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Hop Heaven Comes to LA: Naja's Place 3rd Anniversary IPA Festival

Naja's crowd
Naja's crowd
Martin Svab

Hops will prevail at the best India Pale Ale (IPA) festival that will happen all year in the Southland. Naja's Place 3rd Anniversary IPA Festival begins Thursday, April 21. If Father's Office is the granddaddy of all L.A. beer bars, Naja's Place is the godfather.

In the 30th year at their waterfront location in Redondo Beach, the locally-revered "dive bar" will offer more IPAs and DIPAs -- think, IPAs on crack -- than have ever been seen under one roof in the County of Angels: we are talking 50 of the best India Pale Ales in the world on tap. If that isn't seductive enough for hopheads, they will reveal a surprising number of uber-rare IPAs on opening night to reward the have-hops, will travel, beer-geeks who always show up in full force for Naja's event nights.

Jack White, owner of Ballast Point
Jack White, owner of Ballast Point
Martin Svab

Naja's will open at 2 p.m. on day one of the festival, in case you want to beat the inevitable prime-time crowd and soak up some rays at their King Harbor marina location. The good news is, if you can't make opening day or evening, the festival will run through the following Thursday, April 28. With 88 taps -- not a misprint -- you may be well advised to visit on multiple days unless you plan on getting a room at the adjacent Crowne Plaza.

This best-ival makes Naja's Place the place to be if you love hoppy brews. Heading the stellar line-up, which you can find at the Naja's Place Facebook page, are notable IPAs like Russian River's celebrated Pliny the Elder, Ballast Point's Dorado Double IPA, Tongue Buckler, three different versions of #1 ranked Sculpin, Drake's Denogginizer, Bootlegger's Knuckle Sandwich, and Stone's Sublimely Self-Righteous black IPA. They will also be unveiling local South Bay favorite Strand Brewing's first-ever Black IPA and Single Hop DIPA. The craft brewers' "tricking it out because they can black style" comes from using dark-roasted crystal malts and then dry-hopping the beer according to Rich Marcello, co-owner of Strand. The elite brewers are artists at what they do, confirmed by the groupies you will see surrounding them when they show up at events like this.

There will be commemorative glasses and each beer will be sold in ten-ounce pours. With well over 50 IPAs, almost all of which Beer Advocate rates as "A" level crafts, you really should plan on multiple visits. The ├╝ber-rare beers they are revealing opening night are bound to be insane A plus gems. Hop Heaven, indeed.

Sunset at Naja's Place
Sunset at Naja's Place
Martin Svab

Naja's Place: 154 International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach; (310) 376-995.


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