Longmont is the ideal destination to launch an unforgettable Rocky Mountain getaway. The community of roughly 90,000 people offers something for everyone, with a convenient location just 15 miles northeast of Boulder. The city is quickly becoming one of the premier craft brewing centers in the state, with multiple award-winning craft breweries located within the city limits, and Longmont’s downtown area contains a fine selection of restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues.
Hops + Handrails is an annual celebration hosted by Left Hand Brewing Foundation that showcases craft beer, winter sports, food, and live music. The event has been running since 2013, and this year, organizers expect roughly 7,000 attendees on March 11th, from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm at Roosevelt Park. Over 60 breweries will be participating and offering a variety of samples. The Rail Jam is one of the premier attractions at the event. Snowboarders and skiers (separated by class) compete by performing their best tricks on a 30-foot tall by 90-foot long snowboard ramp. There will also be a kids division on a smaller ramp. Various bands will be performing throughout the competition, and attendees will have the opportunity to eat food from some of Colorado's top food vendors. The event supports SOS Outreach & CHILL Foundation, which helps underprivileged kids. We got the chance to interview Josh Goldberg, Community & Event Manager for Left Hand Brewing Foundation, to talk about this fun winter celebration.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
JG: We’ve been presenting Hops + Handrails since 2013.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
JG: We’ve typically seen crowds of around 7,000 people.
RAL: What is the typical demographic makeup of the event? Children? Families? Couples?
JG: Hops + Handrails (H+H) is a unique event that draws from many demographics. We see craft beer lovers, winter sports enthusiasts, and live music fans. H+H has fun activities for everyone from our youngest riders strapping into a snowboard for their first time in the kid zone to dad’s rocking their thinned out Black Crows concert shirts from back in the day. The college scene also turns out to support their team riders in the rail jam competition and hipster craft beer fans come out to sample hard-to-get beers from their favorite breweries from across the US.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
JG: Left Hand Brewing’s event campaign is committed to creating “not just another beer fest.” In a climate where craft beer festivals can be found most weekends in your hometown, LHB strives to elevate the beer festival for breweries and fans alike. H+H is all about bringing together the best of Colorado. We merge craft beer, winter sports, and jam bands together for one of Colorado’s most memorable festivals. H+H literally “brings the mountain to the people.”
RAL: Take me through a day at the event.
JG: Guests arrive at H+H and quickly realize they’re not at a typical festival. The 30’ x 90’ ramp stands proud as the centerpiece. You’ll also find 60+ brewery tents wrapped around the ramp creating the boundaries of the event space. A smaller ramp for children, complete with bumps and banks, is hosted by Burton Snowboards to get little kids involved. Our partnering beneficiaries provide other winter-themed activities for kids. Food vendors are interspersed with the beer booths while the main stage features world-class music. The rail jam features a juniors competition, women’s category, and the main show -- the OPEN category. This group features some of Colorado’s most talented riders battling for $3,000 in cash prizes.
RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?
JG: A variety of Colorado’s most celebrated food vendors will serve our guests. Georgia Boys BBQ, a top rated Colorado destination restaurant according to Travel Channel, will join popular pizza and Asian dumpling vendors. We will also have a farm-to-table style food truck and street taco shop.
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
JG: Lodging options range from national brands like Marriott Courtyard, SpringHill Suites, Residence Inn, Best Western Plus, and Holiday Inn Express to local B&B’s.
RAL: Are there any lodging specials that are set up specifically for the event?
JG: Discounted lodging is available at the Best Western Plus & Marriott resorts. See Lefthandbrewing.com for discount codes and booking instructions
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
JG: In 2016, 31% of the attendees came from beyond 50 miles away. The event has hosted over 13,000 attendees since 2013.
RAL: Does the event support a special cause in the community?
JG: The event has generated over $113,500 for charity since its inception. Primary recipients include SOS Outreach & CHILL Foundation, which is committed to serving underprivileged youths and mentoring young people through outdoor experiences and adventures.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
JG: H+H stands out unlike any other winter festival in Colorado. We have craft beer, snowboarding, skiing and world-class music for our patrons. Check out our list of breweries and make sure you don’t miss your favorites. Plan on a puffy jacket, but have your flip-flops in the car.
For more information about Hops + Handrails, please visit their website.