Dream Acts for New Times' 15th-Annual Beerfest

County Grinders, in case you haven't heard the good word yet, New Times is putting together its 15th-Annual New Times "Original" Beerfest. Perhaps the best news of all, it's only about two months away -- the sudsy celebration is set for March 31.

You are probably a little confused right now, thinking, "Wait, WTF, didn't it just happen like two months ago?" Yes, you are correct. Be at ease; your post-Beerfest delirium tremens didn't get the best of you.

New Times did indeed just throw its previous barley and malt bash this past November, but this year, it's reestablishing its former tradition of a spring time microbrewed bacchanal.

This 2012 rendition will again feature the customary unlimited

local and international beer sampling from 100-plus vendors. As a bonus, though, it will also include

Jumbotrons scattered throughout for optimal viewing of March Madness'

college basketball lunacy, for all those sports nuts in the crowd.

As with any New Times lager and ale celebration, the musical offering will be key. Last year's headliner, Gainesville rootsy adult alternative troupe Sister Hazel,

might have left our more persnickety attendees with a sour taste in

their mouths. Understandably, it is hard to please everyone.


headlining act has been announced just yet for this year, so we are going to be a bit

preemptive here and give our marketing department our top five picks to

head 2012's Beerfest. Check our top five picks below.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers

We're talking strictly pipe dream here, in an idyllic world where budgets and bottom lines are of no concern. Still, we believe this Grammy-winning, L.A. funk-rock/pop outfit offers a little something for everyone and would be the perfect Beerfest headliner.

They certainly have the mass appeal to appease the bevy of about 4,000 tanked-up attendees, with enough pop hits to attract the mainstream crowd and an alternative pedigree to engage the hipster class.

We don't think this idea is so incredibly far-fetched. (Work with us here!) Anthony Kiedis and company recently rescheduled their U.S. tour, moving their kickoff date at Sunrise's BankAtlantic Center to April 2. That's only a few days after Beerfest, so maybe with a little amber-brew bargaining, we could convince the iconic rock group to play a preview set for our Beerfest attendees.

Tha Alkaholiks

Although this thuggish party-rap group from L.A. broke up a few years back, there are rumors circulating that a reunion is in the works. We think tha Licks might be a more realistic budgetary option, because, although they have a loyal underground hip-hop following, the group never experienced any serious commercial crossover success. Hedonist hits like "Only When I'm Drunk," "Drink With Us," Hip Hop Drunkies," and "Last Call," however, could make for lively good times while sipping on a nice and hoppy IPA.

The Replacements

OK, this pick is entirely outside the realm of reality, considering the rousing Minnesota punk rockers have not put out any new material since 1990's downtrodden All Shook Down. The group has also lost one of its original guitarists (RIP, Bob Stinson). Still, this influential group of boozy misfits made a career out of stumbling, rumbling, guitar-smashing, cymbals-taking-flight sets. We can't dream of a better way to enjoy a freshly brewed porter than with Replacements singer Paul Westerberg's titillating howl as our soundtrack.

Drive-By Truckers


These Lynyrd Skynyrd disciples from Athens, Georgia, are known for having a very healthy relationship with the bottle. In fact, they're notorious for taking to the stage with a communal Jack Daniels fifth. The band will bring out Southern-rock and country-music aficionados in hordes, while run-of-the-mill fans will find the Drive-By Truckers' twangy, three-guitar attack and heartfelt lyrics a perfect musical accompaniment to a nicely crafted American ale. We figure members of Lake Worth's burgeoning cowpunk scene will be in attendance as well, taking notes.

Forget the cover bands; let's welcome the local bands.

If anyone can remember as far back as our 13th Annual Beerfest, we featured a U2 cover band whose name escapes us right now. There was nothing inherently wrong with this performance, and many were slobbering along to the arena-ready hook. However, we envision an evening composed of original, homegrown material working out much better.

Let's consider the concept behind the majority of breweries we will all be sipping on: A great many are of the small-batched, minor-distribution variety. So why not match that indie-beer spirit with local independent music? 

Anyone from our recent top ten albums list would suffice. Mike Mineo's brand of indie surf rock would do just fine. Lil Daggers' psychedelic postpunk would make a fine addition. Protoman's rhymes would hype everyone up well. Plains and Cop City Chill Pillar wouldn't disappoint either. Lest we forget some bands from our Readers' Poll, particularly fan favorite Lavola and its walloping three-piece rock.

The 15th-Annual New Times "Original" Beerfest. 6  to 11 p.m. Saturday, March 31, at Huizenga Plaza,

32 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $30 in advance and $40 at the door for general admission, or $65 in advance and $75 at the door for VIP. Click here.

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Alex Rendon