Beer festivals are nothing new in South Florida, especially now- when it seems that every other weekend is a veritable calendar crushing spreadsheet of events in which to decide where to spend your hard-earned beer bucks. Luckily, a few festivals have become no-brainers to attend, and Due South Brewing Co.'s Trench Day festivities should be topping that list.
The premise is simple enough: Stage an intimate get-together with 300 of your most loyal and eager fans to celebrate the release of your gold-winning Mariana Trench Imperial Stout while offering them an opportunity to purchase two bottles to take home and giving them all-you-can-sample beers for the measly price of $30 a ticket.
The execution is what can cause trouble.
This past Saturday, January 31, Due South Brewing Co. opened its doors to its Trench Day event. People began to trickle in to the Boynton Beach home of Florida's "Best Large Brewery", receipts firmly clasped in their hands. After a quick ID check and scan, attendees were ushered into the warehouse, where, in lieu of the traditional tables-and-chairs setup, four separate beer-pouring stations were erected, leaving ample space for mingling and moving about.
At precisely 3 p.m., the beers started flowing. Sampling glasses passed back and forth between drinker and volunteer. Then, if all was satisfactory, a quick glance at the beer list, a note of which station to move to, and reset of the process to repeat ad beerfinitum.
There was never an issue of lines. The number of pourers at any given station guaranteed that the wait for a beer would never exceed a minute.
Mariana Trench. Mexican Standoff. Calling All Cars. Oaked Category 5 IPA. Peanut Butter Pepper Imperial Caramel Cream Ale. All highly rated and sought-after beers from the host brewery. Kevin's Bacon, an imperial amber cream ale with bacon, stood out with its smoky and meaty aroma that flowed into a crisp and clean cream ale. The Chocolate Cherry Stout fell thin, but perhaps we were expecting something richer and fuller-bodied. We were fools. Mariana Trench fit that bill.
— luv.it.or.leave it (@rickvlovett) February 1, 2015
Due South is known to be a friend to craft brewers throughout the state and unsurprisingly brought a metric hop-ton of fellow Floridians to the party.
Cigar City Brewing brought a keg of El Murcielago, a ridiculously tequila-heavy double cream ale aged in tequila barrels with lime and cumin added. It sounds weird, but it's delightfully destructive. Proof Brewing Co., which hails from Tallahassee, supplied Raspberry Kissing Giants Gose to help feed the sourheads. Big tart raspberry flavors transformed into that traditional salty, briny, and grainy finish. There were also fantastic beers from 7venth Sun Brewery, Barley Mow Brewing, Swamp Head Brewery, and others from across the state.
— Devour Brewing Co. (@Devour_Brewing) January 31, 2015
Closer to home, there was the opportunity to sample some up-and-coming brewers who are in the finishing stages of becoming a complete brewery. Nanobrewers and Boynton Beach neighbors Devour Brewing Co. showed off its wares with a lemongrass ginger pale ale and a rye saison, absolute next-door neighbors Copperpoint Brewing (formerly Coppertop Brewing) brought out its Round the Corner Saison, and Boca Raton-based Belgiancentric brewer (so many "b"s!) Barrel of Monks brought in Abbey Terno, its dubbel.
By the end of the event, there were no beers that were missed out on. There were no issues with tickets, IDs, parking, space, food, water, or bathrooms. Heck, the bathroom trailer had artwork and granite countertops. Let's keep that around for regular weekends at the brewery.
When Trench Day comes around next year, and it will, I have a feeling it will be a much quicker sell-out event. For anyone who considers himself into the craft-beer scene, it's a must-do activity.
We'll see you next year.
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.
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