The San Fernando Valley and Sylmar will be a riot this year. Valley Riot Brewing is readying their tanks to produce beer and add a little punk attitude to the Los Angeles craft beer scene. Nelson Ruiz from the brewery graciously answered questions while out of the country.
Sean Inman: What is the significance of the name Valley Riot?
Nelson Ruiz: The significance of Valley Riot stemmed from our music background. The three owners Mark Ramirez, Armando Palacios, and myself have been involved in the local punk scene since we were 15. While growing up punk music was at its peak and we were a bunch of teenagers filled with teenage angst. Now, we’re a bunch of adults who are teenagers at heart trying to overthrow the conglomerate beer companies and expose people to the fresh, and flavorful beer craft beer has to offer. Long story short, we’re a brewery opening in the San Fernando Valley and we’re about to start a beer riot! Hence Valley Riot. Also, it sounds cool!
Sean Inman: Are there a style of beers that will be focused on?
Nelson Ruiz: We want to focus on four main beers: stout, blonde, a pale ale, and of course IPA. We want to offer a variety for all palates, not just one. It helps that the three of us like different styles, because if it was just me, I’d want to make nothing but IPAs and stouts. Haha.
SI: What is the background of the brewing team?
NR: As mentioned before, we’ve all know each other for a while. I’ve known Armando since I was 15 when we started our first punk band. I’ve known Mark since we were in 6th grade in math class. Mark and Armando know each other through me since 2006.
SI: What will the distribution be like? Taproom / bottles & cans / on draft at craft beer bars?
NR: We want to open a taproom and distribute not only to craft beer pubs, but also to venues. We’ve played enough shows (concerts) throughout our musical career that venue owners and bar owners would happily serve our beer at their location. Then if possible work a distribution deal with Stone Brewing and hope for bigger and better things.
SI: What L.A. brewery has been a model while creating Valley Riot?
NR: The brewery that has been a model would definitely have to be San Fernando Brewery. They showed us that the Valley is ready for craft beers. Not only that, but they make amazing beer and they are amazing people!
SI: What is your view of the Los Angeles craft brewing scene as we start 2017?
NR: Our views are that it keeps growing by the minute! All the local breweries in the L.A and Ventura area have been stepping up their game making amazing beers and combinations. Also, they are all well connected and help each other out. Every brewery I’ve gone to has been amazing in giving us tips for when we open and little tricks when brewing.
I should switch the order of the Homework and Beer of the Week, for reasons that you will soon read. But let’s stick to the format. The choice this week is Honeysuckle, a session ale from the now brewing Lincoln Beer Co. Cascade and Summer hops are a light touch to this super low ABV sessionable ale that lands at a mere 4.5%.
Your Homework is to keep tabs on the Lincoln Beer Co. in advance of their taproom opening in Burbank. Housed in a faux castle building, brewer Patrick Dunn and partner Ryan Lipson have gotten beers out to a few accounts (including L.A. Beer Blast locations like Tuning Fork and Southland Beer) from their 15-barrel system. Candy Fields IPA and Winter Fiesta (a red ale with habanero and vanilla) being two to look for as well as a session ale, a cream ale, and more to come as Dunn gets his new brewing system humming.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.