Hoppapalooza 2015: A Very Small Beer Festival

Hoppapalooza 2015 went way beyond our best expectations. This was a true underground craft beer festival! The idea came from a conversation with Thomas Fransson after a late night of complaining of how all the beer festivals had gotten so political and corporate, funded by the mass produced breweries. How so many of the pubs in Sweden got their beer from California, or Australia or some other far off land. That these beers produce a massive carbon footprint  to transport them here, doing tremendous damage to the planet, just to drink a beer…a little crazy, something people don’t think about. How if we could bring attention to the small local breweries by doing a alternative craft beer festival, with great music & food…something that hadn’t been done before


Soooo… The day before we had team of homeless & gypsy’s from the Roma camp setting up tents in our parking lot just off Norra Grängebergsgatan. They were also busy setting up a stage, we used a old buss as a backdrop for the stage. We had Ben the English electrician running a massive 63 amp cable 100 meters to split in several junction boxes. Porta-potties were set up and Steven the Canadian pâtissier supervised construction and set up tables. Early on the morning of August 1st came the brewers, 19 local breweries from the southern state of Skåne including a few from Copenhagen, just across the Öresund Channel. We had a amazing tap list, 78 different beers to taste, a impossible feat to taste them all, that would be 7,8 liters since they were poured in 10 cl samples, so people were forced to break into teams to taste them all. At one o’clock we opened the doors and over the next hour over 500 people strolled in. Most people had bought tickets on ticnet.se, admission cost 250 kr and that included a tasting glass and a t-shirt with the Hoppapalooza illustration by local artist Niels Dezibel Sandstorm on the front and all the breweries logos on the back. Once inside all beers were 20 kr. Thomas from Australia is a tech-wiz and set up our sound system.

We had Alex from Corsica grilling fat local sausages served on rolls with pickles, kraut &  Skånsk mustard. Alex also did a vegetarian option with brie, sun-dried tomato pesto & salad on a roll, Ali the Pakistani cook from Kontrapunkt did 30 liters of insanely hot Indian Veal Curry, Rice & Spinach-Potatoes with Cardamon & Ginger. Ali also did a Vegan option, the same menu except salad instead of veal. And then there was Maz catering, with the cutest Persian & Palestinian girls in Keffiyeh’s serving platters of vegetarian delicacies. When Omar, the Persian chef announced what they were serving everyone cheered and I was left wondering, ’what’s that?’.

Also a big thanks to David Claesson for his help in bring a team of volunteers from United Church and the American Womens Club for their volunteers also.

This was a unique festival, culturally rich & quintessentially chic, in a parking lot of a run down industrial area. So I look at Hoppapalooza.2015 as a great success! A melting pot of cultures organized and promoted by a American from San Francisco trained as a chef in France, running a micro brewery in Southern Sweden with his Danish wife Sacha. A snapshot I remember was looking at the Iraqi mechanics from next door, pressed up against the chain-link fence watching the crowd while Elisabeth Östin with her amazing voice, belted out the high notes, with the hipsters laying in the hot sun on pillows and rugs, sampling beers & food….And one of the Roma’s, that had set up the tents & stage, a guy that had fled Eastern Romania where things are so bad he would rather live in cardboard shack in the Swedish winter, he went to immigration the next day to get his residence visa, to stay in Sweden legally…

Hoppapalooza.2015 was a great day!

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