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FLORIDA AND LOCAL JAX, JAX BEACH, ST. AUGUSTINE, interviews, events, travel

St Augustine Craft Brewers Fest: New Event in the Nation's Oldest City ... Dig It!

April 15, 2019: St Augustine might be best known as the "nation's oldest city," but it also has quite the reputation for festivals and events, which draw crowds from throughout the country. From the acclaimed Nights of Lights during the holiday season to Spring food and music festivals to local events hosted by charitable organizations, there's always something to do, eat and listen in the historic town. The St Augustine breweries are adding "beer" to that list, with the inaugural St Augustine Craft Brewers Fest, taking place on Saturday, May 11, 2019 at the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park

Planning for the beer fest began in early Winter 2018, according to lead fest organizers Doug and Courtney Murr, co-owners of Dog Rose Brewing, located just off the downtown area of St Augustine. With The Players Championship move to March from May and the early Spring Florida beerfest season having already run the majority of its calendar, organizers saw an opportunity to "fill the void" with an event in May that could grow into that time slot in the years ahead. With Memorial Day and Summer just on the horizon, a beerfest is a natural! 



photo: Linda Johnson/ BrewNymph
After considering a few locations around town, the Fountain of Youth dovetailed into a perfect fit as a venue. The beerfest intends to set itself apart from other beer and general events, said Doug, with the unique location on the grounds of the historic and scenic Fountain of Youth park. The idea isn't to "recreate a beerfest," he added, but to bring an event "that belongs to the community." Even though they are looking for the beerfest to be "big and awesome" the first time around, organizers expect to grow the fest over the years. 

Attendees have a choice of VIP or general admission ticket options. Not only does the VIP ticket add an early extra hour, there are additional perks that come with the upgrade, including guaranteed parking at the park, access to the covered and climate-controlled Pavilion (with private restrooms, alas!), an afternoon food buffet, and St. Augustine Distillery bourbon tastings. Only 100 VIP tickets have been released, and the expectation is that VIP ticketholders will be highly satisfied with that option, in view of all of the extras offered. The Pavilion recently underwent renovations that included the enclosure of the building with large windows allowing for breathtaking views of the surrounding natural setting. 




Enclosed Pavilion at Fountain of Youth Park
(photo provided by Fountain of Youth)
Organizers have the interests of attendees in mind. "The goal is to be a premier event," exclaimed Doug. If drinking water and beer glass rinsing stations are on your beerfest wishlist, consider it done! Such stations will be located throughout the fest area (kudos to that!). The main fest will be set up in the open field area of the park, with views of the adjacent marshland. Yes, the sun should be shining in May, and in addition to the natural shade of the park, the fest will provide picnic tables and a shaded tent for the comfort of those attending. Food trucks, such as Wingin' It, Weenie Panini, The Hyppo and Moon Booch will serve up food and additional non-beer drinks. Leonard's Photography will provide a photo booth for fun keepsakes of the event. And, yes, it's family-friendly, so Mom and Dad can enjoy some beer, while the kids play in the jump house, take part in face painting, and attend the Lighthouse exhibit. Because St Augustine is such a family-oriented community, "[w]e want people to feel comfortable bringing the kids," added Doug. Popular bands Firewater Tent Revival, Bert and the Skinny Lizard, Paco Lipps, and Brett Bass and Melted Plectrum will entertain with live tunes. 



Around 25-30 invited Florida breweries will each pour several styles of beer, with many different varieties available. Alongside the four St Augustine breweries -- Dog Rose Brewing, Old Coast Ales, Ancient City Brewing, and Bog Brewing -- will be breweries from across the state, including a number from neighboring Jacksonville, together with breweries from Tallahassee, Gainesville, Lakeland, Longwood, Orlando, and others. Local brewclub St. Augustine Home Brewers Club will also serve homebrews. The intent is to offer beers that aren't generally found at retail or widely distributed, and the breweries represent different distributors. While breweries are free to bring whatever beers they like, Doug challenged them to "bring your A-Game," to provide an initiation to the St Augustine market, as this may be the first time that attendees have a chance to meet the brewers and sample their beer. A list of breweries is available on the fest website, and more may be added as the event gets closer. 

Proceeds from the event will benefit the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum. With an "impressive" array of programs, including educational and archaeological activities for kids, the Lighthouse's mission "resonated with us," said Doug. 

Early response has been quite positive, and the event is "getting a lot of enthusiasm" from word of mouth, posters around town, and the local breweries spreading the word at earlier beerfests. 


UPDATE: 4.29.2019: St Augustine Brewers Fest
 released this photo of the fest glass
(photo: St Augustine Brewers Fest Facebook page)


Tickets to the inaugural St Augustine Craft Brewers Fest are available on the fest website. General admission tickets are $40 in advance ($45 at the gate); VIP tickets are $100 and include the special additions mentioned above. There is no admission fee for Designated Drivers.

The Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is located near downtown St Augustine at 11 Magnolia Avenue, off of San Marco. You might run into some historic types, or even one of the resident white peacocks that call the grounds their home. 


He's a local: Resident White Peacock at the Fountain of Youth
(photo provided by Fountain of Youth)
Locals and visitors alike are sure to "dig" this first-time event at the historic Fountain of Youth Park in the Nation's Oldest City, as it combines craft beer with a unique setting. Cameras might be working overtime on this one! 

Thanks to Doug and Courtney for all of this awesome info! Get your tickets and get ready to "dig it!"

Cheers,

Til next time,













Linda
Linda Johnson, Certified Cicerone ®

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