Beer with a Blogger: Newhall Refinery in Santa Clarita

When you find yourself stressed out with finals and job applications and the holidays, sometimes all you need is to grab a pint with a new friend.

And my get-together with Stephanie was long overdue. Back when she was pregnant, we had planned to meet up but never got around to it. Now she has an adorable three-month-old son and is allowed to drink again, so it all worked out! (Except the part where I forgot my DSLR. Low-light iPhone photos FTW.)

Beer with a Blogger: Stephanie from Loudmouth Lifestyle

THE BLOGGER

Stephanie Shar from Loudmouth Lifestyle and Baby Loudmouth. (Stephanie is a new mom, works full-time and she runs two blogs. WHAT.) Stephanie moved to L.A. five years ago from Detroit and worked a few “normal” jobs before pursuing her own creative business. I adore Steph’s blog because she has an authentic—and appropriately loud—voice. I’m always engaged when I read her posts and feel like I know exactly who she is. And what you see on her blog is what you get in person. She’s warm, open, funny as hell and is one of those people who cuts right through the bullshit and calls it like she sees it. She’s a really easy person to talk to and is launching a kickass program called Loud Ladies to make 2015 awesome.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent post of hers that I loved and sums her up perfectly:

I tried to keep my thoughts and feelings about the events in Ferguson on Twitter and Instagram. I wanted to stay ‘professional’ and keep this space for my ‘business’ and keep the personal shit at bay. But I’m in the business of getting personal. Welcome to The Loudmouth Lifestyle.

Newhall Refinery in Santa Clarita Newhall Refinery

THE BAR

Newhall Refinery in Santa Clarita, a city 35 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. I loved the area right off the bat when I turned onto the adorable main street where parking was both free and a breeze. The bar itself has a very cozy, neighborhoody vibe (enhanced by their Christmas decorations) and is staffed by very friendly folks. They had at least six different kinds of Sierra Nevada on draft, and it looks like they change that out every once in a while—now their beer menu lists eight different kinds of Goose Island! I wasn’t hungry, but it was so tempting to order food. The place smelled of fried goodness, and the couple sitting next to me had a cookies and creme dessert that looked delicious.

Newhall Refinery Newhall Refinery

THE BEER

I love me some Sierra Nevada, so I ordered a Nooner Session IPA (4.8%). Steph, in true Loudmouth form, asked the bartender for the strongest IPA on tap. So she got an Avery DuganA Double IPA (8.5%). Also worth noting that the prices were totally reasonable. I had two beers (one 16-oz. and one 12-oz.) and paid 11 bucks plus tip. Considering what most L.A. bars will charge you, this was a refreshing change of pace.

Cassie and Stephanie

Needless to say, we had a blast. If I didn’t have to drive home, I would’ve had another beer or two and gotten a little silly. But we’ll definitely get together again. (I still need to meet that sweet babe of hers!) Make sure you check out Steph’s blog—and say hi on Twitter while you’re at it.

Are you a blogger living in (or visiting!) L.A.? Do you like beer? Shoot me an email at wittycassiehere (at) gmail (dot) com, and let’s go to happy hour!

Beer with a Blogger: Hyperion Public in Silver Lake

With temperatures hitting record highs here in Los Angeles, it only seemed fitting to cool down with a brew or two.

Which is why I was delighted when a Twitter friend agreed to be featured in the next installment of Beer with a Blogger! It was a no-brainer when we realized we lived just a couple miles away from one another, and we met up at one of my favorite local spots.

Laura Donovan

THE BLOGGER

Laura Donovan, an L.A. native who is a regular contributor at Hello Giggles. (She’s also written for Mic, The Maude and more.) Laura is a master of writing listicles and how-tos with an authentic, relatable voice. And in real life, she’s as easy to talk to as you’d expect from her writing. Not only is she super friendly and fun, but Laura is also smart and thoughtful. I always say a good sign that someone is a genuinely nice person is if they ask more questions than you do. Laura’s that kind of person. Check out her writing here, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Hyperion Public

Hyperion Public

THE BAR

Hyperion Public, a popular neighborhood pub here in Silver Lake with a classy-yet-casual dining room up front, a dark and cozy bar room for sports-watching in the back, and a handful of sidewalk tables for people- and dog-watching outside. They have happy hour seven days a week (late nights during the weekend), and the F Yeah Fries and truffled mac are for real the bomb. Best of all? Hyperion Public is right around the corner from me, so I can enjoy myself with a beer (or two) and walk home!

Hyperion Public

THE BEER

I enjoyed the El Segundo Citra Pale Ale while Laura had the Trumer Pils. Both were incredibly refreshing on a 100-plus degree day.

save water drink beer

Hanging with Laura on a Sunday afternoon was the perfect way to cool off from the heat. We had plenty to talk about, and it was such a trip meeting someone who I feel like I’ve been following online for ages, even though I can’t remember how we came across one another. I’m so happy to have made a new friend!

Cassie & Laura

Are you a blogger living in (or visiting!) L.A.? Do you like beer? Shoot me an email at wittycassiehere (at) gmail (dot) com, and let’s go to happy hour!

Looking back: my first year in L.A.

one year in L.A.

We woke up in the canyons of Utah, braved 115-degree dry heat in Vegas, and paid nearly five dollars a gallon for the last leg of the trip. It was a Thursday, and it was L.A. or bust.

John and I arrived in Los Angeles one year ago Friday. We’d been on the road for 10 days, driving through small towns, big cities and vast deserts. We saw a lot of incredible things, but the most vivid memory of all was when we crossed into L.A. County. The highway was wide, the mountains were high and the setting sun gave it all a dreamy, hazy glow. We had made it. This was “home.”

driving into L.A.

Adjusting to our new surroundings wasn’t easy. Within the first day, we had a stinky iPhone full of air freshener juice and a ticket for talking on said phone as welcoming souvenirs. Thankfully, we had a place to stay, but finding an apartment was frustrating and difficult. Our bank accounts took major blows, jobs were scarce and grad school was looming. It was a lot to deal with at once.

Santa Monica beachcity-smog-2 trails-2

The first year certainly hasn’t been easy, but it has been amazing. I’ve had the chance to meet some extraordinary people working as a journalist and have taken the time to explore the Golden State with short road trips and camping adventures. I’ve woken up in a tent on the beach to see seals frolicking in the ocean, I’ve interviewed rock stars and activists and politicians, I’ve made a ton of new friends at school and through the blogging community, and I’ve had my best friend and partner next to me every step of the way. Being on this adventure with John has made the difficult times easier to deal with and the celebratory times even sweeter.

kisses-2 venice-canals-2 hills

And what’s not to love about L.A.? You could look at the negatives, and a lot of people choose to. I’ve encountered many of them myself, but the good has far outweighed the bad. Los Angeles is such a diverse city, both culturally and geologically, and that has made for so many new-to-me experiences. I needed a culture shock. I needed to step out of my comfort zone. And I needed to live in a city full of opportunities to make me realize just how many are open to me if I go after them.

cassie-walking

So thanks, Los Angeles, for giving me the biggest thrill of my life. Thanks for making me work for it and for letting me reap the rewards. Whether I stay another year, five years or a lifetime, I’ll always look back on the first 12 months as a game-changer.

Happy anniversary, Los Angeles.

 

Beer with a Blogger: Bar Food in Brentwood

How’s that for alliteration?

This month’s Beer with a Blogger was a long time coming. Hanna is a good blog friend of mine who lives in Brentwood on the West Side, but our busy lives have made it so that we’ve only met a couple of times in real life. We finally remedied that this past weekend. Read on!

Hanna Scott

THE BLOGGER

Hanna of the newly rebranded Filth. I’ve followed Hanna’s blog (formerly Excelsior Lady) since long before I moved to L.A. She made a similar cross-country move by way of Buffalo a few years ago, and I loved reading her thoughts on being a transplant in a vibrant, huge city. Hanna has one of those true artist brains, which I adore. (You can see some of her illustrations here—how cool are they?) Everything she draws or writes has a raw honesty that I really appreciate, and her eye for photography is spot-on. There’s nothing bland about her. And Hanna’s personality in real life is just as intriguing. Because we felt like we knew each other already the first time we met, it’s always been easy to talk to her. It helps that she’s got the most infectious smile and big, inviting blue eyes. Check out her blog, and follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Bar Food

THE BAR

Bar Food on Wilshire in Brentwood, a great happy hour spot seven days a week. And the happy hour deals are truly awesome, especially for L.A.—I had three beers (over the course of a BWAB record five-and-a-half hours) AND a hot dog, which all together cost $17 including tip! The drafts were $4 apiece and hot dogs are $1 all the time. Yelp reviewers says the other food is really good, too. The bartender was friendly, and we happened to come in on trivia night. Considering we weren’t anticipating playing trivia and the fact that we were first-time partners, we didn’t absolutely suck (i.e., we didn’t finish dead last). Neither of us is particularly great at trivia, though we killed the music round. The trivia host might’ve thrown a couple extra points our way for clever, albeit incorrect, answers. Bar Food had a fun, neighborhoody vibe.

beer

THE BEER

I enjoyed a Green Flash Black IPA and a Deschutes River Ale, while Hanna had a couple of Left Coast Asylum Belgian-Style Tripel Ales.

Bar Food dollar

Hanna & Cassie

grainy selfies FTW!

It was a blast hanging out with Hanna one-on-one for the first time (crazy it took nearly a year for that to happen!). We had a ton to talk about—staying true to our voices in writing, our love for L.A. and wanderlust for other parts of the world, and missing family back home. We also made a friend in a Bar Food regular, an older man in a beret who is a painter by way of Vancouver, born in Scotland. He was such a character, asking us about ourselves and sharing his white-haired wisdom. He was so sweet (and incredibly talkative), and Hanna and I later gushed at having made friends with such a cool dude. Between meeting him and playing several rounds of trivia, a night I expected to be a blast turned out to be just that and more.

Hanna and I vowed not to let so much time go by before hanging out again. Next time, we’re looping in Rachel so they can finally meet!

Are you a blogger living in (or visiting!) L.A.? Do you like beer? Shoot me an email at wittycassiehere (at) gmail (dot) com, and let’s go to happy hour!

Beer with a Blogger: Congregation Ale House in Pasadena

Bonding over beer and blogging really is a great way to make a new friend.

And this month, I made friends with the lovely and adorable Lauren. Check out our happy hour adventures below!

Lauren Breathe & Nourish

THE BLOGGER

Lauren Cash, the blogger behind Breathe & Nourish. Lauren writes about body acceptance, healthy living & habits, food and more. Recently, she wrote a touching letter to her body, and her habit shift series is a great and helpful documentation of how to make healthy changes routine. She and I clicked right away—Lauren’s super easy to talk to, asks thoughtful questions, had several funny stories to share and, as you can see, has the best smile. You can follow Lauren on Twitter and Instagram.

Congregation Ale House

Congregation Ale House

THE BAR

Lauren suggested Congregation Ale House in Pasadena, and it was the perfect spot for a beer enthusiast. The beer list is so long! It’s located in a quaint little section of Pasadena (where I’ve only been a couple of times but is really pretty adorable), so the outside seating area is really relaxed and inviting. The inside is spacious and gorgeous—they of course tied in the theme well with stained glass. Congregation has several other locations, as well.

Congregation Ale House

beer

THE BEER

I got adventurous with a 10.5% alcohol Oskar Blues Deviant Dale Double IPA (which was kind of like drinking two beers), while Lauren sampled both the El Segundo Brewing Company’s Station No. 1 Red Ale and the Anderson Valley Anniversary Imperial IPA. All imbibed was well enjoyed.

Cassie and Lauren

Thanks for introducing me to a great spot, Lauren! I had a blast and hope to hang again soon.

Are you a blogger living in (or visiting!) L.A.? Do you like beer? Shoot me an email at wittycassiehere (at) gmail (dot) com, and let’s go to happy hour!