A beer fest anyone can do but a beer fest done well cannot be done by just anyone. This lesson in beeriness and social conviviality was learnt thanks to a very special group of people over the last two years. A late-comer after the first year, it has been my very distinct personal pleasure to participate in, document, and celebrate the timeless communion of good beer and good people in the name of some near-and-dear charitable causes. September 11th 2010 marked the 3rd Annual Treasure Coast Beer Fest, brain-child and baby of the BeerWorks Charitable Foundation. A close-knit group of beer-minded peeps, their mission is to spread the love for quality artisanal beers while giving back to the very community which makes our dreams, our passion a living reality. I am truly blessed to be an active member and participant not once but twice, a joy to share in reminiscent prose.
Not one to sit along the sidelines of anything involving beer, my ambassadorial skills was put to the test as the official head of PR for 2010. In my world, PR doesn’t stand for Press Release but instead for first, foremost, and always, Public Relations. Just as anyone can do a beer fest, to do it well is more than flashy posters, catchy ads, and pompous posing. Public relations are about the public, and for our beerfest that is the community of the Treasure Coast and the community of brewers, breweries, and distributors whose passion for the fermentable made our Treasure Coast Beer Fest possible. And for this year’s charitable recipients, a valued act of selfless consideration: Dogs & Cats Forever, Harvest Food & Outreach Center, Alzheimer’s Memory Walk, Michael’s Message, and Learn To Read of St. Lucie County.
Notably absent last year was Southern Eagle Distributing, but this year they proudly represented many crafty breweries of flavor diversity found within their portfolio. Taking the lead once more was JJ Taylor Distributing and their very own beer ambassador, Tim Hebeler. Without Tim and the many fine members of the JJ Taylor family and their superfantastic portfolio of beers and breweries, we simply could not have done without. Truly sincerely, thank you. Certainly not least was Republic National whose smattering of beers included many a new staple to their portfolio alongside a solid standing of their regulars. Overall there were close to 60 different breweries/brewers pouring an eclectic mix of almost 200 different and tasty beers. It was a shame FL Micro Bev and Micro Man were absent but maybe next year. In the meantime, there be beer to wax poetic on and philosophize over.
One time was fabulous enough, but twice is beyond even fantabulous. What we have here is ground-breaking tastebud-pleasing heart-pounding goosebump-inducing beervana. Or as they like to be called, Sweetwater. Yes, once again to our humble blessing Sweetwater graced the Treasure Coast with a flavorific array of beers. A tasting hot spot, the likes of their 420 Extra Pale Ale, IPA, Blue, Motor Boat, and Sch’Wheat pleased many a palate. Pinch me all you want, even now a solid month after, and I’ll still be able to tell you it wasn’t a dream.
Also high on the list of beer coveting was the hot to trot Cigar City Brewing of Tampa, FL. That’s right. Not only does the sunshine state know how to rock the beaches, ride the waves, and populate the tiki bars, we know how to roll with the beer, too. Forget the table. Pft! Who needs a table?! Certainly not Cigar City as they descended upon the Fort Pierce City Hall Parking Garage in their van of kegly delights. Pouring from the taps were Maduro, Jai Alai IPA, Humidor Jai Alai IPA, Good Gourd, Jose Marti, and Guava Grove. Suffice to say, though the van may have arrived on a full tank, they certainly left on empty, beer that is.
Not to be left out, there was many a tastetacular table, some I am horribly ashamed to not being able to visit. A travesty to be sure, I’d rather not talk about it. Instead, allow me a moment or two to send a sudsy shout-out to some, certainly not all, and beg forgiveness for those I forget to list:
Terrapin, Samuel Adams, The Bruery, Diageo for bringing me the Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, Stone, Oskar Blues, Dogfish Head, Funky Buddha and their brand-spanking new brewpub, Corner Café & Brewery and Matt for bringing his always classy beers, PBR and the funtacular cornhole corner, Abita, Lazy Magnolia, Holy Mackerel, Southern Tier, Victory, and so many more.
Keeping the homebrew dream alive were the Treasure Coast Brewmasters along with the Palm Beach Draughtsman while yours beerly and Awesome Alex manned the Beer 101 table. A venue to pick our minds on all things beer and homebrew, we couldn’t have done it without the generosity of BX Depot, Ale Street News, and Awesome Alex for patiently putting up with the roving social antics of…you guessed it, me. Camera flashing, amidst savoring tasty brews and socializing with my peeps, those four hours flew by fun and furious. Of course, I had been there since 8amish to help set-up and stayed well past 5pmish to help clean up. So personally it was more like eleven hours of fun with a quick burst of synergistic magic in the middle where dreams become reality and all the headache inducing preparation paid off beyond even our wildest dreams.
Not to be forgotten or neglected, I’d like to add a separate thanks to Julie and the fine folks at All About Beer for putting up with my pestering and graciously listing our event on your website. Likewise, I’d also like to thank Ale Street News, DRAFT, Rate Beer, Beer Advocate… and I think that covers it for sources outside the Treasure Coast for going above and beyond. Locally, I’d like to thank Robert and Channel 10 for once more doing a fantastic job promoting our event of good natured joviality and charity. To Scripps and your various journals of press, thank you. To Jack FM and all others, I still don’t know jack and much appreciated.
Ok, now where was I…
The 3rd Annual Treasure Coast Beer Fest was an overwhelming success. Previous faults were corrected and notes were taken on what to keep and what to change for next year. Oh yes, there will be a 4th Annual Treasure Coast Beer Fest. Ready those calendars for more fun in the Florida sun with ample shade and really damn good beer. Know it.
The fest may have ended at 5pm on that Saturday afternoon, but that doesn’t mean the festivities were anywhere near set to end. A generously helpful and enthusiastic participant in this year’s fest was JoJo’s Raw Bar and Grille of downtown Fort Pierce where the festivities ran long into the night. Me and my posse arrived late enough to avoid the body crush but right on time to kick back, breathe, and relax. Not to be outdone, there were two very special drafts pouring that night for those wise enough to venture unto JoJo’s. Direct from Brooklyn Brewery was a 2009 Monster Ale and equally direct from Terrapin Brewery, another vaunted Georgia brewery which has blossomed under the tender care of JJ Taylor Distributing (a fate I hope to see repeated with Sweetwater) was the Big Hoppy Monster. Yum and yum.
Eventually beered out, I switched to some faithful companions, Balvenie 12yr DoubleWood and Balvenie 15yr Single Barrel. Not beer per say, but before the scotch there must come beer, albeit primitively, and so I feel no shame, nay, pride in sharing my spirituous exploits that night. After all, something to savor slow and steady during a late night of friends and fun makes for a memorable experience long after the fact. We eventually called it a night at the cozy Knights Inn, a hop skip away from the beach. As an aside, I’d like to not thank Tim for taking the room with an ocean view while I got the rather morose view of the parking lot… But to get back on topic, as I reflect and reminisce, it is the most natural thing in the world to say that my life is better because of my dear friends with whom I shared many a beer and many a memory. To my BrewGrrs family, so glad you could make it and to lucky #4, Cheers and Salutations!
(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)