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101 Beer Experiences: Drink and dance

From Pitchfork Festival to Outside Lands and more, here's how to drink great beer at music festivals.
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 Photo of FloydFest's Hill Holler Beer Deck by Allie Hochman

Photo of FloydFest’s Hill Holler Beer Deck by Allie Hochman

Beer and music festivals go hand in hand, and some breweries have even gone as far as to throw their own or set up elaborate tapping areas at some of the summer’s best shindigs:

Nestled in the gorgeous hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, tiny Floyd, Virginia, (pop. ~500) each July hosts FloydFest, a kaleidoscopic world music fest, drawing bluegrass, folk and rock bands and artists from Grace Potter to Emmylou Harris. The best spot to soak it all in: The Hill Holler Beer Deck, perched above the natural amphitheater of the Hill Holler Stage, where you can sip on local favorite Starr Hill Brewery’s Grateful Dead Pale Ale.

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park hosts Outside Lands each August, a music fest that’s truly a feast for the senses: Sure, your ears will enjoy acts from Elton John to Chet Faker, but the rest of you will clamor for goodies from The Creme Brulee Cart and ice cream tacos. Don’t miss the Beer Lands tent to enjoy pours from a lineup of more than two dozen California breweries like Social Kitchen & Brewery, Magnolia Brewing Co., Triple Voodoo Brewery and Calicraft Brewing Co.

If Chicago’s indie-tastic Pitchfork Music Festival is in your July plans, skip the regular beverage tents that dot Union Park and head straight for Goose Island’s beer booth, a larger, more elaborate beer-dispensing tent flanked by barrels. There, you’ll find special releases each hour, as well as a festspecific brew created in collaboration with a festival artist (past years have seen an ESB brewed with Sharon van Etten and a Helles brewed with Chance The Rapper).

When 90,000 music fans and their camping tents (… and their hula hoops, duffel bags, blankets and flower crowns) descend on Bonnaroo Music Festival in rural Manchester, Tennessee, you’ll want to escape to the beer action centered around the inside-the-gates Broo’ers Festival. More than 25 breweries poured beers last June, including locals like Ole Shed Brewing Co., Bearded Iris Brewing and Yazoo Brewing Co.




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