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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Fun in the Sun: DeLand Craft Beer Fest

Mother Nature was smiling on the Sunshine State last Saturday, and it was fun in the sun for the attendees at the 8th Annual DeLand Craft Beer Fest on February 11. It was a perfect day for drinking beer from the 90 or so breweries represented (although, it's always a good day for some beer! See preview story and recap of last year). Temps held steady around 80°with abundant sunshine over a crisp blue sky all afternoon, from the minute the gates opened at 1pm until the last drop of beer was poured at 5pm. 

The fest featured a new location, layout and entry point this year on Indiana Avenue in downtown DeLand. Brewery tents dotted Indiana Avenue and Alabama Avenue in a T-format (the streets were closed to traffic), with plenty of space to move around and sample beers. 

Before 1pm, there was still much hustle and bustle behind the gates as prep work was completed. Standing outside of the entry tent, the double rows of brewery tents beckoned, and the crowd anxiously awaited the clock to tick to 1pm, when it looked like this: 


video

The new location and space was a hit with the crowd, as this writer heard many comments about how easy it was to move around. As this fest has grown each year, it looks like the venue has additional space to accommodate even more brewery tents next year. Tents were organized mostly according to geographical location, with local Volusia County and Central Florida breweries anchoring the spots along the entrance, followed by Florida breweries from across the state. National breweries were featured along Alabama Avenue. The open space and full use of the streets made for easy walking and talking, all while enjoying a diverse and wide selection of around 350-400 different types of beers. Many breweries brought favorites, while many also poured a few surprises. Sorry I can't mention each beer and brewery (that would take too long), but I enjoyed talking with everyone!

My first stop was at the Bold City Brewery (Jacksonville) tent to say Hello to some familiar faces from North Florida. 


Regina (aka Jax Brew Bitch) repping Bold City.
Whit was pouring beer all afternoon, too!
We may have been a bit much for him, though.


Beerfests present the opportunity to sample new beers from breweries that you may already know, as well as getting to know more breweries (think beertrip!) and ones in planning or under construction. Bayboro Brewing, a brewery in planning from St. Pete made its way to DeLand, and I liked the easy-drinking nature of its Wicked G'Day New England IPA, even at 7%. 


Key Lime Pie Ale from Bugnutty Brewing (Merritt Island):
One of my fest favorites: tastes of vanilla and graham cracker,
lime subtleness was a great flavor without being too "limey."
Hmmm.. it's been a while since I've been there
(they even mentioned that). Good to see them again!
The beerfest is the main event of Volusia Beer Week, during which many events were held around the Daytona-DeLand-Volusia County area. Earlier in the week, two local breweries, New Smyrna Beach Brewing and Daytona Beach Brewing, announced that their celebratory collaboration brew, Eureka Effect DIPA (9.5 ABV), had been tapped in their tap rooms. The beer was also served at the New Smyrna Beach Brewing tent. A smooth, citrusy brew, it was indeed popular, as the keg kicked just as we were able to take photos:


The collab beer, Eureka Effect DIPA, with Chris from
New Smyrna Beach Brewing on the far right.
Guys from Wolf Branch Brewing and Wop's Hops also
took the time to hang out for a bit!
Not sure why I have two glasses at this point.

I had a great time chatting with Chris from New Smyrna Beach Brewing, which is one of my regular stops along I-95 on the way back north from South Florida trips. Stay tuned for some news coming from NSB Brewing soon.


More beer, more talking, etc., etc., etc.


Ran into a couple of social media beer geeks, and got
photobombed by Jeremy, a rep from North Florida


Brewery tents along both sides of Indiana Ave.
Just look at that blue sky, too!


Look for new brewery SunCreek Brewery opening
later this year in Clermont in an old car dealership.
Moon Light Chocolate Stout (4.8 ABV).


And, did you see these guys?
Don't know what to make of that.
Tomoka Brewing even had a Randall with coffee beans!
The Raccoon Sheriff DIPA and Beach Please White IPA
featured Island Roasters coffee


With the Tomoka Brewing crew.
Ed Irvin, Tomoka Rep, and from the Fest Committee.
Always a fun time with this brewery.
And, it just had its Anniversary this weekend, too!
Stopped by there on Sunday for an Elvis!
And, sometimes, you just strike a pose for a photo...
...Before you do something crazy (that was on social media).
With Regina from Bold City, and Kyle, from Cigar City/Oskar Blues.


Intracoastal Brewing (Melbourne) hit another one
with its Espresso Vanilla Brown Ale: Coffee!

In addition to commercial breweries and breweries-in-planning, the Fest also included home brews from several local homebrewers clubs, such as Volusia County Home Brew Guild, Central Florida Home Brewers, and Brew Club of Seminole County. Earlier in February, the VCHBG had conducted the Mad Monks Belgian brew competition, and the results were announced last week. Tim Goodman (Hoods Up Brewery) took the overall Best in Show for his "Hush Money" Specialty Wood-Aged Beer. There were high fives all around, as I caught up with a couple of Seminole County medal winners:


Congrats! Darren Uner (Silver for Saison) and
Mark Davis (Bronze for Belgian Dark Strong Ale).
What a day in DeLand! If you're not familiar with DeLand, take a look at my preview story from last week. Although I didn't get over to Persimmon Hollow Brewing in downtown DeLand on this trip, check it out when you're in the area! (There's a story on this site, too, from my first visit there). 

Shout-out to the Fest Committee, including Ann-Marie Bays, Ed Irvin, and Vin Morrissey, for some great work on the fest layout and the awesome representation of breweries! And, thanks again to Mother Nature for the fun in the sun.  

You might want to mark this one of your calendars for next February!  And, thanks so much to the fellow beer-lovers who took the time to stop me and Say Hi! It was great talking beer with you, and I appreciate your support of this site. I hope to see you again!

That's it for now, but, hey, it IS Florida Beerfest season, and there's more beer down the road! Check out the BeerSPHERE page on brewnymph.com, as beerfest events are constantly updated. See you around a beer in Florida Somewhere!

Til next time,
Cheers!



Linda









Linda Johnson, Certified Cicerone®


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