What: JUL-IPA Festival
When: 1-6 p.m. Sunday, July 28
Where: Backyard at the Millennium Harvest House, 1345 28th St., Boulder
Tickets: VIP tickets -- $40 advance, $50 day of event -- include unlimited tasters and a BBQ sampler platter; $2 drink tickets also are available and are good for one 4- to 5-ounce taster
Info: Ages 21 and older only; proceeds benefit the Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence
The past five years, the West End Tavern has hosted a month-long JUL-IPA event at which it dedicated its tap lineup to a diverse and ever-changing selection of India Pale Ales and other hoppy derivations throughout July.
This year, however, the bar and restaurant is partnering with the Millennium Harvest House Hotel to host a full-blown festival in celebration of the hop.
The inaugural JUL-IPA Festival, which will take place from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday in the grassy space behind the Millennium Harvest House, will feature music from Blue Soul and The Goonies, food from the West End's Rolling Smoke mobile BBQ unit, a head-to-head chicken wing-eating challenge, a raffle and, most important, hoppy beers from nearly 30 breweries, with a focus on Colorado-made IPAs.
"Boulder is a hop-crazy kind of town, and there are a lot of people here who really know their beer," said West End bar manager Caroline Johnson, who is coordinating the beer lineup for the festival. "JUL-IPA month has been a very popular event, and we wanted to take it to the next level with a dedicated IPA festival that also benefits a good cause."
Proceeds benefit the Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence, a human rights organization with a stated mission of ending violence against adults, youth and children through support, advocacy and education.
Johnson notes that while the India Pale Ale style essentially connotes a very hop-forward beer, brewers are constantly exploring niche derivations within this broadly defined style.
Black IPAs, for example, fuse a hoppy profile with darker, richer base malts more commonly found in brown ales and porters. Seek out Bootstrap Brewing Co.'s Black IPA at the festival for an excellent example of this relatively new sub-category.
Imperial IPAs, also known as Double IPAs, feature an even more pronounced hop profile than their singular cousins, coupled with a hefty malt backbone and, often, a higher alcohol content. Look for 7437 Double IPA from Elevation Brewing Co. and other examples at the fest.
Brewers also are experimenting with adjuncts such as fruit, flowers and spices. Treeline IPA from Boulder-based Wild Woods Brewery, for example, is an American-style IPA dry hopped and conditioned with juniper berries; while BRU Citrum IPA, from BRU Handbuilt Ales, is an unfiltered IPA brewed with lemon zest and juniper. Both will be pouring at JUL-IPA.
And then there are barrel-aged IPAs, traditional English-style IPAs, West Coast IPAs (which have come to define American-style IPAs and make use of more aggressive and flavorful U.S.-grown hop varieties, of which there's an ever increasing variety) and more.
It's a great opportunity to expand your hop horizons.
IPA Day at Upslope
In related news, Upslope Brewing will host a celebration of America's favorite beer style -- as judged by the massive number of IPA entries in the Great American Beer Festival the past few years -- in Thursday's observance of National IPA Day.
Beginning at 11 a.m. Thursday, Upslope will feature nine diverse IPAs on draft in its new Flatiron Park Tap Room, 1898 S. Flatiron Court in Boulder, with a food truck rolling up at 5 p.m. and a performance by Americana-rock band Longest Day of The Year at 6 p.m. Admission is free.
Roots Revival, revived
Also on Thursday's National IPA Day, Twisted Pine Brewing Co. will release a second batch of its well-received Roots Revival Carrot IPA.
Initially created to commemorate the Boulder County Farmers' Markets' 25th anniversary last year, this unique vegetable-infused IPA is brewed with all Colorado-grown ingredients, including a batch of locally grown organic carrots. The carrots lend a delicate, sweet character to the aroma and taste that complement the beer's earthy hop character in a surprisingly refreshing and unique way.
Pours and bombers of Roots Revival Carrot IPA will be available beginning at 11 a.m. Thursday in the Twisted Pine Ale House.