Border Hop Fest to offer tasting of rare Midwestern brews

Backpocket Brewing
Drink up! Backpocket Brewing (pictured) hosts Border Hop Fest this Saturday. — photo by Stefan Krasowski.

Backpocket Brewing’s Border Hop Fest

Coralville Marriott parking ramp — Saturday, May 24 at 1 p.m.

We’ve all done it — crossed Iowa’s borders to buy beer unavailable in the Hawkeye State, be it from New Glarus or Half Acre.

This Saturday from 1-5 p.m., however, beers that normally require visiting a neighboring state to enjoy will be coming to Backpocket Brewing for Border Hop Fest, located on the top level of the Coralville Marriott parking ramp.

Border Hop Fest will feature beers brewed by Flat Earth, Lucid, Great Dane and Storz — all breweries that do not currently, and may never, distribute in Iowa. Brau Brothers, Empyrean, Schlafly, Summit and Surly — which already distribute in Iowa — will be offering limited-release beers that never make it outside of their home states.

Backpocket co-owner and brewer Jake Simmons says that Iowa has great craft breweries and beers, but he thinks that offering out-of-state beers is another way of showcasing the craft beer industry as a whole.

“What we’re looking to do is to get people a chance to try beers and get excited about beer as a whole,” Simmons said. “Craft beer is not necessarily about always having the same beers you’ve had before, it’s always about trying new things.”

Simmons said a couple breweries will be bringing beers in firkins, which are small, wooden barrels that are used to age and serve cask-conditioned ales. Backpocket will also be serving its own cask-conditioned beer.

In case of rain, Simmons said the festival will move to a lower level of the parking garage or the Marriott exhibit hall that hosts Brrr Fest. Tickets are $30 in advance and can be purchased online through or Tickets cost $35 at the door.

Beers available at Border Hop Fest include:

  • Empyrean: Mango IPA, Carpe Brewem, Chaco Canyon Gold
  • Schlafly: Bière De Garde, Oak Aged Barleywine, Sessions IPA, Yakima Wheat Ale
  • Great Dane: Uber Bock, Imperial Vanilla Stout, Imperial IPA, Peck’s Pilsner, Crop Circle Wheat, Velvet Hammer Bock
  • Lucid: SILO Saison, AIR Enlightened Ale, FOTO IPA
  • Storz: Triumph Lager, Gold Crest Amber Ale, Wood Duck Wheat, Mugs Pale Ale
  • Flat Earth: Angry Planet Pale Ale, Cygnus X-1 Porter and one more TBD
  • Summit: Saga IPA and two TBD
  • Surly: Three TBD
  • Brau Brothers: Three TBD
  • Backpocket: Firkins and more TBD

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