This past Saturday, the team at Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach threw a block party that brought denizens in from across the area to sample a spread of beer treatments spanning the gamut from the intriguing to the outrageous. At the Mass Confusion event, the brewery took its Belgian Tripel, named Don't Get Confused, and made dozens of different small-batch treatments (adding some rather interesting ingredients after the beer is made) to share with the public.
Beers like Confused in the Morning, which featured coffee, maple syrup, and a bit of aging of honest-to-goodness Belgian waffles, and the Kombuchafused, a blend with local "Non-Prophet" kombucha, were among those with unique but delicious ingredients on tap. Others included Don't Get Confused with various hops, Don't Get Confused with various fruits, and Don't Get Confused aged in various barrels. It's a wonder if the brewers themselves didn't get confused with all the special one-offs that were made.
In a change from the usual South Florida beer event, instead of there being an unlimited sampling or an open grounds with pay-as-you-go beer sales, the brewery opted to form a small barrier to entry with a $5 admission that got you a slick event-specific glass (if you were one of the first 500 to come out) and an entry into a raffle that promised tons of swag from Saltwater and other local breweries.
Among those in attendance were Due South Brewing Co., Miami's Concrete Beach Brewery, Big Storm Brewing Co. out of Odessa, Florida, and the soon-to-open Copperpoint Brewing Co. of Boynton Beach. Copperpoint brewmaster Matt Cox was onsite to pour his Mosaic Rye IPA and Grapefruit Saison and indicated that the brewery is close to opening. Hopefully Florida's bureaucratic licensing process goes through without a hitch.
Another up-and-coming brewery, Descarga Brewing, came out with a spread of four distinctly Florida beers: a prickly-pear and ginger-root saison, a tamarind American wheat, a hoppy and spicy Saison Completa esque, and a peat-smoked mango Wit. The guys were giving away samples for those willing to take the plunge into these flavorful beers. The pink-hued prickly-pear saison came across as a samplers' favorite.
As for Saltwater, it is beginning to make the transition into a brewery that will serve beer out in the market in fashionable 12-ounce cans.
"We have a preview of the new can designs," founder Chris Gove told us during the festival. Examples of the upcoming Screamin' Reels and South End Session cans were on display at the pouring stations and inside the tap room. They are colorful, ripe with artistic sea-life scenes, and mimic their tap handles. It's always exciting to see locals put their beer into small containers, because it means it's easier to share.
The event lasted almost 12 hours. Between the bands, beer, and food trucks, there was a lot to hang out and do. The admission fee kept the crowds manageable, an addition that I didn't overhear one complaint about.
There are talks to hold a similar event once a quarter to usher out a release of the brewery's bigger beers, but it's not set in stone. We'll keep on it.
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Weekends are going to get busier and busier in the world of craft beer. With all of these events and breweries opening up, it's consumers' choice at its finest.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers, and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.