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International Hop and Beer Festival
From: 2013.09.16 To: 2013.09.22
Hops is the unsung hero of any great beer. The Belgian town of Poperinge pays tribute to this building block of brewsky by celebrating the entrance of hops into the local economy, which happened in the 13th century. A triennial festival has been going on for almost as long as there has been beer in Europe, the festival is three-days of beer drinking fun. While the focus of the event is on the hop plant, a perennial climbing plant that races along a wire, it's also a celebration traditionally for the hop pickers, who finished up their seasons work during this time in September, and the upwards of 10,000 foreign pickers who assisted the local population in the harvest. The festival begins on Friday with an opening party (free entrance), but the party really starts the next day with the Hop Queen selection ceremony, which is a fun event where contestants are asked various trivia questions about hops, the area, and beer in general. Purchasing a ticket to the coronation ceremony means you can vote, too. The final day of the festival includes a church ceremony for hops, and a visit to a hop farm in operation. Local guides are available to explain how hops are harvested and processed. Of course, drinking the delicious derivative of hops takes place all weekend long.