So Fresh! - 2018 Bines and Brews Hopfest
If we've said it once, we've said it a dozen times - the Bines and Brews Hopfest fresh hop festival is one of our favorite local festivals.There is a certain forced intimacy in a festival that commits to only a small number of hand-picked breweries and caps ticket sales at 350 each year, but we'll never complain. It promotes a festival where there are virtually no lines, unhindered access to the brewers, and a pleasant, casual vibe. This trend continued with this year's annual Bines and Brews Hopfest, now in its fifth year, held in mid-September and hosted by the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce. It was a warm, sunny day and shade was at a premium, but thankfully there were plenty of cold beverages to go around from the 13 breweries, two cideries, and two distilleries on hand in Limbach Park in Monument, Colorado.For those unfamiliar, fresh hops are delivered directly from Marigold Valley Hop Farm near Cripple Creek, Colorado to the 13 participating breweries where they are picked off the bines and then crafted into an entry for the Bines and Brews festival. The specially crafted fresh-hopped beers are brewed in an effort to obtain the traveling 'Top Hop' trophy awarded to the top-judged beer at Bines and Brews each year. The beers are judged by a panel of BJCP certified judges from the Brew Brothers of Pikes Peak homebrew club. (Full disclosure: I am the president of the Brew Brothers club and did also serve as a judge for this year's festival.) In addition to the professionally judged beers the breweries can enter, they are welcome to bring other offerings in an effort to win the People's Choice award, which is determined by popular vote of the attendees.Save the date for next year - September 21st, 2019. We'll see you there!