Smog City wants to party with you on May 9. Just don’t call it a birthday party. “Notice we call it an anniversary event? That’s on purpose,” Laurie Porter of Smog City says. They don’t call it a birthday because the brewery was actually born twice.
Back in 2011, Smog City head brewer and owner Jonathan Porter knew he wanted to get in on the Los Angeles craft brew scene. He also knew that starting a brewery would be an extremely cash-intensive investment with no promise of success. So he set up shop at Tustin Brewing Company.
Think of it this way: First, you build the market for your beers. Then, you build your actual brewery. Porter perfected the recipes for beers like Hoptonic while brewing at the Tustin facility. He secured distribution for his creations. He built a fan base. After all that, throwing money at a brick-and-mortar expression of a brewery is a less-daunting proposition.
Which brings us to birthday numero dos. In May of 2013, the Porters opened the doors on their Torrance brewery and taproom. “I like to describe young Smog City like the Road Runner,” says Laurie Porter. She says they were winding up to take off for two years. Once they opened the brewery in Torrance, they rocketed forward in a puff of dust. They began to experiment with barrel-aging and souring beers. They could brew small, limited batches of weird and exciting beers. They could do more, be bigger, do better.
And now we’re reaping all of the benefits. For the non-specific anniversary celebration on May 9 (non-specific in that they leave off the chronology. Laurie Porter says it’s like picking a day to celebrate with your spouse. Do you celebrate how long you’ve been together as a couple? Or how long you’ve been married? Have you been together for four years? Or have you been married for two? Well…how about both?), Smog City will be slinging some of those rare, experimental beers.
VIP tickets ($60) give buyers special access to the brewery from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. the day of the party, with unusual beers up for the tasting and a special gift as well. The plebes can show up for the otherwise free-admission festivities starting at 1 p.m. Laurie Porter says that there will be tons of special beers on tap for everyone to enjoy. Of particular interest to me: a strong saison with merlot and something called Mai Tai HopT. It’s a version of Hoptonic brewed with coconut. Reason enough to celebrate. But toasting to the success of a great, local brewing team? All the better.