Top of the Hops: Mississippi’s First Beer Festival

On July 31st at the Jackson Convention Center, Mississippi will host its first ever beer festival, Top of the Hops.  The event will be from 2 pm- 6 pm and will feature over 150 breweries from around the country, and three international breweries.

Attendees will receive a mug to sample unlimited beers until 5:45 when the last beer is poured, although there will be no beer for sale at the event.  Some of the breweries represented are Abita Beer, Atlanta Brewing Company, Blue Moon, Diamond Bear, High Falls, Lazy Magnolia, Rolling Rock, and Samuel Adams.  German breweries Paulaner and Spaten, British brewery Samuel Smith, and Japanese brewery Kirin will also be represented.

The Brew University Education Area will feature seminars on topics such as cooking with beer, food pairings, how to brew beer, and more.  Michelob Brewing Company will be sponsoring a stage with live music, although the performers have not been announced yet.

Top of the Hops is being coordinated by Raise Your Pints, a nonprofit grassroots organization based in Jackson which seeks to change the beer laws in Mississippi and help establish a world-class beer culture in the state, according to their website.  Raise Your Pints was established in 2007 and works by raising awareness and petitioning politicians to change Mississippi beer laws.

Also sponsoring the event is Mississippi brewery Lazy Magnolia, Louisiana brewery Abita Beer, Draft magazine, Mint restaurant, Downtown Jackson Partners, and the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The event is still looking for volunteers to help out the day of the festival.  Those interested may apply online at http://www.topofthehopsbeerfest.com/jackson/volunteer.php and must have a valid 21+ photo ID.  Volunteers must attend a Brew Crew information session the day of the event and will help with setup and breakdown, distributing sample mugs and festival fliers, and pouring samples.  For their work, volunteers will receive a Brew Crew T-shirt and an invitation to attend the volunteer appreciation party.

Tickets are available online at the event website and the day of the event only for those 21 and over, no children or pets are allowed.  The General Admission ticket is $35 in advance, $40 at the door and includes sampling, access to the Brew University Education Area and Michelob Stage.

The Mint Restaurant VIP ticket is $60 in advance, $65 the day of the festival. With the VIP ticket visitors will be allowed entry an hour prior for an exclusive tasting experience, complementary food and access to the Mint Restaurant VIP area.

Tickets for Designated Drivers are $15 in advance and the day of, and do not allow sampling but are offered complementary soda and water.

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