It was a long day for vendors this past Saturday at the South Florida Fairgrounds at the Palm Beach Summer Beerfest. For patrons, there was a lot of beer to drink. This year's edition of the festival ran for two sessions,
Among the throngs of national and regional beer brands stood stalwart locals, breweries with only a few years under their belts mingling between some of the behemoths of craft beer. It was an experience that showed just how far South Florida has come and how different a place it occupies in the beer landscape.
Saltwater Brewery, with its massive "Explore the Depths of Beer" poster front and center stage, shared a couple of its usual offerings including a timed release of a tart cherry coffee stout. Funky Buddha Brewery, known for its culinary-inspired beers, brought them out in force: Blueberry Cobbler, Sticky Treats, and French Toast all made an appearance. Just the next row over, Due South
Speaking of coffee, Holy Mackerel's Café Cubano was poured by the hands of brewer Bobby Gordash, while brewer Chip Breighner of Devour Brewing was doing the same with his Mango IPA. In fact, the event was very heavy on local talent, thus it seemed that these were the busiest brewery booths. Unsurprisingly, people want to talk to the producers of the beer they like!
In the things-to-mention-because-it's-an-interesting-promo category, sponsors The KVJ Show, which airs on 97.9 WRMF-FM, had two beers on tap that were produced for them by Twisted Trunk Brewing: Vicious V (a mint watermelon
Each of the day's sessions lasted about four hours, and the crowds dispersed incredibly quickly when the time came. The split into two sessions was a good way to control the traffic flow, with each session somewhat less crowded than in previous years, helping to prevent any long-snaking line that would block foot traffic.
Overall, the festival was just as great as those of past years, and it was enjoyable seeing a few new faces in the crowd. Breweries like Green Man Brewery, Green Bench Brewing, and Highland Brewing Company showed off some of their newer products, with Highland being able to pour their Mandarina IPA, a new brew full of Mandarina Bavaria, Hull Melon, and Summit hops, showcasing the talents of brewer Hollie Stephenson.
Yes, there are other beer festivals in the area that are more focused on local craft, but the spread at this fest is one of the best avenues to explore the national craft beer conversation.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger dedicated to educating the public about all things beer, with a focus on Florida brews. He is the Brand Marketing Manager for Due South Brewing Company and has been a homebrewer since 2009. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.