Hopfest Craft Beer Festival returns Saturday with more rare beers

Saturday’s fifth annual Hopfest Craft Beer Festival is setting up to feature a strong lineup of hard-to-find beers. 

“I try to have a good mix of stuff that is so rare that you’re not going to find it at any liquor store and even other festivals,” says organizer George Clarke. “And then we also have everything from that all the way down to your typical flagship beers or summer drinking beers.

“The whole point is to give everybody a new experience with craft beer,” Clarke adds, “whether you’re a person who’s been drinking it for 10 years or you just got into it three weeks ago.”

This year’s beer list includes verticals of Boulevard’s Love Child (No.3 through No. 5) and Big Sky Brewing Co.’s Ivan the Terrible (2012 through 2014).

“Having that vertical is kinda cools because you can see how the beer has aged a little bit, but you’re taking the same beer and trying three different years of it,” Clarke says. 

Also among the rarities: 

* Avery Uncle Jacob’s Stout
* Avery Pump(KY)n
* Samuel Adams Kosmic Mother Funk Grand Cru
* Samuel Adams Pigs in a Blanket 
* Breckenridge Barrel-Aged 471
* Deschutes The Abyss
* Firestone Walker Sucaba
* Founders CBS
* Founders KBS
* Founders Blushing Monk
* Goose Island Bourbon County Stout
* KC Bier Co. Dunkelweizen
* Lagunitas Scare City 1
* Lagunitas Waldo
* Mother’s MILF
* Mother’s Doozy
* New Belgium La Folie
* River North Whiskey J. Marie
* River North Big City Quad
* River North Barrel-Aged Avarice
* Santa Fe Aged Sour Porter
* Santa Fe Los Innovadores Kriek
* Santa Fe Los Innovadores Single Barrel Sour Ale
* Stiegl Sonnen Konig

VIP ticket holders will get first crack at the rarities (VIP tickets allow entry at 1 p.m.). General admission entry starts at 2 p.m. The full list of beers being served is here. Well, most of it. Clarke is still trying to lock down a few more rarities. 

Clarke says the plan is to tap a few mystery beers from Rogue, Boulevard and Lagunitas spread out through the day so even non-VIP ticket holders get something a little unexpected. So keep an eye on the Hopfest Twitter feed during the festival.

New to this year’s festival is Torn Label Brewing Co., Charleville Vineyard & Winery, Oskar Blues, Rogue, River North Brewery, Traveler Beer Co., Two Brothers Brewing Co., Urban Chestnut, Uinta Brewing and the Civil Life. 

“We have quite a few breweries that we haven’t had at the festival before,” Clarke says. “From year to year, I try to shake it up to make sure that we don’t have the same beers there. There are a lot of breweries that are returning, but there are a lot of new breweries in the market and there have been some shuffling with distributors, so it’s a cool thing to get some new life, new blood involved, even five years into it.”

This year’s Hopfest will also feature a 30-minute panel discussion and crowd Q&A with Boulevard ambassador brewer Jeremy Danner and Torn Label’s Rafi Chaudry and Travis Moore. Also, there will be five distinct food trucks at this year’s fest: Cajun Cabin, Pie Hole, Funnel Cake Truck, Bochi Truck and Plantain District Cuban Food Truck.

VIP tickets cost $60; GA tickets are $40. Buy them here

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