What’s hop and what’s not? Lindsay Trivers of The Tasting Class offers her best tips for making the most of Hopfest 2015.

Hopfest is here! The annual event, held in the Irish Village, showcases a fantastic selection of popular, artisan and off-beat brews in a huge marquis organised by country of origin. With so much selection and wonderful sampling to be done, how do you embrace all that’s hop, and avoid what’s not?

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Go exploring
The most natural plan of attack is to enter the tent, spot the closest bar and taste away. Avoid this temptation and cast your eyes upward upon entering, note the signage by country, then zig-zag your way through this beautiful garden of earthly delights to the countries you’re most interested in exploring.

Get a history lesson
Try one of the oldest styles of hops around like Tripel, first invented by Cistercian Monks.  Or reach for Liefman’s Goudenband, an award winning mouthful inspired by the Lambic style that hails from the time of the Holy Roman Empire.

Get crafty
You might think craft brews are the preserve of bearded hipsters, but they’re a tasty option for everyone, and well worth checking out. Head to the US corner of the festival to learn about American IPAs.

Step out of your flavour comfort zone
Cherry, raspberry, apple, pear, passionfruit, strawberry and chocolate flavoured beverages will be out in full force. Be sure to visit the Belgian area to get your fix. For something fruity with street cred try a Kriek.

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Wear high heels
The ground has a liberal coating of saw dust to accommodate the spilly-talkers, so no heels here ladies. And best pass on open-toed shoes, too.  Not to worry, though, it’s the excuse you always needed to wear sneakers on a night out in Dubai.

Skip meals
Hopfest, like any festival, is no fun on an empty stomach. Get some food in the belly before you arrive, or stop by The Irish Village restaurants for a bite before you get stuck in.

Swill from the bottle
Part of the tasting process involves enjoying the aroma, and if you drink directly from the bottle you’ll miss that element entirely. Plus, pouring your drink into a glass allows some of the gas to escape. By sipping straight from the bottle, you swallow extra gas, which can leave you feeling full and bloated.

Hopfest takes place August 27 to 29 from 12pm-midnight at The Irish Village. 


By Lindsay Trivers