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Over the Weekend: Social Media Beer Tasting @ Coffee District

This weekend I trucked up to the Coffee District in Delray Beach to take part in the Social Media Beer Tasting, an event designed to bring together folks who sell, hock, write about, talk about, and otherwise live beer. About 20 said folks gathered in the coffee and beer hangout to discuss what's going on in the South Florida beer scene and ways everyone can help it grow.

The event was put together by Ed Roberts of Total Wine and Spirits, who assembled an all-star list of media, retailers, bloggers, distributors, and local brewers to contribute. Everyone chipped in a beer to share, while Coffee District provided sampling glasses and pitchers of water (to swish out the glasses, not to drink!). It was like a little beer-scene brouhaha and a tasting event all rolled into one.

Some of the folks in attendance included Jeff Abbarno, former owner of

Boca Raton's legendary beer shack, Case and Keg. Abbarno, who now runs Draft Doctor,

a keg delivery and parts service, spoke briefly about the importance of

speaking to your local and state representatives about relaxing

Florida's strict beer laws so that independent breweries and retailers

can grow.

Local (soon-to-be) brewery Funky Buddha Lounge also represented. Owner

Ryan Sentz revealed that he hopes to have the brewery up and running

within a month.

As folks went around the table introducing themselves and explaining

what they do in the beer world, bottles of rare and interesting brew

were also passed and poured. I tried a good many beers I've never had

before, many of which aren't even available in Florida now. Some of the

hits include Pursuit of Hoppiness, an ultra-hopped red from Idaho's Grand Teton Brewing;

Dogfish Head's Chateau Jiahu, a honeysuckle- and grape-infused beer

from its Ancient Ales series; and a 2006 Westvleteren Trappist #8, a

rare Belgian beer that's horded like crack. That theme of introducing

new and unique beers was repeated throughout the tasting as people

spoke about the importance of building a repertoire between

distributors and customers.

Another interesting guest was Drew Weinstein, a former Wall Street analyst with Cohen & Co., who for the past year has been shopping his idea to launch Magellanic Brewery. Guess where Drew hopes to open? Right here in South Florida.

Weinstein is currently seeking about $3 million in capital to kick-start his brewery in Miami's Wynwood Arts District. He sees Florida as

a ripe spot to launch a new beer brand, especially one that appeals to hard-core and casual beer fans alike.

Roberts didn't say when the next Social Media Tasting would be held,

but for now, the event is limited to individuals who work in or report

on the industry. It was a great sign, however, that the craft beer

revolution isn't stopping anytime soon. With the help of these folks,

it's only going to get bigger.

Some other attendees and their local beer blogs/venues:

Ed Roberts

Dos Beerigos

Mike Loves Beer


Boca Beer Lovers

Daily Beer Review

Beer Bon Voyage

Beer Review Dude

The Lodge Boca

Funky Buddha Lounge

Coffee District

Potables and Edibles

Fresh Beer Inc.

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John Linn

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