http://www.bowers.org/index.php/education-programs/family-programs/event/161-japanese-cherry-blossom-festival

Celebrate this traditional cultural springtime festival this Sunday afternoon in Santa Ana. With just the price of admission into the museum, visitors get access to arts & crafts, live entertainment, cultural food & drinks, and more.

5th Annual Chocolate Festival
11:00 am – 4:00 pm, April 3
Maritime Museum, San Diego
http://sdmaritime.org/visit/public-events/chocolate-festival/

This Sunday, guests of all ages can enjoy plenty of chocolate to eat, demos, arts & crafts, and more. Museum admission includes access to the chocolate area, which costs $17 for adults, with discounts applicable to seniors, military, and children.

Montrose Brew Fest 2016
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, April 3
Benitoite, Montrose, Glendale
http://www.montrosebrewfest.org/

A beer and food tasting event comes to Glendale this Sunday afternoon. General admission costs $35 and starts at 1pm, while VIP admission costs $45 and starts at 12pm. All attendees receive unlimited food and beer samples while supplies last. No one under 21 may attend.

Coronado Brewing Can Launch Pool Party
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, April 3
Lafayette Hotel Swim Club & Bungalows, North Park, San Diego
http://coronadobrewing.com/cans

Coronado Brewing will start distributing their canned beverages, and to celebrate this start, they will have a free pool party this Sunday in North Park. Guests can enjoy the live music, take a dip in the pool, enjoy some cold ones, and savor some local food. While this event costs nothing to get into, guests should bring cash to buy food and drinks.

Masters Of Taste 2016
3:00 pm – 7:00 pm, April 3
Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena
http://mastersoftastela.com/

Sample food and drinks from some of Los Angeles County’s top chefs and experts this Sunday afternoon in Pasadena. General admission costs $125, starts at 4pm, and provides unlimited food and drink samples while supplies last. VIP admission costs $225, starts at 3pm, and also includes access to a VIP area.

The age of the domestic beer monopoly in the United States shrinks with each passing day. The beer industry around the world dominates the alcoholic beverage industry, as consumers drink 3,500 bottles of beer for every one glass of wine – that makes 8,000 times more beer consumed by the liter. Annually, consumers worldwide drink 189 billion liters of beer, but only 24 million liters of wine. While drinking habits may peak during certain times of the year such as holidays, the consumption of beverages remains fairly consistent and rarely makes huge changes in consumption from one day to the next. The changing seasons do have a great effect on the types and styles of beers consumed, as more people start to prefer full-bodied beers. While fall should tune the weather down a bit, Southern California remains hot as ever. Tons of pumpkin beers start to surface around this time, and perhaps the people have gotten tired of seeing pumpkin beers everywhere. However, some breweries continue to brew new pumpkin beers, reimagining how we will perceive these fall-style beers. If you still have room for pumpkin beer in your system, read on for five fall beers that I recommend trying this season, all of which you can find at your local bottle shop throughout Southern California.

5. Elysian Brewing‘s Punkuccino Coffee Pumpkin Ale

This past year, a series of “sellouts” have rocked America’s craft beer industry, as the big companies start to fear the rising power of microbreweries. Craft beer has reached an all-time high as far as popularity and sales go, and the big companies view craft beer as a threat, and has started to buy out (or partially buy) some of the more popular microbreweries. Though these sellouts routinely occur year to year, perhaps the role of the catalyst for this year’s tumble belongs to Elysian Brewing. I remember visiting one of Elysian’s locations in Seattle two years ago, and I instantly fell in love with their tasting room and brew selection. Now just because they now belong to a large corporation does not mean I like their beers any less. Elysian still produces some amazing beers, such as their Punkuccino Coffee Pumpkin Ale. At only 5.0% abv, this brew carries aromas of coffee, light pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spices with notes of toasty malts that join the flavor chorus of Stumptown coffee and pumpkin. Seattle breweries love their pumpkin beer, and Seattleites love their coffee, so why not combine the two?

4. Anderson Valley‘s Pinchy Jeek Barl

As much as I love craft beer, I do not possess a wealth of knowledge about the history of it. While I cannot explain the origins of aging beer in barrels, I along with countless others appreciate whomever discovered the process of barrel-aging beers. With this process, the majority of breweries around the world now have at least one barrel in their brewery holding a brew that will turn out mature, tasty, and stronger. If you intend to try a barrel-aged beer this season, look towards Anderson Valley. I always underestimate Anderson Valley because, like another known brewery, they tend to stay in the middle of the fray instead of trying to stand out. Perhaps they do this on purpose to avoid controversy by making good beers without getting the attention of the big companies. This means that Anderson Valley can continue to churn out beers such as Pinchy Jeek Barl. Barrel-aged for six months in Wild Turkey Bourbon barrels, this 8.5% pumpkin ale delivers a silky body and sweet caramel flavors with additions of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice complementing hints of coconut, bourbon, and vanilla imparted by oak aging. Following a wallop of a body, this brew finishes smooth and creamy. I strongly suggest sharing this bottle with a friend or two – finishing an entire bottle in one sitting will give you an early night.

3. Epic Brewing‘s Fermentation Without Representation

Ever since I discovered Epic Brewing‘s Exponential Series, I have yet to experience disappointment with any of their beers. Epic Brewing truly lives up to their name with the beers that they continually push out, and other breweries recognize the quality behind Epic. For this year’s batch of Fermentation Without Representation, Epic Brewing collaborated with DC Brau to brew this bold 8.0% abv beer with loads of seasonal spices & flavors with a delicate balance of malts, hops, and pumpkin. This beer explodes with aromas of sweet spices giving way to chocolate, roasted malt, fresh-cut pumpkin, clove, fresh Madagascar vanilla beans, nutmeg, and allspice. Not for the faint of heart, Fermentation Without Representation goes all-in with its flavor, leaving nothing to the imagination. If you seek something bold to close your night, look no further than Epic Brewing’s Fermentation Without Representation.

2. Stone Brewing Co.‘s Vertical Epic 08.08.08

Approaching two decades in the industry, Stone Brewing shows no signs of waning, despite co-founder Greg Koch stepping down from the CEO position. To commemorate 20 years in the craft beer industry, Stone Brewing will launch their 20th Anniversary Encore Series, a lineup of beers that celebrate Stone Brewing’s amazing history and their incredible lineup of memorable beers that have since retired. To kick off this series, Stone Brewing has brought Vertical Epic 08.08.08 out of retirement to once again tackle our taste buds. This 8.9% Belgian-style IPA uses a Belgian yeast strain during fermentation to provide a complex aroma of clove, pepper, and tropical fruits to generate a flavor profile composed of banana, spice, and citrus. Just like many did in 2008, you can enjoy this brew fresh or cellar it to enjoy a smoother and more mature flavor – I suggest not exceeding three years with this one. Keep an eye on Stone Brewing during this next year as they release other anniversary ales and collaboration ales on the road to the 20th anniversary celebration in August next year.

1. Howe Sound Brewing‘s Pumpkineater

Just because the United States has just exceeded 4,000 breweries does not mean that other countries cannot enjoy the fun as well. A handful of European countries thrive with their precious beers, and even Canada loves their beer. Up in British Columbia not too far past the Washington state border lies the Howe Sound, and at the far end in the area known as Squamish lies a local brewery & inn called Howe Sound Brewing. Basically a bed & breakfast (BnB), this brewery and inn in one allows visitors to come enjoy all the brews offered by Howe Sound Brewing, and stay the night to avoid any drunken mishaps at the end of the day. Howe Sound Brewing delivers a solid lineup of brews typical of any microbrewery, plus some unique seasonal brews, such as their fall seasonal imperial pumpkin ale, the Pumpkineater. Howe Sound Brewing brews this high-gravity pumpkin ale with barley, fresh-roasted pumpkin, hops, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and star anise, resulting in an 8.0% abv beer low in IBUs. Sold in 33.8oz bottles, each bottle can serve two to four people. If you need a craft beer to serve to a party this season, make sure you grab some Pumpkineater from your local bottle shop.

Newport Beach Restaurant Week
January 17-26
Participating restaurants in Newport Beach
http://www.newportbeachdining.com/newport-beach-restaurant-week/default.aspx

This 10-day period of restaurant specials takes place at participating restaurants in Newport Beach. Many restaurants will serve special prix-fixe three-course meals ranging from as low as $10 to as high as $40, or more for a few select locations.

10th Annual San Diego Restaurant Week
January 19-24
Participating restaurants in San Diego
http://sandiegorestaurantweek.com/

Select restaurants throughout San Diego County will offer prix-fixe meal deals during this 6-day period. Lunches range from $10 to $20, while dinners range from $25 to $45.

Downtown Long Beach Pepper Week
January 20-26
Participating restaurants in Downtown Long Beach
http://www.downtownlongbeach.org/Latest-News-Detail/Downtown-Long-Beach-Pepper-Week?id=65896

Pepper lovers will want to check out Downtown Long Beach this week, as over a dozen restaurants will serve special pepper courses/plates.

Los Angeles Restaurant Week
January 20-31
Various locations
http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/dinela-los-angeles-restaurant-week

This dining event showcases the best in food Los Angeles has to offer. All participating restaurants will feature prix-fixe menus for locals and visitors alike. Lunches range from $15-25, while dinners range from $25-45.

Epic Brewing – Meet & Greet @ Beachwood BBQ
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, January 21
Beachwood BBQ, Seal Beach
http://www.facebook.com/events/379834922154061/

Meet the team from Epic Brewing Company, and enjoy some of their uncommon beers this Tuesday night at Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach.

2014 OC Music Awards Showcase Series Night 3
7:30 pm – 11:30 pm, January 21
Detroit Bar, Costa Mesa
http://www.facebook.com/events/232123006956288/

This free and all-ages show will feature some of the nominated musicians for the OC Music Awards. Each night features five different local artists performing and competing for the title of Best Live Band awarded at the OC Music Awards in March. This series of free shows occurs every Tuesday night all the way through the finals on February 25.

False Confession @ Billy O’s in Ventura
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, January 23
Billy O’s Restaurant & Saloon, Ventura
http://www.facebook.com/events/699792706711057/

Catch False Confession, RF7, Anti-You, and The Loads at this punk rock show this Thursday night. Admission costs $5. No one under 21 may enter.

The Adolescents & Pulley @ Borderline Bar & Grill
7:30 pm – 1:30 am, January 24
Borderline Bar & Grill, Thousand Oaks
http://www.borderlinebarandgrill.com/view_event.php?recordID=140

Big names in punk rock come to Thousand Oaks this Friday night, as The Adolescents and Pulley co-headline this small show. Tickets to this show cost $13 presale and $15 at the door. No one under 18 may enter.

Alex’s Bar 14th Anniversary Party
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, January 24 http://www.alexsbar.com/event/158224
9:00 pm – 2:00 am, January 25 http://www.alexsbar.com/event/158365
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach

Alex’s Bar in Long Beach celebrates their 14th anniversary this week with some mixed back-to-back shows, featuring punk rock bands such as Final Conflict, Bl’Ast, Swingin’ Utters, and more between Friday and Saturday nights. Tickets to either night costs $15 presale and $17 at the door. No one under 21 may attend.

Into The Wild – Black Star Canyon
8:00 am – 11:00 am, January 25
Black Star Canyon, Silverado, Irvine
http://www.intothewildoctrailrun.com/

Seeking a challenging run through the wilderness? Check out Into The Wild, a 9.2k course running through trails of rocks, dirt, and more uneven ground. Registration costs $40 presale, and $45 on the day of the race.

Los Angeles Fitness Expo
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, January 25-26
Los Angeles Convention Center, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.thefitexpo.com/la.asp

Experience everything related to fitness at this expo coming this weekend. Single day admission costs $20, while the weekend combo only costs $30. All attendees receive access the entire exhibit floor, competitions, seminars, demos, autograph sessions, free samples, and more.

Monterey Park 2014 Lunar New Year Festival
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, January 25-26
Garvey Avenue between Garfield & Alhambra, Downtown Monterey Park
http://www.ci.monterey-park.ca.us/index.aspx?page=817

Celebrate the upcoming Lunar New Year at this free all-ages festival in Downtown Monterey Park. Visitors will find food, drinks, arts & crafts, specialty merchandise, live entertainment, rides, games, and more. This festival sees tens of thousands of visitors annually, so plan your arrival and commute accordingly.

Blackmarket Bakery’s 1st Anniversary Party
11:00 am – 2:00 pm, January 25
Blackmarket Bakery, Costa Mesa
http://www.facebook.com/events/683216481700803/

Celebrate a year with Blackmarket Bakery as they throw a party for their customers, free to the public. Enjoy free samples, receive 15% off all breads & pastries, check out the new line of products, and more all this Saturday afternoon.

Bottle Share #11
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, January 25
38 Degrees Ale House, Alhambra
http://www.facebook.com/events/1442653839286395/

Brew your own beer? Got an interesting craft beer to share? Bring it to 38 Degrees’ monthly bottle share event, taking place this Saturday afternoon, and discover other great beers too. Free to attend, guests should bring approximately 40-50 ounce’s worth of beer. The restaurant has its own free parking lot.

Downtown Sounds
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, January 25
Center Street Promenade, Anaheim
http://www.facebook.com/events/612598072121343/

This FREE and ALL-AGES event takes place on Center Street in Downtown Anaheim. Over a dozen local bands will play their music, while Anaheim Brewery will host beer tents to serve guests.

Skate Punk Fest 2014
6:00 pm – 12:00 am, January 25
The Glass House, Pomona
http://www.theglasshouse.us/event/423811-angry-samoans-jfa-pomona/

An all-star lineup of SoCal punk rock will tear up Pomona this Saturday night, as Angry Samoans, JFA, Naked Aggression, Narcoleptic Youth, Whitekaps, and Destruction Made Simple all will play under one roof. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $15. Plenty of free parking exists in the area, so avoid paying for parking if possible.

CH3 @ Royal Dive Bar
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, January 25
Royal Dive Bar, Oceanside
http://www.facebook.com/events/1410641622510040/

Enjoy some local punk rock in Oceanside this Saturday night. Entry costs $10. No one under 21 may enter.

Bl’Ast!, Final Conflict, Systematic Abuse & Evacuate @ Brick By Brick
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, January 25
Brick By Brick, San Diego
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/542234

San Diego gets a dose of original hardcore punk this Saturday night. Tickets to this show cost $12 presale and $15 at the door. No one under 21 may attend.

Eagle Rock Brewery 4th Anniversary Party
12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, January 26
Eagle Rock Brewery, Eagle Rock
http://eaglerockbrewery.com/events/4-year-anniversary-celebration

Eagle Rock Brewery turns four this weekend, and to celebrate, the brewery will celebrate in style right at home at the tasting room. Guests pay $20 to receive four drinks and a souvenir glass for this occasion. In addition, a handful of food trucks will stop by to serve the masses.

The age of the domestic beer monopoly in the United States shrinks with each passing day. The beer industry around the world dominates the alcoholic beverage industry, as consumers drink 3,500 bottles of beer for every one glass of wine – that makes 8,000 times more beer consumed by the liter. Annually, consumers worldwide drink 189 billion liters of beer, but only 24 million liters of wine. This veiled obscurity of wine slightly explains the phenomenon that more people drink, care about, and talk about wine, as the underdogs wanted to make a statement about the wonders of wine. We can thank the media for the different portrayals of each drink. The media portrays wine as a fine drink for educated folks, while the media portrays beer as a lazy or fat man’s drink. This old stereotype has shifted the portion of the population that drink each type. In the course of ten years in America, beer drinkers decreased 11% while wine drinkers increased 8%. The typical domestic beer brands (Budweiser, Coors, Miller, PBR, etc) dominate the market, and control distribution of beer in the United States. As much, this made it extremely difficult for small breweries to get their beers out very far from their origin, and in fact, 95% of all micro breweries in the United States cannot distribute beer outside of their home state. So when a brewery can finally venture beyond their state, beer lovers can rejoice over the presence of “new kids” in town. If you thirst for a great brew from outside of California, check out these breweries that have, in one way or another, landed their beers into Californian restaurants, pubs, and bars.

5. Elysian Brewing

Having officially lived through the Fall season for two weeks, we can already enjoy the perks of Fall. For example, the weather has changed from excessively hot to the kind of weather where you wear a jacket in the morning and a tank top in the afternoon. Also in the Fall, coffee lovers rejoice over the return of Pumpkin Spice Lattés from Starbucks. Fall in general reminds us all of pumpkins, yams, sweet potatoes, and other similar produce. At this time, I would like to thank Beer Advocate for their integral role in this year’s popularization of pumpkin beers with a simple innocent retweet that managed to infuriate their followers to the level of a headless horseman. When craft beer enthusiasts think of pumpkin beers, they immediately envision Elysian Brewing. Elysian has always had a penchant for pumpkin beers, as evident in their annual Great Pumpkin Beer Fest, which returns TONIGHT as its 9th year running in a row. As one of Washington’s micro breweries from their first wave, Elysian has solidified a legacy for themselves, especially in the Seattle area. Here in Southern California, Elysian does not yet actively distribute kegs for tap purposes. However, Elysian has collaborated with New Belgium to make a beer called The Trip XVI, a farmhouse rye ale, that you can find in select bars. If you can still find it, look up La Citrueille Celeste De Citracado, a collaboration beer between Elysian, Stone Brewing, and The Bruery, that you can currently find in bottles only. Check out the rest of Elysian’s lineup too, as they make more great beers than just pumpkin beers.

4. Uinta Brewing

Mainstream media has done quite a job over the past few decades of giving beer a negative connotation. Television shows like Married With Children or King Of The Hill show men lazily drinking beer and doing other manly activities, like gambling or standing around doing nothing. However, the media fails to show the artistic side of beer. The art of brewing requires intense studying and inherent knowledge of the industry or ingredients necessary to brew beer. In addition to the brewing, micro brewery owners need artists to give life and a face to their brand. Consumers will either see a bottle or tap handle first before trying the beer, so a good first impression can influence opinions of the beer. If you seek fancy beer art, take a look at some of the beers from Uinta Brewing. This Salt Lake City brewpub has had a foot in Southern California for at least a few years by now, but most people tend to overlook them for other prominent breweries like Deschutes, Great Divide, or Avery. Although Uinta’s distribution reaches California, they have yet to cement an image of their company in the minds of Californians. This all changed with the improvisation of their themed lines of beers. Their standard beers belong to their Classic Line, while their Organic Line, which contains tasty brews like Baba Black Lager, features a simplistic cover art for the beer that looks like a t-shirt design. Californians may best recognize beers from Uinta’s Crooked Line, home of the popular Tilted Smile bottle. The Crooked Line consists of Uinta’s odd or strong brews that do not fit in the other categories. Uinta strongly supports the local art community, and looks to them for inspiration for naming beers in the Crooked Line. The artwork for Tilted Smile in particular came from a local artist named Lea Bell. Explore all of Uinta’s beers, and see for yourself how they give back to the community more than just refreshing beers.

3. Ninkasi Brewing

Not one to shy away from keeping up with the rapid craft beer movement in California, the Pacific Northwest has rallied up some of the finest minds in the craft beer industry to open up shop in either Washington or Oregon. Breweries like Deschutes and Rogue have helped to put Oregon on the map, and Washington has the nationally-known Pyramid near Seattle. A recent magazine article claims that Washington has over 190 breweries; however, San Diego County alone has over 200! Any craft beer enthusiast should feel ecstatic over the growth of craft beer in other states, especially neighboring ones. It appears that Southern California has already felt that away about out-of-state breweries, especially Ninkasi Brewing. From Eugene, Oregon comes this powerhouse of a micro brewery with an amazing team of people dedicated to the company and its products. Anyone familiar with Golden Road in Los Angeles will definitely see a resemblance here. Although unrelated, they both share the same vision and path, and the customer fan bases prove it. Ninkasi brews a variety of beers, and releases many beers in different series based on its style or strength. For example, customers can only find the Radiant Northwest Pale Ale during the summer. Other series have to do with the ingredients or style of the beer, such as lagers or the single-hop series. Ninkasi has even gone far enough to devise food recipes utilizing their beers as ingredients. Of course, one could swap out their beers for something similar, but then you cannot call that an official creation of Ninkasi ingenuity. Check with your favorite local craft beer bar to see if they carry Ninkasi on tap, and grab a taste of the Pacific Northwest.

2. Tenaya Creek Brewery

Have you ever truly gotten stranded in the middle of a desert? What would you do if you could not locate any water or plants nearby? In the middle of the desert, life cannot exist without generations of adaptation to adjust for the climate. Somewhere in history, a genius decided to open a resort in the middle of the desert. Many decades later, we now have Las Vegas, proof that even in the middle of nowhere, one can still make something of it. Poor Las Vegas – fully a tourist destination, but never a place one would want to live in. To anyone it matters to, farm-to-table dinners cannot exist there, and neither can restaurants that use local sustainable ingredients due to no farms or naturally-occurring bodies of water. Today, we no longer have to worry about local craft beer in Vegas, thanks to Tenaya Creek Brewery. Located in northwest Las Vegas, Tenaya Creek makes the best of its location to crank out beers fitting for a Las Vegas audience. Sure Las Vegas has the Yard House with over a hundred craft beers on tap, but sometimes you just want something local, not flown in. Tenaya Creek’s beers fit the Las Vegas crowd – not too strong, but stands out from the crowd with some of the beer names or something on the cover art. For example, their Monsoon IPA depicts a white tiger-riding Vegas-style dancer on The Strip. Other beers, such as Old Jackalope, captures an audience based on taste and strength. You can now find Tenaya Creek beers at a handful of restaurants, bars, and pubs in Southern California, so reach out to your favorite local spot, and tell the bartender or server how much you love it so they can continue to order more.

1. Epic Brewing Company

A brewery’s name means everything. One cannot lead a successful brewery with a bad name, but with enough time, renaming the brewery can change the minds of those early birds. Breweries do not always need a fancy name – a simple name that evokes emotion will come in handy more often than big names. Remember the Three Caballeros from Disney? The red bird had seven names: Panchito Romero Miguel Junipero Francisco Quintero González III, just for the heck of it, in case the third did not count. Simply Panchito would have worked in his case, as fans would still remember him no matter what. A simple name should still symbolize a characteristic of the object, so logically, Epic Brewing should make epic beer. Thankfully, here in Southern California, we no longer have to guess if they earned that name or not. Hailing from Salt Lake City, Epic Brewing did not select that name for no reason. Their beers get more and more epic the higher in level you go in their beers. They keep a standard line of beers in their Classic Series, but from there, escalate it higher to an Elevated Series, then finally an Exponential Series. In this Exponential Series, you will find the top shelf beers, as this line caters to the adventurous and bold explorers out there. Of particular note, the Brainless Raspberries does not resemble a framboise, as it does not come off as a sour beer. This Belgian-style ale gets infused with raspberries, so as you drink this beer, the perfect balance of raspberries comes through – not too much, and not too little. The Exponential Series also bravely features a gluten-free beer, brewed with sweet potato and molasses instead of the traditional malts and barley. I like the way this series operates, and have not found any disappointments with any of Epic’s beers. Found both in bottles and on tap in Southern California, you can also find Epic at most beer festivals in Southern California, so you have multiple avenues for satisfying your epic thirst.

With all these big beer fests going on around this time of year, we tend to overlook the smaller crowd. A beer fest comes with a handful of objectives: provide lots of beer for attendees to drink (quantity), or invite micro breweries that need exposure (quality). Oktoberfest provides a prime example of the former – attracting thousands of people to one location to guzzle bad overpriced beer. When you want to find good beers but have no idea where to start, a beer fest makes for a great place to start, as it exposes attendees to a variety of local beers. Some larger beer fests get dominated by larger companies like Budweiser or Corona, so in order to seek out the locals, we have to look at smaller fests. In terms of any type of food & beverage festival, size does not always mean everything, and The Factory’s Drink Good Beer Fest proves just that.

The Factory Gastropub in the Bixby Knolls neighborhood of Long Beach has always had a penchant for supporting the local beer scene. Everyday, customers will find taps stocked only with craft beers in the dining room. Every month, they host various beer-related events, such as tap takeovers, bottle shares, beer pairings, and homebrew meetings. The Factory strongly supports the homebrew movement, encouraging locals to take up brewing beer at home. This notion to support homebrewers activated the invocation of the Drink Good Beer Mash-Up & Homebrew Competition. This event combined a homebrew contest with a small beer fest, which saw the launch of Ohana Brewing‘s flagship beer last year. Now running for the second year in a row, the 2nd Annual Drink Good Beer Fest has grown to include more homebrew entrants and micro breweries in this event. Following last year’s launch, Congregation Ale House launched their new beer at this fest. For as little as $25 for presale admission, attendees received up to four hours with ten 4oz beer pours at this fest – plenty of time to get through it all. I even bought more drink tickets since I had exhausted my original allocation with an hour left to go.

Breweries in attendance: Figueroa Mountain Brewing, Noble Ale Works, Dudes’ Brewing, Kinetic Brewing, Firestone Walker, Sierra Nevada, Cismontane Brewing, Strand Brewing, Congregation Ale House, Stone Brewing, The Bruery, Smog City Brewing, Pizza Port, Latitude 33, Iron Fist Brewing, Golden Road Brewing, Ohana Brewing, Los Angeles Ale Works, Eagle Rock Brewery, New Belgium, Monkish Brewing, Epic Brewing, Karl Strauss, Hangar 24, Ritual Brewing, Bootlegger’s Brewery, Valiant Brewing, El Segundo Brewing, Tenaya Creek Brewery

Of particular note, Los Angeles Ale Works decided to not only bring beer like everyone else, but also to bring craft soda. I have seen homebrewers and micro breweries head in the direction of craft sodas, so to see it in fruition here makes the vision appear more real. It also helps that, for an outdoors festival, they carried the only free non-alcoholic beverage. To sample at this fest, they brough Ketsara, a Thai Tea soda.

Nearly every brewery brought up to two different beers to try. For a small fest, one would expect to see standard beers available instead of the fancy stuff found indoors at popular establishments. However, a few of the breweries decided to man up and bring strong stuff. A handful of the beers floated around the 9% range, but Firestone Walker wins the strongest of the fest for bringing their §ucaba, a 12.5% barleywine. Other beers I got to try:

  • Hangar 24 Brewery – Kirschen, a 3.9% Berliner Weisse (not pictured)
  • Epic Brewing – Santa Cruz, a 5.8% brown ale
  • Eagle Rock Brewery – Unionist, a 5.4% Belgian ale
  • Monkish Brewery – Seme Della Vita, a 9.8% Belgian Tripel
  • Smog City Brewing – L.A. Saison, a 5.8% saison
  • Karl Strauss – Peanut Butter Cup, a 5.8% porter
  • Firestone Walker – §ucaba, a 12.5% American barleywine
  • Tenaya Creek – Old Jackalope, a 10.4% barleywine
  • Iron Fist Brewing – Dubbel Fisted, an 8.1% dubbel
  • Golden Road Brewing – Hudson Imperial Rye Porter, an 8.5% strong porter
  • Kinetic Brewing – Saison Été, a 6.6% farmhouse ale
  • Dudes’ Brewing – Grinning Face, a 6.2% American porter

At the start of the beer fest, The Factory’s owner Natalie welcomed Congregation’s owner Travis as he blessed the beer and the day for everyone to enjoy.

At the end of the beer fest, the homebrew contest organizers finally announced the winners of the competition. Their homebrew will receive limited distribution in the South LA/Orange County area for a limited time.

Who said size matters? We have not seen so much content in so little space since Slater’s 50/50 held a beer fest in the parking lot right outside their newest location. All the breweries brought so much beer, and most of them brought their strong stuff too, a rarity in small-size beer fests like this. A giant canopy provided enough shade for any attendee wanting to escape the hot sun, as well as the snacks table where attendees could purchase snacks, water, or food from the restaurant. Also, how often does a small beer fest last four hours? Most beer fests nowadays last only three hours, or four with a “VIP admission” that costs more than general admission. The Factory went in the right direction with this beer fest, as it serves multiple purposes, such as exposing people to new beer & breweries, and exposing people to The Factory, a gastropub in an otherwise family-friendly neighborhood. Stay tuned for this fest next year, and start thinking of beers to brew to enter into this competition!