I met Ryan at a Craft Brewer’s Conference, many years ago. We had a knack at running into each other over the years, perhaps because we ran in similar circles, or ended up at the same bars. Even though we were no where near selling to California at the time, Ryan always expressed this genuine enthusiasm for what we were doing and encouraging interest that if we ever got that way, he’d love to be involved. Meeting away from either of our home towns can feel out of context, but it never clouded Ryan’s infectious energy and passion. On my recent visit to California for the Craft Beverage Expo, I was able to sneak to LA for a quick trip to say hi to Ryan at The Surly Goat, one of their group’s many craft-centric bars that have helped shape the craft beer culture in the Los Angeles area.
The Drinks: Sierra Nevada, Torpedo Pils, Coedo, Shikkoku - Schwarzbier, New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout, Hollister Hippy Kicker
The Music: “Wealthy Street” © and courtesy of Drew Nelson
Ryan Sweeney is a native of Palo Alto, California who moved to Los Angeles following his time majoring in Film Studies at Pitzer. He and his cohorts in the Goat Group have contributed greatly to the development of the LA craft beer scene. His bar management career began with the Match in North Hollywood before opening Verdugo Bar with partners in 2007. Ryan oversees the formative and delicious craft beer programs of the several signature bars that have followed within The Goat Group including The Surly Goats, Little Bear, The Woodman, Sweeney's Ale House, The Blind Donkey and The Phoenix.
Joel Armato, aka “Dr. Joel,” is native to Pottstown, PA and the larger Philadelphia area. Joining New Holland Brewing Co in 2008 as the Beer Beast From The East, Joel ran a seven state sales territory up and down the East Coast. After taking the position of National Sales Manager several years later, he relocated to the shores of Holland, MI. Spinning tires from years on the road replicate the spinning platters of Joel's turntables as he nears his 20th year as an avid vinyl music collector and DJ. Informing his worldview through a lens of things well-made by people with passion, the cultures of craft beer, music, and food have engulfed Joel and allowed him to surround himself with great people and possibilities. He continues to push New Holland's brand of evolving artistic contributions forward as National Sales Operations Manager and is coming to grips with a slowly building Midwest accent...he still drives like he's from Philly though.