The festival season is almost upon us! This was going to be a post about how the three best beer festivals in town are on sale right now, but then Boulevardia sold out in like 45 minutes again. So, this post is about the three best beer festivals in town, two of which have tickets on sale. Well, you can technically still get Boulevardia Taps & Tastes tickets, but we'll get to that later. So, I give you, the festivals:
As I'll write a lot in this post, this is a great festival, and one that is not to be missed this year. This is especially true if you live north of the river, since this is the closest you're going to get to a northland festival in the spring.
I say it's the naturalist's festival because it's set in just the most idyllic setting you can imagine on the banks of the MO. The English Landing is a great place to hang out on any average spring day and watch the river roll by, but even better when you're sipping some top flight beers. In addition to this, the festival is super laid back, with plenty of room to roam, short lines, and rock solid organization (they're in their 13th year!), which makes you and (very importantly) the people pouring the beer happy so everyone has a great time! The festival is also an absolute steal at $35/ticket.
Festival Date/Time: April 30, 1pm-5pm
Festival Cost: $35 advanced, $45 at the gate
Breweries: 72 total booths as of posting. Mostly local/regional midwestern breweries, with some Colorado & West coast breweries thrown in the mix. Most complete showing of KC, KS, and MO breweries of the 3 fests. Also includes homebrew clubs. Check their website for a total listing.
Also includes: live music, food trucks, & commemorative logo glass. Pets are welcome!
Waldo HopFest is yet another excellent festival for KC. I feel like it's a good middle ground between Parkville & Boulevardia. It's not quite as super urban as Boulevardia, and not quite as far out there as Parkville. (I hate to call Waldo suburban because people would ream me a new one--but just remember, Fairway, KS is closer to downtown than Waldo is!) The fest also has a more even mix of local/regional breweries to nationwide breweries than Parkville's local/regional focus or Boulevardia's nation-wide focus.
And I say it every year, the location sounds horrendous. The parking lot of a plumbing supply store?? But really, it's actually a pretty excellent place for a brewfest. Plenty of room to move, easy access to water and bathrooms, and lots of room for breweries to set up huge tents! The biggest problem every year is parking, so just get a ride! You're going to need one on the way home anyways. I sure did last year...
Just like Parkville, this fest is very well organized. You would also be hard pressed to find a cheaper full-fledged beerfest anywhere in the country than HopFest at $30 for GA tickets.
Festival Date/Time: May 21, 2pm-6pm (VIP Starts at 1pm)
Festival Cost: GA: $30 advanced, $35 at the gate. VIP: $50 advanced, $55 at the gate.
Breweries: 51 total booths as of posting. A good mix of local/regional and national breweries. Check their website for a total listing.
Also includes: live music, food trucks, & commemorative logo glass.
Boulevardia is the festival that requires no introduction. As it was the last two years, tickets to the Taps and Tastes (the beerfest part of the whole thing) sold out in a matter of minutes of going online. With good reason too--this fest consistently brings in some of the best breweries from around the country and world.
Most of the breweries that attend Boulevardia are local/regional scale breweries with crazy cult followings that also happen to not sell beer in KC. So unless you're traveling out of state on beer-cations (which you should also do!), then this is the only place you're going to get most of this beer. Always notable is a huge array of Side Project Beers, Funkwerks, and this year Arizona Wilderness Brewery (rated the best new brewery in the world 2015 in by BeerAdvocate).
As I mentioned, tickets are sold out, but you can still get Taps & Tastes tickets by buying the Ultimate VIP Weekender Pass for $1000. I shit you not. But you should look at what it includes. It would pretty much be the most bad-ass ultimate Father's Day present ever given to a dad. Just saying.
You should also keep your eyes & ears out for people selling tickets--everyone has to buy tickets so far ahead of time that a number of people usually end up not being able to go. So keep an eye out on the CraftBeerKC forums or the Beer Tasting KC facebook page. Most beer geeks in KC are awesome people and will sell their tickets at face value if they can't go. Don't buy from the shitwads trying to sell tickets on Craigslist for $500.
I should also mention that there's a whole raft of other things to do at Boulevardia besides Taps & Tastes. It's like a whole carnival set up in the West Bottoms. So go check out their website--there's bound to be something else there for you besides unlimited beer sampling! Let's just hope that the temperature is something less than the surface of the Sun this year!
Festival Date/Time: June 17-19
Festival Cost: Whole bunch of different tickets and prices
Breweries: 50 total booths as of posting. A crazy lineup of world-class breweries. Check their website for a total listing.
Also includes: A whole carnival, massive amounts of live music, and all kinds of other good shit.