Beer festivals are, for the most part, always pretty awesome. You show up, drink unlimited samples of beer, and there is always an assortment of delicious food on standby. What more could you need?!
I had the best time at the DeLand Beer Festival this past Saturday! Over 40–yes, 40!–Florida breweries were in attendance, among several other popular breweries that distribute across the nation.
Several of my favorite local spots brought some of their staples to share with thousands of people who all have one common interest: beer.
Now, we can sit here and argue for days on the best ways to enjoy a beer festival, but the truth is, there is no right or wrong way. Just drink beer and have fun! That’s what I did, anyway. I even had a pretzel necklace. I came prepared.
I never learn from my past mistakes, though. Normally, I always walk into a beer fest and tell myself that I am going to pace myself and that I do not need to jump from booth-to-booth chugging samples. Oops, I did it again! (Anyone catch that?)
There are so many things I love about beer festivals. Not only do I love trying the beers that breweries carefully select to best represent them, but I love meeting the people behind them and also learning about the brewery. I like to know more than just where you’re located and what your specialties are. I want to know who is taking the time to carefully craft a masterpiece. I want to know where the passion for beer comes from. I want to meet the heart and soul of each and every team!
The DeLand Beer Fest showcased some of the most humble, down to earth brewers. By the time the kegs are tapped and the festival is over, anyone who is not a local will feel like they belong. I met some of the most genuine, kind people here; and I am so happy for all who represented the Florida beer scene that day!
One of the first breweries my friends and I sampled on our way in was Central 28, a local Volusia County brewery. I have had some of their beers that they distribute to the local market. At the festival, I tried the Show Pigeon IPA. It’s a delicious American style IPA that is clean, hoppy, and tropical.
I jumped from here and went over to New Smyrna Beach Brewing and tried their Shark Attack IPA, a citrusy, grapefruit, hoppy ode to the shark bite capital of the world. No, seriously. New Smyrna is home to many sharks who do, in fact, love to bite! It still doesn’t scare us weird ass Floridians, though. True Floridians do not give a second thought to sharks or alligators, but when we get a little bit of ice on the roads in the panhandle, all Hell breaks loose.
My friends and I walked over to another Florida brewery, Saltwater Brewing. I chose to try their Screamin’ Reels IPA (I like IPA’s, ok?) that I have seen all over the local market. It too, is a hoppy, crisp india pale ale that I enjoyed. One thing I learned about Saltwater Brewing is that their six packs have holders that are EDIBLE to fish and wildlife! Pollution has always been a huge problem, not just around Florida, but all over the world. I think it is incredible that they are putting in effort to decrease pollution and help marine life by creating something that is not harmful to our oceans. I applaud them for that alone, and it is such a plus that their beer is also delicious! (Side note: I didn’t try it, but my friend said the Cow Milk Stout they had was good, too.)
Intracoastal Brewing, located in Melbourne, FL on the East Coast, had a tart, plum sour in their arsenal. Two plums up is a pale, straw colored beauty that tastes like you just bit into a juicy, dark plum. The acidity and sourness isn’t overpowering at all, and it has a clean finish. It was a very refreshing gose and probably my favorite beer that I tried that day!
Destihl, Terrapin, Bell’s, and Einstok also had booths at the festival, as well as the ever-popular Oskar Blues. There were all kinds of styles and breweries. There was a beer for everyone!
Overall, DeLand Beer Fest was nothing short of impressive. I am anxiously awaiting next year’s event (can’t believe it is seriously so far away). In the meantime, I will have to be patient and take up another hobby to pass the time. Maybe I will learn to crochet? Or train dolphins? Or become a master cicerone…
LOL YEAH RIGHT. I would have better luck teaching a dolphin to crochet.