Golden Road has a dream: Craft beer at Coachella

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With more than 120 artists representing the worlds of rock, dance and hip-hop, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival likely has something for even the most eclectic of tastes. Such variety, however, doesn’t extend to the festival’s beer options.

Though Los Angeles and its surrounding areas have experienced a growth spurt of late when it comes to craft beer, as evident by the success of such breweries as Golden Road, Eagle Rock, Hangar 24 and many others, Coachella fest-goers have but one option, a certain green-bottled lager from the Netherlands. Sponsorship rules mean L.A.'s nascent Golden Road Brewing won’t be able to bring its beer to Coachella’s Indio, Calif., site, but its team will get as close as it can.


Golden Road has begun lining up events starting Thursday night in the hopes of exposing some of the thousands who will descend upon Indio to craft beer. The beer made by Atwater Village-based Golden Road, which has been brewing for less than a year, isn’t yet available outside Los Angeles County, save for a sprinkling of Orange County accounts. On Thursday night, the eve of the first of two Coachella weekends, Golden Road will bring its staff and beer to the Rancho Mirage outpost of Burgers & Beer.

The following day, Golden Road will hold tastings and can signings at Albertsons’ two Palm Desert locations from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Golden Road co-founder Meg Gill is hoping for a grass roots penetration of the Coachella campsite, as campers are allowed to bring in ‘one case of beer per person,’ according to the Coachella rules. ‘Craft beer and music are kindred souls,’ said Gill. ‘To see a festival go from what Coachella was to what is now, and to become a mainstream staple in music, is perfectly aligned with our vision. We want to be a small craft brewery -- L.A.’s brewery -- and we want to show that L.A. does have an identity. Part of L.A.’s identity is Coachella, and we hope part of L.A.’s identity will become Golden Road.’

This isn’t the first time Golden Road has attempted to associated itself with music. The name of the brewery, in fact, take its name from a Grateful Dead collection. Initially, Golden Road had dubbed its Palm Desert invasion ‘Canchella,’ yet such branding caught the attention of Coachella promoters Goldenvoice, and it’s safe to say that Canchella wasn’t long for this world. Yet no doubt Goldenvoice, which started 30 years ago promoting punk rock shows, can at least respect Golden Road’s do-it-yourself aesthetic.

‘If we have to surround every corner store and chain store around Coachella, that’s what we’ll do,’ Gill said.


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-- Todd Martens