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7 summer music festivals with great beer

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We’re well into summer music festival season, and although a few marquee events have come and gone (like Bonnaroo and Firefly), there’s still plenty of warm-weather jamming down the road. Break out your sunglasses, body paint and beers.

What: Summerfest
Where: Milwaukee
When: June 26 to 30, July 2 to 7
Lineup: Billed as “the world’s largest music festival,” this gigantic event has something for everyone: The Eagles, Rush, F.U.N., Tom Petty, MGMT, Yeasayer, The Spinners.
Who goes? Moms, dads, teens, hipsters, grandparents—everyone basically.
Drink: Leinenkugel’s along with a helping of Leinenkugel’s beer-battered cheese curds from Saz’s food stall.

What: Pitchfork Music Festival
Where: Chicago
When: July 19 to 21
Lineup: The event’s headlined by Belle & Sebastian, Björk and R. Kelly. Enough said.
Who goes? People who liked Chairlift before their song appeared in an iPod commercial. People who think Lollapalooza is too mainstream.
Drink: Goose Island has a presence, so tip back some Green Line pale ales.

What: Newport Folk Festival
Where: Newport, R.I.
When: July 26 to 28
Lineup: An impressive gathering of indie folk stars like Feist, The Avett Brothers, Colin Malloy, The Mountain Goats, Andrew Bird, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, etc.
Who goes? Hipsters, homesteaders, old hippies, people thinking about moving to Portland, Ore.
Drink: Newport Storm offers the official beers of the festival, so order up a pint of its India Point Ale.

What: Beer by the Bay Music Festival
Where: Horseshoe Bay Resort, Texas
When: July 26 to 28
Lineup: To be honest, I’m not too familiar with the lineup (Cross Over, The Bart Crow Band, Two Tons of Steel) but the beer selection at this Hill Country resort festival looks awesome.
Who goes? People who love country music, beer and frequent resorts, I think.
Drink: Real Ale, 512, South Austin and Saint Arnold are all pouring at the fest.

What: Lollapalooza
Where: Chicago
When: Aug. 2 to 4
Lineup: Some Top 40 radio groups: The Killers, The Lumineers, Phoenix, Vampire Weekend. But, don’t miss sets from The Cure and The Postal Service.
Who goes? The festival also has Kidzapalooza, so I’m guessing 30-something parents, but also healthy doses of cool kids, bros, college kids skipping out on their summer jobs, etc.
Drink: Like Pitchfork, Goose Island is pouring—this time in the festival’s “Chowtown” area—so definitely score a few servings of 312 Urban Wheat.

What: Pickathon
Where: Portland, Ore.
When: Aug. 2 to 4
Lineup: Feist, Andrew Bird, Divine Fits, The Devil Makes Three, and a list of artists you may have to Google.
Who goes? The festival is on a farm outside Portland, employs sustainable and eco-friendly practices, is sponsored by a number of local breweries and encourages people to cycle to the venue. So, beer-drinking, eco-minded, music-loving, farm-fresh eating people with fixed-gear bikes.
Drink: Last year Hopworks made an IPA especially for the festival, so expect good beer to flow throughout the weekend.

What: Outside Lands
Where: San Francisco
When: Aug. 9 to 11
Lineup: Paul McCartney, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, Phoenix, Willie Nelson, D’Angelo, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and many more.
Who goes? Probably the same set who plan to check out Lollapalooza, but more San Francisco-looking. And craft beer geeks (see below).
Drink: Outside Lands does it right with its Beer Lands lineup that includes 21st Amendment, Anchor, Almanac, Ale Industries, Bear Republic, Drakes, Social Kitchen, Speakeasy and a lot more.

Magic Hat’s Summer Sessions stages free live music every Friday night, 5 to 8 p.m., inside the brewery’s eclectic Artifactory tasting room.


Chris Staten is DRAFT’s beer editor. Follow him on Twitter at @DRAFTbeereditor and email him at chris.staten@draftmag.com.


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