Right-hand in a cast, Kristy, resident mural artist and beer server joined us in the patio at World of Beer in Henderson. She stopped and greeted a few co-workers and friends as she walked in. She then joined us, and for the next two hours, we chatted about beer, art, and skydiving.

Kristy: After I moved from Philly, it took me a while to find a job. It took me a while to find a place like this where I would enjoy to come to work. I love beer, so when a friend who works at World of Beer in Florida came to visit, she brought me here. I thought, this place is awesome, and I really want to work here.

I met Matt, who is now the general manager, and I just kinda fell in love with this place. I’ve now been a bartender here for a year and a half. I’ve been a bartender/server for a total of about 8 years now. I am now 26. I was 18 when I started bartending because back in Pennsylvania you don’t have to be 21 to bartend or serve. I thought it was crazy here not to be able to bartend at 18, “Wow, It’s Vegas?”

Beti: So you said you really love beer, any favorites?

Kristy: IPA’s, double IPA’s triple IPA’s – I used to hate them at first, and to be fair, I hated beer all together at first. It was my ex-boyfriend who got me into them at the time. I said, “All right, I’ll give it a chance.” So I would have little tastes of all different flavors, styles and various types of beer that he would bring me. All right, I thought to myself, it isn’t so bad, and the more I tried, the more my taste buds adjusted.

Milkshake IPA’s are my favorite. The creator of the milkshake IPA is back where I come from in Philly. There is a brewery called Tired Hand Brewery. They are my favorite brewery, my favorite IPA comes from there, and they created the milkshake IPA. They have double and triple IPAs as well, but they are so smooth and delicious that you wouldn’t even know that they are 12%.

Dogs Playing Poker by Kristy Riley © 2019

Dogs Playing Poker by Kristy Riley © 2019

I am really excited to try the new Big Dog’s and Bad Beat collaboration; Dogs Playing Cards Tropical Stout. I created the art that is on the can for this limited release by these two local breweries. It’ll be released at Bad Beat on May 10. I’ll be there all day drawing and being there for the release party. I’m so looking forward to seeing the cans and tasting the beer.

Have you tried the mystery beer here? It’s a new thing. We also have a mystery beer on tap, and we are not allowed to know what it is, even as the bartenders, we only know that this beer is from a Nevada brewery. I believe I know who makes this beer, I have one brewery in mind. But, I’m not sure. Sometimes its fun to have a little mystery and just go on a bit of adventure now and then.

Beti: How did it come together to be the artist for this new can release?

Kristy: You have to meet Raul, he is super amazing, he’s awesome. So, when the new ownership took over about six months ago, Raul took over the business and I have always tried to get my artwork in here somehow. That chalkboard over there in the back of the room has always been calling to me.

I started creating the beer signs, and I found myself putting so much time into the artwork. The beers change out so fast, the art was erased nearly as quickly as I finished it. We are always changing out the taps, so I thought I just needed to get my artwork painted on a wall that’s going to be permanent. Then I would put some real time into the artwork because then I am actually enjoying creating it for the long term.

I had plans to get my art career going, and since Raul took over, I started to talk to him about how I wanted to advance my art. He’s been super to give me that wall to kinda go for it. He said, “You got this!” I started painting one day, and he was like, “Wow!” – He was impressed. I asked him if he would let me do the rest of the wall. That’s how it happened. He gave me the opportunity. It’s just so much fun. I have probably put a hundred hours into that wall. I come in every day before work a few hours earlier to paint on the mural because I can and because I work here. I love it here and enjoy coming to work anyway talking with everyone who comes to sit at my bar.

A.D.: Tell us about the art thing, when did it start for you?

Kristy: Art has been around me my whole life. My mom is a fantastic artist, and her paintings look exactly like a photograph. She has inspired me. She had taken a different path in her life while my sister and I were growing up, but now that we are out of the house, she has taken up painting once again. So it’s exciting to see her get back into what she really loves. It’s all like new to her. With me getting into art as a career, it’s like both of us are getting into a new career together. My sister is also a fantastic artist, so it’s like the three of us are into it together. It’s really awesome. I’ve always been around art and craft.

It all happened before I graduated from college in 2014. I took an art class just to fill up some credits because I always loved art and I never really got a chance to take a class in art before. I never knew that I was any good at drawing until I took a drawing and painting class. We had to draw a still-life that was set up in front of us. I thought it was the coolest thing. I would stay after class and sit in the art room by myself and draw all night. I love it, it was a whole other realm for me. I would put music on and enjoy life. Yes, and a good beer makes it all better.

One of the servers brings Kristy a snifter glass of beer.

Beti: Mystery beer?

Kristy: Do you guys want to try this? It’s super delicious, It is a double IPA, that is what they told us. Would you like to taste it? I had it already yesterday when I was here.

Beti: It smells wonderful, I like it!

Kristy: That’s my style. I love everything about that beer.

Kristy hands the glass to A.D to take a sniff of the aroma.

A.D.: It smells awesome, tastes beautiful, wow this is very nice. Southern or northern Nevada brewery?

Kristy: Northern Nevada is my guess.

Beti: I guess that it would be Revisions then.

Kristy: That’s my guess too.

A.D.: I love IPA when they taste like this.

We continue to talk about the beer as we pass the glass back and forth to take in the delicious aroma with a few sips of its fine taste. None of us knew the source of the beer, even though we contemplated a few breweries that it might be from.

Kristy: This reminds me of home, and the IPAs I love. When I go back to Philly I’m bringing back cans of Tired Hand IPAs. I’ll bring you both some to try.

The WOB mural features Nevada craft brewers Able Baker, Astronomy Aleworks, Bad Beat, Big Dog’s, CraftHaus, Hop Nuts, IMBIB, Joseph James, Lead Dog, Lovelady, Revision Brewing, and Tenaya Creek.

A.D.: Who is your favorite local brewer:

Kristy: I love IPA’s so I would say my favorite is… that’s not an easy question. Bad Beat has New England style hazy IPAs that I love. Lovelady has a couple really awesome IPA’s as well. I have a lot of favorite local brewers and I’m really looking forward to tasting the Dogs Playing Poker Tropical Stout collaboration. It’s going to be sold at Bad Beat, and I’m not sure, but they were talking about selling it at Big Dog’s too. Since it’s a limited edition seasonal beer I’m not sure if it’ll get distributed.

I bartend and close five nights a week, I’m here practically all the time. Nathan, the owner from Bad Beat comes in here often, and I honestly didn’t know he was the owner until Matt mentioned it to me. One day, when Nathan came in, I asked if he checked out my mural in the back? He was surprised that the wall was painted by me and he brought up how his daughter loves pointilism too. Pointillism is kinda my style. So Nathan invited me over to the brewery, and I spent some time drawing there and talking to Westin, the brewer. Just getting a feel for things.

A.D.: They make a nice product.

Kristy: Bad Beat’s Bluffing Isn’t Weiss is the top selling beer at World of Beer.

A.D.: Each brewery we go to, we have our favorite beer; Lovelady’s paleo porter, Tenaya Creek; Belgian ale, and Bad Beat’s Bluffing Isn’t Wiess is my go to.

Kristy: As it should be. That’s why I love working here! I get to sample every beer we have. We have fifty-two beers on draft and 500 beer in bottles and cans. Every time I have a couple days off, when I come back everything is new. There are always bottles and cans being rotated, or something seasonal comes in, or a new limited release is on tap.

A.D.: Back to drawing, is it something you’ve done all your life?

Kristy: I’ve always been drawing and doodling, It wasn’t until I took that college class that I realized this is what I want to do. I went to school for exercise science, and I owed a business training at an ice rink. I trained figure skaters and hockey players for a little bit. It was a little too cold for me and I love the outdoors better.

Kristy had recently broken her right forearm and wrist, not from ice skating, or skydiving, but from snowboarding for the first time.

Kristy: I’ve been working with my left hand actually. The day after this happened I was supposed to paint a mural at Bad Beat. I thought, what if I just don’t tell them and I go to paint the wall with my left hand. With that in mind, I sat down that evening to practice. I started to paint. I was like, “This isn’t going to happen.”

If I had broken my left hand at least, I would have been drawing this whole time.

A.D: What is your art about and what does it mean to you?

Kristy: Its all about life and experiences. I try to live a positive life and inspire other people to be happy.

A.D.: What is your uplifting message you would like to share with beer and art enthusiasts in Nevada and worldwide?

Kristy: I want my art to put a smile on peoples’ faces. That’s really all I want.

Artists Kristy Riley and Beti Kristof

Beti: Let’s take a look at your artwork on the wall, and you can tell us all about it.

Kristy: I’m not content with it yet, I’ll keep working on this for another hundred years, as long as WOB is still here. I have drawn in all these mountain peaks here; these are all the mountains I have hiked. Sometimes I just sit up on top of the mountain, sketch, hang out listening to music and just relax.

Anything that has a tower on top of it is where I’ve hiked or climbed. I drew in a base jumper jumping off the stratosphere. The red helicopter is inspired by a helicopter pilot who comes in all the time. She’s super awesome, and we love her. So when the family came to visit, we took a helicopter tour with the company she flys for. It was super great, so I had to put that experience into the mural. I work in Boulder City sometimes with my boyfriend, right by the Hoover Dam, which I also included. Helicopters are flying around all the time, so I had to add that too.

There are so many meaningful things to me that are going on in this mural. In the shape of Nevada, I drew, I included many of the breweries we carry. Not specifically where they are located in the state. I haven’t been to Reno yet but I am not finished with the mural yet either. I threw in a few breweries that I love from the east coast and brewers we don’t carry. The whole neon thing, I love. My favorite section is of the snifter glass with neon swirling around. I also have a few base jumpers and parachuters over to the far left of the wall.

A.D: When I was younger I wanted to skydive.

Kristy: I have just about 200 jumps. My boyfriend is a skydiving instructor. He straps people to himself and jumps out of planes. I actually have one hundred ninety-seven jumps. After two hundred, I can wear a camera myself and then I can paint all my skydives.

If I could paraglide, then I could fly around for hours and then I can paint in the sky, but that’ll be in the future.

One thing I want to include is that my boyfriend and I have ventured and hiked all over Southern Nevada. We are locals. I’m not sure I can say that yet, but I consider myself one. We love the outdoors, and we have a plan to bike ride across the country starting in November. We’re going to drive to Florida, I’m not sure if in an RV or not, actually, I am not sure how we are going to get there all together. But, we are going to start in Florida and ride bikes all the way to San Diego. He’s always wanted to make a cross country trip, so we are going to do it together. I’m going to document the journey by sketching and creating art while posting it along the way.

Beti: You’re also going to visit all the breweries on your path?

Kristy: Absolutely, of course!

Honestly, working in the beer industry is paying my way to get me to my art career and to become a skydiving instructor. We can live in a van, and travel the country maybe live in Europe and we both will be able to skydive and do my art along the way. Skydive lifestyle while traveling the world. Perhaps that’s why I love working at World of Beer. It is all about experiencing the world through beer. The mural represents many of my experiences I’ve had along the way so far in my life, with even a few that I look forward to accomplishing in the future. Maybe its a vision board of sorts for me, and inspirational board for others, but what I love best is the connection I make through my art with the people who come in and see it. There is always a conversation to be had and a beer or two that will be shared.

Beti: What we want to do through Nevada Beer Quest is connect Nevada through beer and art. Brewing a great beer is a fine art and it is just so cool that we came across a young artist creating fun and meaningful art while embraced in this world of Beer!

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