The Rookery celebrating first anniversary today with special brews

Rookery First AnniversaryPomona’s The Rookery Alehouse & Grill is celebrating its first anniversary this weekend, and it’s kicking off the festivities at 11 a.m. today (January 17).

As part of the event, the eatery will be tapping 19 special beers from Southern California and beyond that it has squirreled away.

The celebration will last until 8 p.m. Sunday (January 19), however the beers likely will not.

Read on to find out what’s on tap.

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Want to buy a South Bay gastropub?


When Steve Rodriguez, left, opened the 1321 Taproom Bistro in Old Torrance in spring 2011, locals hoped it signaled not only a milestone in the redevelopment of the business district, but a sign the craft beer movement in the South Bay now had culinary pretensions to match the aspirations of its brewers.

Sadly, it proved a false dawn.

The new chef quickly departed and the restaurant became notorious for its relatively high prices, hit and miss cuisine and strange layout and decor.

This writer personally had the worst BLT and then Caesar salad in my entire life (fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice … you get the idea).

Also, guests had to walk through the entire (vast) dining room to reach the bar where you were greeted by uncomfortable stools designed that way to ensure bar flies didn’t linger (they needn’t have worried with that food).

The restaurant staggered on until  recently when even the lure of $3 locally brewed craft brews on a Monday night couldn’t draw in the wary. Now that’s a sure sign of its impending demise.

On the plus side 1321 had a welcoming woody decor and a cool massive mural celebrating the history of Torrance in the bar.

But it couldn’t survive.

And now, in an apparent effort to recoup the hundreds of thousands of dollars the owners surely plowed into the huge, old building, it’s up for sale at an asking price of $3.5 million.

Good luck with that.

There’s a market for craft beer in Old Torrance.

Tortilla Cantina just down the street serves around 40 draft brews, for instance.

The difference between that restaurant and 1321? Decent, moderately-priced food.

Catch Game of Thrones (the show and the beer) at Steam Haus tomorrow night

Although we haven’t yet seen it in bottles yet, Brewery Ommegang‘s second beer from its “Game of Thrones” series has been released.

Corona’s SteamHaus Gastropub has received a keg of Take the Black Stout and will be serving it beginning at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow (October 24).

The gastropub is inviting fans out to watch the show and try the beer. The first 30 people will get collectible glassware.

For more information, click here.

Steam Haus is at 2785 Cabot Drive, Suite 110.

Rock & Brews opens at LAX


Rapidly expanding El Segundo-based Rock & Brews, part-owned by members of rock band Kiss, landed today at Terminal 5 at Los Angeles International Airport. It’s the fourth location in the craft beer-centric chain to open after its flagship location in El Segundo and new sites in Redondo Beach and Los Cabos, Mexico.

Rock & Brews at LAX will offer dine-in and “Grab and Go” service. It’s the first in a series of locations the company hopes to open in airports.

Allagash tap takeover at Salted Pig tomorrow

Riverside’s Salted Pig will have an Allagash Brewing Company tap takeover tomorrow (October 1).

A dozen Allagash beers will be available on tap and in the bottle.

The event begins at 11 a.m. and will run through midnight.

Flights consisting of four five-ounce draft pours will be available for $18. Full pours will also be available.

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Dozens of Southern California breweries converging in Corona on Saturday

TAPS Craft Brew FestivalIt’s time for the Corona TAPS Fish House & Brewery’s annual Craft Brew Festival.

Nearly three dozen Southern California (and one from outside the area) breweries are participating in the event.

Beer isn’t the only draw, as participants will be able to sample dishes representative of cuisines from around the world, from Korea to El Salvador and the Middle East to…Milwaukee?

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Sam Adams beer-pairing dinner coming to Rancho Cucamonga Toby Keith’s

Toby Keith's Sam Adams Beer PairingThe Rancho Cucamonga Toby Keith’s I This Bar & Grill is hosting a five-course Samuel Adams beer-pairing dinner next Wednesday (July 17).

The evening will start at 5 p.m. with a Samuel Adams beer tasting, with dinner following at 6 p.m.

The event is $50, plus tax and gratuity.

Continue reading “Sam Adams beer-pairing dinner coming to Rancho Cucamonga Toby Keith’s” »

Summer solstice beer sampler: New brews, craft beer things to do — part deux

It’s the first full weekend of summer and that’s a perfect excuse to raise a glass or two.

Here’s a roundup of what’s on tap in Southern California:

bottles2Hawaii’s Kona Brewing has redesigned its custom bottles (which now come with an embossed island chain on them) for the second time in three years making them smaller, lighter and therefore more environmentally friendly (examples of the old and new bottles are to the right).

Incidentally, their Big Wave Golden Ale (not shown here) is an excellent beach brew that’s light and crisp, yet not lacking in flavor.


*Torrance’s Smog City Brewing has released a Little Bo Pilsner with an ABV of just 4.4 percent that was tapped Thursday.

From the brewery press release:

This unfiltered pale lager is all about subtlety and balance. Expect a delicate spice, a touch of honey, and rustic white bread in the nose. Flavors of bread crust and light malt meet the spice of traditional Czech Saaz hops and while the finish is crisp and bracingly bitter, everything is in balance.


Clean, then quench that thirst

There’s not one, but two events this weekend in Southern California that will put you to work (for a good cause) then reward you with a brew or two for your labor.

It’s thirsty work washing a smelly dog and downtown’s Angel City Brewery has combined beer with the chore hosting a “Barks, Bubbles & Brew” event Sunday for Much Love Animal Rescue, which will also have pooches for adoption.

In the South Bay Saturday, there’s this Heal the Bay benefit:



From the Simmzy’s Long Beach, 5271 E. Second St., press release:


From June 18th through the end of July, the Tuesday night special will feature Golden Road’s Heal the Bay IPA served in 16-ounce “topless” tall cans, alongside Chef Anne Conness’ three crispy Carnitas tacos for 10 bucks. 

Memorial Day Weekend Craft Beer Events in Southern California

growlersI’ve never understood why Southern California residents dash out of town en masse on long holiday weekends negotiating huge traffic jams to spend their days in packed campgrounds or resort hotels cheek to jowl with other Angelenos.

I’ve never understood it, but appreciate it because that means some usually packed restaurants and pubs in Southern California (Torrance’s new Rock & Brews has experienced diners willing to wait up to an hour for a table since it opened, according to anecdotal reports I’ve been getting!)  are relatively crowd-free for the weekend.

And with the booming craft beer industry locally, there’s even less reason to head out of town when you could be enjoying an unhurried quality brew or two at home as summer unofficially begins.

Here’s a look at what’s brewing where this holiday weekend:

  • Downtown’s Angel City Brewery, which officially opened earlier this month, is hosting a Memorial Day barbecue. The event, which runs from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. includes free sliders and dogs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (or until supplies run out). Angel City has about a dozen brews on tap in their cool historic building in the Arts District including the brand new Pen is Mightier.
  • Torrance’s Smog City Brewing, which also officially opened last weekend, will serve a “decadent” Double Chocolate Imperial Stout cellared since last November that has “only gotten better,” according to co-owner Laurie Porter. Their cool growlers (pictured above) have arrived, too, so you can take home their Smog City XPA for Memorial Day. Incidentally, Torrance Mayor Frank Scotto is scheduled to participate in an official ribbon-cutting at the brewery at 4:30 p.m. June 7.
  • Taste of Brews returns to downtown Riverside Saturday with an impressive lineup of breweries and food trucks. More here.
  • The Federal Bar, a gastropub in the former Madison Steakhouse space, has opened in downtown Long Beach.
  • Also:

What did I miss? Feel free to add other craft beer-oriented events in the comment section.