Special Releases and the Chaos Effect

Hi All!

I can’t believe this blog has been dormant since Dec. ’16. You know how it goes, you say to yourself: “wow! It’s 2017…we have ALL YEAR and then suddenly it’s May 4th(Yes, May the Fourth Be With You Too) and the year is almost halfway gone.” How does this happen?

Since Dec, we’ve opened our first satellite taproom at SteelCraft. Jan and Feb were welcomed with 2-3 days of rain every week so the SteelCraft project was tested…would people stay home when it rains? No. Does DG turn into mud when it rains? YES. Do people still want to drink beer when it’s raining? YES! and if we put out a tiny 10×10 Smog City branded tent next to the bar, will everyone gather under it and toast to innovation and community? Heck Yeah! Thank you for your support despite the rains.

Pre-branded tent for coverage!

To say we learned a lot in those first two months is an understatement.

We are so thrilled with how SteelCraft turned out. Our partners in this venture: Howard CDM, Steelhead Coffee, Pig Pen Delicacy, Waffle Luv, Desano Pizza, Tajima Ramen, Lovesome Chocolates, and Shave Ice are all amazing people. Amazing partners and collaborators. We’ve all grown into this space together and to be honest, it feels a lot like summer camp when we get together.

The “I remember whens” and “can you believe how far we’ve comes?” abound. We are so thankful to be a part of this space and to Kim Gros who originally brought us a concept on a piece of paper and a really good pitch…an authentic heartfelt pitch. When I saw what she envisioned, I was enthusiastic if not a little bit skeptical but I’m an Incurable Optimist. I told her ” If you can build this, it will be amazing and new and I want in!”

Spoiler alert….She Build It.

Kim Gros and Laurie Porter -©Justin Rudd

We’re now 5 months into SteelCraft. We’ve moved from one construction site to another. The expansion of our production on site. Smog brewed and sold approx 4200 bbl of beer last year. This year we will be happy if we hit 5500 bbl. That’s not huge growth but it’s organic, it’s sustainable, and most importantly it’s true to our principles. As a 100% family owned and operated brewery, Smog City prides itself as an Independent Brewery.

We make the rules (when the government doesn’t make them for us), we decide our path and sustain our brand’s authenticity in every drop of beer we make, every person we hire and every market we move into. It’s thoughtful and courageous.

Man…I started this with the intention of talking about our bottle releases this weekend and where the heck did I end up?! The market activity of the week must have me musing…Heineken buys the remainder of Lagunitas and AB inBev buys Wicked Weed…it’s a heavy week for craft beer.


Well, all that rambling behind us, I think it’s time to talk bottle releases!

This Saturday, May 6th, we are releasing THREE incredibly delicious beers on tap and in bottles. I hope you will join us. These releases are not about moving product(that’s nice and all), it’s about celebrating a new step in the craft and an exciting new experience for our customers.

A new beer(or three) is a great opportunity to celebrate innovation at the brewery, in the taproom

and with friends.

Bourbon O.E. – 13.1% ABV

Bourbon Barrel-Aged English Barleywine
Spending over a year in bourbon barrels, Bourbon O.E.’s generous malt character merges with notes of vanilla, caramel, oak, toffee, and pecan.  Like a fine port or sherry, each year’s vintage is different than the last and will continue to develop over time.
This beautiful new label created by @rcochranart is releasing for the first time although the beer has been with us for years. BOE is finally grown up. Designed to remind you of classic leather bound books, plush fireside armchairs, cigars by firelight…Bourbon O.E. spent 13 months aging in bourbon barrels, layering a complexity that only spirits and oak can yield. Vanilla, Carmel, Bourbon, Char and Oak blend seamlessly with this fantastic old english barleywine.

$14 per bottle, 12 bottle limit.

Ch’Nooks & Crannies – 4.7% ABV

Sour Blonde with Cranberry, Dry Hopped with Chinook
This is the first full-sized production batch of this fan favorite.  Taking our clean sour blonde base and fermenting it with cranberries we then dry hop with Chinook to compliment the fruit character.

$10 per bottle, 12 bottle limit.

Beta Blend – 8.1% ABV

Blended Golden Sour
Debuting with a sneak peak almost a year ago at our Anniversary Party, this beer is ready for it’s full-scale release.  Blended from 1 and 2-year old sour blonde barrels, this beer is complexity in full effect; the oldest portions of this blend are approaching 3 years since brew day.  Balanced acidity, oak tannin and vintage wine character combine and may continue to develop in this sipper for years.$11 per bottle, 12 bottle limit.


All in, we have the best crew and the best jobs! Proud to be making our mark on the Los Angeles market and thankful to all of you that support our small business and propel us forward.

Cheers and thanks for reading!

Laurie and Porter

Smoggy Santa 2016

Naughty Santa, Pet Santa, Smoggy Santa…whatever wanna call him, we had one awesome day hanging with Santa and drinking Smog City beer…we’ve got photos from yesterdays craft fair and our Photos with Santa event. It was such a fun turnout and nothing screams “Happy Holidays” louder than Santa in short shorts.

Thanks to everyone who joined us and helped us celebrate.


































































Surviving Buzz and Benny Day


So…our second barrel-aged Imperial Stout release is looming large with the added bonus of our first giant barrel(21HL) Sour Red Rye bottle release and we’re using them as the “canary in a coal mine”, so to speak. Since these are both first releases, we have temporarily done away with BPT and although we’re expecting an enthusiastic turnout, we’re hoping it’s not a “Monkish-ish” turnout. You know what we mean!

The Deets

When: Nov 19th, bottle sales begin at NOON- until bottles are gone or we close at 10pm.

Where: At the back roll-up door.

What Can I buy?: We will have Benny and the Bretts and Buzz Worthy bottles for the release.

You can also pick up bottles of the following:

Coffee Porter

Sabre-Toothed Squirrel


California Love


Bourbon O.E.

Beer Releases

Benny and the Bretts: 9.3%abv Sour red rye aged in a giant Sangiovese wine barrel for 13 months and refermented with 12 strains for brett. Imagine Tall Ryan and Porter pouring the custom brett concoction into “Benny the Barrel” and singing Benny and the Jetts at full volume…yup, that about sums it up.

Layered with fruit, wine, tannin, and oak character that yields increasing complexity as it warms. Benny…Satisfying even the most discerning sour beer lover’s palate.

1500 bottles, 4 bottle limit

Buzz Worthy: 12.5%abv Barrel-aged Imperial Honey Stout, aged for 12 months in Bourbon barrels, this collaboration beer was brewed with Moonlight Meadery out of New Hampshire. Brewed with 400 lbs of rare Meadowfoam Honey, Buzz Worthy is a dangerously smooth yet fantastically complex Imperial Stout, notes of marshmallow and bourbon making this one hell of a beer.

1500 bottles, 4 bottle limit

Why No BPT?

Let’s get this question out of the way. In the past, we’ve had great success with BPT. Our ticketed Infinite Wishes and 2nd Cuddlebug release were smashing successes. But when we sold This Sour Future and Brix Layer, we did not sell through all the bottles. With the cost per bottle skyrocketing because of the BPT service fee, we felt like we should give the next “first release” of a beer a chance to sell direct without going through a third party and see if we can save you some coin.

Hopefully, this won’t end in tears…I’m pretty sure you guys will help make the Buzz and Benny release a smooth one. We’re staffed up and ready for the turnout, like I mentioned above, this shouldn’t be a 2am Juicy Hazy Northeast IPA kinda turnout. We’re seeking balance here, folks.

Side Note: Yes, Infinite Wishes 2017 (releasing January 2017) WILL BE SOLD ON BPT. No worries…that one needs a little buffer to keep the flow and we know it.

Some Photos from the Buzz Worthy and Benny Lineage…




Michael Fairbrother of Moonlight Meadery and Porter. When we opened this barrel there were bees in the honey…the next day, one flew away. Zombees!!


Meadowfoam Honey was moved from honey drum to the kettle, one scoop at a time.

It was very very sticky.


Tasting the Meadowfoam honey






Hi Benny, welcome to your new home.


Putting Benny on a custom stand build by Chiavaro Design


Emmett welcomes the barrel to its new home


Prepping the barrel before filling


Our former brewer Chris Walowski filling the barrel in 2015




Smog City Welcomes Head Brewer Tim Harbage


As Smog City continues to grow, we have found it increasingly important to put into place systems and organizational elements that allow us to build brand while maintaining our focus and commitment to quality over quantity. Smog City prides itself on organic and conscientious growth with a heavy lean on the culture within our company first and foremost. We are excited to welcome Tim Harbage to the family as our new Head Brewer.

Tim brings to the table a true passion and dedication to not only the quality of the beer but the cohesiveness of the team. We are beyond excited to give him the opportunity to help us set in place the organization and logistical systems needed to grow our business from a small two-person team in 2011 to a robust and successful beer family of 18 here in 2016. The Smog City environment is designed to give a safe and nurturing place to those that prioritize quality, creativity and innovation over all else. Tim has that passion and that drive to build a stronger more passionate team and we welcome him with open arms into the Smog City fold.


Finished 2013!


Five years ago Smog City launched out of a small brewpub in Tustin, CA. In our first year, we produced and sold 240 bbls of beer to the L.A. market, hand picking select craft beer bars and restaurants that heralded our creativity, quality and reflected our own attention to building a strong craft beer community. One and a half years later, we opened in Torrance, CA to a “gigantic” 5,500 sq ft facility and a 450 sq ft taproom. To our surprise, it did not take long to outgrow this space and in the last nine months, we have expanded our square footage to 22,000 sq ft, dwarfing our original space.

Much of the planned growth is to facilitate distribution and to grow the exciting Sour Program that Porter has always been extremely passionate about. With some of the weight of running day to day production, logistical standards, overseeing brewers and maintaining inventory lifted; Porter will be able to return to exploring his passion for sour and barrel-aging. In the new space, we have a 2300 sq ft barrel room dedicated exclusively to barrel-aging our already established Sour Program. The temperature and humidity controlled room will give us increased control over the process and allow us to nearly double our current barrel count.


The second stage of expansion will be focused on growing our production in the current space from 4000 bbl to approximately 12,000 over the next five years. Slow and steady growth allows us to continue to put in place the best staff and maintain quality control measures to ensure that our brand and beers remain consistently balanced, creative and reflective of who we are and why.


Bringing on Tim allows Porter to continue to grow the creative side of Smog City and push through to new styles, new approaches while developing innovative procedures to achieve the unique beers that Smog City is known for – beers like Brix Layer that combines wine juice and barrel-aged sour beer in collaboration with J Brix Winery, our Cuddlebug and Snugglebug fruited sour blondes, as well as our collaborations with producers and businesses that push for innovation and community awareness like Food Forward, Weiser Family Farms, and Beer Camp with Sierra Nevada Brewing.


With our satellite taproom, Smog City at SteelCraft on the horizon, Smog City’s direct to consumer reach will increase, allowing us to expand the brand, build on our brewery’s consumer education focus and expand upon the opportunity for consumer feedback in multiple locations regarding pilot beers, experimental beers and our core beers. Smog City at SteelCraft is set to open Mid Dec alongside 6 food vendors with a communal sitting area.

Tim’s passion and enthusiasm for beer and the craft beer community are hard to match, which when combined with his engineering background and his strong experience growing young breweries, like Golden Road, will be instrumental in helping us to continue to innovate our already unique approaches to beer production. We are very proud to be a family-owned brewery and look forward to having Tim as part of our team.


Modern Times Owner Jacob McKean Takes on the Buy Out/Sell Out Trend

I have to archive this here in the Smog City blog as it is one of the most succinct takedowns of the Buy Out trend. #5 literally gives me the chills…as a small independently owned brewery, we have a lot to lose if this trend continues and no one asks themselves, “does it really matter?”…Answer: YES, it really does matter. Support your local craft brewer.



Elysian Beer Dinner – 7/21- MENU!


The good people of Elysian brought J. Brix and Smog City together nearly a year ago and Thursday we honor the “love child” of this collaboration, Brix Layer.
At this event only, you’ll have an opportunity to taste the Riesling Wine that inspired Brix Layer and is made with the same grapes, alongside Brix Layer and a selection of other Smog City and J Brix offerings.

This is a unique L.A. restaurant, tucked away in Frogtown and serving inspired and creative dishes and keep Porter and Laurie coming back!


Elysian : 2806 Clearwater St. 90039 

Doors open and first reservation is at 6:30 

kitchen closes at 10pm.

phone number is 323 522 6625 

walk-ins warmly welcomed



** signifies J Brix Wine and/or Smog City Beer Pairing Recommended

vichyssoise, watercress oil   8

green bean, radish, chile, ginger, fermented black bean  9

seared shishito, carrot, bonito   9

lettuces, radicchio, avocado, fennel, bottarga  11

**peach, burrata, speck, wild arugula, hazelnut  14

**duck liver pate, poached shrimp, kimchi, toast  16

**smoked chicken, lebneh, sour plum, cabbage 15

smoked mussels, myrna potato, celery, red curry   16

3 cheeses: gutshofer, thomasville tomme, cremont   15

chittara, pork meatball, tomato, chile, pecornio 20

**local yellowtail, shell bean, corn, okra, red pepper 23

ricotta gnocchi, summer squash, basil, walnut 19

roast pork collar, watermelon, haricot, watercress 20

**peach tart, peach leaf ice cream, blueberry compote 9

Surviving Smog’s Anniversary Event- Saturday, May 21st

Halfway through 2016 already and so much has happened. See the images below to see how we looked this time 2013 compared to last week. It’s definitely a little more crowded in here…in three years, not much has changed, right?! 🙂
BreweryTimeLapse TaproomTimelapse


Saturday May 21st, 2016 11am-10pm

Ready? Deep breath. Let’s go….
Smog City has been experiencing expansion in all directions: we’ve grown our Beer Family from 7 team members to 14, we’re celebrating the expansion of our Torrance brewery’s footprint from 11,000sq ft to 22,000q ft(!!), plus our GABF 2015 and World Beer Cup 2016 Silvers!, 7 medals between L.A. International Beer Competition and San Diego International, an epic collaboration with Beer Camp Across America including Beachwood Brewing, Bagby, Society, Lost Abbey and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, fulfilling and long-lasting partnerships with organizations like Food Forward and L.A. Derby Dolls, and to top it off, the announcement of our anxiously anticipated satellite taproom, Smog City Steelcraft in Long Beach/Bixby Knolls.
Incurable Optimist.
Each year we brew a special limited released bottled beer to celebrate another year of delicious Smog City beer. Incurable Optimist is our 2016 Anniversary beer named by Laurie(who IS an Incurable Optimist) to reflect the wild and crazy ride these past 5 years have been for Smog City and an even more exciting future than we ever anticipated. For us here at Smog, this year feels like a tipping point from small budding local business to recognized brand.
Incurable Optimist – Tart Wild Wheat w/Citrus

 5.3% abv

Our 2016 anniversary ale started life as a tart Belgian style Wit that co-fermented with 3 strains of Brettanomyces. We then blended in several choice barrels of 2 year old white wine barrel aged sour blonde. A 3rd fermentation in the bottle with a 4th Brett strain will deliver more complexity as it ages.

Citrus dominates the aroma with lemon, orange, and tangerine while coriander, white wine, and funk linger in the background. Expect a bright hit of tart citrus up front, then stone fruit, vitamin C, and subtle oak in the finish.

There is much to be thankful for and the future looks bright to the “Incurable Optimist” regardless of the insanity that prevails on the fringes.  Drink to the future today or lay this baby down and watch it mature in its complexity and depth.

More Space!

We will be expanding the taproom into our adjacent space which means MORE ROOM FOR YOU and more room for more beers! We’re super excited to have this opportunity to really celebrate and do so with elbow room. We’ll have two beer stations in that area with special/limited releases on tap and the beer cocktail, Cuddle Paloma, making its debut.


VIP Session – ticketed

11-1pm: We will begin checking people in approx 30 mins before 11am to ensure a smooth and expedited start to your day!
As in previous years this is a special ticketed session and is Sold Out.
With the VIP Session you get:
Early admission to the event
2 bottles of Incurable Optimist (less than 1000 bottles available)- Can purchase 2 additional
5 tasters
2 full pours
Access to our limited and special release beers (4 beer stations in all!! deets below)
Access to the ultra-limited Beer Cocktails!
First option to purchase Bourbon O.E. bottles
Avoid the crowds for 2 whole hours!

General Admission – No Tickets Needed

We will be open to the public from 1-10pm.

Throughout the brewery will be 4 beer dispensing areas with unique Smog City beers…all celebrating the quality and creativity that have become synonymous with the Smog City brand. Chart your passage through the brewery ahead of time and hit all your favorite beers! Below is a list of what the various stations will be pouring.

Beer Stations


Incurable Optimist- Anni 2016 (Tart Wild Wheat with Citrus)
Little Bo Pils
Hoptonic IPA
Sabre-Toothed Squirrel
Grape Ape IPA (RETURNS!!)
Coffee Porter
Drought Stout on Nitro
Spittin’ and Cussin’ (Barrel-aged Sour Brown with Cherries)
ChipShot Coffee Porter
Steelcraft IPA
Smoked Smaug Lager
Imperial Porter
Zwickel Bo on Nitro

Brewer’s Station (brewhouse)

Bourbon O.E. 2016  (bottles available)
Infinite Wishes 2016 limited
The Nothing
Incurable Optimist (Anni 2016)
Beer Cocktail: Old Fashioned O.E. – limited
(returns from our anniversary event last year!)

Old Fashioned O.E.

 Sour Station

Cuddlebug (Sour Blonde w/ peaches and apricots)
Snugglebug (Sour Blonde w/ raspberry and boysenberry) limited
Ch’nooks and Crannies (Sour Blonde w/Cranberries Dry-Hopped with Chinook) limited
Unnamed Beta Blend (white wine barrel-aged sour) ultra-limited
Beer Cocktail: Cuddle Paloma –  grapefruit cordial with a himalayan sea salt and grapefruit rim
Beyond delicious and ultra-limited!

Cuddle Paloma

Citrus Station

 Bloody Optimist (Blood Orange Tart Wild Wheat)
Anni 2014 – Strong Saison w/ Merlot (cellared for 2 years!)
Mexican Vacation (Returns!!)- Little Bo with Mexican Lime
Kumquat Saison
       Bottles of Incurable Optimist and Bourbon O.E. which are being released for the Anniversary will be available throughout the brewery and at all beer stations. No need to line up at the back door as in previous releases, these bottles will be widely available while bottles last.

Bottles Available:

Incurable Optimist (limit 4 per person)
Bourbon O.E. (no limit)
Kumquat Saison
(2015 GABF Silver for Belgian-style Fruit Beer)
Coffee Porter
The Nothing
Sabre-Toothed Squirrel
(2016 World Beer Cup medalist! Silver for American style Amber/Red)
       And to make this day even better….El Segundo Brewing is celebrating their Anniversary on the same day! We highly recommend you organize a DD or plan on Uber/Lyft for the day. We will have 2 free shuttles running between the locations every 30 minutes from 1-6pm but space is extremely limited and signing up for a seat on the shuttle will be required. We hope you appreciate our attempt at getting you from place to place and remain patient with the limitations we have in terms of space available. ESBC and Smog are footing the bill, so you get what you get and hopefully you have one hell of a day! 🙂
Sign up will be at the front roll-up door. First come, first served. If you are not there to claim your spot, your spot will be given away
Remember if you “keep the glass”, you can take home a souvenir glass at a discount!
$10 for a full pour and Smog City logo’d glass you can take home.
Both Belgian and Pints available.
We Like You and We Really Care
      We anticipate an incredibly wonderful and exciting time to be had by all at our Anniversary but want to remind you to drink responsibly, stay hydrated, plan on how you will get between the events(if you do) and home. We take over-intoxication very seriously and your safety and the safety of others is paramount to the longevity of this wonderful community we are all so profoundly invested in.
Laurie, Porter and the Smog City Team
Laurie's Dad at Anniversary 2015

Laurie’s Dad at Anniversary 2015

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