MUSCATINE, Iowa–With the last golden weekends of summer quickly approaching, people throughout Muscatine County look forward to enjoying a few more special events before returning to their fall routines. Shops with Hops, which first came to Muscatine in 2021, will return Aug. 27, bringing back its popular combination of craft beers, local small businesses, and fundraising for a good cause.
Beginning at 3 p.m., adults 21 and older who have preregistered can come down to Contrary Brewing Company, Located at 411 West Mississippi Drive in Muscatine to pick up their individual swag bags, which include their wristbands, limited edition Shops with Hops five ounce tasting glasses, koozie lanyards, and maps indicating all of the 10 participating stores as well as which breweries will have samples available.
For the next three hours, participants can stroll the streets of Muscatine, discovering or rediscovering some of the most fun and unique stores downtown has to offer while sampling craft beers. Because Shops with Hops limits the number of glasses sold to 300, it ensures that the tasting lines at each shop stay manageable, giving everyone time to talk to the master brewers themselves, who will come out to pour their beers personally. “It’s just a very fun beer walk through Muscatine,” enthused Jacquelyn Bunch, one of the organizers of Shops with Hops.
At 6 p.m., Shops with Hops will conclude with an after party at Contrary, with everyone coming together for raffles and more. All the money raised from the after party, as well as a portion of the cost of ticket sales, will go to the non-profit organization Getting Heroes Home. The group works with active duty members of the armed forces to get them home for free either for special events or a family emergency.
Bunch values the work Getting Heroes Home does, and hopes Muscatine can once again break the record for largest Shops with Hops donation, as last year’s event brought in about $3,500. “I love writing the big check to Getting Heroes Home–it feels so good,” she said. “My husband is a veteran and found himself in that situation several times, so we really support the work they do.”
Following the after party, people may stay for free live music until 10 p.m. For those visiting from out of town, the Merrill Hotel will offer special rates for Shops with Hops participants. Anyone wanting to inquire about these rates can do so through a link on the Shops with Hops website.
With Shops with Hops coming up soon, Bunch encourages people to sign up in advance. “If people want to participate, they should reserve their glass now,” she emphasized. “We keep a limited number of glasses to sell on that day,” she added, “but once they’re gone. they’re gone.” People may purchase their tickets at Contrary Brewery or buy them online, with a small processing fee added.
An afternoon of outstanding beer, great shopping experiences, and fine fellowship, Bunch invites all interested adults to give Shops with Hops a try. “Everyone is so excited–craft beer people are the most fun people!”