Why should you have to wait till spring to attend a beer festival that showcases over 150 world-class beers from around the world? You shouldn't and you don't, because the Biloxi, MS Top of the Hops Beer Festival takes place next Saturday (Jan 19th) from 5 - 9 pm.
The Festival will be held at the Mississippi Coast Convention Center so parking and weather should be a non-issue. Advance tickets are on sale and you can buy either General Admission tickets for $35 or VIP tickets for $75. Not only do both ticket levels receive a two ounce souvenir glass for unlimited beer samplings but also access to live entertainment, games, and the Brew University Area as well. The Brew University Area will be holding seminars on Cooking with Beer, Brewing 101, Pairing Beer with Food, and more. The VIP tickets get you into the festival an hour early, access to a VIP lounge, complimentary food (5 - 8 pm) and the opportunity to sample beers not available to general admission. Designated Driver tickets and VIP Designated Driver tickets are also available with the same respective access but without any beer sampling, instead complimentary soda and water will be provided.
Top of the Hops has already posted the list of attending breweries. The list includes breweries from around the world but I would highly recommend making sure you check out some of the wonderful Mississippi breweries, some of which do not distribute to the Pensacola area (yet!).
Mississippi's first brewery was founded in 2003 and is located in Kiln, MS. Luckily they do distribute to Pensacola and I hope most of our readers are very familiar with their beers. With the changes to MS ABV restrictions they have been able to add some great new offerings to their already impressive lineup, such as Timber Beast (an Imperial Rye IPA).
Lucky Town Brewing Company is located in Gluckstadt, MS and just opened their doors this December. Their beer is currently available only in MS (Jackson metro area and Vicksburg). Their initial beer lineup consists of The Flare Incident (Oatmeal Stout) and Ballistic Blonde (Belgian Style Blonde Ale) and they will be bringing both to the festival.
Crooked Letter Brewing Company is currently a brewery in planning in Ocean Springs, MS but they are very close to opening day. When they start distributing they will be available along the MS Gulf Coast but they have plans to distribute throughout MS, LA, & AL. Though not available to us locally, the good news it that they will be another great brewery stop along the coast.
Live entertainment will be provided by local MS Gulf Coast singer/songwriter Greg Griffin and the Dry Creek Band. If you have any further questions regarding the festival, you can check out their FAQs and Info page. You will also want to go ahead and download the Festival Guide which includes a map of the breweries locations as well as a list of beers each brewery plans on bringing to sample.
You still have plenty of time to make plans to attend the festival, so get your tickets, call the kennel, babysitter, etc and kick-off 2013 with a great craft beer event.