There aren't a whole lot of problems with beer festivals. You show up, you try dozens of locally made brews, your vision gets a little blurry, and that's it. You go home. That's all you need, really. Well the organizers at Caribou Highlands Lodge have managed to improve upon the perfect model by making their fest an overnight, weekend affair.
Hopped Up Caribou Beer Festival takes place this weekend, July 8 and 9, and it's a veritable retreat for craft beer nerds. 17 breweries — including Surly, Bent Paddle, and Summit — will participate in the two-day festivities in the remote Lutsen Mountains, making Hopped Up the northernmost beer festival in Minnesota (according to rep Robert Lillegard, anyway).
Beer nuts who spring for the engagement are promised a lot in the way of beer knowledge. Friday's limited Brewer Reception offers attendees one-on-one time with some of the state's most notable brewers. You'll have ample time to trade recipes and secrets with other campers throughout the weekend while you gulp down gallons of the good stuff, which will be pouring both days.
If beer is only a mild passion, the fest is worth a night for the food menu alone. Most of it is brew-infused (mussels in beer curry, banana beer bread, stout chocolate fondue, etc.), but Saturday's bloody Mary breakfast and cookout offer better food than you could rationally expect to get at any measly afternoon-long beer fest.
Tickets range from $39 to $221 a person and are available here.