Annual HopSauce Festival Has Become LBI Tradition

Jun 06, 2018
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

The weather forecast in the days preceding the annual HopSauce Festival was a foreboding one: humidity, scattered thunderstorms, rain. All signs pointed to an afternoon of mud, sloggers and umbrella huddling. But the craft beer gods were good and merciful, and spared us the worst of those conditions. By 2 p.m. on Saturday the menacing clouds had departed and left behind only a groggy wake of humidity, sunlight and a sea of sweaty attendees in rainproof garb. Nothing a cold beer couldn’t fix.

The fifth annual HopSauce Festival took place at the Veterans Memorial Park in Beach Haven. Tents and tents of craft breweries and food vendors spotted the lawn. Musical acts took the stage on the east side of the property. Hordes of happy attendees sampled all the craft beer and hot sauce they could stomach while a woman on stilts skillfully lapped the lawn and posed for photos. Between tents, participants periodically shook the dregs from their 5-ounce tasting mugs before lining up for new pours. The air was a mingling of yeasty beer smells and fried food aromas – a thick, hazy goodness for beer lovers.

But the event wasn’t exclusive to brewery enthusiasts. Children ran circles around their parents, non-drinkers perused the hot sauce and pickle tables, and beer-haters sipped at some feisty alternatives: fermented green tea and rosé.

Presented by Jetty, Spice It Up and Shore Point Distributing Co. Inc., the festival combined the very best in beer, original music and local eats to draw Long Beach Island residents and out-of-towners together for a common cause: to celebrate local businesses and raise funds for the community.

“We’re thrilled. It looks like everyone is having a great time,” said Jeremy Defilippis, a co-founder and CEO of Jetty apparel company. Defilippis confirmed that proceeds from the event will go toward various Jetty Rock Foundation initiatives, which include an oyster shell recycling program and potential municipal park projects.

Since its conception, HopSauce Festival has become something of a tradition in the Long Beach Island community. Many loyal attendees have even made it a permanent fixture on their calendars. Among these dedicated HSF fanatics is Beach Haven West local Christina Caruso.

“This is my fifth HopSauce. I’ve never missed one and I don’t think I ever will.” When asked if she would have jumped ship in the case of a thunderstorm, Caruso declared, laughing, “I’d totally get struck by lightning for it.” Luckily this year, she didn’t have to.

More information about the HopSauce Festival can be found at hopsaucefest.com.

— Sarah Hodgson

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