The 11th-annual Boca Bacchanal Bacchus Bash
returns this weekend, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The event, which raises funds for the Boca Raton Historial Society and Museum, has always been a bit of a high-brow affair.
But this year, they're adding a new component, one that is likely to appeal to the common man and woman -- a beergarden.
There will still be all the usual hoity-toity fun, of course.
The Bacchus Bash at 6 p.m. Friday at the Boca Raton Resort and Club
will be an "interactive food and wine event" featuring award-winning wines and champagnes, meet with the 14 world-renowned chefs and vintners, bite stations, tableside dish presentation, as well as silent and live auctions. Admission is $225.
At 7 p.m. Saturday, the Vintner Dinners begin in gorgeous, probably palatial private homes across Boca Raton at $325 a plate.
At this point, you are checking your bank account and thinking, "Why are you telling us about this?!"
Because, Sunday is the Grand Tasting from noon to 3 p.m. in the Mizner Park Amphitheatre
. At $75 in advance/$90 at the door, it's still a bit pricey but far more in range for us plebeians. It also happens to be where the beergarden takes place in addition to "by the bite" specialties from 30 local chefs and restaurants, 140 featured wines, the marketplace featuring herbs, produce, specialty oils, and foods.
Colin Hof has been the marketing manager at Republic National Distributing Co. in Jacksonville for 15 years. He is organizing the beergarden and will be on hand to answer any questions.
"Craft beer is hot right now. The Belgian imports are very popular right now, and we've got some Heffeweizen which tends to be very popular in Florida because it's so hot down here, and those are summer beers."
While they're all great, we asked Hof to pick our five beers we should make sure not to miss.
5. Unibroue Terrible
"Unibroue, from Canada, that's a full line of Belgian style beers. Unibroue was the first brewery in North America to make Belgian style beers. The beer you want to look for from them is Terrible -- but it's not terrible; it's great. It's a Belgian dark ale."
4. Full Sail Session Premium Lager
"Full Sail Brewery is out of Oregon, and they're celebrating 25 years this year. They're the ones that actually created the Session beer category altogether -- it's a kind of lager."
3. Napa Smith Hopageddon Imperial IPA
"Napa Smith's Hopegeddon at 144 ibus. The story behind brewmaster Don Barkely is that he started at New Albion Brewery
and they were the first brew in the U.S. and the first brewery to get a license after Prohibition. So he is the godfather of craft brewery."
2. Sapporo Reserve
"We sell a lot of Sapporo in South Florida because of all the Asian and sushi restaurants, all the Japanese steak houses."
1. Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc
"Kronenbourg is a French brewery. The Blanc is a white ale with a unique citrus flavor, and it's just been released into Florida last month, so it's pretty new."