Craft beer adventures and experiences… one pint at a time

Posts tagged ‘craft brew’

Halfway There Delivered and then Some…

The first organized event since Tampa Bay Beer Week (TBBW) formally incorporated as a not-for-profit was held September 7, 2013 at the Cuban Club in Ybor City:  Halfway There – A Rare Beer Festival.  Over 500 attendees tasted and over 40 breweries, homebrew clubs, distributors and others poured tastings of truly rare beer:  beers that were “one-off” kegs (specially brewed for the event), brews unavailable in Florida, and award-winning home-brew club offerings.  Taps turned on for VIPs promptly at 5pm, with wind down/last pour at 9pm.  In between the beer and conversations flowed, and new friendships were formed over what I call “liquid art.”

Here’s a gallery of photos from the event: (Photos credit Tom Scherberger)

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And… if the initial feedback and social media postings are any indication, we (the TBBW board) hit the ball out of the park. With brews and brewer tents spread throughout the indoor cantina area and the outdoor patio, festival goers could easily mingle and mix with the brewers themselves and heartily sampled brews that will never come together in the same place again, including specialty collaboration beers between brewers at the event.  From stouts to porters to Berliner Weiss’s to IPAs to strong ales – the Halfway There (halfway to Tampa Bay Beer week in March 2014!) – catered to every palate and a myriad of beer styles.

With an upswing of 15+ production breweries in the Tampa Bay area alone with several poised to come on stream in the coming weeks, Tampa Bay is quickly becoming a craft beer destination to be reckoned with, and the variety of offerings is impressive.  When you take a look at the awards amassed by the veterans (Tampa Bay Brewing Company, Dunedin Brewing, and others) along with the newcomers (Rapp Brewing, Barley Mow Brewing Co., St. Somewhere and others) – it is not hard to see why Tampa Bay is emerging as a craft brewing leader in Florida.

With this inaugural event, Halfway There proved that the TBBW board can bring great festivals and new events to the Tampa Bay area, and if you listen to festival attendees, they are ready to drink up more of the same.  If you missed this one, stick around and watch for more of TBBW offerings in the months ahead, culminating in the week long Tampa Bay Beer Week March 1-9, 2014.

p.s., After posting this original post,  the Halfway There Rare Beer Festival was voted the Best Inaugural Beer Fest by Tampa Bay’s Creative Loafing press and Tampa Bay Beer Week 2013 was voted the Best Beer Geek Invasion.

p.p.s. Carol Dekkers is a director on the Tampa Bay Beer Week board of Directors and the Chapter Chair of the new Barley’s Angels chapter:  Tampa Bay Growler Girls (see Facebook.)  Imbibe safely!

 

Total Wine St. Petersburg – 2012 Craft Beer Education Nights

I joined friends from the Tampa Bay BeerMug meetup group last evening at a Belgian Beer education night at Total Wine in St. Petersburg (Park Street Retail Center, 4880 Park Street North, St. Petersburg, FL 33709).

The best part of the evening (at least for me) was not the education, but rather the opportunity to taste and sample over 14 Belgian imported Craft Beers and Domestic Belgian-style offerings for a mere $15.USD! (Each retails at about $6.99-$12.99 USD for a 750 ml bottle.)

Chris was our local Beer Expert from Total Wine who led us through a PowerPoint presentation about the various Belgian beer styles, as we sampled a variety of Craft Brews both imported or domestic – all specifically Belgian in style.  Chris was both knowledgeable and approachable as he led an interactive discussion about our observations as we sampled each brew.

This was my first encounter with the Total Wine’s Beer education nights (the St. Petersburg store seems to feature more classes than other stores!) – and I’ll be back.

It was definitely a worthwhile investment – we had a small group (about 15 people of the maximum 30 class size) and Total Wine provided the beers and a selection of cheeses, breads/crackers, and savory meatballs. These proved to be a good way to begin pairing food and tastes with various beer styles.

I’ve included the St. Petersburg Total Wine education classes calendar excerpt and a link and phone number where you can register for classes at the end of this post.  If you live elsewhere, simply visit www.totalwine.com and you can see what beer classes are offered in your area.

Beers we Sampled…

Here are some photos of a few of the Belgian and Belgian-style domestic beers we tasted during the January 19, 2012 evening class. All of these were available for purchase at Total Wine in 750ml bottles on the evening of the event:

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Additional beers that were sampled (but not pictured) included:

Upcoming St. Petersburg Total Wine beer classes (2012 Jan – April):

  • Sat. Jan 21,2012 (3-5PM) – Belgian Classics
  • Thurs. Feb 16,2012 (6:30-8:30PM) – Lagers and Ales beyond Pilsners and Pales
  • Sat. Feb 18,2012 (3-5PM) – Lagers and Ales beyond Pilsners and Pales
  • Thurs. Mar 22, 2012 (6:30-8:30PM) – Introduction to Beer: Get Your Suds On!
  • Sat. Mar 24, 2012 (3-5PM) – Introduction to Beer: Get Your Suds On!
  • Sat. Apr 21, 2012 (3-5PM) – Great Breweries Great Beers

To register for these upcoming Beer Classes, reserve your place by calling Total Wine St Petersburg, FL at 727-544-6018.  Each session is $15. payable the day/evening of class.

Have a great weekend!

A Girl who Likes Brews

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