Palm Beach Summer Beerfest 2016 Poured Over in Two Sessions

Palm Beach Summer Beerfest 2016 Poured Over in Two Sessions (3)EXPAND
Photo by Doug Fairall

I think everyone survived.

It was a long day for vendors this past Saturday at the South Florida Fairgrounds at the Palm Beach Summer Beerfest. For patrons, there was a lot of beer to drink. This year's edition of the festival ran for two sessions, between noon and 9 p.m., which took place indoors under the glorious blanket of conditioned air. 

Among the throngs of national and regional beer brands stood stalwart locals, breweries with only a few years under their belts mingling between some of the behemoths of craft beer. It was an experience that showed just how far South Florida has come and how different a place it occupies in the beer landscape.

Up-and-coming brewery Broken Coat Brewing pouring a bevy of beer styles.EXPAND
Up-and-coming brewery Broken Coat Brewing pouring a bevy of beer styles.
Photo by Doug Fairall

Saltwater Brewery, with its massive "Explore the Depths of Beer" poster front and center stage, shared a couple of its usual offerings including a timed release of a tart cherry coffee stout. Funky Buddha Brewery, known for its culinary-inspired beers, brought them out in force: Blueberry Cobbler, Sticky Treats, and French Toast all made an appearance. Just the next row over, Due South Brewing was supplying Caramel Cream Ale and a coffee-forward Imperial Café Olé espresso porter, among others. 

Speaking of coffee, Holy Mackerel's Café Cubano was poured by the hands of brewer Bobby Gordash, while brewer Chip Breighner of Devour Brewing was doing the same with his Mango IPA. In fact, the event was very heavy on local talent, thus it seemed that these were the busiest brewery booths. Unsurprisingly, people want to talk to the producers of the beer they like!

Why not selfie?EXPAND
Why not selfie?
Photo by Doug Fairall

In the things-to-mention-because-it's-an-interesting-promo category, sponsors The KVJ Show, which airs on 97.9 WRMF-FM, had two beers on tap that were produced for them by Twisted Trunk Brewing: Vicious V (a mint watermelon saison) and Dicky Rantz (a blend of their English stout and Irish Red). All four personalities from the show will eventually have their own beer, and these are the first two out of the gate. So far, they've been enjoyable treatments of beers that Twisted has done previously. 

Each of the day's sessions lasted about four hours, and the crowds dispersed incredibly quickly when the time came. The split into two sessions was a good way to control the traffic flow, with each session somewhat less crowded than in previous years, helping to prevent any long-snaking line that would block foot traffic. 

Palm Beach Summer Beerfest 2016 Poured Over in Two Sessions (4)EXPAND
Photo by Doug Fairall

Overall, the festival was just as great as those of past years, and it was enjoyable seeing a few new faces in the crowd. Breweries like Green Man Brewery, Green Bench Brewing, and Highland Brewing Company showed off some of their newer products, with Highland being able to pour their Mandarina IPA, a new brew full of Mandarina Bavaria, Hull Melon, and Summit hops, showcasing the talents of brewer Hollie Stephenson.

Yes, there are other beer festivals in the area that are more focused on local craft, but the spread at this fest is one of the best avenues to explore the national craft beer conversation. 

Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger dedicated to educating the public about all things beer, with a  focus on Florida brews. He is the Brand Marketing Manager for Due South Brewing Company and has been a homebrewer since 2009. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.

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The Expo Center at South Florida Fairgrounds

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