Tuesday, November 10, 2009

BEERflecting ~ 2nd Annual Treasure Coast Beer Fest

(better late than never...)

September 26th 2009 marked the 2nd year of the still new but extremely popular Treasure Coast Beer Fest. How popular? The 3rd year is already good to go with planning to begin with the new year, 2010. Exciting news for beer geeks all over the tri-county area, and beyond.

The Treasure Coast Beer Fest (TCBF) was the brainchild of six guys who, in their love for good beer, wanted to share the wide world of beer with the knowledged and the newbe while helping raise money for a local charity. And so, in 2008 the first TCBF kicked off to a bumpy yet successful start. The charity recipient in 2008 was Learn to Read of St. Lucie County, a nonprofit organization which helps illiterate adults grab ahold of their life and future by learning how to read and write. For the 2nd Annual TCBF, Beerworks Charitable Foundation once more chose Learn to Read along with a new recipient, Kate's Hope. Kate's Hope is a foundation created by Kate O'Connor, family, and friends to raise money for a rare procedure to treat Ewing's Sarcoma while also offering assistance to others who suffer the same affliction.

But who is Beerworks Charitable Foundation? Remember those six guys who got the idea to spread beer love through a jolly beer fest and to give back to their local community? Yup. Those six guys who saw the need and recognized the success and potential of the first TCBF formed a nonprofit organization of their own to continue the realization of their humble dream. After all, loving good beer and giving back to the community naturally go hand-in-hand.

One obviously cannot have a beer fest without beer, and the 2nd Annual 2009 TCBF easily doubled last years success in all regards: beer, attendance, and money raised. To break it down, at around 200 different beers from around 50 different participating breweries, almost 800 total attendees (not counting volunteers), and raising thousands of dollars for Learn to Read and Kate's Hope, I'd say she was a smashing success.

Big sloppy sincere thanks need to be given to a few especially generous, helpful, and passionate men, women, and businesses for giving their all, thereby ensuring success for the 2nd Annual TCBF.

(If I forget someone, it is not intentional, and everyones generosity was wholly appreciated.)

First, on the beer side of the beer fest because without beer there is no fest, many sincere thanks to: Tim Hebeler, JJTaylor Distributing and all their associated breweries who so graciously shared their beers and their time, FL Micro Bev, Lukaya Beers, Gordash Brewing, FL Beer Company, and Republic National Distributing.

To the dozens of volunteers who gave of their time to help before, during, and after the event, Thank You. Quite literally, you were the hands and feet that never stopped, thus keeping the TCBF moving from start to finish.

We live in an age of media-galore which were all valuable assets to the Beerworks Charitable Foundation cause. Word of mouth alone may travel fast in a small town (and trust you me it does), but nothing travels faster than multi-media advertising. For that, thanks must go to 99.7 JackFM, Hometown News, Fort Pierce Tribune, Vero Beach Press Journal, Channel 10, RateBeer, and the many local establishments who pimped the TCBF in all her pre-event hype.

For the generous use of their brand-spanking new parking garage behind the County Courthouse, thank you City of fort Pierce. (There will be fans next year). To the officers in blue who ensured our peace and safety, your presence was welcome. Maybe even the most important and oft-overlooked facet of an outside event such as the TCBF, I know I give my thanks to Reliable Poly John for the passel of reliable poly-johns.

Many beer geeks, professionals, and brewery reps who made the long haul to our humble yet holy event were graciously hosted by The Sandhurst Hotel. Their comfortable quarters and beds were a welcome conclusion to a long thrilling day for all, myself included. Waking up to the view of the Indian River in all her lapis-lazuli glory lazing through the Fort Pierce Inlet and out into an ocean of azure was simply breathtaking. My roommates on the other hand...

Just kidding. They were no less than the gentleman they always are.

Getting back on track, all great beer fests need a local haunt to, well, haunt after the festivities have ended. For the 2nd year in a row (I sense a trend here), Cobb's Landing offered up their bar, their food, and their patient services. If nothing else, I'm sure we were a source of great amusement that night. Personally, I greatly appreciated the special brews and the huge plate of delicious food I greedily snarfed. Hungry was I, yes indeed.

Last and certainly not least, thanks to the six beer geeks turned charitable foundation turned veteran beer fest organizers. If it wasn't for the immense passion, determination, efforts, patience, and old-fashioned hard work of Mark Carbone, Marc Boland, Will Roberts, Graig Heller, Eric Halberg, and Joe Greenberg, there wouldn't have been a first TCBF, much less a 2nd Annual TCBF, with plans for a soon-to-be 3rd Annual.

Prost! Cheers! Salud! Slante! L'Chayim! Kanpai!
Here's looking to 2010. May thy cup runneth over once more.

As for myself, I'd like to divulge some of my own personal highlights of the 2nd Annual Treasure Coast Beer Fest.

Volunteer Highlights:
Arriving in the wee hours of morn to help put everything together was especially rewarding. Seeing the garage transform from an empty possibility to a bursting-at-the-seems beer oasis was magic. During the fest itself, I wandered amongst a jolly good crowd of beer geeks, brewery reps, volunteers, and all around good people while talking beer, answering questions, and sharing the love.

Beer Highlights:
As much as I find it difficult to pick and choose between beers (I love all beer, after all), the few extra anticipated quaffs that did not disappoint were the Cigar City $110K+OT Batch #2 I.R.I.S. aged in Barrels with Cacao Nibs, Hazelnuts, and Cherries; Sweetwater Brewing; and the vintage keg of 2007 Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery. Those special brews aside, there was nary a mediocre or bad beer to be found. It was a veritable sea of good and great beers for me to savor to my hearts content.

General Highlights:
I've said it before and I'll keep saying it for as long as it is true: good beers invite good people. The 2nd Annual TCBF was no exception. I ran into at least a dozen good friends along with many of my treasured beer peeps along with dozens more I didn't know beforehand but I do now. There was nary a single sot or bore who took the piss out of the beer fest, and I have no doubt the 2010 TCBF will be any different.

Overall, the 2nd Annual Treasure Coast Beer Fest was a beery success for all parties involved, and I want them to know how much I appreciate their efforts, generosity, and participation. I may be but one beer geek among millions and our beer fest may be but one among thousands that occur almost weekly all across the USofA, but for me she is special. Florida and the Treasure Coast specifically is a thirsty sea of parched beer geeks who are looking for someone to answer their cries for good beer diversity and availability. For all the effort, passion, time, money, and work each brewery and the distributor who represents them (hopefully well), Thank You. If you brew it, I will drink it, share it, and continue my passioned mission to open more minds and palates to the oasis of good beer diversity. To this end, the Treasure Coast Beer Fest is a valuable asset and friend.

But enough of my blathering, onto the slideshow:

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

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