At the start of a new month, it’s time to scout new beer destinations. If I had an unlimited domestic travel budget, no full-time job and guaranteed positive airport bar interactions, this would be my beer bucket list for July 2015:
Real Wild and Woody Beer Festival, Phoenix, Ariz.: On July 18, rare, barrel-aged and cask beers from more than 50 breweries take over the Phoenix Convention Center. Expect real ales, Brett- and wild-fermented beers from the likes of Arizona Wilderness, Big Sky, Cartel and Dragoon. General admission is $57 and includes 20 beer tickets plus bites from local restaurants.
LagerFest, Portland, Ore.: Craft brewers and drinkers are finally starting to give lagers the love they deserve. On July 11, White Owl’s all-lager tap list plus live music from Country Trash celebrate the versatile category; $10 gets you five drink tickets with additional tickets available for purchase. Look for beers from Heater Allen, Commons, Upright, Orlison and dozens more.
Cincinnati Craft Brewer’s Volkfest, Norwood, Ohio: Listermann Brewing hosts this festival of beer and German culture which includes only local breweries such as Rhinegeist, River Town, Madtree and Fifty West. No need to commit ahead of time; simply show up on July 10 and 11 (All-Star weekend in Cincinnati, by the way) and pay for what you eat and drink. The ceremonial tapping of the Volkfest Lager takes place Saturday at 4 p.m.
Breckenridge Brewery’s Hootenanny 25, Littleton, Colo.: The brewery celebrates 25 years with a bigger version of its annual Hootenanny on July 18, featuring live music from Leftover Salmon, a pig roast (vegetarian options are available) and plenty of beer. A $45 tickets gets you four full beers, a meal ticket and unlimited samples from the rare beer tent. The event also benefits Conscious Alliance, a hunger relief organization, and officially debuts the brewery’s new 12-acre campus.
Ride Festival, Telluride, Colo.: The fourth annual Ride Fest sees not only Telluride Brewing but also Georgia’s SweetWater teaming up for a two-day festival July 11-12. It’s one of the first times Coloradoans can get their hands on SweetWater, which plans to pour 420, Hop Hash and Take Two. The festival also marks Sweetwater’s arrival in Colorado, with distribution limited to the Telluride area. Single- and multi-day passes, plus camping tickets, range from $60-$175 and are available online.
Bierleichen, Ridgewood, N.Y.: Opened just more than a month ago, this bar/restaurant is the German beer hall-heavy metal hybrid we never knew we needed. There are beer steins. There are krainerwursts and other Germanic meats from local butchers. There are foosball tables. There are plenty of bottled and draft German beers, plus an extensive schnapps list. Oh, and the bar’s name translates to “beer corpse,” a reference to passed-out folks you’ll see littering the sidewalks during Munich’s Oktoberfest.
Grapevine Craft Brewery tap room, Grapevine, Texas: The Texas brewery celebrates the opening of its downtown Grapevine taproom with weekend-long special cask tappings and the debut of its new HopFest United IPA beginning July 10. The tap room will be open seven days a week, with food truck service each day from 5-8 p.m.
Windy City Smokeout, Chicago, Ill.: Beer, barbecue and country music are a natural trio. All three pack the Chicago riverfront July 10-12, with venerable pitmasters and craft brewers offering up the goods alongside music from Kacey Musgraves, Pat Green, Lee Brice and others. Expect beers from Local Option, Moody Tongue, Founders, Pipeworks, 18th Street and Against the Grain. Tickets range from $40-$400 and are available online.