Five on Five: Experiences for Your Beer-Bucket List

Beer offers all kinds of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, from drinking the rarest beers to attending festivals at all corners of the Earth. Beth Demmon asked five pros what’s on top of their beer-bucket lists. What’s on yours?

Beth Demmon Dec 27, 2022 - 4 min read

Five on Five: Experiences for Your Beer-Bucket List Primary Image

Photos clockwise from top, left: Joe Stange; Jamie Bogner; Courtesy Brewers Association; Joe Stange; Jamie Bogner

The triannual Poperinge Beer and Hop Festival in Poperinge, Belgium

“This elusive celebration takes place only every three years, which is why it has evaded me for so long. The breweries that participate must use Belgian hops. Westvleteren, De Struise, St. Bernardus, and, of course, Poperings Hommelbier are mainstays, to name a few of my favorites. It’s a time when tradition and local pride shine, and I’d love to witness it at some point in my lifetime.”
—Michael Fava, operations manager at Sacred Profane Brewing in Biddeford, Maine

Hop selection at harvest time

“Your nose becomes consumed with all of the smelly smells. The scent of berries, grapefruit, pineapple, mango, pine, green pepper, and grass fill the air in its purest form, as hop oils smear across your hands while flakes of green cling to your hair from raising your hands to your face. Mountains kiss the sun in the morning, and in the evening you meet with fellow brewers who share the same love of the craft. Hop selection is every brewer’s dream. Hop selection is my dream … one day.”
—Breeze Galindo, lead brewer, Other Half Brewing in Brooklyn, New York

Brew with the best (and take home some GABF hardware)

“There are a ton of brewers I have looked up to for years and would love to get the chance to collab with—Brienne from Sacred Profane, Ashleigh from Bierstadt, Live Oak, and Three Floyds, to name a few. [Also], win a medal at GABF. It’s long been a dream of mine, since I started homebrewing. To have a group of professional judges say that a beer that you have designed and made is one of the best has got to be an amazing feeling.”
—Lauren Hughes, head brewer, Necromancer Brewing in Pittsburgh

Annafest in Forchheim, Germany

“This Upper Franconian folk festival is held just outside of town in the Kellerwald at the end of July. The four breweries of Forchheim pour beers from their kellers on gravity cask. Though I’ve been to the area a few times, the timing has not worked to attend this celebration. Fingers crossed it works out for 2023!”
*—William Loring, co-owner, Lesser-Known Beer Company in Winston-Salem, North Carolina###

Visit the monks of Belgium

“I’ve always been fascinated with the brewing history of Trappist monks in Belgium. A dream of mine is to visit Belgium and drink with monks at Rochefort, Westmalle, Westvleteren, and Chimay. Sipping a tripel with monks in a brewery with a history dating back to the 16th century would blow my mind.”
—Ray Ricky Rivera, founder and brewer, Norwalk Brew House in Norwalk, California