A Traveling Harry Potter Beer Festival Is Coming to Several U.S. Cities

If you’ve ever wondered what the alcoholic version of a butterbeer would taste like, you’ll soon have the chance to find out. A series of ongoing Harry Potter-inspired beer festivals has been traveling to cities across the U.S. over the past several months.

According to Rock Star Beer Festivals, which is organizing the event, Muggles and wizards alike will get unlimited samples of 20-plus beers. There will be plenty of adult butterbeer to go around, and for more daring souls, there’s Snape’s Lair of Secret Cider Potions. Is it actually cider, or could it be a polyjuice potion? Attendees will soon find out.

This fall, the festival will be coming to Portland, Oregon on September 13 and Fullerton, California on October 25. Tickets to the festivals can be purchased through Eventbrite or booked on Rock Star Beer Festivals’ Facebook page under the Events tab. Act fast, though, because tickets—which generally sell for $35 to $45 apiece—regularly sell out.

What else can you expect to see at such a magical event? Rock Star Beer Festivals says the venues hosting the festival will be “transformed into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” with guests being transported to the Great Hall, Diagon Alley, and, of course, the Leaky Cauldron. You’ll also get to snap photos with Hagrid and dance to music by the Sorceress Sisters and DJ Dumbledore. Just be careful not to drink and do magic, or you could end up having an accident à la Neville Longbottom.

Party Like a Hobbit at Chicago’s Lord of the Rings Pop-Up Bar

Gollum and a Ringwraith loom near Bilbo's hobbit hole at Replay Lincoln Park's Lord of the Rings pop-up bar.
Gollum and a Ringwraith loom near Bilbo's hobbit hole at Replay Lincoln Park's Lord of the Rings pop-up bar.
Replay Lincoln Park

One does not simply walk into Mordor, but one does simply walk into The Lord of the Rings pop-up bar in Chicago—as long as you’re at least 21 years old, of course.

Replay Lincoln Park, known for elaborate themed pop-ups for Game of Thrones, South Park, and other entertainment franchises, has transformed its premises into a magical reproduction of Middle-earth aptly called “The One Pop-Up to Rule Them All,” open now through March 23.

Inside, you’ll be able to crouch under an outcropping of tangled tree roots while one of the dreaded Nazgûl lurks above you, high-five a grimacing Gollum, and snap photos with all your favorite Lord of the Rings characters.

nazgul at the lord of the rings pop-up bar at chicago's replay lincoln park
The Nazgûl like to party, too.
Replay Lincoln Park

You might want to skip elevenses to make sure you have plenty of room for a Hobbit-approved feast during your visit. The menu, catered by Zizi’s Cafe, features items like Fried Po-tay-toes, Lord of the Wings, Beef Lembas, and Pippen’s Popcorn.

ent replica at chicago's replay lincoln park pop-up bar
Say hello to a friendly Ent while you munch on "Pippen's Popcorn."
Replay Lincoln Park

According to Thrillist, there will be three different counters in the bar, each with its own specialty drinks. Head to The Prancing Pony for a second breakfast shot (maple whiskey, bacon, and orange juice), or take a trip to Minas Tirith to toss back a palantir shot, made of silver tequila and passion fruit purée. If you’re in the mood for a little dark magic, you can trek over to Mordor and try a “my precious” shot, a fusion of dark rum, orange liquor, and Cajun seasoning.

lord of the rings pop-up bar at chicago's replay lincoln park
The Eye of Sauron is watching you order another round of Mordor shots.
Replay Lincoln Park

For those of you who are happy to accompany your Tolkien-obsessed friends to the pop-up but aren’t exactly tickled at the sight of a moss-covered Ent replica yourselves, take heart in this added bonus: Replay Lincoln Park also boasts more than 60 free arcade games and pinball machines.

[h/t Thrillist]

Wine Prices Are Dropping—Here’s Why

These glasses of wine might've been cheaper than usual.
These glasses of wine might've been cheaper than usual.
Rostislav_Sedlacek/iStock via Getty Images

Stopping by the local wine shop on your way home from work today? That bottle of red, white, or rosé might be a little cheaper than it has been in the past—and not (necessarily) because today is National Drink Wine Day. According to CNN, the price of wine is on the decline due to a grape surplus in California and a decrease in demand across the country.

Jeff Bitter, president of Allied Grape Growers, told CNN that demand had grown pretty consistently for about 20 years before abruptly slowing down in 2015. That surprising decrease, combined with especially plentiful grape harvests at northern California vineyards—which were partially the result of improved harvesting techniques—has forced the market to drop its prices.

"Since it takes up to five years to bring wine to market from the initial planning stages of planting a vineyard, it makes hitting future demand very complicated,” Bitter told CNN. “In this case, we overshot demand.”

Prices will likely stay low for a few years while vineyards figure out how many acres of vines they need to match consumer demand. Meanwhile, the rest of the wine industry will be trying to figure out how to increase demand by targeting a seemingly indifferent demographic: Millennials.

Rob McMillan, founder of Silicon Valley Bank’s wine division, explained in the annual report on the state of the wine industry that this price drop could be one way of tacitly encouraging Millennials to choose wine over other types of alcohol.

“Acute oversupply will allow for better-quality juice in lower-priced bottles, which will improve value and may provide an incentive for some Millennials to become more consistent wine buyers,” McMillan said in the report.

Whether or not you’re a wine drinker yourself, you can still enjoy learning a little something about everyone’s favorite fermented fruit juice—here are 10 facts you might not know about wine.

[h/t CNN]

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