Get Happy at Hops in Humboldt
Benjamin Franklin said, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
It sounds as though that revered senior statesman would have enjoyed the fourth annual Hops in Humboldt, taking place Saturday at Fortuna’s Rohner Park.
The North Coast boasts a plethora of fine craft breweries. You can travel the globe and drink beer nationally and internationally; the local brews will stand proud next to any quaff, anywhere. The outstanding microbrews from Mad River Brewing Company, Lost Coast Brewery, Eel River Brewing Company, and Six Rivers Brewery will all be featured at Hops in Humboldt, along with a staggering variety of craft-brewed beers from dozens of breweries far and wide.
Festival goers will also be able to sample the wares of seven local home brewers. Jere Cox, home brewer extraordinaire and a Hops in Humboldt veteran, won 13 medals this year (six gold) at the Humboldt County Fair and swept the Best of Show in all seven rounds. Additionally, he proudly garnered awards at the California State Fair.
”I’ve been doing it 10 years,” Cox said. “I love brewing.”
His love of the craft is infectious, particularly when he describes an extra-special brew he developed for Hops in Humboldt tasters this year.
”It’s an Imperial Red, intensely hopped,” Cox said.
One of 12 offerings Cox will have available, the Imperial Red promises to be a beer-lover’s beer.
”A hop-head’s delight,” Cox said, laughing. “Not overly bitter, but an intense fresh hop flavor and aroma. Bam! It just hits you.”
Hops in Humboldt is Humboldt’s biggest beer fest. David Reed, coordinator of Fortuna Business Improvement District seems pleased with the rapid growth of the festival. He estimates this year will bring approximately 2000 tasters over the course of the day. The love of beer is a great equalizer, drawing a wide variety of tasters.
”I love the cross-section of people we have at Hops,” Reed said.
Also eclectic is the musical lineup, which begins at 11:30 a.m. The music will be provided by local bands Kulica, Dragged by Horses, Dirty Rats, Gradient and Dias and the Lokals. Between the 45-minute musical sets, beer games will abound. Try your hand at carnival-type games like pint tossing (bottle caps into pint glasses.) Is mid-imbibe agility your forté? Then have a go at “Balance the Brew” and balance loaded trays of pitchers and pints through an obstacle course. And for those who aspire to heights seldom acquired in beer-ophilia outside of The Simpsons, there is the onstage beer-belching contest at the end of the day.
In addition to beer and music, there will be food, including Humboldt Bay Oysters on the barbecue, Indian Tacos, and typical festival food like pizza and hot dogs. Vendors will offer a variety of wares ranging from the sublime (fine art) to the unusual (taxidermy).
Back by popular demand is the separate children’s area where kids can play on inflatable jumpers. David Reed reminds festivalgoers that, while not strictly an adults-only event, Hops in Humboldt is an event aimed primarily at the over-21 crowd. “People need to understand that this is an event where it is mostly adults and they are drinking beer,” Reed cautioned.
Proceeds benefit various youth scholarships and charities selected by the Rotary Club of Fortuna and the local chapter of the Epsilon Sigma Alpha sorority. Tickets for the tasting are available in advance for $20 at the following locations: Eel River Brewery, Fortuna Chamber of Commerce Office, Lost Coast Brewery, North Coast Co-Op, (Eureka and Arcata), The Works (Eureka and Arcata), Six Rivers Brewery, Mad River Brewing Company. Checks may be made payable to Hops in Humboldt — Rotary Fortuna. Tickets are $25 on the day of the event. You must be 21 to buy tickets, receive a tasting glass and taste beer at Hops. Admission is free.
Remember what Benjamin Franklin said about beer — what better invitation do you need?
Hops in Humboldt runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Beer tasting is from noon to 5 p.m. Coordinators thank you for leaving pets at home. For more information about Hops in Humboldt, visit www.hopsinhumboldt.com or call David Reed at 725-9261.
Carla Baku is a frequent contributor to Northern Lights. Contact her at [email protected]
Carla Baku/For the Times-Standard
Article Launched: 08/23/2007 04:27:19 AM PDT