Beer and music hit the slopes in Bolton

Lynn Monty, Free Press Staff Writer 5:44 p.m. EDT August 30, 2014

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Karen Lencke of Worcester takes a sip of craft beer at Hop Jam 2014 on Saturday at Bolton Valley Resort. (Photo: LYNN MONTY/Free Press )Buy Photo

BOLTON – Lyrus Pond of Cabot held a Sip of Sunshine in his hand. It was his first beer of the day at about noon. The American IPA style beer was brewed by Lawson’s Finest Liquids of Warren.
Turns out Pond’s brew matched the day — sunny and smooth. Only a few clouds dotted the blue sky above him at the inaugural Hop Jam 2014 at Bolton Valley Resort in Bolton on Saturday.
An eclectic mix of bands matched the varied suds on tap. Bands played slope side as about 1,000 people from all over New England poured in throughout the day.
Featured music included JP Harris & the Tough Choices, Soule Monde, Primate Fiasco, Spirit Family Reunion and the Alchemystics.
A tall white Abominable Snowman, the Vermont Adaptive yeti, entertained the masses, mostly by answering the question, “Aren’t you hot in that?”
The day started off with the Bolton Valley 5K to benefit Vermont Adaptive organized by Vermont Adaptive Northern Program Coordinator Amber Tierney of Bolton. She setup an information booth at the foot of the slopes with some of her adaptive ski equipment after the 5K.
“We provide sports and recreation equipment and opportunities for people year-round,” she said. “Every penny counts. We are always fundraising. Adaptive ski equipment is not cheap.”
The Woodbelly Pizza line was long, and people be-bopped to the music while they waited. Hop Jammers rested on the grass-covered hill to eat while taking in the sights and sounds. Most brought their own folding chairs and blankets.
Woodbelly’s Jonah Bourne of Cabot said he was prepared for the crowd. “We have all of our farm fresh ingredients ready,” he said. “We are psyched to be here. The music is great. And we love the hop head logo.”

Miri Scarpino of Waterbury at Hop Jam craft beer, music and food festival at Bolton Valley Resort. (Photo: LYNN MONTY/Free Press )

The hop head logo Bourne referred to is a green hop named L’il Simcoe who jammed to music on T-shirts, signs, and lanyards at the event.
Simcoe is a variety of hop.
Bolton Valley Resort Marketing Director Josh Arneson said, “It’s a genius little logo. I hope that little guys stays with us for years to come.”
Arneson was busy selling season passes at the event. New this year is a Ski Bum pass for people ages 18 to 25. The pass is only $159, with no black-out dates, if it’s purchased before Oct. 31.
Arneson said the resort has never hosted an event as big as Hop Jam in the summer months. “This really adds a lot of energy to the resort this time of year,” he said. “We are getting the word out about our specials, and the resort is booked. We are sold out for tonight.”
Meg’s Events planner Meg Schultz of Moretown said just like wine has different varieties of grapes, beer has different varieties of hops. “That’s a big part of what makes one beer different from another,” she said. “A pinot grigio is a lot different than a merlot, it’s the same with beer.”
Tasty brews were from Burlington Beer Co., Hill Farmstead, Lagunitas Brewing Co., Treehouse Brewing, Lost Nation Brewery, Lawson’s Finest, High Horse Brewing, Citizen Cider, Sixpoint Brewing, The Alchemist, Zero Gravity, Trillium Brewing, and Smuttynose Brewing Co.
Hop Jam is one of five beer festivals Schultz organized for this summer.
Honky tonk, funk-fusion, and blue grass were in the lineup. “People like a lot of diversity in their music, and in their beer, so that was my mission here,” Schultz said. “I wanted something for everybody. The variety really makes the event.”
Soule Monde drummer Russ Lawton of Middlebury said, “It’s a beautiful day and we get a chance to play without sliding down the mountain,” he said. “I’m a drummer. I don’t ski. I just entertain.”
Lagunitas Brewing Co. New England representative Chris Marzi said he didn’t know what to expect of the event. “We can’t wait to come back next year,” he said.
Contact Lynn Monty at and follow her on Twitter at

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