Review – Smog City’s “Awkward” Anniversary

Yesterday I was in Torrance to congratulate Smog City on reaching another anniversary milestone.

Here are my personal highlights from the day….

Trying the anniversary beer, which was not Awkward at all.

Getting the tour of the sour side pf Smog.

Kegs ready to be filled.

Trying the blended collab saison with TRVE

I was able to try quite a few new beers, most of which of the saison persuasion and though the Awkward Teenager was really good, balance on the edge between rustic and hoppy, I have to say that Floret 2.0 a wild saison with seven different flowers was my top beer. And when their new outdoor patio is complete, that will be the perfect beer to enjoy for as long as it lasts.


You know it is the holiday season when the Firestone Walker anniversary beer drops. It is one of the few beers that I buy without even looking at the price. And I suggest you do the same.

2017 brings us XXI. Local winemakers Jordan Fiorentini and Kyle Gingras of Epoch Estate Wines along with Anthony Yount of Denner Vineyards created the winning blend which is made up of….

The result is an inspired blend of five distinct beers aged in spirits barrels: Velvet Merkin (oatmeal stout, 42%), Parabola (Russian imperial oatmeal stout, 18%), Stickee Monkee (Central Coast quad, 17%), Bravo (imperial brown ale, 14%) and Helldorado (blonde barleywine, 9%).

According to FW, “XXI represents the first time that Velvet Merkin has set the pace for the Anniversary Ale blend.”

Look for special back catalog tastings of past anniversary beers. Those are fun events.


Mark your calendar for Saturday, October 14th. Cellador Ales will celebrate their first anniversary with Seconds. Not time or more food.

“Seconds is a double fruited apricot sour, and is one of the first to be bottled in our 375ml green Belgium-style bottles.”

First, the details:

Admission will be available to anyone that purchases our First Anniversary Beer, Seconds. Seconds will only be available for pick up at the Anniversary Party on October 14th, and the 90 day pick up window for non-members will not apply to this release. Member pick up & shipping policies will still apply to this release. NO shipments will be allowed for this release unless you are a member.

1 bottle of Seconds = 1 Admission, 3 bottles of Seconds = 3 admissions (under that order name)

Seconds will be pre-released to our members on Tuesday, October 3rd.

Seconds will be released to the public on Friday, October 6th.

More news to come on the party portion but this looks to be a beer not to be missed.

Beer Belly Anniversary

In one week, Beer Belly will celebrate another year of One Night Stands and serving great beer in Koreatown.

I will update this post with a beer list when it becomes available but you can imagine that it will be filled with interesting choices. I guarantee you will have a hard time picking just one beer or just two.


May 20th Smog City will celebrate another year of serving up beers (now in 2 locations!).

Here are the details:
“Saturday, May 20th, we will be hosting our annual VIP session from 11-1pm and general entry from 1-10pm. Our awesome team brewed a special anniversary beer for this very special occasion. This year it’s a Tart Saison with Tangerine! Keep an eye out, our VIP session is ticketed and limited to 200 attendees and this year we have a couple tricks up our collective brewer’s sleeves. Tickets on sale at noon on April to come, join our newsletter (through our website) for special release info!”

Get it? Good.

Up From the Cellar – Firestone XV Anniversary

To close out 2016, I pulled out my one and only bottle of the 15th Anniversary blend from Firestone Walker from way back in 2011. The barrel-aged blend pours out a hazy NE brown coca-cola color. This doesn’t taste old at all. Big bourbon oak mixed with rum notes. There is a bit of spice here too. Aroma is vanilla and bourbon. There is a little slickness on the tongue but a skosh bit of carbonation counteracts it. Other notes that I am picking out are coconut and leather. There is still alcohol burn here too. But hot chocolate defines this beer for me.

This edition is made up of the following:
Helldorado – Blonde Barley Wine (18% of Blend)
Sticky Monkey – English Barley Wine (17% of Blend)
Bravo – Imperial Brown Ale (17% of Blend)
Double Double Barrel Ale – Double Strength English Pale Ale (13% of Blend)
Good Foot – American Barley Wine (11% of Blend)
Velvet Merkin – Traditional Oatmeal Stout (10% of Blend)
Parabola – Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout (9% of Blend)
Double Jack – Double India Pale Ale (5% of Blend)

Crazy 8’s

Instead of one big blowout bash that winds through the Blue Palms and Fonda Theater, this year on 8 8 16, (Hey, that adds up!) the storied Hollywood craft beer haven will “be tapping 8 specialty kegs every day for 8 days.”
Follow their website and social media to see which mystery keg appears and plan accordingly.

May 21st will be Smog-gy

Here is the early announcement for the Smog City anniversary….
“Smog City is about to get another year older…and a tiny bit wiser? 🙂 We look forward to this party every year and the Smog City team puts on one heck of a show; pulling special releases, cellared beers and of course, our special Anniversary beer at 3 separate bars…it’s a day of celebrating Smog City and the rise of local craft beer in the L.A. Area.

More details to come!

Tickets for the VIP Session will go on sale in a few weeks, this session is limited to 150 people- mark your calendars…as May will be here in no time.”

A Very, Merry Un-Hopped Birthday

Firestone Walker should televise their annual Anniversary Blending Battle for the Cardboard Crown. Each year the stakes are high, the competition is fierce and sometimes you encounter unknown obstcles.

This year Brewmaster Matt Brynildson eliminated the use of hoppy beers in the blend. And XIX is comprised of only four beers: Parabola, Stickee Monkee, Bravo, and Velvet Merkin.
Brynildson “… was concerned that hoppiness might begin to encroach on the intended style of the Anniversary Ale, so [he] eliminated the temptation.”

13 winemakers participated under the more stringent rules with Sherman Thacher and Daniel Callan of Thacher Winery creating the winning blend which is…..
Parabola Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout / Aged in Bourbon Barrels / 33.33% of Final Blend
Stickee Monkee Central Coast Quad / Aged in Bourbon and Whiskey Barrels / 33.33% of Final Blend
Bravo Imperial Brown Ale / Aged in Bourbon and Brandy Barrels / 16.6% of Final Blend
Velvet Merkin Traditional Oatmeal Stout / Aged in Bourbon Barrels / 16.6% of Final Blend
And now that you are partway to the car, ready to buy, you will need to be a little patient because XIX will be available in select markets across the United States starting in November. The suggested retail price is $23.99 for an individually boxed 22-ounce bottle.