Two L.A. beer festivals that offer more than a taste of craft brews

Two great ways to drink beer at the Rose Bowl and the Coliseum

Beer festivals can be a great way to try some beers and hang out with friends, but many festivals don’t offer much more than beer poured in pop-up tents and the occasional food truck or live music. Los Angeles is hosting two events in coming weeks that feature more than the usual beer fest fare, and both offer a change of scenery with classic Los Angeles sporting venues playing host to the parties.

L.A. Memorial Coliseum - Hops and Hopes Craft Beer Fest - April 25

The Hops and Hopes festival promises to bring more than just delicious brews. The culmination of one man’s journey “from unknown beer historian with autism to worldwide inspiration, author and autism advocate,” the festival feature breweries from across America, craft beer celebrities, and educational talks and panels, all in a classic venue and for a good cause. 

When Lance Rice set out on a tour of Midwestern breweries in 2013 it was the first time that the then-55-year-old spoke with strangers or rode an elevator. Rice has autism; he is also a gifted beer historian. His dream was to write a book about American brewing history. The tour turned into a movement that would cross the country, with stops at dozens of breweries, inspiring hundreds of people along the way. Check out this short video to get inspired yourself.

You can celebrate with Rice and his new friends on April 25 and support the Beer Autism Hope Cause charity. Tickets are $50 for general admission, $75 for early admission, and $100 for VIP passes that include special tasting, VIP meet-and-greets, and access to the VIP lounge in the Coliseum press box.

The Rose Bowl - Vegan Beer & Food Festival - May 16

In its sixth year, the Vegan Beer & Food Festival moves from its West Hollywood home to the Rose Bowl, and the extra space and historic surroundings should make for a great party. Past Vegan Beer Fests have been a wonderful collision of tasty vegan bites, standout local craft beer and some great bands. Tickets for this year’s event include unlimited tasters from the 50-plus craft breweries, though the food from dozens of vendors is not included in the $50 price tag. There’s also a VIP admission option for $80 that gets you into the festival an hour early and unlocks a VIP lounge (and in past years, the extra cash was totally worth the extended festival hours and access to additional restrooms).

This is a festival that sells out early every year, and it’s a highlight of the L.A. beer festival calendar, so don’t wait too long to pull the trigger if you’re interested. Don’t let the “vegan” in the title scare you off — most craft beer is already vegan. It’s mostly the brews that use honey or certain clarifying agents like gelatin and isinglass that are non-vegan. There will be enough vegan-friendly and world-class IPAs, stouts and saisons pouring at the festival to satisfy the most omnivorous of beer lovers.

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