Sure to be remembered as one of the premier events of the fall, the Grapes and Hops Festival drew crowds to Springs Preserve on October 6 to benefit the Par for the Cure breast cancer research fund. With over 30 taps and bottle stations pouring the best of the Southern Wine and Spirits portfolio, there was no shortage of delicious fermented beverages for thirsty guests who paired them with bites from Flemming's Steakhouse, P.F Chang's, El Segundo Sol, Mon Ami Gabi and Stripburger.
Situated around the grounds of the Springs Preserve, booths served up samples of popular craft beers and fine wines. Dogfish Head's Burton Baton oak-aged double IPA was a big hit, along with Vegas brewer Big Dog's Red Hydrant Ale. Francis Ford Coppola Winery had a line down a garden path for their Diamond Pinot Grigio.
And a few lesser-known brands tried their luck at the benefit, as well. Tommy Knocker Brewery made its debut on the scene with a well-balanced Maple Nut Brown Ale, a full flavored, nutty-sweet beer with terrific drinkability. From Redstone Meadery, a traditional and dry-hopped honey wine had new converts getting back in line for a second pour, and East Coast brewery Magic Hat made a splash No. 9, its fruity, crisp “not-quite pale ale.”
As the sun went down and the tree-lined paths lit up with thousands of Christmas lights, the excitement of the day evolved into a tranquil twilight. Grapes and Hops was the gold standard that other fests strive for: no rushed crowds, no prohibitive lines and no drunken deluge to sweep out at the end. Just an amazing night of good drink—one that I strongly suggest you look forward to next year.