I’m fortunate to live today with all of the craft breweries (and innovative brews) – AND – with the weather here in sunny Florida, we can enjoy it all for 95% of the year. There is nothing quite like a tropical breeze and sunshine to inspire a solid thirst for good beer – and Tampa/St Petersburg is THE place to be… especially if you enjoy brews that come in almost every color of the rainbow (visit Arkane Aleworks in Largo, FL if you don’t Frombelieve me!)
It’s Brewfest Season…
While the most of the world north of here thaws out from a snowy winter, those of us here in Florida are in the midst of a booming Beer Festival Season! Almost every weekend from February to June sees local breweries scrambling to keep up with the burgeoning brewfest calendar, and patrons scrambling to figure out which brewfests fit their limited discretionary spending.
Every weekend from now to Memorial Day (last Monday in May in the U.S.) you’ll find three or more craft beer festivals in the greater Tampa Bay/Sarasota to Orlando/East Coast area with each one promising an array of brews, some form of entertainment. Most have at least some connection to a worthwhile charity.
When you add specialty bottle releases, anniversary parties, fundraisers, and grand openings to the mix, it can get daunting to figure out what’s the best experience you don’t want to miss on a given weekend.
With so many new events and festivals popping up, I hear the same question come up when I talk to brewery owners and craft beer aficionados alike: “Are there too many local beer festivals?”
How do YOU choose a Beer Festival?
(a comment contest…)
So, I have a question: – With all the choices of local events, how do you choose which beer-related festivals to attend? Is it the specialty brews or hundreds of beer choices? Does it matter if it’s local or if it’s associated with a charity? Is it about the price, place, friends, Groupon discount or something else? Do you care if the breweries are local or if you get to meet the brewers? Does it matter if there are hundreds or thousands of attendees?
I’m curious – will you share your story? *** Leave me a comment and I’ll select one lucky reader to receive a set of two Tampa Bay area local brewery pint glasses. (U.S. or Canada mailing only.) I choose based on novelty – a good charity, unique location, and local brewery participation, but every experience is different.
Consider VolunBEERing – a New Way to Experience Brewfests
Want to try out a new way to try out new beer festivals without having to pay the entrance fee (and be thanked for attending!) – sign-up as a VolunBEER! (Check out Carol’s VolunBEERs facebook page where we post local Tampa Bay craft beer event opportunities or visit www.volunbeers.com – this weekend there’s still a few openings to volunteer at the Lakeland Craft Beer and Food Festival – it’s fun, easy and a great way to be a part of the event! If you can’t make it out, sign-up to be notified of future events.)
Up and Coming March and April Beer Festivals in FL!
There are several great (in my opinion) festivals coming up that are worthwhile attending – and the next few weeks offer a few new fests.
Here’s my short list of those I know – (add in the comments section any that you think are also promising!)
Okay, I’m a bit biased – BUT, if you want to try out a LOT of up-and-coming and established craft breweries that don’t often come out to festivals in FL – this is THE fest for you. Brass Tap Lakeland has a great relationship with these local breweries who come out every year (and it continues to grow) – click on this link to get tickets!
With its east coast waterfront locale, wine (as well as craft beer) and a portion of all proceeds will be donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Volusia County, what more could you ask for? This is the first ever Craft Beer and Wine Fest by the Hilton Daytona and you have a choice of Friday night (6-9pm) or Saturday day (2-5pm) to choose from. Tickets are only $45. at the door – I’m aiming to be there Friday night — let me know if you’re going to attend!
This one is going to be interesting – and while I haven’t yet been to this one, the event page on Facebook promises a fun event with great beer. Tickets are reasonable – $25 general admission and $50 VIP for a unique Cape Canaveral experience.