On January 25th, Hop Culture is bringing its series of unique, intimate, and highly-curated craft beer events to Los Angeles—Brouwerij West in San Pedro, to be exact.
With over two dozen events under their belt (and more on the way), an incredible lineup of some of the best breweries in the country, and a location unlike any other in Los Angeles, we were super excited when we first heard the announcement for JUICY BREWS BEACH PARTY (hit the link for tickets & full brewery list).
If you’re not familiar with Hop Culture, it’s time to change that right now. We chatted with Hop Culture co-founder Kenny Gould about who they are and what this Juicy Brews thing is all about. Check it out.
Gary Magnone: So, what is Hop Culture and what do you guys do?
Kenny Gould: Hop Culture is a free digital magazine that covers craft beer culture. We also throw a dozen beer festivals around the country every year. Check us out online at www.hopculture.com or on Instagram at @hopculturemag!
GM: Why “Juicy Brews”?
KG: In 2017, when we decided to throw our first festival (we’re now on #27!), “juicy” beers were having a moment. We invited a dozen of the best IPA producers in the country to pour in Pittsburgh, PA, and the event sold out in 10 seconds. So we said, “Let’s do that again.” We went to New York and sold out a festival there, too. Over time, we’ve evolved to include other beer styles, but the name stuck.
GM: Tell us more about this event series and how long you guys have been doing it.
KG: Our first event was at Dancing Gnome Brewery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 3rd, 2017. Then we went to New York, and Columbus, and Tucson. Today, we’ve thrown events in over 26 markets, including Boston, Charlotte, San Diego, and Oakland. We’re different because our events are parties, rather than the uninspired money grabs masquerading as “festivals” you see at convention centers across the country. We’re like, enough cargo shorts and pretzel necklaces and beer you can find at gas stations. Let’s get the country’s best food, the best music, and the best beer into one place, and let’s throw down!
GM: What is your process like for choosing breweries for your events?
KG: All of our events are invitationals, which mean they personally receive an invite from yours truly. Because we run an online magazine (hopculture.com), we stay pretty on top of who is doing awesome things for the beer industry. We try to spread the love, but the breweries that really impress us are the ones we tap for these events.
GM: Why Los Angeles and why now? How did you come to partner with Brouwerij West?
KG: After throwing the Horus Hootenanny with Kyle Harrop from Horus Aged Ales in 2019, we knew we wanted to get back to Southern California. But that was such an endeavor… I mean, at the end of the day, it was a bunch of journalists and Kyle running around and trying to make sure 2,000 people got beer. It was a huge success, but it was a ton of work. So we decided to host that event every other year. But we need our SoCal fix, right? So we started looking at partners for a smaller event in SoCal that we could run in the interim. That’s how we found Brouwerij West. I visited them a year or two back and loved the location. And I’ve got a big man-crush on Vito Trautz, their marketing guy. I’d forgotten my phone charger at the airport and the dude pulled one out of his car and told me to keep it. I mean, we kind of had to throw a festival in LA after that.
GM: Give us your personal strategy for navigating and surviving a fest with this many great breweries.
KG: If you come to one of our events, you’re going to try everything you want. We limit our attendance to make sure of that. So take it easy. Talk to the brewers, make new friends. Maybe get a lobster roll. We’re pretty set on ensuring people have a blast!
GM: As a beer festival veteran, what’s your go-to morning-after-a-fest meal?
KG: I’m a sucker for an expensive coffee and a cheap breakfast sandwich. Or an expensive breakfast sandwich. Or really any kind of sandwich. I love sandwiches.
GM: What other beer adventures are you looking forward to while in LA?
KG: Evan Price from Green Cheek is the homie. And he’s opening up a new brewpub in Costa Mesa. We gotta check that out.
Alright, there you have it! After that, I don’t know how you couldn’t be fired up for Juicy Brews! Grab your tickets now before they sell out and we’ll see you there on January 25th.