It was the beer festival we thought might not happen for obvious reasons, but Hop City 2021 finally got underway last week, and it was a glorious return to the beer festival we all know and love. This year we took it further and brought a load of Monks along with us for the ride… Because, why not!? 😂
We had a brief warm-up at North‘s Leeds City Tap (hello Donzoko tap takeover, Big Foam!), followed by The Cross Keys for some fresh Verdant. Just enough to be prepared for the hoppy onslaught of amazing beers to come!
With a change of venue this year the festival was held at Northern Monk‘s larger Sydenham Road brewery, rather than at the Refectory as usual. It’s the first time we’ve ever been to the other brewery site, and even though it was outdoors there was plenty of space for the huge crowd we saw on our Friday evening visit. Luckily the weather was good to us and it stayed dry.
The festival layout was in two parts – the main part having bands and DJ sets on, and Tank Petrol doing a live art piece on the outdoor fermenters (you’ll know them for their cool graffiti Patrons can artworks). The second part had yet more breweries, as well as a multitude of food options. Seating was plentiful. All in all the organisation was on form for the first year at a new venue as well as the testing times we’re currently in, and yes, we did have to provide negative Covid tests for entry. I’d say this felt like the most ‘normal’ event I’ve been to in a while however, the right amount of restrictions needed without feeling too overpowering.
First up we headed to the main area. The infamous Northern Monk ice cream van was serving up soft serve beers opposite the entrance. We totally missed the merch stand due to trying to get around as many breweries as humanly possible, but it is still available to purchase online at the minute.
We headed to the US breweries area first because as much as we love our locals (and further afield UK breweries), you just can’t always find some of these American gems that often.
Vitamin Sea themselves were also pouring, with a New England IPA called Alone And Adrift in the mix, a tasty Citra & Nelson Sauvin 7%-er.
Heading over to the other side of the festival we bumped into our locals Amity Brew Co, who were serving up some of their Survival birthday beer – a 10% TIPA. A bit too mental? Never for Hop City!
What’s better than a 10% TIPA? How about an 11% TIPA? That’s what Alpha Delta were serving up. Their Methe was absolutely incredible! Good job these are third pours at a time… 😅
Seeing beers from both Mikkeller (from the London Brewpub) and Warpigs at one festival is always a delight! Maybe I’m just biased as I love everything Mikkeller, but Behold Frostillicus was fantastic. A 6.5% NEIPA wonder in a glass!
As ever, it is near impossible to get around every brewery and sample every incredible beer on at this festival, but we gave it a good shot! Other notable delights from the festival include Neon Raptor‘s Plot Twist Alibi (a 7% West Coast IPA), My Name Is Carnival, an 8% DNEIPA with Cryo hops by Pomona Island, and Prozess, a 6.5% NEIPA by the Russian hop legends Zagovor. We’d list even more, but there were tries and tasters we’ve probably forgotten about. That’s Hop City carnage for you!
Not sure how we were all standing by the end. You know what they say… better late than never! See you next year Hop City! 🍻
We attended the Friday evening session of Hop City 2021