Beginning in the 2010s, beer festivals really became a thing in Santa Cruz County. Thanks to Covid, however, they all but disappeared over the last two years. Now, like so many things we’ve all missed in the pandemic, they’re coming back, and it’s appropriate that one of the festivals originally at the forefront of the trend is also one of the first to return.
The 12th annual Hop N’ Barley Beer and BBQ Festival will be held Saturday, July 9, from 11am-5pm at Skypark in Scotts Valley. A benefit for the Homeless Garden Project, this year’s event will feature 60 breweries, including local favorites like Humble Sea Brewing Co., Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, the Slough Brewing Collective, Discretion Brewing, Shanty Shack Brewing and more, as well as visiting brew teams like Los Gatos’ Loma Brewing Co., Berkeley’s Gilman Brewing and Fresno’s Full Circle Brewing Co.
There will also be food trucks—with an emphasis on BBQ, of course. And since most of us are still making up for lost live-music time, the two stages’ worth of bands should be a nice boost.
Featured on the Good Times stage is newcomer Santa Cruz jam band Superblume. The group was formed in 2019 by guitarist Nate Smith and drummer Taylor Brougham, but due to the pandemic, they had to wait until last year to start showing off their wide-ranging sound, which oscillates between psychedelic, funk and straight-up rock ’n’ roll. They share the stage with eclectic Bay Area band the Higher Collective and local roots-reggae favorites Ancestree.
The Solar Stage will present Half Moon Bay acoustic bluegrass ensemble False Bottom Band, and psychedelic rockers Love Creek from the Santa Cruz Mountains.
The 12th annual Hop N’ Barley Beer and BBQ Festival will be held Saturday, July 9, from 11am-5pm. For more information, and to purchase tickets, go to hopnbarley.org.