Boomtown Brewery’s Production Manager

Boomtown Brewery’s Production Manager and beer craftsman Ben Turkel presents the new hazy IPA Candy Rain.

Fusing aromas of pineapple, orange and peppery spice, Boomtown Brewery has launched a brand-new hazy IPA craft beer called Candy Rain. 

Crafted with 7% ABV and 35 IBU, the brew also incorporates flavors of melon, key lime and apricot.

Founded in 2014, Boomtown crafts its beers with a wide variety of hops and yeasts, and ages them in old spirit barrels. Other beers include the Hazy IPA Series’ Cool Kids, Lil No and Marine Layer, and West Coast IPAs, stouts, porters, lagers, Pilsners and sours.

“Traditionally, the name of our brewery does invoke the history of California and the West with the precious metals of silver and gold,” said Product Manager Ben Turkel, who leads operations with head brewer Samuel Chawinga. “Overnight, the boomtowns could spring up over this precious resource. Our precious resource is beer.

“Ten years ago, there weren’t many options for craft beer in the county of Los Angeles. Fast forward to 2020 and there’s a tremendous selection of craft beer here. So there have been boomtowns of different resources, and ours happens to be beer. We’re really grateful and super appreciative of our fan base, the people who support us and who support craft brewing in totality in the city.”

At Boomtown, brewers break down water using a carbon filter and reverse osmosis. The water is broken down to 15 parts per million, so it’s almost just blank hydrogen and oxygen. The water is then built back up to both mimic certain traditional brewing regions but also to accentuate hops, malted oats and aromas.

For example, Boomtown Brewery’s German-style beers mimic the chemical water profile of Munich. Candy Rain is no different. The water being mimicked has a mineral-rich water source, which makes for 95% of this product.

Grains include barley, which provides the majority of the sugars that the yeasts consume and convert to alcohol, as well as malted oats and wheat. Both help with the mouthfeel and add protein, which gives hazy IPAs their haze, as does unmalted wheat, which has a lot of protein.

Boomtown Brewery sources grains from the France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and Canada, while Candy Rain’s grains come from the latter three. 

As for hops—sourced from the United States—they are thermo-reactive. Depending on the temperature and the time, the hops change flavor. A single hop can produce many different flavors, and that ability is used to layer flavors.

Candy Rain has three different types of hops—Idaho 7, Citra and El Dorado—which together together produce complementary flavors.

The yeast used consumes the sugars from the grains and produces alcohol, carbon dioxide and other flavor components.

For can packaging, Boomtown looks to several suppliers, the main one being Visionary Canning Supplies. Visionary supplies the physical cans and branded wraps that the brews are sold in.

The cans that arrive at Boomtown Brewery are put on one side of the canning machine. Through the conveyer belt, they are filled with carbon dioxide. An insulated line connects the fermentation vessel, which is full of the beer, to the canning line machine. Using pressure, the cans are filled with the beer itself. Once the beer is filled, a metal disk carrying caps is placed on the cans and sealed. The cans then go through a rinse and blow cycle, and eventually go to an employee who quickly inspects the four-packs for proper weight.

Lastly, the beers are placed on a pallet, wrapped and placed in the cold storage. All of the beer, including Candy Rain, is kept cold in a refrigerator until it’s sold to customers.

“We produce a lot of beers because there are so many different beers to produce. It’s a very exciting time in the industry. It’s a very exciting time to be making, because we have such an awesome audience across the city and across the world who are willing and excited to try new beers,” Turkel said. 

As branding is important, Boomtown Brewery works with local artists to design its wraps. 

“One of our missions is to support the local artists’ community in general and as a whole. Being able to team up with local artists is a fun way for us to get a cool unique label and to have them get a bunch of exposure throughout the city,” Turkel said. 

Boomtown Brewery compensates local artists with around $500 and free beer.

“It’s really fun teamwork. Typically, the process is we’ll reach out to an artist. We’ll say, ‘Hey, you’ve got beautiful art. Would you mind making us a can?’ We like to give them free range. It’s their art. We don’t want to put really any direction on our end to the art. We want them to express what they wish to express,” Turkel said. 

Boomtown Brewery employees and a local artist then go back and forth to make sure the art is appropriate, that there is room for all the government requirements, and then they do hard proofs with Visionary. This is to make sure that what they see on the computer screen is what actually ends up being on the branded wrap. They check for correct colors and that everything is in focus and doesn’t get distorted when the label is wrapped around the can. When they’re happy with the product, they’ll order the cans. Boomtown Brewery does canning runs in the low ten thousands per brand.

Boomtown Brewery posts artists’ work and contact information on its Instagram: @boomtownbrewery.

And as Boomtown Brewery realizes packaged beer is the new and only way to sell beer, canned sales have grown exponentially. It debuts a new release around every two to three weeks and is currently working on several ideas.

Staff hopes to have the next artist series, a hazy double IPA, out at the end of August or in September.

Another long-term project, which the team hopes to have out this winter, is the brewery’s first production of bottles through its Footer Project, which uses a 40-barrel footer—or a large oak and wooden vessel—to age its sour beer.

“This is going to be a really fun sour series that will come in beautiful bottles. We’re hoping to have this come out in December. Stay tuned for that,” Turkel teased.

While the brews are the focus, Boomtown Brewery has a large parking lot that allows pop-up restaurants space.

“People like drinking and people like eating delicious food, and so if you put those two things together, you’ve got a real winning combination,” Turkel explained.

So, the brewery partners with food providers that have their own passions and dreams and gives them a safe space to set up and sell food—from tacos and burgers to Mediterranean food. This includes Cortizon LA, Highland Hickory and more, information which is also available on the brewery’s Instagram page. It guarantees the beer and food combination on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, while a rotating selection of food is given on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

The spacious facility includes a taproom, event space and outdoor patio breezeway, although, as a result of the coronavirus, all three of these spaces are closed to the public for the foreseeable feature. 

“With the pandemic, the only way to actually get the beer to the market is by package. So we’ve accelerated our canned program. Our complete business model has pivoted to distribution of cans as well as to-go sales. It’s enforced evolution,” Turkel said.

Overall, the dream is to craft a quality product.

“We are craft people trying to make a good product,” Turkel explained. “We’re people who got into beer typically through other avenues. None of us started out in beer, but we all ended up here. We are looking to produce a high-quality product that’s both familiar and innovative.

“We’re trying to both put Boomtown on the map of making good beer but also help support the identity of Los Angeles as being the beer capital,” he continued. “We rightfully should be. We’re a great city of tens of millions of people. We have nearly 100 breweries. Every year, breweries in Los Angeles bring back awards from various competitions.

“We’re really excited to be part of that culture and to push that discussion forward that LA can be a capital and can be a mecca for excellent craft beer. We get to wake up and live that dream every day, to keep working on that dream and make that dream a reality.”

The new release, Candy Rain, costs $18 for a four-pack, with no limits on purchases, and can be contactless picked up at the brewery or preordered online.