A toast to beer in the South Bay
by Jeff Vincent and Mark McDermott
Beer is a part of human history and culture. From its daily consumption by the ancient Egyptians and its medicinal use throughout antiquity, to the local watering holes where we still congregate to toast our joys and woes, it seems that beer has been around forever. Could it be, that maybe God was busy on the seventh day after all, brewing man’s favorite elixir?
As trends undulate their way through time, society has a tendency to accept the mundane. As it runs its course, when conditions become so bad, eventually a revolution occurs. In the South Bay, Los Angeles, the United States, and the whole world over, an explosive awakening has emerged in demand for taste and quality in food and drink.
Peaceful warriors of the refined palate have infiltrated society at nearly every level. From the macro to the micro, the commercial to the local, their successes have surfaced in restaurants, gastro pubs, bars, supermarkets, liquor stores, bottle shops, Mom & Pop delis… and breweries.
Locally, the burgeoning beer industry surrounding greater Los Angeles is still in its infancy. New microbreweries seem to be popping up everyday, and the South Bay is no exception. Strand, Monkish, Abigaile, Smog City, and El Segundo Brewing Company are all active in the immediate area. And while Angel City recently left Torrance to validate their name with a new facility in downtown Los Angeles, The Dude’s Brewing company is about to become operational in their former hometown.
While brewing processes have changed little, and in fact many ancient methods have been resurrected, these artisans have turned beer-making on its head.
The possibilities for brewing are only as limited as the brewer’s own imagination. From mango to mate, hibiscus to ginger, vanilla to cocoa, basil to habanero pepper – virtually anything food-related, including oysters, is finding its way into beer recipes.
“People like to experiment,” says Jim Trevillyan, owner of Naja’s Place in Redondo Beach, the South Bay’s original beer mecca. “And there are no rules anymore when you’re brewing, they’re out the door these days. No rules with the recipe… Which is a very refreshing idea.”
This issue celebrates many of the significant players in the burgeoning beer scene locally: the brewers, the beer houses, and some of the personalities who have led the way to a better beer future and present, including a seminal figure from the past, Najah Zeinaty.
Beach Magazine, along with local breweries Strand Brewing, Monkish Brewing Co., The Brewery at Abigaile and El Segundo Brewing Company, will tonight host a celebration of brewing in the South Bay. The event is possible both because of the burgeoning local brew scene and the sense of camaraderie among local brewers. If a rising tide raises all boats, the South Bay’s widening palate has raised the game of brewers and beer establishments throughout the area.
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Come celebrate the craft beer movement in the South Bay and the release of Beach’s Waves of Grain: The Beer Issue tonight at Abigaile in Hermosa Beach (1301 Manhattan Ave.). The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and features special brews from The Brewery at Abigaile, Strand Brewing Co., El Segundo Brewing Co., and Monkish Brewing Co. Photo by Brad Jacobson
The Beer Issue:
A pilgrimage to Najah
Steve Roberts: palate shifter
Brew King: Mike Zislis
Two men and a van: Strand Brewing Co.
The Bottle Shop R(evolution)
Select Beer Bottle Shop and Tap Room: Beer Bottle Paradise
Beer enlightenment on Pier Ave.: Mediterraneo
Roll on, Red Car: the Red Car Brewery
Variety over tradition: The Rockefeller
Hot’s Kitchen: unpretentious beer geeks serve it up
Old School, Old World: Alpine Village
Not your typical gastro pub: Sophie’s Place