How was your Saturday? Was it cool, calm, and full of Belgian-styled beer? If it was, you were probably hanging out with hundreds of other beer enthusiasts in Boca Raton for the grand-opening celebration of Barrel of Monks Brewing, which held a festival this past Saturday, March 28.
Those enthusiasts made the pilgrimage to the state-of-the-art brewhouse located off Rogers Circle to sample from the dozen of brewed beers and guest taps.
As for me, I arrived around noon to find a couple of dozen people already utilizing their unlimited drink wristbands. With a six hour event window, I could only imagine what some of these people might look like at the end.
Not wanting to have these beers on an empty stomach (with quite a few with alcohol percentages in the double digits or close to, it would be a dangerous proposition), I sought out something to fill my stomach.; a solid foundation for the day's imbibing. It's A Cubano B's Tower of Pork Power sounded like a good choice, and it was: three expertly fried tostones were topped with slow roasted pork, Caribbean slaw with orange mango dressing, and poblano cilantro sauce. 'Twas a great decision. Later we purchased the Sampson Fries: yuca fries with pork, queso fresco, and poblano cilantro sauce that was both ridiculously crispy and at oh so flavorful.
As for the beers, the game plan was to start small and escalate in order. I started with the Single in Brugge, a sessionable 4.5% abv patersbier, the light beer that monks consume for sustenance, aka the Lawnmower Beer of Monks. The beer was light and crisp, and is a definite go-to when looking to hang out and mingle for a time. Next, I moved on to the Abbey Terno, their dubbel that holds a caramel malts forward profile. Then the 9% Trippel (dry, yeasty, and grassy) and the big and dark fruit centric Quad.
Sitting in place sampling beers is not conducive to reporting on an event that covers a massive parking lot with tents, beer trucks, and food trucks, so I moved out to see what else was going on.
Walking around the festival was a sampling of the who's-who of the South Florida brewing scene. There were brewers from Miami, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, craft beer reps from various Florida breweries, home brewers, up and coming brewers, and quite possibly everyone in between.
Making it out to the guest tap truck, I discovered a bevy of nifty friends in attendance: Funky Buddha Brewery's Last Snow, Twisted Trunk's Rhett’s Red Oak Aged Imperial Red, Wynwood Brewing's Vanilla Pop’s Porter, and Wild Oak's Dark Tranquility Wild Stout just to name a few. It's a good time to be in love with beer in South Florida.
For those who may have missed it, or who will be seeking to come back again and again, Barrel of Monks Brewing features beers brewed in a Belgian style or with Belgian yeast, and is the first production brewery in the city. It joins Funky Buddha Lounge and Brewery as fellow brewers in the city.
Check out some more images of the event below, and Barrel of Monks is collecting quite a few on their Facebook page as well.
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.