Hopstock: A celebration of fresh hop beers and Wellyâs âglobally uniqueâ craft beer scene
The fifth annual Craft Beer Capital Hopstock Festival takes place from 19-24 April, with 22 bars and breweries taking part in 2017âs celebration of fresh hop beers.
Hopstock is a beacon in the calendars of Wellington craft beer drinkers, which sees breweries and Wellington craft beer venues exclusively paired up to showcase the breweriesâ âgreen hop beersâ (brewed using harvested hops, fresh off the bine, as opposed to the perennially-used, processed, dried pellet form). Punters follow the Hopstock Fest trail map, in an endeavour to sample these once-a-year beers, collecting a stamp at each craft bar by way of ticking it off the list.
Peter Moran, Hopstock Organiser and Craft Beer Capital Secretary, says Hopstock not only fulfills Craft Beer Capitalâs modus operandi of âbringing breweries, bars, punters and everyone else involved in Wellingtonâs âgood beerâ industry togetherâ, but also showcases Wellingtonâs breadth of craft venues and âglobally unique beer sceneâ.
âThe trail is about getting people around to Wellingtonâs awesome craft bars as much as it is about showcasing the breweries and their beers. Itâs one of only a couple beer events in the city that actively encourages people to get out and visit its multiple craft destinations.
Peter says that whilst there are other brilliant local beer events throughout the year, these often take place in one venue and people must purchase tickets to attend. Beside purchasing oneâs beers, Hopstock is free to partake in, and everyone is welcome to partake.
âWellington is pretty unique in the sense that there arenât many cities in the world where you can have a walkabout event like Hopstock, with venues so easily accessible from one to the other. The cityâs geographical proximity is definitely what makes our beer scene an exceptional destination.â
Peter says part of the anticipation in the lead up to Hopstock is that each venue has exclusive pouring rights to their allocated beer (confirmed by random draw): âItâs the first and only time you can get these beers in Wellington until the festival is finished.â
The Hopstock trail also caters for sober drinkers, and can be completed without drinking alcohol. Instead, those wishing to abstain can simply gain their trail stamp by purchasing a non-alcoholic drink or food. Hopstock tours are also available for those who wish to go in large groups or put their feet up.
âItâs really important that we support non-drinkers, sober drivers or those who may wish to take a bit of break from the trail by having other options so they can still be a part of the event, whether they choose to drink beer or not,â says Peter.
There will also be a Peopleâs Choice Award, with trail-goers sending their trail maps in to vote for their favourite Hop Harvest beer (completing the trail map is not needed to partake in this).
Peter says Craft Beer Capital is âstokedâ with the undeniable growth Hopstock has experienced each year.
âIn the beginning, there were about eight beers across 12 bars - some bars were sharing beers! Whereas now we have a waiting list of brewers that want to be involved with Hopstock. More than half of the 22 spots were snapped up by Wellington breweries, and we were able to offer the remaining spots to out-of-town breweries.
âIn terms of public interest, itâs definitely grown - last yearâs 1000 trail maps were completely snapped up during the event, and around another 1000 were downloaded off the Craft Beer Capital website.â
Hopstock takes place from 19-24 April, 2017, across 22 Wellington venues.