Though it's been open for less than two years, the tiny El Segundo Brewing Company has already doubled its fermentation capacity and garnered more than 150 draft accounts from Santa Barbara to San Diego. And starting with tonight's bound-to-be-epic release party, the notoriously hop-forward brewery will add another notch in its belt -- bottles.
Joining a growing number of L.A. breweries from Eagle Rock to Beachwood that now package their beer in more than just kegs and growlers, El Segundo is releasing two beers in bottles this week, an accessible wheat IPA and a limited-supply imperial stout.
Available in 22-oz. bombers with El Segundo's recognizable "blue house" logo printed across the label, the year-round White Dog IPA and a seasonal imperial stout called Standard Crude are the first two releases. Standard Crude will be an annual bottle release, so supplies are limited, but White Dog -- a wheat IPA that uses a fruity hop variety -- is the start of what El Segundo hopes will be a consistent line of bottled beers available throughout the Southland.
The plan, according to Thomas Kelley ("Partner/Rainmaker" at El Segundo), is to keep White Dog stocked on shelves and slowly incorporate the brewery's other year-round beers -- such as its Citra pale ale and Hyperion export stout -- into the bottled lineup.
"We are using a mobile bottler who comes to the brewery with his equipment...and delivers to us cases of bottled beer," Kelley said. "It takes a lot of pressure off of us and reduces the capital investment that we would have otherwise needed."
For the initial release of White Dog and Standard Crude, El Segundo has planned four release events throughout L.A., including this Friday's at the brewery's taproom in which a cask of rum-soaked and oaked Hyperion's Double Stout will be tapped.
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Remaining cases of the two beers will be self-distributed to select bottle shops around L.A. as well as in San Diego, where the local brewery has found acceptance among the hard-to-please hoppy-beer fans.
"We're trying to extend our reach and start building the brand so when we move to a distributor at some point this year, we already have tendrils out there," said Kelley. "We need to tell them that L.A. has beer now."
El Segundo Brewing Company: 140 Main St., El Segundo, (310) 529-3882.