By Aaron Ramson
This Saturday, November 23rd, 2019 from 1 till 5 pm, The 8th Annual Props and Hops Craft Beer Fest, will be held at the Palm Springs Air Museum, and for six of those eight years, home brewers have had a chance to compete for medals, bragging rights, and a place in the craft beer community. While the Coachella Valley Homebrew Club has been involved with the fest since its beginnings as the Palm Springs Craft Beer Conclave, as it was known as before its partnership with the air museum, home brewing has grown in popularity enough for there to now be friendly competition between multiple clubs. The Mojave Desert Brewers Guild, and the Inland Empire Homebrew Club, will both be in attendance to Saturday’s event to flex their wares and enjoy selling their beers alongside professional production breweries.
The Coachella Valley Homebrew Club has seen many former members go on to have careers as craft beer brewers, including Chris Anderson (Product Development at john Fearless, former Founder/Brewmaster at Coachella Valley Brewing Co, and owner of his own consultation firm), Erik Debellis (current head brewer of Torrance, CA’s Absolution Brewing Co), Juan Higuera (brewer at both Coachella Valley Brewing Co as well as Babe’s Brewing Co), and yours truly. Home brew clubs offer amateur brewers a place to gain knowledge, make new friends, and be a part of team building events like the homebrew competition at the Palm Springs Props and Hops.
Joshua Kunkle is the current president of the Coachella Valley Homebrew Club, a member for the past five years, and has helped to organize the competition side of Props and Hops for four of those years. In years past, the fest served as a BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) sanctioned event that awarded medals for individual styles and subcategories, but more recently the competition has geared towards people’s choice, with the homebrew clubs in line with professional breweries to see who wins the vote of the crowd. “The air museum is offering up a $1000 to the winner of People’s Choice (clubs competing with breweries), which definitely makes the competition fierce,” says Kunkle, “Beyond that, there is a friendly competition to see who gets the longest continual line at their booth.” The Coachella Valley Homebrew Club will be pouring a coconut stout, anamber Mexican Lager, and a Hazy IPA, amongst their wares.
The inclusion of amateur competition is what sets the Props and Hops apart from all of the other craft beer festivals that the Coachella Valley now hosts.
The 8th Annual Palm Springs Props and Hops Beer Fest will feature 25 breweries, with events taking place in the new 20,000 square foot General Ken Miles, Korea and Vietnam Hangar. Presenting Sponsors are Babe’s Brewery, Hot Purple Energy, Palm Springs Resorts, and LULU California Bistro. Media sponsors are The Desert Sun and NBC Palm Springs. VIP tickets for the event are available, with attendees receiving 12 tickets instead of 8, and an early entrance from noon to 1.
Breweries in attendance include Absolution, Babe’s, Ballast Point, Belching Beaver, Boochcraft Kombucha, Bootlegger’s, Brewcaipa (where I’ll personally be pouring my beer), Coachella Valley Brewing, Coachella Valley Homebrewer’s Club, Desert Beer, Drake’s, Fig Mountain, Firestone Walker, Hangar 24, Inland Empire Homebrew Club, King Harbor, La Quinta, Lost Abbey, Malapinta, Mojave Desert Brewers’ Guild, Palm Springs Brewing, Refuge, SLO Brew, Speakeasy, Stone, Church, Thorn Street, and more!
Eight 4-ounce tastings & event glassware (while supplies last) included with admission – advance tickets on sale for $40, $50 at the door; PSPropsHops.com. Additional beer tasting tickets sold for cash on site. No one under age 21 admitted to the Festival – no exceptions! People’s Choice Brewery Award announced at 3:30pm.
All attendees must have valid proof of age and must be over 21 years of age. Tickets to the Props& Hops CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL include entrance to the beer tasting areas only, separate admission needed for the rest of the museum, located at 745 N. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs, between Vista Chino and Ramon Road. Friendly pets on a leash welcome.