We had the good fortune of connecting with Hal Mooney and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hal, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
My work has always been predominantly from home, which means that there isn’t much of a work/life balance. It’s kind of one and the same. My life has also been in beer, which for most people is the ultimate form of leisure, but for me is work. And my tradeoff is that I get to be at home with my dog and my wife and beer, but I’m always never “away from the office”, even on vacation. But I like work. I like beer. I like my wife. I try and surround myself with the things I like. And then I try and hike and run and do things that force me to leave my coffee table and my computer.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started the business almost 9 years ago back when there were about 8 breweries in LA. I sold my car and bought a bus and started doing brewery tours on nights and weekends. I got my Cicerone® certification about a year into the business so I could learn everything I needed to know about craft beer (or so I thought). Turns out there’s a lot to learn and I’m still learning it. Which is my favorite part about being in the beer community – there’s always new things to learn about, or new ways to comprehend things, or at the very least new beers to drink with new people. Now, after running LA Beer Hop for 8 years, we’re branching out and doing a craft beer subscription box called Your Beer Friend (https://labeerhop.com/product/craft-beer-subscription-box/) and a new mobile Beer Trailer called “Beer & Photo Trailer Co” (website coming soon…).
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
As I write this, it’s really hitting me that I haven’t been anywhere to drink outside my home in 8 months, but from what I remember, drinking at breweries is really fun and we have so many great beer spots in LA. We’re home to some of the best breweries and best beer bars in the world and it’s no coincidence. Los Angeles has great weather, great food, great sports and attracts great beer talent so there’s a lot to drink around here. I mean, name a type of beer that you’re interested in and I’ll take you to a place – hoppy beers? Let’s go get a fresh IPA & some freaking good pizza at El Segundo Slice & Pint. Wanna take a road trip up North? We’ll take a little hike then hit up Topa Topa in Ventura. Want cider? Sure. Let’s go to Alma’s in Virgil Village (it’s new, it’s dope and it’s full of weird, rare ciders, beer, wine and other stuff). The people, food, beer and ambiance at Beachwood Brewing and BBQ in Long Beach can’t be beat.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The LA Beer community is wholly responsible for any success that I’ve had. It’s a collection of small and mid-size businesses who are collaborative, supportive, organized and truly drive a bunch of businesses that form a community (and not an industry). It’s a community built on the passion for a product (beer), dedication to community, and support of their employees and colleagues.
Photo By Tim Melideo