Good Beer Hunting

Hāpi Festival and Symposium — J.C. Hill of Alvarado Street Brewery

Hāpi Festival and Symposium — J.C. Hill of Alvarado Street Brewery

Garage Project’s Hāpi Festival and Symposium was held earlier this year in the lead-up to New Zealand’s hop harvest.

The symposium and festival form the public-facing side of a hop-breeding initiative Garage Project has undertaken with New Zealand’s Freestyle Farms, and with backing from the country’s Ministry for Primary Industries. Over the course of a day in Wellington’s famous Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, speakers such as Alexandra Nowell from Three Weavers Brewing Company, Matt Brynildson from Firestone Walker Brewing Company, and Paul Jones from Cloudwater Brew Co. gave talks with a focus on hops. Good Beer Hunting was there to capture a slice of the discussion.  

Afterwards, the invited breweries poured for a small festival of 1,000 people. It was a surreal situation: seeing world-renowned breweries like Trillium, Other Half, Hill Farmstead. Tired Hands and Cellarmaker serving beer in New Zealand’s national museum. 


I was happy to talk to J.C. Hill from Alvarado Street Brewery, based in Monterey, California, as part of our Hāpi Festival and Symposium podcast series. I’d heard exciting things about his beers and loved the artwork on the labels. In our conversation, and in the following interviews, I really wanted to get an understanding of how the experience of visiting New Zealand hop fields would influence brewers when they got back into the brewhouse. 

We also talk a bit about Cryo Hops, Italian Pilsners, and how good New Zealand tomatoes taste. Listen in.