MONTICELLO — Aficionados of craft beer, wine and spirits are sure to flock to a festival later this year that is planned for the most unexpected of locations.
Called “Hops and Coaster Drops,” it’s being planned for 2-6 p.m. Sept. 11 at Indiana Beach Amusement and Water Park Resort.
Park officials said the inaugural festival will be the world’s first known amusement park craft beer festival.
Along with numerous craft beer offerings, people will also have access to samples of wine and spirits.
“One of my first visions for Indiana Beach was to see what we could do to open a craft brewery on the property somewhere,” said Tom Crisci, Indiana Beach’s chief operating officer. “Whilst this is still a dream of mine, this morphed more into having a craft beer festival.”
Last year, the park started down the craft beer path by partnering with Kopacetic Beer Factory in Monticello to bottle Indiana Beach-themed beers such as Ideal Blonde, VIPa and Thrill Rye’d.
“These beers were a smash hit with our guests,” Crisci said. “Continuing conversations with (Kopacetic owner) Sean Manahan, we thought for Year 2 that a craft beer festival would be an amazing collaboration to bring to Indiana Beach.”
The inaugural festival will feature unlimited samples from 65 breweries, distilleries and wineries that will be placed throughout Indiana Beach. There will also be live music, food and access to rides and games.
The number of participating breweries has already surpassed Crisci’s original goal for the event.
“Day 1, we signed up about 10 breweries. Two weeks later we’re over 40,” he said. “Our goal for this event was a minimum of 35 total vendors in hopes to get to 50. We have more than met our very aggressive goal of 50 vendors.”
The park will be closed to the public so those who attend can enjoy the sampling, food, rides and games without long lines and the stress that comes with it.
Tickets for the event are $50 for early bird general admission (available until 11:59 p.m. April 29). Advance sale general admission is $65 (available from April 30-Sept. 10) and gate sales (available the day of the event, if tickets remain) will be $75.
“I cannot tell you how excited I am to be putting on this event,” Crisci said. “ It’s a one-of-a-kind event that is sure to make its way into the Indiana Beach history books.”
Among the 65 confirmed breweries, wineries and distilleries include local crafters Kopacetic, Fruitshine Wine and Whyte Horse Winery in Monticello, Crasian Brewing in Brookston and Fenwick Farms Brewing in Rensselaer.
The park will remain open after the tasting event ends for an official after-party, where attendees can continue to enjoy the rides, games and entertainment until 8 p.m. Beer and wine will be available for purchase.