Good Beer Hunting

no. 477

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Held annually in Tulsa, The Hop Jam Beer & Music Festival is Oklahoma’s largest beer event—it attracts an estimated 25,000 people each year. More than 100 breweries travel from all over the world to pour their beer here. But the first 75 or so folks in line have more than just a day of beer and music in mind.

Like a lot of attendees this year, they’ve paid $100 to be Hop Heads (The Hop Jam’s version of VIPs), which ensures they can enter the festival one hour before the masses. And these early birds are at the front of the line for a reason: to make a beeline directly toward Hanson Brothers Beer Co.

Isaac, Taylor, and Zac Hanson—the three brothers who have built a 25+ year business together as pop stars, entrepreneurs, and now, beer makers—are the founders of this festival. Every year, they brew up a bunch of beers for thirsty fans, some of whom are hoping to get served by one of the bros. In fact, Isaac materializes just moments after this photo to help keep things moving.

After trying beers like Mmmhops Pale Ale and Pink Moonlight (a Peach Milkshake IPA collaboration with acclaimed Illinois beer maker DESTIHL Brewery), the Hop Heads eventually move on to try selections from the other breweries. But how could any of them be as good as that first taste? It’s gotta be hard to follow up a beer that’s just been served to you by a member of your favorite band.