Posts Tagged ‘Winter’

The last quarter of the year always makes for the busiest time of the year for just about anyone. Retail workers start working mandatory overtime, food industry workers start working additional weekends & nights, and most other workers have to work increased hours to meet quota by the year’s end. At the same time, many events start taking place, such as holiday parties, football parties, or lots of family events, such as holiday parades. Why would all of this take place at the same time when most people lack time management skills? Luckily, some events can work around your schedule, and work with you to brighten up your holiday season. For those looking for a holiday party venue that works with your needs, look no further than Lucky Strike in Orange.

A bar & restaurant can only provide so much entertainment for parties, and Lucky Strike Orange has that plus bowling. Most visitors to Lucky Strike will find a menu with familiar American cuisine, as well as a full bar carrying all the essentials. However, most visitors may not immediately encounter Lucky Strike’s event/catering offerings. Upon entering the venue, guests can discover a smaller room to the left complete with its own set of bowling lanes. This represents the private party side, and Lucky Strike has recently revealed their holiday events menu. For Lucky Strike’s holiday menu, they offer a more unique selection of food than what they offer in the regular dining area. In addition to the food and drinks provided by Lucky Strike, Lucky Strike can bring in vendors to help with the party, such as a candy counter, photo booth, nitrogen ice cream bar, live DJ, and magician.

If your group or company has not yet decided on a venue for booking a holiday party, check out Lucky Strike at The Outlets at Orange. Explore Lucky Strike’s offerings on their Facebook and Twitter pages as well.

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The Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market returned to Grand Park in Downtown Los Angeles for its seventh year in a row this past weekend. This FREE two-day event features over a hundred different vendors and exhibitors selling various arts & crafts goods, ranging from apparel to accessories to miscellaneous home goods and more. The exhibitors, which consisted of artists, designers, bakers, crafters, and more, brought plenty of merchandise for the thousands of guests to browse and buy, just in time for the holidays. The Renegade Craft Fair typically sees a consistent crowd throughout the day at all of their events. Navigating the numerous aisles proved somewhat of a challenge with so many people around. This year’s holiday fair featured a mix of returning vendors and new vendors. Some of the returning vendors included Bad Pickle Tees, Pop Candy, Yarnover Truck, Hepp’s Salt, The Poster List, and more.

No one can truly go wrong at an event like this because it supports the local community. Not only can you acquire some really neat clothes or accessories that many other people may not own, but you support locals, meaning your money helps to stimulate the local economy instead of sending money to a corporation outside of the state, or even outside of the country. Of course, one does not need a fair like this to support independents. Anyone can find mom & pop shops everywhere, and purchasing from them helps more than just the business staff and owners. Supporting local businesses also supports the people, workers and customers, linked to that business. An occasion like Small Business Saturday does not exist simply for the purpose of spending even more money on holiday shopping – it promotes the awareness of small businesses and their effect on the local community. Take some time to appreciate the local wonders in your community, and you may find the outcome rewarding at best. Keep up with updates about local craft fairs by liking Renegade Craft Fair on Facebook and following them on Twitter.

The So Cal Winter Brew Fest returned this past Saturday for their third go at a beer tasting event. Following up from two beer festivals in Anaheim last year in June and August, this beer fest returned to the Phoenix Club in Anaheim, the site of the first So Cal Brew Fest, and featured over 30 breweries all pouring a couple of their refreshing brews. In addition to just beer, this festival also featured a few cideries and wineries for those who prefer that sort of thing. Operating much like their beer fest at Phoenix Club last year, the flat admission allowed attendees unlimited beer samples while supplies lasted. Attendees could find breweries set up both outside and under the big top, but whoever handled the music perhaps turned the volume up way too loud inside, so most people opted to remain outside. Aside from all the beer and live music, attendees found plenty of food trucks serving up yummy goodies, as well as games such as Jenga and cornhole.

For a weekend with plenty other beer festivals taking place, this event saw some fierce competition in attracting craft beer fans. It did appear that many local craft beer fans chose this festival over others, as the other festivals did require a long drive. In fact, some would even say that the organizer underestimated how many people would attend. As one of the major flops of the festival, they handled the entrance line poorly. Volunteers and security did not start checking ID’s and tickets until right at 12pm, leaving hundreds furious waiting in line to get in. People that arrived right at 12pm would not get in until an hour later. With the setup of the beer festival, they could have easily established the check-in at the venue’s outer gate, then have security hold everyone at the inner gate until 12pm hit. This way, those that arrived early could simply wait for security to open the gate, while those arriving right on time could still check in without having to wait in a long line. As for one more flop, by halfway through the beer festival, at least three breweries had ran out of beer already. Perhaps the breweries underestimated how many people would attend this festival? Regardless, this did not daunt the attendees, as they still had plenty of fun at this event, and they look like they want more.

A small beer fest that faced low attendance has grown to turn into a local favorite. I do expect the So Cal Brew Fest to return again next year, hopefully rectifying any mistakes after three festivals by now. Who knows what else the organizers have in store for their upcoming festivals this year? Keep an eye out for things to come from So Cal Brew Fest by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter. If going by their plan from last year, they should have two more festivals. I do not work for the organizer, so I cannot say for certain what and when their next beer festivals will take place.

With the turn of a new year, many people often make new year’s resolutions. Among the most common resolutions, losing weight and quitting smoking top that list year after year. Other common resolutions include money management (clearing debt and increasing savings), vacations/breaks, and less/stop drinking. Statistically, losing weight tops the list of resolutions that people actually complete, while reducing or quitting drinking fails the most. For those that did not resolve to reduce drinking or did not resolve to do anything about drinking, check out this list of five craft brews to seek out this winter in Southern California.

5. Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider‘s Winter Abbey Spice

While the craft beer phenomenon shows no signs of slowing down, the rise of craft beer has paved the way for other craft beverages to surface. In particular, craft ciders and sour ales have risen in popularity. Blenderies have surfaced to deliver sour ales, while many cideries have popped up all over the place, especially the Pacific Northwest, which also has the Washington Cider Week and Oregon Cider Week. Plenty of cideries have distributed their goods to Southern California by now, but not that many make seasonal ciders. If you seek a good winter cider, check out Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider. Reverend Nat’s has a substantial lineup of ciders, which includes their seasonal Winter Abbey Spice. With a staggering 7.4% abv, this traditional New England style cider contains hints of raisins, cinnamon, and nutmeg. You get the refreshment of an apple cider along with the subtle taste of winter.

4. Bootlegger’s Brewery‘s Mint Chocolate Porter

When you think about winter, you imagine visions of snow and cold weather. When eating or drinking, what foods come to mind regarding the cold? Well, to warm up, you have hot beverages like hot chocolate. For a cold feel, you have mints. Why not combine both for mint chocolate? Bootlegger’s Brewery has done that with their Mint Chocolate Porter. Measuring 6.2% abv, this brew truly tastes like mint chocolate candy with its spearmint and herbal hops supported by chocolate malts. Put together, you have a brew with a solid mint feel along with herbal hops, dark malts, brown sugar, and bittersweet chocolate. You cannot find a better way at drinking a mint chocolate candy than with Bootlegger’s Brewery’s Mint Chocolate Porter.

3. Ninkasi Brewing‘s Noir Milk Stout

Dark beers tend to remind us of other ingredients of that color. Seeing a dark beer usually means that one can expect to taste flavors of roasted malts, chocolate, and/or coffee. Between stouts and porters, the beer market has limitless different beers to choose from to get your dark beers on. If you want to narrow down the list of beers to choose from, perhaps consider keeping Ninkasi Brewing on your list. Ninkasi has a huge lineup of unique brews, and they do not appear to stop creating new beers any time soon. This winter, keep an eye out for their Noir Milk Stout. This dark treat has 7.6% abv with just enough IBUs to tickle your taste buds. This coffee milk stout combines roasted malts with cold-brewed coffee from Stumptown Coffee Roasters. The subtle sweetness from the milk sugar makes this beer reminiscent of the most satisfying cup of coffee, distinctive and delectable.

2. The Bruery‘s 8 Maids-A-Milking

When the weather gets cold, we tend to want to consume things rich and hearty. Leave the light refreshing things for the summer when our bodies do not need the extra weight dragging us down in the heat, we want the thick rich stuff now in the cold. When thinking about this sort of beer, The Bruery hardly comes to mind with their strong ales and sour ales. However, The Bruery has ventured away from their normal repertoire this season with 8 Maids-A-Milking. This yummy imperial milk stout measures a staggering 11.3% abv what with all the milk sugar brewed into it. Since yeast cannot ferment milk sugar, this adds creaminess and sweetness to the final product, which also contains milk chocolate, subtle spices, and roasty elements. Enjoy it immediately, or cellar it for up to four years.

1. Grand Teton Brewing‘s Coming Home 2014 Holiday Ale

Nothing celebrates the holidays and new year better than a nice strong aged beer. Most people prefer champagne as the celebration beverage of choice, but wine, beer, and even cider can function just as well for celebrating an occasion. For a beer worth celebrating with, take a look at Grand Teton Brewing‘s lineup of brews. Grand Teton does craft beer right with their focus on quality over quantity, and it shows in every beer that they produce. Take a look at their seasonal beer, Coming Home Holiday Ale. A 7.5% abv quadrupel, this enticingly bold brew has a dark sugar flavor with notes of raisins and spices. The sweet aromas contain hints of nutmeg and clove, which complement the spicy and dry finish. Since they brewed this in 2014, it has already cellared a year, so you can enjoy it now with its current age, or age it some more by stashing it in your cellar.

The 69th Annual Naples Island Holiday Boat Parade returned to the canals of Naples Island in Long Beach this past Saturday evening. Completely free to attend for all ages, this annual holiday boat parade attracts thousands to this small community to not only witness the spectacular Christmas lights aboard all the boats, but to stroll along the canals of Naples Island to gaze upon all of the holiday decorations of the citizens of Naples Island. Immediate streets along the parade route closed to vehicular traffic at 5pm. Spectators get to see dozens of boats decorated with Christmas lights and props as they sail through the parade route.

Large boats start at 6pm and sail entirely south of 2nd Street, moving counter-clockwise and starting right before the bend of Lido Lane. Click here for a map of the large boat parade route. Small boats start at 6:45pm and begin at Marine Stadium before following a route similar to the large boat, but also passing through the inner canals of Naples Island. Click here for a map of the small boat parade route. By overlapping the two maps, we see a few spots to stand where spectators can catch both parades without moving: along the outer edge of the island reached by crossing Neapolitan Lane, along Lido Lane, and at the Long Beach Yacht Club, where both parade routes end.

This year, the small boats took some time to get started, as they must have had a hiccup of some sort. Observe the large boats on display here:

The Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market returned Grand Park in Downtown Los Angeles for its sixth year in a row this past weekend. This FREE two-day event features over a hundred different vendors and exhibitors selling various arts & crafts goods, ranging from apparel to accessories to miscellaneous home goods and more. The exhibitors, which consisted of artists, designers, bakers, crafters, and more, brought plenty of merchandise for the thousands of guests to browse and buy, just in time for the holidays. The Renegade Craft Fair typically sees a consistent crowd throughout the day at all of their events. Navigating the numerous aisles proved somewhat of a challenge with so many people around. This year’s holiday fair featured a mix of returning vendors and new vendors. Some of the returning vendors included Bad Pickle Tees, Pop Candy, The Library Store, Yarnover Truck, Hepp’s Salt, and more.

No one can truly go wrong at an event like this because it supports the local community. Not only can you acquire some really neat clothes or accessories that many other people may not own, but you support locals, meaning your money helps to stimulate the local economy instead of sending money to a corporation outside of the state, or even outside of the country. Of course, one does not need a fair like this to support independents. Anyone can find mom & pop shops everywhere, and purchasing from them helps more than just the business staff and owners. Supporting local businesses also supports the people, workers and customers, linked to that business. An occasion like Small Business Saturday does not exist simply for the purpose of spending even more money on holiday shopping – it promotes the awareness of small businesses and their effect on the local community. Take some time to appreciate the local wonders in your community, and you may find the outcome rewarding at best. Keep up with updates about local craft fairs by liking Renegade Craft Fair on Facebook and following them on Twitter.

Beer festivals towards the end of the year come few and far between, as most people start to ramp up for holiday events. However, the crafty team behind the locally famous Orange County Brew Ha Ha ends each year with a kaboom with the Orange County Brew Ho Ho Holiday Ale Festival. Now in its fourth year, the OC Brew Ho Ho returned to its home at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim to deliver lots of beer to eager lips. This past Saturday, thousands of craft beer fans journeyed from all over to convene over holiday joy and plenty of holiday ale for a festive day of drinking, dancing, eating, celebrating, and more. Over 40 breweries attended to serve various brews, with many of them hosting timed/scheduled beer releases that attracted huge lines. For this year’s beer lineup, I did not witness as many seasonal brews – most of the breweries brought their regular year-round beers, with IPA’s as the majority present. I understand that Californians love their hoppy beers, but for a holiday-themed beer festival, I do expect most of the breweries to each bring one of their seasonal brews.

As a growing festival, this year’s OC Brew Ho Ho expanded the event space to encompass the field and parking lot at the front. This front space allowed for additional food trucks, seating, vendors, more breweries, games, and the live music stage. Along with this front space that guests arriving early could wander around in, the event contained a handful of games to entertain guests, such as glorified Jenga, cornhole, foosball, and the venue’s airsoft rifle shooting range. The organizers do not beat around the bush – they ensure the utmost quality in the care of their events, and I have written about almost all of their events up to date. I alone can do so much to provide testimony to the success of the OC Brew Ha Ha series of events. Why not take a look at the countless guests all enjoying a great time at this past weekend’s OC Brew Ho Ho?

What would a beer fest do without some form of entertainment? As expected, Santa Claus made his appearance on-stage for photos with the guests, and brought a guest Storm Trooper to also promote the upcoming Star Wars film. For the past two years, legendary Richard Blade rocked the house with a massive set full of 80’s hits that had everyone rocking away under the big top. This year, none other than Orange County’s own Reel Big Fish took the stage, returning to a Brew Ha Ha event after their last one two years ago.

One may never find another beer festival quite like the OC Brew Ho Ho! It has everything a craft beer enthusiast can ask for, sans a little rain. For more events by the organizers, make sure to Like/Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news, such as ticket sale announcements and posts about other similar upcoming events. If you have yet to attend any of these events, I highly recommend going to one to indulge and immerse yourself in the culture of craft beer. You may learn something about beer that you may not have ever known!

The intuitive originators behind the locally famous Orange County Brew Ha Ha brought forth the 3rd Annual Orange County Brew Ho Ho Holiday Ale Festival this past Saturday, a holiday-themed beer festival with several unique spins. Taking place at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim, following in the footsteps of its big brother, the OC Brew Ha Ha, craft beer lovers from all over journeyed to OC Brew Ho Ho for a festive day of drinking, dancing, eating, celebrating, and more. Over 40 breweries attended to serve various seasonal brews, with many of them hosting timed/scheduled beer releases that attracted huge lines. The previous years’ events featured a merchandise expo, where most of the breweries brought their own merchandise to sell to attendees during the beer tasting. This year, I did not notice as much of that – breweries mostly focused on their beer, while merchandise fell to other vendors not serving beer.

The calm before the storm:

The organizers do not beat around the bush – they ensure the utmost quality in the care of their events, and I have written about almost all of their events up to date. I alone can do so much to provide testimony to the success of the OC Brew Ha Ha series of events. Why not take a look at the countless guests all enjoying a great time at this past weekend’s OC Brew Ho Ho?

One may never find another beer festival quite like the OC Brew Ho Ho! It has everything a craft beer enthusiast can ask for, sans a little rain. For more events by the organizers, make sure to Like/Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news, such as ticket sale announcements and posts about other similar upcoming events. If you have yet to attend any of these events, I highly recommend going to one to indulge and immerse yourself in the culture of craft beer. You may learn something about beer that you may not have ever known!

Beachwood BBQ 8th Anniversary Week
5:00 pm – 11:00 pm, December 18-21
Beachwood BBQ, Seal Beach & Long Beach
http://beachwoodbbq.com/events.html

Beachwood BBQ celebrates their eighth year in Seal Beach this week, and to commemorate, Beachwood Brewing releases Eight this week in bottles and at both locations on tap. When you visit either location, expect to find a plethora of seasonal beers on tap, plus an exciting menu full of exclusive items only found during this celebration.

Punk Rock Show in Long Beach
6:00 pm – 12:00 am, December 18
DeadRockers, Long Beach
http://www.facebook.com/events/361473627347305/

Catch a bunch of great local punk rock bands at this all-ages show this Thursday night in Long Beach. The cover for this show costs $2 if entering prior to 8pm, or $4 afterwards.

Voodoo Glow Skulls – Live in Southern California
8:00 pm – 12:00 pm, December 18, Slide Bar, Fullerton http://www.facebook.com/events/300156153516501/
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, December 19, Romano’s Concert Lounge, Riverside http://www.facebook.com/events/1490724867855726/

Skacore band Voodoo Glow Skulls will end their tour in Southern California this week. Each show has a different price and age limit, so click the link for more information.

The Brew House – Grand Opening
6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, December 19
12:00 pm – 11:00 pm, December 20-21
The Brew House, San Juan Capistrano
http://www.facebook.com/events/852476748135788/

After over a year in the works, The Brew House will finally declare themselves officially open for business this weekend. This tap room has over 30 beers on draft and over 100 bottled beers for your drinking pleasure. They will also have food trucks in all weekend, so stop on by for a break this weekend.

Bootlegger’s Brewery Holiday Party
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, December 19
Bootlegger’s Brewery, Fullerton
http://www.facebook.com/events/1516658761918344/

This Friday night, visit the Bootlegger’s Brewery tasting room in Fullerton for drink specials, music, a food truck, prizes, and more.

The Vandals 19th Annual Christmas Formal
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, December 19
House of Blues, Anaheim
http://www.houseofblues.com/anaheim/events/eventdetail/?viewNav=/event-detail&eventId=09004D4325FC07BB&oid=0

The Vandals headline their annual all-ages Christmas show at the House of Blues in Anaheim this Friday night. Tickets cost $20. Guests can park for free for up to five hours, so plan your arrival accordingly.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones w/ The Interrupters @ House of Blues
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, December 20, House of Blues, Anaheim http://www.houseofblues.com/anaheim/events/eventdetail/?viewNav=/event-detail&eventId=09004D3DE590B4C4&oid=0
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, December 21, House of Blues, San Diego http://www.houseofblues.com/sandiego/events/eventdetail/?viewNav=/event-detail&eventId=0A004D3D0F943DCB&oid=0

Get your skanking on this weekend with legendary ska band, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Tickets to these all-ages shows cost around $27.

Free Punk Show in Long Beach
7:30 pm – 12:30 am, December 19
Dipiazzas, Long Beach
http://www.facebook.com/events/748837075186659/

Catch a FREE all-ages punk rock show this Friday night at Dipiazzas in Long Beach. Guests can find plenty of free parking in the neighborhood.

Luicidal in South Gate
8:00 pm – 12:00 am, December 19
American Legion Post 335, South Gate
http://www.facebook.com/events/768712559852037/

A hardcore punk show comes to South Gate this Friday night. The cover for this all-ages show costs $6 if entering prior to 9pm, or $8 afterwards.

Winter in Wilmore
1:00 pm – 6:00 pm, December 20
Drake Park, Long Beach
http://www.facebook.com/events/912211262124897/

Bring your friends and family out to this snow day at the park this Saturday afternoon. At this free community event, find lots of things to see and do all in the real snow that will cover the park this Saturday.

Barb Wire Dolls @ The Whisky A Go Go
7:30 pm – 12:30 am, December 20
Whisky A Go Go, West Hollywood
http://www.facebook.com/events/309417989234344/

Catch an all-ages punk show at the Whisky A Go Go this Saturday night. Tickets for this show cost $10 presale or $15 at the door.

OtaXmas 2014
8:30 pm – 11:00 pm, December 20
Anime Jungle, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles
http://www.facebook.com/events/355344884643300/

Want to participate in some cosplay, or perhaps just want to watch others do cosplay? Head on over to Little Tokyo this Saturday night for OtaXmas. For just $5 admission, visitors will mingle with other cosplayers, view cosplay contests, participate in raffles, play trivia, take photos in the photo booth, dance to live DJ’s, and more.

Xmas Punk Hardcore Party
9:00 pm – 2:00 am, December 20
Redwood Bar, Los Angeles
http://www.facebook.com/events/310417489168744/

Rock out to some local punk rock bands in a festive manner this Saturday night in Downtown Los Angeles. The cover for this show costs $8, or $5 if you wear an ugly sweater. No one under 21 may enter.

Punk Rock Xmas
9:00 pm – 2:00 am, December 20
Scotland Yard Pub, Canoga Park
http://www.facebook.com/events/1534396316799128/

Catch a FREE punk rock show in Canoga Park this Saturday night. No one under 21 may enter.

The 67th Annual Naples Island Holiday Boat Parade returns to the canals of Naples Island in Long Beach this Saturday evening. Completely free to attend for all ages, this annual holiday boat parade attracts thousands to this small community to not only witness the spectacular Christmas lights aboard all the boats, but to stroll along the canals of Naples Island to gaze upon all of the holiday decorations of the citizens of Naples Island. Immediate streets along the parade route begin closing to vehicular traffic at 5pm. Guests commuting from out of town should strive to park off of Naples Island, as parking will get tight into the evening. Some viable parking spots include the farmer’s market parking lot on E Marina Dr off 2nd St, or anywhere in the Belmont Shore area. Remember to dress warmly, as this area gets very cold at night!

Large boats start at 6pm and sail entirely south of 2nd Street, moving counter-clockwise and starting right before the bend of Lido Lane. Click here for a map of the large boat parade route. Small boats start at 6:45pm and begin at Marine Stadium before following a route similar to the large boat, but also passing through the inner canals of Naples Island. Click here for a map of the small boat parade route. By overlapping the two maps, we see a few spots to stand where spectators can catch both parades without moving: along the outer edge of the island reached by crossing Neapolitan Lane, along Lido Lane, and at the Long Beach Yacht Club, where both parade routes end. Keep in mind that these spots will see the most amount of spectators, so arrive early to get a good spot. Alternatively, head to E Ocean Blvd across the way, accessed by heading towards Belmont Shore, turning left onto Bay Shore Avenue, then continuing past Horny Corner. This spot yields a great view of the large boats, but anyone wanting to take pictures of the small boats from this location will require a camera with superb zoom capabilities.

After the parades have concluded, remember to take a stroll through the inner canals of Naples Islands to check out all the holiday decorations. This area infamously exhibits some of the most glamorous decorations in all of Southern California, and also includes strolling carolers and occasional children selling hot chocolate. Bring out your friends and family, and enjoy a night together with some fun holiday sightseeing this Saturday evening.