Showing posts with label South Florida. Show all posts
Showing posts with label South Florida. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Don't Sweat It! Palm Beach Summer Beer Fest is Here

South Florida has a reputation as a hot spot -- in more ways than one. It's July -- not only
is that summer sun hot, there can be enough humidity to make for a challenging hair day, and some of those storms seem to come out of nowhere. With Summer in full gear, escapes to the beaches and breezes cool it off during the day, while the nightlife sizzles. Sounds like a perfect time for a beerfest! And, it is. The Palm Beach Summer Beer Fest is back for its fifth year on July 22 indoors at the South Florida Fairgrounds Expo Center. No matter what Mother Nature doles out, there's no need to sweat it, because this is one hot fest that stays cool and dry. Check out the preview story from last year, which was my fourth year attending this fest.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

making HEADlines:


Boynton Beach, FL: Tampa Bay Beer Week has come to an end, but South Florida brewery Due South Brewing Co. is again taking its beer to the area, as it expands its distribution footprint to the West Coast of Florida, including the greater Tampa area. 

Following a distribution agreement with Brown Distributing, Due South beers first began appearing throughout the larger markets of Tampa, St. Pete and Naples on March 13. Overall, Due South will increase its range from Citrus County to Collier County, expanding its reach by an additional 15 counties. The Boynton Beach brewery's beer will be available throughout the area as roll-out continues to occur. Due South beers are currently available from Jacksonville to the Keys, as well as in the Tallahassee and Orlando markets. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Jupiter Craft Brewers Fest Knocks It Out of the Park

Saturday started off a bit chilly for most South Floridians, with temps in the upper 40's
early on (this writer shelved a 5k around Abacoa after one mile and headed indoors for the treadmill). Eventually, the hazy sky gave way to bright sunshine and comfortable low-70°weather ... perfect for the 11th Annual Jupiter Craft Brewers Festival at Roger Dean Stadium! 

The Jupiter Saturday afternoon beerfest featured over 50 breweries, many from across Florida. The award-winning Field of Beers beer and food pairing event once again took place inside the Stadium on Friday night. (See last week's preview story here.)  Tickets for both events sold out online, and there were 1200 tickets available at the gate for Saturday's fest. Portions of the proceeds benefit Autism Project of Palm Beach County and Surfers Healing. 

This writer started the Jupiter weekend with a visit to Tequesta Brewing Co., just a bit north. The guy behind TBC also just happens to be Jupiter Fest Organizer Fran Andrewlevich. It had been a couple of years since I've enjoyed beers here, and the place was spirited as usual -- always a lively crowd enjoying good local beer!

At Tequesta Brewing: two unique & tasty beers:
One Day of Winter on the left: cinnamon & chocolate;
Mind Bender golden coffee stout on the right
Saturday morning brought chilly weather to South Florida, but the forecast held true, and when beerfest time rolled around at 1pm, the Stadium grounds were bathed in blue sky and sunshine. 

Set-up gave way to fully stocked tents of breweries ready to serve the 3000 thirsty fest attendees. 

The fest offered live stage music all afternoon and a silent disco, which, as expected, became much more animated as the afternoon went by. Extra seating and picnic table areas had been set in place in front of the stage. Brewers, in general, each served up between 2-4 beers, and many offered a few timed tappings. Funky Buddha poured its Maple Bacon Coffee Porter, and Due South Brewing served its Silky Johnson chocolate peanut butter stout. 

So, let's go.... 

It was a bit chilly during fest set-up in the morning

Looking to get the 1200 tickets at the gate

First stop was Green Room Brewing, Jax Beach. A day earlier, head brewer/owner Eric had posted a photo of what may... or may not, depending on who told the story ... have been the catch of the day on a fishing charter, and it was time to talk big fish right along with enjoying Green Room brews. 

Mango Passionfruit Sour with Green Room Brewing
It was also cool chatting again with Byron from Proof Brewing, who made the trip from Tally.

Tropical Uprising IPA with Proof Brewing

It didn't take long for the crowd to gather at the center seating area with beer and food: 


It's always a hot time with the crew from Barley Mow Brewing, and this time, they brought Son of a Sea Biscuit Amber Ale with peppers to spice things up even more:

Gotta love Tom's hat!
More beer!

Copperpoint Brewing didn't bring its brewhouse,
but cool photo op ... This, the Cold Brew Coffee Lager!

New brewery  Walking Tree Brewery from Vero Beach;
Prop Root English Pale Ale
And, there's always a crew that you can count on for some fun, right along with their beer: 

The crazy crew at Intracoastal Brewing, Melbourne.
That Imperial Egg Nog Cream Ale, though.....
I also caught up with brewery-in-planning Prosperity Brewers, underway in Boca. Here's another one to keep your eye on, as they're looking at opening in the next few months. 

With Dominic ("DP") of Prosperity Brewers.
Kolsch in hand. Look for them to be brewing
different styles, too. Do I hear roadtrip?
Gotta love South Florida!
By this time, the silent disco was in full swing. Not sure what they were hearing in those headphones, but it was a good time no matter which side of the floor you were on:


Hell 'n Blazes Brewing brought four beers from Melbourne for its first trek to Jupiter, and it was great seeing them here! These guys just opened last summer (see my pre-construction story and grand opening story from last year). 

Have enjoyed a couple of visits to HnB since it opened.
Finally got my hands on the Gingerbread Stout
as the sun started to set on Jupiter Fest.
Yes, more beer!

Biscayne Bay Brewing from Miami.
Refreshing Kolsch. Another beertrip?
Neapolitan Cream Ale from Intracoastal.
Made with real strawberries, vanilla, cocoa nibs.
The Quat from Tampa Bay Brewing Co.
It was another fun stop at the Bold City Brewery tent. More fishing boat talk, along with tried-and-true beer from Jax!

I'm really  not sure about this....
But, the Killer Whale Cream Ale is always a go-to.
Near the end of the fest, I found Fran Andrewlevich with about two seconds to spare (dude's one busy guy). One helluva fest... again, Fran! Thank you!

With Fest Organizer Fran
Another awesome Jupiter Craft Brewers Fest!
And, then, yes, it has to happen: all beerfests do come to an end (although the party usually moves somewhere else after that). The guys at Due South Brewing had another great beer run, following up last week's Trench Day (see preview and recap stories). 

Due South Brewing ... at "The End"

The Bold City tent came down:

Time for one more beer:

Time for one more: Devour Brewing Shadow Walker DIPA
And, as the attendees said goodbye to another awesome afternoon at Jupiter Craft Brewers Fest, crew already began the task of take-down. 

It was time for one more beer at Das Biergarten in the Abacoa Town Center:

Coppertail Brewing Sometimes You Don't Coconut Porter.
I don't know, maybe sometimes you do.
And, then sometimes you just take photos.
There were Girl Scout Cookies somewhere, too.
All fun at a beerfest and after-party.

Before heading back north on Sunday morning, I made another stop at the Stadium. Light rain was falling, the tents and tables were nowhere in sight. And, just like that, the 11th Annual Jupiter Craft Brewers Festival was history.  Home run, again. 

Take my word for it, mark this one on your calendars for 2018 (yeah, I really said 2018), or you'll be three and out and sitting in the dugout watching from the baseline. 

Thanks again to Organizers Fran Andrewlevich and Jaime Meholic for another great fest. 

And.... beerfest season in Florida is well underway. Be sure to check the "BeerSPHERE" and "Tap This" pages right here on for all things Florida beer and Florida beerfest! See you around a beer..... in Florida somewhere!


Til next time,


Linda Johnson, Certified Cicerone®

© 2017 BrewNymph, LLC. All text and photos. All rights reserved. BrewNymph; Peace, Love, Pints; Where the Beer Meets the Beach, and Beer is my Trademark are federally-registered trademarks of BrewNymph, LLC; BeerSphere and I'm Fun; Deal With It! are trademarks of BrewNymph, LLC

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Making HEADlines:


Oakland Park, FL: Funky Buddha Brewery has started off 2017 by announcing the addition of Pineapple Beach Blonde Ale as a new entrant into its year-round lineup of flagship beers. Created to be an "ideal beach beer," it's a "refreshing blonde ale kissed with gnarly waves of juicy pineapple." The packaging artwork was inspired by Fort Lauderdale beaches. The beer will be featured during the upcoming "MBCP Draft Day" statewide tour, beginning January 26 (details about the Draft Day tour to follow). Distribution of the new Pineapple Beach Blonde Ale in six-pack bottles will begin statewide in Florida at the beginning of February. Story here.

Funky Buddha will host its Maple Bacon Coffee Porter Festival on January 14, 2017 at the backlot of the brewery in Oakland Park. See my event posting on the "BeerSPHERE" Events page for more info and links regarding the the Fest.

The brewery also released its 2017 Tap Room and Distribution Schedule last month (for those of you who like to plan these things out). The calendar features monthly "Little Buddha" Small Batch releases, seasonals, and limited drafts. 


Linda Johnson,
Certified Cicerone®

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Neither Rain .. Nor Wind .. Nor Heat .. It's Time for Palm Beach Summer Beer Fest!

It's the third full week of July ... in South Florida: ahhh, Summer! If you're like a number of people, you might find it just a bit warm around the Sunshine State these days. So, if you're not thinking about the beach, you're likely thinking about air conditioning, and of course, BEER! And, that humidity and those pesky summer monsoons?  Forget about 'em ..... It's time for Palm Beach Summer Beer Fest!  (I hear the cheers). Get ready to party South Florida style.

Now in its fourth year, the annual Palm Beach Summer Beer Fest has grown steadily each year, in terms of brewery representation and attendance. And, yes, I really can attest to that, because I've been there each of the past three years (proof is in last year's recap story). Why should you go? Sure, for starters, this fest is in South Florida (which sounds pretty sexy in its own right). It's a trendy place to visit, and it has an exploding craft beer scene. The fest itself will feature over 40 breweries and more than 150 craft beers to taste. Ten food trucks will be on site to cure your hunger symptoms. You'll be entertained by live bands and the participants in the silent disco (especially after a few beers set in). If you like whiskey, you'll even be able to take part in the whiskey tasting. But, maybe, just maybe, the biggest draw is that this beerfest is indoors, as in under a roof -- with air conditioning -- at the Expo Center of the South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach. You'll hardly notice whether it's raining or sweltering outside, because you'll be keeping your cool inside with a cold one in your hand. 

It's always crazy at the Due South Brewing booth

For those reasons, this is one popular fest, and last year's attendance of over 4,000 may have stretched the limits of the venue. Blame it on insatiable thirst of Floridians and all the breweries!  But, not to worry, because the organizers of the Fest have responded by offering TWO sessions of the Fest this year. So, for the first time, you'll have your choice of either an afternoon (12-4pm) or an evening (5-9pm) session. Other than various timed tappings throughout the fest hours, the breweries and the beer will be the same at each session. Better get your tickets, though, because even at 2500 available tickets per timeslot this year, it's likely that the fest will again sell out of tickets!  Tickets are available at two levels: General Admission (unlimited beer tastings, silent disco, bourbon tastings, corn hole games) or VIP. Only 250 VIP tickets will be available per session, and VIP perks include private lounge access with private craft beer offerings, food buffet, commemorative beer mug, VIP shirt, and cigar. 

You'll find your South Florida favorites here!
According to Jennifer Cartwright of the Fest organizers, based on feedback from attendees of last year's Fest, it was decided to split the event into two sessions, making it a more comfortable experience for everyone: "We listened to the attendees and they wanted less lines and less crowds ... and, we wanted to make the attendees happy." And, if you can't attend the afternoon festivities, make it a date night! Sounds good to me! I'm looking forward to checking out the first night session! 

For the third year, Saltwater Brewery will sponsor the main stage. Depending on which session you attend, live music will be provided by one of two bands: Chemradery, featuring pop/rock/soul during the afternoon, or The People Upstairs, with the sounds of funk/rock/reggae/alternative "sexy-time" party music in the evening. Hey, let's all get ready to get this party going! 

Palm Beach Summer Beer Fest 2015:
A few of the 4000 people who attended

And, if you're from the South Florida area, you may have heard of the "KVJ Beers" brewed by Tequesta Brewing Company for the local morning KVJ Show (Kevin, Virginia, Jason and Denny). The four seasonal beers will be poured at the Burger & Beer Joint fest booth (by the way, Burger & Beer Joint is also hosting an after-party following the evening session of the fest, so the party will keep going). Virginia's "Vicious V" is a watermelon saison, which might (or might not, based on the name) cool things down in the South Florida heat.

No vicious beers from Tequesta Brewing last year!
Last but not least, proceeds from the Palm Beach Summer Beer Fest will benefit Little Smiles, an organization dedicated to helping kids in need in hospitals, hospices, shelters and similar facilities. I always like the charity aspect of beerfests, and we beerfest attendees do our part to help out these organizations!

I'm always up for a trip to South Florida (as you know from prior posts on this blog), and I've had this fest marked on my calendar since I attended Fest No. 3 last July. The fest always features the usual South Florida brewery suspects, along with great representation from additional Florida, regional and national breweries and cideries. Look for my "live" social media feed, too, as it promises to be another rockin' beerfest, and you never know who I might run into!

It actually did rain last year, but I didn't notice!
As I'm getting ready to head south on I-95 to West Palm Beach, I'll leave this post the same way I ended last year's fest summary: I'm looking forward to coming back for No. 5 next year!

Hey, I always run into interesting beer people at beerfests, and Palm Beach Summer Beer Fest won't be any different!  Stop and say Hi!

Cheers, and see ya in Palm Beach!


©2016 BrewNymph, LLC. All text and photos. All rights reserved. BrewNymph; Peace, Love, Pints; Where the Beer Meets the Beach are federally-registered trademarks of BrewNymph, LLC; BeerSphere, Beer is my Trademark, and I'm Fun; Deal With It! are trademarks of BrewNymph, LLC

Monday, January 11, 2016

We Got Funky: Maple Bacon Coffee Porter Day 2016 at Funky Buddha Brewery

I didn't attend the prior two Maple Bacon Coffee Porter Day festivals hosted by Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park.  Last year (2015), the event fell about a week before an already-scheduled weekend trip for a concert in Fort Lauderdale. I had tracked the release dates of the prized MBCP around Lauderdale, and I was thrilled to find it on tap at American Social.  By the way, if you haven't figured it out yet, not only does this beer have its own Day, it has its own acronym (MBCP; it IS a mouthful). 

Was it really that good for all this hype? Short answer: Yes. I loved it, and knew that there was no question that I simply had to attend MBCP Day 2016.  So, late last year when the brewery announced the date for this year's fest (Jan. 9), I had my fingers on the keyboard as tickets went on sale in November. Tickets??????

For 2016, Funky Buddha changed the format of the fest, making it a ticketed event and limiting the number of tickets to 4000. Three levels of tickets were made available: VIP (early access, rare beer sampling and 4 bottles); General Admission (admission plus 1 bottle), and Full Bottle Access (general admission, plus 4 bottles). Instead of holding the Fest at the brewery, the event moved to the adjacent Jaco Pastorius Park along Dixie Highway.  So, instead of having people wait in long lines at the crack of dawn for fest entry and a chance to get bottles of MBCP, the brewery streamlined things with the intention of having a manageable crowd and guaranteed access to pre-paid bottles. The brewery kept a dedicated website, http://mbcpday.comupdated with the tap list, FAQs and other must-know information, including an event brochure published just before MBCP Day.  Tap list?????

Yeah, OK.... tap list! When I first saw this, I printed it out and tried to "game plan" which ones to get. (I wasn't the only one to do that!)  A number of the beers were on tap all day, with other timed tappings at 4pm and 7pm.  Brown Distributing's "Draftzilla," a refrigerated rolling behemoth semi-trailer with draft taps, housed the kegs, and beer flowed. 

Following my drive from North Florida that morning, I arrived on the grounds of the park before the VIP entry just to check it out: 

The calm before.......

Staff and volunteers were quite busy getting things set up, and all was relatively quiet on a warm and sunny day. I think those guys tossing the cornhole bags around were actually working, too, as they were setting up the boards (hardly working, or working hard?)

The brewery is located just around the corner. If you haven't been to Funky Buddha before, you'll have to come back, because the tap room was closed for the occasion.

So, how'd this all work?

After the VIP entry (3pm), staff scanned general admission attendee tickets.  Individual beers at the fest were by pre-paid ticket ($6 each).  The pours on the various beers were different (6oz, 8oz, 10oz, 14oz), depending on the ABV and type.  Want to purchase additional 4-pack bottles of MBCP to take home ($60 for the four)?  Take care of all that at the next counter (wristbands for bottles, tickets for poured beer), and you're on your way!  Merchandise? A merch tent had shirts, hats, koozies, glasses and more.  But, wait, it's still not 4pm!  So, we waited peacefully behind the gate for the clock to hit 4:


The beers were set up in "sections," and I went right to the back of Draftzilla, to Section 15. Walked right up to get my first beer of the day, the Maple Bacon Coffee Porter:

Maple Bacon Coffee Porter, 2016

MBCP (6.4% ABV, 35 IBU) is a liquid version of a breakfast. It has the aroma of maple and coffee, sweet and roasty at the same time.  It tastes like -- well -- maple, bacon and coffee. It's also sweet-and-salty. There's a lot going on in this beer, and it all combines together for an awesome drinking experience. It's rated 100 on RateBeer, and 98 on Beer Advocate.  One of my all-time favorites. 

The MBCP was offered at several sections at the Fest, so you could find it pretty easily. While most of the beers on tap were Funky Buddha beers (well over 50), there were at least 50 additional beers by other Florida breweries.  A number of these were imperial stouts and barrel-aged beers.  But, there were styles of all types. I enjoyed various new brews at this fest.  There were so many to choose, it was impossible to drink every one that I had noted on my "game plan."

It was fairly easy to move around the park for the first couple of hours, and even when more people started streaming in around 6-6:30, the venue handled it. Lines were forming by 6:15 for the popular 7pm releases.  There was a noticeable difference in the crowd by this time, and each section had a lengthy line. The band even did a countdown to 7pm (and you thought the New Years Eve countdown was a thing):


Once those 7pm lines diminished, it was pretty easy to just walk up to get the beers that survived.  I actually found several very good selections still available at that time! (no, the Hunahpu's® didn't last that long). 

The fest included a music stage with three bands throughout the evening.  Food options included Funky Buddha's new Craft Food Counter & Kitchen, along with food trucks. There were high top tables throughout for standing and table-and-chair set ups (some additonal seating would have been nice, though). Portable restrooms were located at one end of the park (maybe a few more could be used for next year, but that's always gonna happen). 

Last call was at 9:30pm. Upon exiting the fest, attendees turned in their wristbands to claim their corresponding number of bottles.  

Yeah, I think I did OK, with my five bottles. 

So, hey, I thought the fest was well-organized. Sure, there were lines -- but the longest lines were at 7pm, and you could anticipate that.  Having MBCP at various sections was a good idea.  The variety of beers -- both Funky Buddha's and others -- was impressive to say the least.  The list was much more than "core" beers.  For someone from out of town, it was a great chance to have some beers I can't otherwise get.  So, would I make the drive for this fest again?  That's an emphatic Yes! 

I've been to Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park a few times.  The brewery opened this location in June 2013, and my first visit was in September 2013 (check it out here).   The opening of the place was a pretty big deal.  You're likely familiar with some of Funky Buddha's core beers (Hop Gun IPA, Floridian Hefeweizen) and its special releases (for example, Last Snow - -anyone heard of that one?).  Funky Buddha Brewery started out in 2010 as The Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery, a nano-brewery, located on Federal Hwy. in Boca. I've been there, too. The Lounge is a unique place, and it offers Funky Buddha craft beer as part of its over-100 craft beers list, teas, and hookahs. It's a very chilled-out place, with Buddhas and pillows.  

As the popularity of its beer grew, the brewery saw a need to expand, and, yeah, it did that ..... It set sights on the new location, going full board with a 30-barrel brewhouse and large-scale production capability.  And, if you're looking for that laid-back nano, it's still there, too.  The nano brewery is still used for experimental brews. The production brewery is big -- over 54000 square feet --- and the tap room has a large bar and indoor/outdoor seating area. 

If you ever find yourself in the Fort Lauderdale area, check out both of the Funky locations.  Go ahead, #GetFunky!

Hey, beerfest season in Florida is here!  There have already been a few, and more are on the way. Check out the BeerSphere Events tab on my website,, for listings.  And, if you have an event you'd like to list with me that I might not know about, just let me know.  I scour and search social media, newsletters and websites all the time for events, but it seems that there are always new events popping up!

Look for me at a beer event, community event, bar, brewery, or restaurant!  I might want a photo, and I'll want to talk some beer .... harmless stuff......  til then..... 

Peace, Love, Pints®