Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hops and Flip Flops, Speedway's first beer festival

There have been so many festivals popping up this year that trying to get to them all can be tough, even for a true beer geek. We've missed a few, but I'm excited that we made sure to go to this one.

Hops & Flip Flops, or Hopsfest as it appeared in a few places, was a hoppy beer festival in Speedway. For those of you who don't know, Daredevil took the lead on setting this one up and Daredevil is a brewery that knows how to make a hoppy beer.

The festival was on Main Street in Speedway right next to the spot where Daredevil will be opening up next year. The breweries were set up in the Dallara Indycar Factory and there were food trucks and bands all along the street.

It had a neighborhood block party meets beer festival sort of a vibe, which I really liked and thought went over well with the crowd. Brie and I got VIP tickets, and I will say the VIP glassware was probably the coolest festival taster I've ever gotten. It really had a high end appearance. VIP entrance also got you a couple food and beer pairings where we discussed what flavors match with what beers. It was all reasonably priced, so I'd say do VIP at this one if you can. The overall fest was well put together and would've been really informative to someone just getting into beer.


So, I'm not sure why it was called Hops and Flip Flops, no one even mentioned the flip flops. I understood the hops part. There were plenty of people not wearing flip flops. Footwear aside, it was a pretty good new festival. There were about twenty breweries there including some appearances from Flat 12, Triton, Against the Grain and of course Daredevil. There were some great IPA's but not a lot of people brought things outside of the norm.

My favorite beers were:
Triton O' Rye N  Galaxy - rye malt and galaxy hops, soooo tasty!
Bell's Hopsolution - just a well built IPA all around
Sierra Nevada Harvest Equinox Hop #366 - cool single hop IPA with a unique hop flavor

It was obvious this was the first year of the festival. They did a lot of things right, but for next time I think it would be great if they encouraged more local breweries to attend. There were about five Indiana breweries and the rest were national breweries that brought in their basic lineup. There were a lot of people bringing basic lineups to this festival, and that's not necessarily a problem, but a lot of what was there could be picked up at the store down the street. Lastly, I would love to see something done with flip flops. Maybe some flip flops handed out at the door. Maybe door prizes for people in flip flops. Just something to tie the flip flop idea into the festival other than hosting it in the summer. I think a second go around will give Daredevil a chance to iron out some of the bugs.

Even  though there were issues, a hop festival seems like such a great idea. Speedway and Daredevil were both so welcoming to the beer community. I personally can't wait until they open the doors of their Main Street facility.

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