All this talk about New Times' Beerfest has us craving craft brews. The event, on Saturday, November 12, in Esplanade Park in downtown Fort Lauderdale from 7 to 11 p.m., offers festgoers the opportunity to try hundreds of pours for $30 ($40 at the door) or $70 ($80 at the door), with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Humane Society of Broward County. Click here to purchase tickets. And read on for where to get some pre-event training at these bars.
Mellow Mushroom. For nostalgic hippies
The chain that offers more than 50 beers on tap and just as many pizzas is for those who traded jam bands and Jerry for kids and/or corporate life. Happy hour is until 7 every day, with daily drink specials.
Original Fat Cat's. For dive-bar lovers and industry types
With a respectable selection of drafts and cans, Fat Cat's is the dive bar for beer lovers hell-bent on staying downtown. With occasional beer exclusives -- Brooklyn Chocolate Stout, anyone? -- it should be on any beer aficionado's radar. Though if your aim is avoid crowds, go early or superlate and avoid weekends.
Big Bear Brewing Co. For award-winning, house brews
A solid collection of beers brewed in-house by Matt Cox, Big Bear offers award winners such as the Witness Wheat ale and the Bourbon Barrel Double IPA. Giant burgers and delicious pizza make a trek to the burbs worth it.
Texas Hold 'Em BBQ. For Friday tastings
Themed Fridays such as a recent Georgia night combines a curated selection of brews, tunes, and beer giveaways. Great bartenders and that barbecue perfume keep this bar in a rotation. One barfly especially likes the restrooms. "George," she said, "once again your bathroom was positively a retreat. Like a cabin in the Rockies."
Brother Tuckers. For the quirk
An impressive selection of Belgian brews and appropriate glassware define the selection of beers at this homey hole in the wall next to a video store in Pompano. Though the name is Belgian, the cuisine is not: Anything from hummus to a bacon-stuffed meat-loaf sandwich or pork tenderloin with barbecue sauce defines the menu, with gargantuan proportions.
Funky Buddha Lounge. For brewing classes
Sink into a comfy couch, order a hookah, and sample one of more than 100 craft beers at this Boca bar. What makes it a standout is the bar's transition brewery, with classes for aspiring home brewers. Check out the website for more information.
PRL Euro Cafe. For the room
A narrow room and thrift-store décor define this tiny hole in the wall. Head here for truly obscure beers from, say, Poland or Brazil, and be open to untz music and characters of all kinds.
Riverside Market. For the locals
Tucked in a residential neighborhood, this market turned bar serves more than 200 selections of bottled beer, for which locals help themselves to a one-ie from the refrigerator wall. Housed in a building from the 1920s that's long on charm, the shop offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week.
Tryst. For the staff
In addition to its ambitious selection of beers, Tryst is home to chef Julian Greaves, who often uses beer as an ingredient in his gastropub fare. Bar manager Jason Forrestall, with his encyclopedic beer knowledge, serves as a terrific sherpa. Just be sure to score a seat at the bar early before they're taken.
World of Beer. For the selection
Those looking for quirk and character, this isn't the place for you, though it is a Florida chain, this beer mecca that got its start in Tampa. Keep tabs on what you've tried of the 400-plus beers with a customer card as you join the masses who've succumbed to craft-beer mania.
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