FL Craft Beer Fights the Good Fight

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About 7 years ago, Porter and I considered moving to FL to start our own brewery, deep roots here in L.A. and the realization that the L.A. craft beer market was on the verge of a renaissance convinced us to stay put. One additional issue kept us here and OUT of FL. The antiquated three-tier system and looming control of a gigantic behemoth called Macro Distributors. It was a mountain we felt we could never climb.

We’ve watched the craft beer industry grow and develop in FL with great pride (this is Laurie’s home state) but the recent developments in policy and legislation is extremely sad.

Sending our best to our brothers in the Sunshine State. The big guys are playing dirty…consider this evidence that Florida’s craft brewers and breweries are doing something RIGHT…however this doesn’t change anything until it does.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/04/19/4068504/bill-could-slow-florida-craft.html

 

Anniversary Beer Brew Day

To celebrate our anniversary coming up on the 17th of May, our Smog City staff got together to brew a special release!

Anni, as we affectionately refer to it, is a Strong Saison brewed with Merlot. We used Galaxy and Meridian hops,with wheat, pilsner and oats. A light pinkish hue and delicious Belgian character will set this beer apart.

Here’s a look at our brew day! Not pictured: Laurie, but she was most certainly there doing hop additions, making coffee and taking all of these photos!

Join us May 17th 12-8pm for our Anniversary Event at the brewery. We’ll be releasing Anni as well as other special limited releases (to be announced) plus a Limited Anniversary Growler with a new design!! It’s gonna knock your socks off. And if that’s not enough, we are anticipating a major announcement that will coincide with this event, but we’re not quite ready to let you in on that little secret…not quite yet.

RSVP on our Facebook event page to learn about updates on this event.

 

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Coffee with a makeshift coffee kookie.

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Grains Out!

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Adding Merlot while Porter looks on

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“Get off of my brew deck!” says Chris Walowski. Clean up the brew is done!

 

Assistant Brewer- Help Wanted

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Cellarman/Assistant Brewer

Smog City Brewing Co is seeking a full-time cellarman/assistant brewer to join our team in Torrance, CA.

This position requires brewery experience- if you have not worked in a brewery you will not be considered for this position.

The ideal candidate will possess an extraordinary cleaning prowess, an insane attention to detail, a ridiculous work ethic, be a team player, and have OCD tendencies towards producing the highest quality beer.

We are a small and nimble team who gets a ton of work done with very few employees. If your idea of working in a brewery is pushing buttons and drinking beer, don’t apply.

Responsibilities include, but not limited to:

  • Grunt work- yes, keg cleaning, filling, assisting on bottling operations
  • CIP of fermentors/bright tanks as well as manual cleaning
  • All aspects of beer transfers including filtration, fining, carbonation
  • Receiving raw materials and maintaining accurate inventory
  • Maintain a safe and clean work environment.
  • Maintain cleanliness and sanitation of all equipment at all times.
  • Maintain brew logs and governmental compliance paperwork.
  • Participate in beer festivals and events.
  • Busting your ass to get the job done.
  • Assist in safety compliance and QA/QC.
  • Learn and adhere to standard operating and safety procedures in wort production, vessel cleaning and sanitation, yeast handling, fermentation and maturation, sample collecting and filtration operations.
  • Understand and adhere to recipes and formulas.

Minimum physical abilities required

  • Must be in good physical condition and able to maneuver in confined spaces.
  • Must be able to walk, sit, stand, crouch for extended periods of time.
  • Must be able & willing to work early morning, daytime, overnight and/or weekend shifts.
  • Must be able to lift 55 lbs. overhead repeatedly and maneuver at least 165 lb containers.

Necessary Skills

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to work independently and use your time efficiently
  • Comprehensive knowledge of the brewing process and a healthy respect knowing that everything you do affects it
  • Excellent beer knowledge. a good sense of smell and taste with the ability to communicate what you are sensing.
  • Subject line of response email must read: the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog
  • Be able to collaborate with the team and have a strong desire to help create amazing beer.
  • Communicate clearly and concisely with respect to all personnel at all levels, in addition to customers.

Education/Experience

  • A minimum of six months of professional experience at a commercial brewery.
  • Bachelor’s degree and/or formal brewing education preferred in addition to brewery experience.
  • If you do not have professional brewery experience please don’t apply.

To Apply

 

Send a cover letter and resume to ilovebeer@smogcitybrewing.com

The cover letter should describe why you are interested in the position and why Smog City Brewing Company should hire you.

Please provide a resume that includes all relevant work history. It should also contain your education and formal/informal brewery training.

You must provide 3 references, one character reference and two professional references. At least one reference should be from your current/most recent place of work.

References WILL be checked.

The Craft of Formulation

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What would you give to be a fly on the wall of our office when the brewers are verbally hashing out a recipe for a future beer? Keep reading and hopefully you can get a sense of the types of discussions that are going on each and every day here at Smog City.

It all starts when Chris walks into the office one morning and reminds everyone that the recipe for the next sour beer still has to be finalized and we only have two days to decide what is being made if the ordering deadline is going to be met.

 Porter, glancing up for just a second, excitedly questions, “now?!” and no time is wasted getting to work. Within a matter of minutes and a handful of “two steps forward, one step backward” series of conversations over what malts to use, they know what they’re making.  Watching these two weave a mental and verbal web of processes and terminology it becomes clear just how important their combined decade-plus of experience is. Color, aroma, initial flavor, finishing flavor, mouthfeel, aging potential among others all make their way into the discussion.  Then yeast is brought up.  Should a saccharomyces strain be pitched?  Do we have enough Brettanomyces to give the character that is desired?  What about a custom blend to get it just right?  After another minute: done. Within ten minutes of walking through the door, Chris is walking back out as Porter gets on the phone to order malt.

Some beers take years to perfect.  This one gets brewed next week and will take over a year to finish.  This one is a Golden Strong which will be going into bourbon and wine barrels. Stay tuned for updates.

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Our 3rd Grape Ape IPA is Here

Update 2/25/14

Our 3rd Version oF Grape Ape IPA is here!

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Grape Ape IPA-Semillon - 7.4% abv

The 3rd installment of our experimental IPA brewed with Semillon grape juice and features Australian Topaz and Mosaic hops. Expect a huge bouquet of fruity tropical hop aromas with notes of pear, mango, and perfume-like spice.

Semillon contributes peach and pear flavors while German Kolsch malt and wheat adds cracker and bread crust along with light toast to a soft bitter finish.

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Last Sunday we kegged Grape Ape IPA for the L.A. Beer Blogger Summit held at Smog City’s taproom. While enjoying the company of some 45 local beer bloggers, all of which were sipping on Smog City’s offerings, we learned a little from Bernie Wire of Friends of Local Beer, Tyler Graham of Stone Marketing, Josh Liberman and Smog City’s own Laurie Porter.

The big take away was: use your photography in the same way you use words. Tell a story and you’ll successfully engage your fans and viewers. Shoot Away!!!

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VIEW Previous Grape Ape IPA Post HERE!!!

Taproom Growing Pains

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If you have been in our taproom at any point in the last few weeks you may have noticed one significant change: more craft beer fans!  Lots and lots of craft beer lovers coming to visit every weekend.  This is largely due to our many fans and supporters spreading the Smog City love throughout Southern California.  If you have shared a growler, bought someone a pint of Smog City, or worn your Smog City hoodie and shirt out for the world to see, thank you for helping us share great beer.

It is great to see so many new faces joining the familiar ones, though sometimes things may get a little tight on space.  Fear not, some new additions are arriving in the coming weeks to help improve everyone’s comfort level.  For starters, a second wall bar has just been added along with bar stools for both to free up floor space and add a few extra seats to keep you all comfortable.  This should also give everyone some extra elbow room to enjoy some of the many experimental batches coming out over the next few weeks.  Kumquat Saison and Hoptango IPA will be making their return soon, so keep an eye on the newsletter for the announcements.  Also in the works are two new Saison variations; one with tart cherries and blueberries, and a second with peach and apricot.

Growth is a learning process for all of us and to see so many familiar faces every week helps reassure us that we are heading in the right direction.  So keep smiling for us and we’ll keep your glasses full.

Cheers!

Smog City and ChocoVivo Collaborate

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Smog City, Jay’s Chocolates and ChocoVivo are partnering for a beer and chocolate pairing event, Sunday, Feb 16th from 12-6pm. Here’s just a little about ChocoVivo and Jay and how this event came to be.

We’ve known about ChocoVivo for years. In fact, we’ve purchased her chocolates at farmers markets on the Westside since she opened 5 years ago. So when we got an email saying Patricia, ChocoVivo’s owner and chocolate maker, was going to come down to our brewery for a chocolate pairing…We were definitely excited.

The meeting was the result of a conversation between Jay of Jay’s Chocolates and Laurie. About 6 months ago, Jay mentioned that he’d like to pair his chocolates with our beer. Of course, Valentines was the obvious option. Jay is a local cottage industry chocolate maker. He’s made wedding cakes, truffles, and other such delicacies for friends and family for ages and his truffles are to die for. At any party he attends and brings these exceptional little chocolate nuggets, he’s an instant celebrity…well, at least until the chocolates are gone. You know how it goes… :-)

Months lapsed and finally Jay and Laurie were back in touch. They figured, let’s launch this pairing and take it to the next level. By bringing in L.A.’s first bean-to-bar chocolate maker, ChocoVivo, the chocolate and beer pairing had taken on a whole new dimension. Coming from craft backgrounds, Laurie and Patricia were birds of a feather…instantly taking to each other’s talent, product, and personalities they lapsed into a 4 hour chocolate tasting at the brewery. During that time, three perfect pairings were discovered. With each pairing, the chocolate literally transforms the beer’s original flavor and character into something new, something completely unexpected.

In the end, it’s all about bringing the things we love together. It’s about having fun, sharing our experiences, exploring flavor combinations, and enjoying the simple pleasures life has to offer. I think with this event, we’ve covered pretty much all of those things.

Here’s how to do the flight

1. Taste the beer first! You will want to do this, as the chocolate is going to change the way your beer tastes and there’s no going back.

2. Eat some chocolate. The biggest shift in flavor isn’t with the chocolates. They hold their own. But when you go back to the beer with a little chocolate in your mouth, you’ll experience a new beer…new flavors will emerge.

3. Drink some of the beer again. Be sure to have the taste of the chocolate still on your tongue. Close your eyes and taste how the chocolate changes the beer and vice versa.

4. Eyes still closed, let your expression of genuine delight come out. Smile.

We’ve selected beers that are not obvious chocolate pairing beers. Knowing that everyone’s instant go-to would be The Nothing and Coffee Porter; we set out to break through the easiest expectation to more complicated and exciting pairings. Yes, those two beers pair incredibly well with chocolate (and The Nothing pairing will actually blow your mind) but what we wanted was something surprising. Something Eye Opening. Something that made you say, “Holy $hit, I didn’t know that could happen!” As a result the pairings are as follows.

The Nothing- Coffee + Vanilla

Smoked Smaug Lager- Mayan Tradition

California Love- Meyer Lemon + Ginger

Smog City O.E.- Jay’s Raspberry Chocolate Truffle

If ever you’ve wanted to put your trust in Smog City, now is the time. Seriously.

Please be sure to RSVP for flights as they are made to order. We will have an extremely limited number of additional flights that will be available on a first come first served basis. Email Laurie@smogcitybrewing.com to reserve your flight!

Limited amounts of ChocoVivo chocolate bars will be available for purchase at the brewery during the event. Please read more about ChocoVivo via the website and don’t hesitate to visit the retail store.

Hop on the Wonka-vator and join us for some seriously amazing chocolate…and beer.

Here are some photos from our visit to ChocoVivo’s factory.

The Chocolate Grinder

The Chocolate Grinder

First round ground chocolate. The chocolate will go through the stones 4 more times before it is finished.

First stage of the ground chocolate.  It will go through the stones 4 more times before it is finished.

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The Chocolate Grinding Stone

Laying out the Chocolate for hardening

Laying out the Chocolate for Hardening

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Jay’s Chocolate Truffles

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This Part of the Process is Magical.

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