"Original" Beerfest

New Times' 18th-Annual Beerfest Brought the Party to Fort Lauderdale

Were you at this years' New Times' Beerfest in downtown Fort Lauderdale at the beautiful Esplanade Park? If you were, you were one of thousands that got to participate in one of the longest running beer festivals in South Florida and experience beers that ran the gamut from dry Irish stouts to Czech lagers, from Citra IPAs to pumpkin stouts. If you weren't there, you missed out on a great time. Better think about coming out next year.

New Times' Beerfest isn't one of those fests where brewers come just to bring their about-to-expire kegs of their core beers: no, many of them come laden with kegs, like sherpas ascending the highest beer-soaked summit, filled to the brim with interesting and unique flavors in addition to some of their core selection. Brewers like Barrel of Monks of Boca Raton, for example, came out with a raspberry-infused Belgian quad. Cigar City Brewing showcased their Maduro Brown Ale with vanilla. Saltwater Brewery brought their Pumpkin Puffer Stout.

For VIPs, M.E.A.T. Eatery and Taproom wowed palates with a spicy pork taco, juicy and full of crunchy vegetable topped goodness, while The Garlic Knot whipped up penne a la vodka and slices of fresh crispy pizza — all foods that are needed to fuel the evening's shenanigans. Trust me, eating during a beer festival is well advised, especially one where the brewers bring their A-games.

Speaking of, this year focused more on the craft aspects of beer than in years past, and it was noticeable in almost everything that went down. From the special releases (some brewers bringing coveted one-off kegs of treated beer) to the quality of brewers in attendance, Beerfest 2015 turned into an event not just for getting hammered in the warm October air, but for drinking legit good beer from across the nation.

Even newer breweries were in on the action, meaning that Beerfest attendees were sampling some of the hottest and most recent beers from some of the most current brewers and up-and-comers in the industry. Opa-locka's Legacy Caribbean Craft Brewery not only sampled some of their seemingly endless beers but beer jelly as well. Yep, it's exactly what it sounds like: a spreadable jelly made from beer.

So have I convinced you to attend next year? Don't miss out on the talk of the town: 2016 will undoubtedly end up being even better than this one. 

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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Doug Fairall
Contact: Doug Fairall