people we love - Brian White

Ally edit - this is the first entry to Scout Folks by Abby Oliva, who will be contributing people stories here. Hope you enjoy, and drop her a line if you have any interesting folks you’d like to know more about.


Getting to Know You

Brian White and I decided to meet at Provisions at the Orange Circle, a great place in Old Town to find and enjoy the craft brews for which you will gladly spend a bit (and sometimes, considerably) more. He walked in a few minutes after I arrived, we exchanged hugs and pleasantries, ordered our beers, and found a quiet table to sit and catch up.

After setting down his drink, he took off his jacket revealing a henley that held on to toned shoulder and chest muscles.  

I asked, in my best pseudo-sleaze tone, “dude, have you been working out?”

“I have to, for work,” he answered with slight exasperation.

I paused for a moment, wondering why his employer would require that he work out (and how that could possibly be legal), when he read the look on my face and answered the unspoken question.

“This is what I do all day!” he said with a smile, pointing to his beer.

Best Job Ever

As the “Beer Evangelist” for Monkish Brewing Company in Torrance, California - Mr. White spends a fair amount of time in fellowship with craft beer enthusiasts and sharing the good (beer) news with hopeful converts. Suffice to say he drinks a fair amount of beer. With two other well-known SoCal brewers on his CV (Karl Strauss and The Bruery, respectively), he knows his stuff, and is the perfect guy to approach with your beer wants, needs, and queries. Monkish brews mostly Belgian-style ales, and is relatively new to the brewery scene, just celebrating their 2nd anniversary. I visited their little spot with Ally and her family, and we got to indulge in some of their best work. 

Like any industry, the longer you stay in it, the smaller it gets, and the brewing world is no exception. I asked Brian how he was able to nurture existing relationships while being able to start others.

BW:  You have to keep working on rebranding yourself, but it’s all about networking. You maintain contacts, you don’t burn bridges - you try not to, I’ve burnt some. You make mistakes and learn the hard way. A lot. Basically, it’s just about being a decent human being and just being kind, I think. And honest, not artificial. Being authentic with people. Especially in sales, there’s your typical salesman – and to them you’re just a number and they want to meet goals. I always hated that. Never wanted to be that or do that.

Watching him in motion at the Monkish tasting room, you can see that when it comes to this craft that his knowledge is outweighed only by his passion. During my visit I decided to order a tasting flight and let him take the reigns. I didn't know that Belgian beer had such a range, I was blown away.  

Extra Credit

When he isn’t delighting beer fans, Brian’s taking a stand for at-risk youth and working to provide hope. (No big deal, right?) In 2005 he began searching for a way to help stop human trafficking, a cause that’s gained a significant amount of momentum in the past few years.

BW:  I don’t even remember how I got into it, the issue of human trafficking and modern-day slavery, but I caught onto it… I had this dream of starting an Orange County abolitionist group and I emailed the president of Free the Slaves (Kevin Bales), who wrote one of the books, Disposable People. ...And they invited me to come to San Francisco, so I went up there and met him and his right hand guys. And I think I was at a Thai restaurant and I just thought, “what am I doing here, I’m just some 22-year-old with nothing to give.”

In 2013, the opportunity to make an impact presented itself. A friend of his had read a post on Brian’s blog about human trafficking and the desire to be involved in a solution, and this friend just so happened to know the president of the SOLD Project. The SOLD Project is a nonprofit organization that works to prevent child prostitution by educating the at-risk youth in northern Thailand and providing scholarships and resources to break a cycle of poverty and exploitation. Brian was able to meet with the president of the organization and ended up traveling to Thailand with them for an eye-opening and life-changing experience.

BW:  It’s a giant circle. Life always comes full circle even when you’re not aware.

AO: Right. Life, work, relationships, yourself; everything is cyclical.

BW: Except, hopefully, each time it comes out a little bit better.

When he returned to the States, he was brought on as a Southern California representative for them; if you want to learn more about the SOLD Project and need someone to come speak about it – he’s your Huckleberry.

Why We Love Him

Being a beer savvy humanitarian seems reason enough to like someone. The element that puts Brian on another level is his genuine compassion for all walks of life. Whether he is pouring a Seme Della Vita (quite possibly the best beer I have ever had, by the way) or striving to stop oppression – his heart and soul are in it, completely. There is nothing forced or fabricated in the way he interacts with his fellow man. He attributes this authenticity to being totally confident in anything he is offering and discovering a deeper acceptance during graduate school.  

AO:  You have your MA in Theology, how has that impacted the way you look at the world and interact with people?

BW:  I learned to think of everything in context. The reality is that I could have been born somewhere else and I might be the same person and I could have the same passions – but I would be Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim. And you have to be haunted by that fact, that you could be completely different, and ask yourself, “am I just a product of where I am or am I able to think outside of culture?” And so I learned to appreciate everything and be more open and understanding of cultural differences and life experiences. And I’ve kind of gotten rid of an objective truth in a way. That maybe there is a truth that is somewhat objective, but there is only a subjective view of it. Humans are bound to language, culture, to all these things. So when you realize that, you become a kinder person and you don’t judge, because ultimately, what do you know? Just that you’re a person of faith and that faith is good.

This energy, open-mindedness, and organic love for mankind make him one-of-a-kind. 

AO:  What is one thing that you have learned that you would share with the world?

BW:  It’s simple: Live a life of faith, hope, and love.


Learn more about Monkish here
Learn more about the SOLD Project here

Follow his personal blog here


all photos by Benjamin Squirrell. 


Palm Springs is for Lovers

by Courtney


Palm Springs has a special place in my heart. Wanderlust often brings our little tribe to the desert. There is something so spectacular about this place: one of my favorite places in the world.


With spring just around the corner, my heart floods with memories of my birthday last year.  We rented an AMAZING mid-century home through AirBNB. (highly recommended). We packed our wagons and headed East for a wonderfully sparkly gold-themed birthday bash at our Palm Springs playground. Who says you can't have a themed birthday party at 28? I like to cultivate my inner child.

This is so much I adore about Palm Springs - the architecture, the atmosphere. It's like going back in time, back to the Golden era. All you need is your giant sunnies, your swanky summer-themed cocktail, your closest friends, and of course your vintage kimono from the thrift store down the street. Turn up your Frank Sinatra vinyl and enjoy the peaceful surroundings of the swaying palm trees and clear blue skies.



Pastel color palettes // curiously shaped cacti // warm sun shining on your face // it is our escape.


by Courtney

ace hotel dtla

by Courtney


If there is anything in my life I have learned thus far, it is to keep loved ones close and to collect as many memories your heart can handle. And the heart can handle a lot of memories.  In this decade of chaos, technology, and instant gratification, I find it hard to make time for those I love. However, when I make it happen, my reward is tenfold. I create more love: The greatest gift we have been given is to live and love.

My husband and I have been in each others lives for over 10 years now. Over the past decade, we have made it of vital importance to travel; it is the only time we can shut off our minds and connect on levels otherwise impossible. Human beings need exploration, and so with my blog posts, I encourage you to explore. Whether it is a hike in your own backyard or a ride on a jet plane to a foreign land. Just get out there! No adventure is too small; keep no rock unturned. Traveling has kept my husband and I close - best friends. It has forced us to walk away from work, even if just for a moment. To share a cup of our favorite coffee and talk about the days and adventures to come.

Something as simple as camping, where you can remove your daily life mask and just BE. We have gathered so many memories over the years, it brings tears to my eyes just to type about it. To think we can share these memories with our future children, and our children's children. To teach them to get a little dirty, to close their eyes and feel the wind on their face, to try things they never thought they would. Teach them to live.

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On our latest adventure, we wandered over to the newest Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles with a few of our closest friends. Dear Ace, you have yet to fail me. Filled with hipsters and gypsies from around the world, eclectic music, and fantastic cuisine- the Ace transports me. In our years of adventures, we’ve been to 5 of the Ace hotels, and they’ve become like home. The Ace has become something we’ve started to incorporate into our identity as a couple.

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At the Ace, staff treats you like family and travelers share their life's adventures over a cups of Stumptown. The design echos the surrounding city - vibrant eclectic chaos. Art deco,old Hollywood, offset by accents of fiber wall hangings and rich ceramic tiles. The moment you walk through those grand doors you are greeted by a coffee bar. We LOVE coffee. You’ll hear more about that as I continue to blog here. Seated next door is LA Chapter. "A carefully cultivated basserie"- Ace Hotel. Fill yourself with fresh and locally sourced cuisine with an exotic spin. Try the potato pancakes at brunch, I'm dreaming about them.

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We wandered up to the rooftop bar playfully named "Upstairs". We gazed upon the entire city of Los Angeles, googling landmarks and falling in love with the familiar from a new view. We sipped hand-made cocktails (they also have tap cocktails!) while lounging on the chicest of ethnic-inspired mid century furniture. The wind was crisp and the music was fittingly ambient. We conversed with fellow travelers. The Ace caters to all walks of life. Nomads who welcome change and new experiences, people who seek adventure-They cater to folks.


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-Courtney Laser


the constant rough draft.

I have always worked in fits and starts, and prefer to work on a million things at once rather than one singular masterpiece. So for the sake of progress and to dash all hopes of tidiness, I'll start blogging whatever crosses my brain, and perhaps fix it all later. Here it is! The new venture and the new blog. I've been wanting to make my own clothing line since before I could write my name. I wish I had the drawings I used to sell as a child - bespoke illustrations of gowns with bows and shit on them. 

I finally decided that the time is now to live out my childhood fantasies, and maybe see what I can make of them. Scout Folks is a blog for the most part, to keep us focused on documenting adventures. Perhaps most of all to make sure we're still taking adventures, and searching for new inspiration. We're making clothing because I love making art, and I want my kids to be more aware and accepting of art. Handmade by humans, or until we get that robot I ordered via skymall. 




Mr Squirrell in Joshua Tree this past weekend.