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Brews and Boat Shoes: Dry River Brewing Hopes To Tap Into L.A. Beer Culture

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Photo by Krista Simmons/LAist
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For a city that has as much F&B cred as Los Angeles, it's sort of surprising that we don't have hordes of craft breweries like our southern brethren down in San Diego. David Hodgins and Vanda Ciceryova of Dry River Brewing are hoping to change that. The couple has outgrown their homebrew operations at their Mount Washington abode, and are aiming to expand to a full-fledged brewery located along the L.A. River.

Hodgins, originally from the brew haven of San Diego, and Ciceryova, who hails from pilsner's home in Slovakia, have been doing DIY for the past few years and want to take their operation to the next level. Their plan is to piggyback the efforts of the LA River Revitalization Corporation, an organization aiming to restore a 52 mile stretch of the L.A. River to its original beauty. As part of the program, businesses will be incentivized to open up along the river, and the team wants to get in on the ground floor.

At a recent gathering at the couple's home, we tried their comically-named Leggy Blonde, and it was a real treat. Also in their portfolio are a few of the IPAs that California brewers and drinkers adore, as well as some truly unique beers that draw on L.A.'s strong Latin American ties including a jamiaca weiss, a smoked agave wheat, and an horchata cream ale.

"It really is an underserved market when it comes to craft breweries," says Hodgins when asked why they decided to launch Dry River in L.A. Plus, our consumers have top notch taste.

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When asked to compare Angelenos to one of their beers, he said it'd have to be the Hop on Board IPA, because it's "assertive and sunny, slightly bitter yet sophisticated, all at the same time."

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Photo courtesy of Dry River Brewing
The team hopes to make their L.A. brewery totally sustainable, which makes sense considering Hodgin's full-time gig as the executive director of the L.A. Better Buildings Challenge. Ideally, their brewing system will have heat recovery and natural cooling, which will minimize water use and maximize yields. They currently have their hearts set on finding a location in the lower Boyle Heights, Downtown Los Angeles or Elysian Valley areas.

In order to raise the capital for the project, they've launched a Kickstarter campaign. To start with, the funds will go towards getting a commercial fermentation tank and kegs so that Dry River can partner with a sister brewery to make their recipes. Then the beer can be kegged and distributed to bars throughout the city.

The goal is to open up a urban yacht-rock themed brewery by 2016, which will include a brewpub serving updated seafood classics like fish and chips and ahi tacos. If they can get the funding they need to start co-brewing with the locals, you might see their beers in bars as early as 2014.

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"L.A. has such a supportive beer community," says Hodgins. "It really is home for us."