Americans love a good battle; witness how the competitive element has infiltrated every aspect of our lives, not the least of which is food. Burger battles, cupcake wars, cookie contests -- an element of competition can make a great thing even better and craft beer is no exception.
Tap 42 in Fort Lauderdale will throw down the gauntlet (or perhaps more accurately the pint glass) on Tuesday, January 15, for its first-ever brewery battle. The bar has hosted numerous tap takeovers, but Lauren Bowen, creative director and craft beer director for Tap 42 said this is the first time they've ever pitted beloved brews against one another.
"It's unlike anything we've done," Bowen said of the event.
The battle will match beers from Bell's Brewery against brews by Stone Brewing Co. Both names are huge players in the craft scene with loyal followings and at least several beers that consistently earn high marks within the beer community and from industry experts. Bell's, based out of Michigan, is perhaps best known for Oberon Ale, Hopslam Ale, Two Hearted Ale, and Expedition Stout (among many other tasty brews). Stone, based in California, produces the "Enjoy By" series and the cheekily named (but big tasting) Bastard series. In short; no matter who wins the showdown, the beer drinker is the winner in this horse race.
Bowen said customers who want to participate will be given tasting cards to keep track of their chosen winners. The actual winner will be decided in the most practical way possible: "Whichever brewery kicks a keg first is the real winner," Bowen said.
Representing the Bell's side thus far: Amber Ale, Two Hearted Ale, Expedition Stout, Double Cream Stout, 2010 Bourbon Barrel-Aged Batch 9000, and 2012 This One Goes To 11 Ale (in the bottle and very hard to find in Florida).
"Bell's is one of my favorites that distributes to Florida," Bowen said.
On the Stone side: Arrogant Bastard, Double Bastard, IPA, Vintage 10-10-10, 16 Anniversary, and Double Dry Hopped Arrogant Bastard.
"Stone has some aggressive beers that are out of this world; their branding is awesome," Bowen said.
Tapping of the participant kegs goes off at 7 p.m. sharp, giving all participating beers an equal shot to run out first. There will be raffles for gift baskets and other prizes throughout the evening. Guests can either buy a pint of their chosen beer, or purchase a pre-determined flight of beers for each brewery. Beer lineups are subject to change (and grow) as the event approaches.
Bowen said that while the head-to-head competition is unusual since crafters don't typically "like to compete" with one another, Tap 42's representatives for each brewery happen to be neighbors and good friends. This event is offered as a fun way to introduce the brands to a larger audience. It also serves to build hype for the upcoming South Florida Beer Week (January 19 - 26) during which Tap 42 will host multiple tap takeover events.
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