What does a perfect day look like in the eyes of a beer lover?
How about a massive outdoor party with more than 200 craft brews from all over the world, beer-friendly fare such as tacos, brats, and burgers, live music and seminars led by masters from some of the world’s great breweries?
That’s what’s in store for the second edition of Beertopia, Hong Kong’s first and only craft beer festival, happening on Saturday, April 13.
The inaugural event last year was a huge success. The venue, Western Market, was packed to the rafters with over 1,700 happy drinkers.
This year, the festival moves to the West Kowloon Cultural District, a large waterfront park with views across the harbor that will amply accommodate the 6,000 thirsty people expected to attend. That’s quite a crowd, though the microbrew market is still pretty small in Hong Kong, where industrial-scale brands like Tsing Tao and San Miguel dominate, and drinkers are hard pressed to find much else except at a few specialty pubs and shops.
“I discovered craft beer in New York when I was in university,” said Jonathan So, the event’s founder who quit his software engineering job to develop and promote Beertopia. “There are many beer bars in [that] city, and I was amazed to discover the variety of beer styles available and how varied the flavors could be. I loved that each country had its own beer recipes, traditions and ingredients.”
And that’s evident in the scope of the festival offerings. Between the participating importers, a veritable U.N. of beer will be assembled, with nearly 30 countries represented, including known craft beer superpowers like Belgium, the U.S., Germany and England, and smaller delegations from Chile, Cambodia and Estonia.
Tickets are HK$250 (approximately $32) for five tokens or HK$300 (approximately $38) for 10. Each token can be traded in for a four-ounce pour. The idea is to sample a variety, and tasters will be spoiled for choice — some may want to focus on a single style while others might want to try one brewer’s whole range. For guidance, consider attending a Beertopia lecture by visiting brewers, an introductory lesson on pairing food and beer (Chris Woodyard, founder, Sal Curioso/Madam Sixty Ate), or a panel discussion on homebrewing in Hong Kong (Adam Goldberg, AmeriCrafts Imports).
In addition to live tunes from local bands like The Sleeves and Thinking Out Loud, some of Hong Kong’s trendiest eateries will also be on hand to help soak up the suds. Tokens can also be used for tacos from Brickhouse, sausage sandwiches from Wolfgang’s Flying Brats, English-style savories from Tai Tai Pie Pies and several other vendors.
Photo courtesy of Beertopia