Story by Deverie Hart
At the south end of Boeing Field, in a modern building crafted of steel and glass, sits a collection of airplanes and aviation memorabilia that spans several decades. Though the Museum of Flight is typically filled with families and tourists, last night it was filled with beer lovers and philanthropic Seattleites from all walks of life. According to museum staff, the independent, non-profit Museum of Flight is one of the largest air and space museums in the world, attracting more than 400,000 visitors annually.
The Museum of Flight has been hosting “Hops & Props” for nine years now as a fundraiser, with proceeds going toward the aviation and space exploration themed museum. This indoor affair is perfect for this time of year, with a glass-ceiling gallery providing natural light and none of the temperamental weather that April often brings. The venue has plenty of space, even for the crowd that gathered in anticipation well before the beer and food stations opened.
Around 6:00 p.m. a VIP event started, with a food and beer-pairing event in a private upper-level banquet room. Hosted by Charles Finkel, President and Founder of The Pike Brewing Company, a group of approximately 100 guests enjoyed Pike brews with an assortment of small bites, catered by McCormick and Schmicks.
Hops & Props draws guests from a wide variety of backgrounds and interests, including museum donors, aviation enthusiasts, groups of friends out for a fun time, and hardcore beer fans. At 7:00 p.m., those who were not in attendance for the VIP event filled the main foyer in anticipation of the forty beer tables, unlimited buffets, and of course, the fantastic museum exhibits.
Once the doors opened, the crowds spread out, and rather than feeling crowded, the museum actually seemed bigger, but still full. A band, the Dudley Manlove Quartet, entertained fest-goers in one wing of the museum with classic party favorites like Copacabana and Rio while we sipped Boundary Bay next to a B-17.
Brewery tables were spread throughout the museum in several areas, and included many local companies, including Beta Brewing from Everett, for whom this was a festival debut.
Other breweries included 7 Seas, 21st Amendment, 192 Brewing Co., Airways Brewing Co., Alaskan Brewing Co., Ayinger, Barhop Brewing, Big Al Brewing, Big Sky Brewing, Boulevard, Boundary Bay, Bridgeport, Crispin Cider, Deschutes, Diamond Knot, Dick’s Brewing, Dos Equis, Elysian, Emerald City Beer Co., Fish Brewing, Flyers, Fremont Brewing, Full Sail, Georgetown Brewing, Harmon, Iron Horse, Kona, Lagunitas, Laurelwood, Lazy Boy, Lindemans, Mac & Jacks, M.T. Head Brewing Co., New Belgium, Newcastle, Ninkasi, Odin Brewing, Pike Brewing, Pyramid, Red Hook, Roslyn Brewing, Samuel Smith, Sierra Nevada, Silver City, Skagit River Brewery, Snoqualmie Falls Brewing, Strongbow, Tenth and Blake Beer Co. (representing Blue Moon), Three Skulls Ales, Trade Route, Trumer, Two Beers Brewing Co., Widmer Brothers, and Woodchuck.
Several brewers and brewery representatives had spent the earlier part of the day at Cask Fest, and we couldn’t help but be amazed at the good show they all put on with the crowd despite likely being near-exhausted. Unfortunately, it seemed that some breweries must have spent most of their beer reserves at Cask Fest too, because a couple ran out on the early side. But with forty brewers, most serving two different brews, there were many beverage choices for every attendee.
We had some delicious beers, standouts being the 7 Seas Winter Warmer, Lagunitas Lil Sumpin Wild, and Dick’s Brewing Double Danger. Overall, the carefully chosen beer selection kept in mind a wide audience and brewers brought favorites that appealed to beer and cider fans alike.
If you plan to attend Hops & Props next year, remember that tickets sell out FAST. They are sold online and through a small number of local vendors. And while the $70 ticket cost is on the high side, they are well worth it when you factor in the unlimited beer tastings from the large number of brewers in attendance and the all-you-can-eat buffet. And don’t forget the access to Museum galleries, a commemorative glass, and a tasting map. An upgrade to a VIP ticket will cost $100.
We spent the evening promoting one of the main sponsors, Full Throttle Bottles, and chatting with guests and brewers. Also in attendance were local beer bloggers Kendall and Kim Jones, from Washington Beer Blog, and photographer Russell Lo nabbed pictures of the event. We all compared notes about our favorite beers at this event and others. Hops and Props ended with happy festival-goers heading home full and happy, a great time had by all.