With a little over a week to go, we’re working hard on putting the finishing touches to the second Hop City festival here at Northern Monk – and very much looking forward to the beers pouring next Thursday!

It’s been a particularly wild couple of months for us as we prepared to go into and were subsequently blown away by our Crowdfunding campaign. A big thanks to all those on our Hop City organising committee; Rich, Matt, Amy, Nick, Charlotte, Billy and co. Whilst the company has gone through one of its biggest months, these guys have been diligently working away on what promises to be another incredible festival. The beer list has had us salivating for weeks, the list of one-offs is unprecedented, the food traders are some of the finest the North has to offer, we’ve upped our glassware game, oh and this year we’ve got DJ Format to play us out.

Last year Hop City was described as a massive house party with some of the best beers in the world. It was with this feedback in mind that we prepared for Hop City 18. The party starts this Thursday.

Now, let’s get down to the details…

The festival is very close to being a sell out, and we’d like to thank everyone who has bought tickets so far. There have been many, many questions about the festival, so we’ll try to answer as many as possible here, as well as shedding some light on how to get the best out of your Hop City experience.

The festival sessions will run Thursday/Friday/Saturday 6pm-10:30pm, with daytime sessions also on Friday & Saturday running 11:30am-4pm. Afternoon session attendees will have until 4.30 to leave the premises, and pouring will cease at 3.45pm & 10.15pm respectively – we ask that all of our guests please be considerate & respectful to surrounding residents when leaving the festival.

Once again, we’ve gone all out to bring you a great beer list, and hats off to all the breweries involved for getting behind the fest to produce so many special beers and new releases! All sessions will start with the same line-up to give all attendees equal opportunity to try all the beers on offer over the weekend – so whether you are coming on Thursday evening or Saturday evening, you will have equal access to the same amazing beers.
We have made a concerted effort this year to provide a balanced list, with a range of styles and ABV’s – we have 19 non-IPAs, 16 beers below 5%, and everything from Sours to Lagers to Table Beers and even a cheeky Bretted Stout from the folks at Legitimate Industries (they didn’t get the memo….)
Draught beers will be served in third pint measures, and will cost 1 token for one measure with the tokens costing £2.70 each. You will be able to purchase tokens from two locations at the festival using either cash or card payments, and there will be a token bundle of 8 tokens for £20 available also. Tokens will be refundable at our token stands (at the bundle price of £2.50 per token) at the end of each session, they will not be refundable post festival.
We tried very hard to keep the token price the same as last year – but with rising beer prices, increased freight costs, and a higher level of production, a small increase was necessary to ensure that the festival is financially viable to continue in the future…
We’re confident that Hop City will be a blast for all of our guests and still represent great value for money – there are 8 extra breweries, 15 festival newcomers, and over 25 beers being brewed especially for the event!

Hoppy beers are best fresh. You may notice that beers on the published list have chopped and changed a few times, and this is because all the breweries involved want to make sure their best and freshest beers are pouring at Hop City 2018. This is list is 100% final now…. We think. To ensure the highest standards of freshness and quality, we have managed the transportation of all our international beers with great care. All our US products have been cold-chain airfreighted from their respective breweries, while our Scandinavian & European beers have been fast tracked over from the continent by our friends at The Bottle Shop & Vertical Drinks. You won’t get these beers fresher anywhere in the UK, and we can’t wait for you to get stuck into them!
As with last year’s festival, this import lark doesn’t come cheap – we’ve freighted 4 breweries over from the US this year and as a result this cost is indeed reflected in the small increase in token price. Naturally, these beers are also limited, so will be allocated equally between sessions – some of the most popular beers may run dry towards the end of the session but there’s so much great stuff across all the breweries we’re sure that you won’t be disappointed. If there’s something you really want to try, go and try it… ?

Northern Monk products will be available for retail from the main Refectory bar, but for consumption outside the festival only. You will receive a token when purchasing, then you may collect your bounty at the end of the session. We will have an Open Day at the Refectory on Sunday 1st April, where any remaining beers will be available for general sale, takeaway and growler fills. No small pack from pouring breweries will be available to purchase, this is exclusively for special tasting slots during the festival sessions.
There will be small tastings of different Foam Brewers, Bissell Brothers, & Equilibrium beers during each session. These are ticketed on a first come first served basis from the entry gate upon arrival. The tastings will run as follows…
DAY SESSIONS – Foam @ 12:30pm in the Brewery (2 pours) – £5
Bissell Bros @ 1:30pm in the Brewery (2 pours) – £5
Equilibrium @ 2:30pm in the Brewery (1 pour) – £4

EVE SESSIONS – Foam @ 7:00pm in the Brewery (2 pours) – £5
Bissell Bros @ 8:00pm in the Brewery (2 pours) – £5
Equilibrium @ 9:00pm in the Brewery (1 pour) – £4

We’re super lucky to present a number of magnificent food traders to keep those tummies lined at Hop City. We will have Caribbean Cafe, Wapentake, El Marchador Tacos, ParmStar and Holy Crab all slinging their wares your way and great beery snacks lined up too. Maude Coffee Roasters will be providing a caffeine fix for that late-session pick up! All food traders will be operating a non-token policy so please make sure you have alternative payment available. There are cash points at Leeds Central Station and on Water Lane for withdrawals.

The Northern Monk Refectory bar will be supplying their regular range of soft drinks, wine and spirits throughout the festival for non-beer drinkers. These will also non-token items, card facilities are available inside the Refectory.

We will have a dedicated merchandise stand flogging all sorts of great NMBCo & Hop City merch…. Keep your eye out for our special edition James Butler tees, their limited so don’t hold off!

The second floor toilets on the Chapter Hall level will be closed to the public. The indoor first floor toilets on the Refectory Level will be LADIES ONLY. Gents toilets will be situated outside, behind the building and there will be plenty ?. There is also an accessible bathroom on the brewery level, should you need to access this then please grab a member of the Festival Team.
Please respect your fellow humans, anyone seen displaying unruly bathroom manners will be rejected from the festival!

Enjoy yourself, drink some great beer, be kind to others and take it easy! Be sure to tag us in your social media posts and photos over the weekend @hopcityleeds, @northernmonk & @northernmonkrefectory ?.