After hosting one tap takeover, Gina Traber vowed to never do so again—that is, until Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. asked the Brewport Tap House owner to host its "40 beers for 40 years" anniversary celebration.
Brewport Tap House in El Segundo dedicated 40 of its 48 self-serve beer taps to only the Chico-based Sierra Nevada's brews, including a 40th Hoppy Anniversary Ale IPA, for one night last week.
"They hosted me at their beer camp last year," Traber said of Sierra Nevada. She spent four days at the facility brewing, seeing the composting, and its environmentally-friendliness attitude. It's also still family owned and treats employees like family too, Traber added.
That experience made Traber open to hosting the company's anniversary, she said, other than the fact that she loves its beer.
Jason Rosenfeld, division sales manager for Sierra Nevada, said the company was attracted to Brewport Tap House for its numerous taps. But more importantly, Rosenfeld added, Traber is a bastion of craft beers in the South Bay, and Sierra Nevada wanted to do something different to celebrate its first 40 years.
Among Brewport's taps, 60 are dedicated to self-pour beer, keg wine, kombucha and cold brew coffee. Bartenders can serve from another 32 of those taps, which includes one for Sierra Nevada's flagship pale ale, Traber said.
Patrons could choose from flights, pint or tulip glasses to keep refilling to their hearts' desires. Just hold your wristband up to the tap, pour and pay-by-the-ounce.
Working in a taproom, Traber said, she saw that a lot of people just wanted to taste several beers before buying a whole glass dedicated to one type. "There's no commitment here," she said, "you can have just one ounce of whatever you want."
The night featured some unique beers that even Steve Grossman, Sierra Nevada's brewery ambassador, hadn't even tried.
"They're very small batch beers, one-offs that we just make in our pilot brewery and sometimes doesn't even get to our pub," Grossman said, who's the older brother of Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman. Ken and Steve take turns attending beer events.
Sierra Nevada's pilot brew houses are on site, Grossman said, and hold the up to 20-year-old, 10-barrel systems, which make 300-gallon batches only.
"We do all our test batches in there, one-off and our beer camp beers," Grossman said.
One of them is a hybrid made with grapes and barley malt, Grossman said, which the microbrewery created for recent festivals.
Southern Gothic is a Pilsner that Sierra Nevada makes at their second brewery--opened six years ago in North Carolina, Grossman said. It usually doesn't make it out of the east coast.
"We bring it specially out here for a couple accounts," Grossman said. "One of my favorite beers," he added, "and really rare on the west coast."
Craft breweries didn't really exist in early 1980s, Grossman said, adding that New Albion Brewing and Anchor Brewing Co. were the only other microbreweries in NorCal at the time.
"Those were (our) inspirations," Grossman said. "There was no craft (brew) scene back then, really." he added. "People weren't used to that type of beer, the hoppy flavors."
"There were only 42 breweries in the U.S. back then," he said, "and there's 8,000 now--almost all craft."
Sierra Nevada still stands as one of the earliest and respected craft breweries, Grossman said, because of its dedication to quality, sustainability, consistency in quality and flavors and always striving to improve.