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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Tap Into Florida Craft Beer: Florida Brewers Guild FBG Fest, Saturday, March 4

The most extensive beer week in the Sunshine State returns this coming weekend. Whether you live in the Tampa Bay area or not, chances are pretty good -- in fact, I'd bet a Pair O'Dice Hop Bet Red -- that you've heard of Tampa Bay Beer Week, which "officially" starts Saturday, March 4 (after several pre-TBBW events). It seems only fitting that the Florida Brewers Guild will once again kick off the mega-beer week with its annual FBG Fest Saturday, from 1-5pm, at Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park along the Tampa Riverwalk. 





What sets FBG Fest apart from other beerfests is that not only is it an all-Florida fest, proceeds benefit the mission of the FBG to further the interests of the state's craft breweries. This year, 65 Florida breweries are scheduled to be represented at the fest, and attendees are given the opportunity to talk all things beer with brewery owners, brewers and brewery reps who will be under the tents and behind the tables. FBG Executive Director Melissa White adds that the number of breweries has increased this year from last year's count of 58. "It's a great fest to meet the folks behind the beer."

Brewery tents line either side of the grassy grounds of Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park, and in years past, it's been pretty easy to move around from tent to tent. To satisfy your munchies, food will be available for purchase on site by Tampa Bay Food Truck Rally, featuring: Bacon Boss, Cheesesteak Truck, Dochos, I Wanna Wok, Taste Buddz and Vanchetta. Although early ticket sales have closed, tickets are still available for both the VIP (one hour early entry at 1pm) and General Admission (regular admission at 2pm) levels.


FBG Fest 2016
And, take a look at this: If you don't have your Fest ticket yet, don't snooze on it, because time is running out. Order now and get $5 off the ticket price by using Code DRINKLOCAL. Says Melissa: "Tampa Bay Beer Week is back and the Florida Brewers Guild wants to celebrate with you! Let's raise a glass to toast the success of Florida craft beer." Indeed!


This writer has attended the past two FBG Fests (see last year's recap story), and it's a great way to meet new people and try new beer. Take a look at this year's beer list, and start salivating. There are a few newcomers to the scene this time around, including several breweries which just opened in 2016. With over 200 beers pouring, print out that list and make your way around the park for an enjoyable day of Florida beer sampling!  You'll see some big name beers. (No drooling, please). Due South Brewing (Boynton Beach) will pour its Mariana Trench Imperial Stout. If you missed Due South's Trench Day in January, check out my visit. Cigar City Brewing (Tampa) will offer a squadron of its beers, including a stout you just may have heard of (just a hunch), Hunahpu's Imperial Stout, and Marshal Zhukov's Penultimate Push Imperial Stout with Coffee. Beerfest beers! Aardwolf Brewing (Jacksonville) is bringing the goods, including its Cinnabitch Caganer Imperial Stout.  Coppertail Brewing (Tampa) will pour its GABF Medal Winner Slam Piece Cucumber Berliner Weisse. South Florida favorite Funky Buddha Brewery (Oakland Park) lists More Moro Blood Orange IPA, along with Last Snow and something called Jitterbug Frappucino (Imperial Cream Ale with Coffee). Intuition Ale Works (Jacksonville) includes its Underdark Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout on its beerlist. And, the list goes on! (Stop drooling on that beer list). 

Downtown Tampa is a popular place on any given weekend, with this coming weekend being no exception. Believe it or not, there are a few other events going on around the area, and parking is expected to be a bit challenging. Take an Uber, Lyft, cab, or the Trolley from Ybor to the Fest. Riding the trolley is fun and inexpensive, and, after the fest, if you still have any energy left, simply walk around Ybor for more fun. 

Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park is located at 601 Old Water Street, Tampa, adjacent to the Amalie Arena. The Trolley stops in front of the park for easy access. Fest sponsors include Bon Beer Voyage, Commercial Products, hopcloth, Tampa Bay Beer Week, Trinity Graphics and USFSP Brewing Arts.

Help support the Florida Brewers Guild while sampling many of the awesome beers the state has to offer at this year's FBG Fest. 

It's March already! If any of you were lucky enough to get tickets for Sunday's Best Florida Beer Championships Brewers' Ball at Water Works Park, you'll get to taste award-winning beers all afternoon! If you're around the Tampa area next week, take a look at the TBBW event list, too, because it's just packed with beer events all over the area. And, then there's another Fest that you may have heard something about, hmmm, let's see, what's that called? Oh, yeah, Hunahpu's Day, on March 11 .... but that's another story.... or two.... 

See you around a beer or beerfest in Florida Somewhere! And, be sure to say Hi!

Cheers!
Til next time,


Linda 











Linda Johnson, Certified Cicerone®


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