Thursday, July 21, 2011

BEERflections ~ 2nd Annual Family Summer Bash @ Hurricane VB

This year’s 2nd Annual Family Summer Bash wasn’t as beertiful outside as last year’s thanks not so much to the long-term nefarious shenanigans of a certain beer distributer, but plenty of fun was had by all, staff and patrons alike.

And of course, Beer too!

Kicking off this year on Saturday, June 25th, the official festivities started at 1pm and ended long after 5pm. Just like last year, I arrived early to help set-up not as a beerific volunteer but as an official Hurricane employee. Shazam! The new day was already shaping up to be a typical Florida summer afternoon with sweltering heat and thundering storms, both of which were a potential threat to our afternoon of both beery and wingly activities. Thankfully, the majority of Florida veterans shrugged it off as just another typical day in paradise, even if a few car-toting enthusiasts were befuddled by a little stormy weather. Those enthusiasts by the way are the Renegade Cruisers who understandably love their cars as evidenced by the few beauties on display who braved the temperamental weather to dazzle car geeks and wide-eyed munchkins alike.

As for me, the threat of stormy weather wasn’t as ominous as the threat of some serious heat exhaustion as sweat threatened to soak me long before Mother Nature did.


I dressed properly and my Love who came to chillax later in the afternoon brought a life-saving change of clothes just in case. Tagging along was our younger bundle of joy, Preston, who in another life was definitely a fish…or Merman. Either way, he can swim and splash and slide like no other and outlast all others. So yes, it is most certainly true that the smile of a loved one is happiness uncomplicated and fulfillment immeasurable. My Family and my Love have blessed me with this indefatigable reality.

On the list for Saturday included some but not all:
Water slide. Bounce house. Jousting ring. Bucket brigade. Ring toss. Wing eating contest.

For entertainment, 99.7 Jack FM kept the tunes and the antics roaring across the airwaves through rain, sleet, and more than a few ear-drum rattling thunderplosions. Yep. Just another day in paradise and helping us out was a smashing show of Hurricane regulars along with some faces new. I was especially pleased to see the boisterous bonanza of kids (with their parents) taking full advantage of all the family summer bash with the water slide and bucket brigade tying for favorite recreation. In fact, water slides aren’t just for kids. They’re for grown-up kids too judging by the multiple trips down the slide by Howard and friends amidst crashing bodies, flapping limbs, and water-logged laughter. I can pretty much guarantee that next year’s Family Summer Bash will feature the water slide, maybe even one bigger and badder…

Don’t believe me? Ask Preston.

The finale for the official festivities was far less water-logged and much more wing-logged.
Is that a word? Well, it is now.
A lucky dozen or so contestants battled it out over sticky spicy wings to see who would rein Lord of the Wings this year. Last year’s winner was my fellow beerfriend, Jeremy, eating 24 wings in just 4 minutes. This year’s winner came close, winning with 22 wings in just 4 minutes. His prize? Well, besides a jar of antacid and a roll of toilet paper for later, he won 10 free wings every week for a full year’s cycle. Considering the tastetastic proportions of the wings at Hurricane Grill and Wings of Vero Beach, t’was a coveted victory indeed. In fact, this year’s winner was last year’s runner-up, proof that perseverance and wet-naps leads to greatness.

But what about the beer?

As previously mentioned, the beertiful selection outside that was present last year was not allowed this year. I won’t go into the specifics as to why, but let’s just say that it is unfortunate when one person (in this case company) does things not by the books (and for a very long time), and when that hammer comes firmly down, it is ultimately the good people and businesses who suffer. And so, this year there was no beer truck outside pouring delicious fermented sudsy nectar from gleaming spouts of silver. Nor was there a tasting table of delectable beer goodies to savor and to share. No, this year there was a cooler with Miller Lite, Yuengling, and Heineken.


To put things in perspective a bit: last year the beer truck was pouring along with Miller Lite and Yuengling such tasty samplings as Brooklyn Lager and Brooklyner Weiss. Pouring at the tasting table were even more craft beers the likes of Bells Amber, Bells Kalamazoo, Stone Pale Ale, Stone Arrogant Bastard, and with Rich at my side, Brooklyn Brown Ale and Brooklyn Local 2. I rocked the tasting table last year and by wrap-up, there was little to nothing left to sample, a good problem to have when promoting good beer.

This year: Miller Lite, Yuengling, and Heineken in a can.


All was not lost for those enlightened many who crave the flav for inside Hurricane VB are 25 taps of hand-crafted beery beauty. Altogether there are 28 taps but the unmentioned three are of no concern. My Love sated her thirst with the glorious hop while I danced all over the board from hop to malt to hop and everywhere in-between. While supervising the Tap Toss and taking a gazillion pictures, a hungry thirst had been worked up, indeed. Together we shared a wing sampler while Preston demolished his ¼ cheeseburger, hold the dressings, and bring on the fries. Beverage? Coke, please. After feeling the heavens vent apparently long pent up frustrations, sunshine once more saved the day. Lighting gone, no sooner did we get the outside games back up and running were a passel of kids big and small racing for the water slide.

A big Thank You to Billy’s Bounce House of Vero Beach for all the awesome fun, you were definitely appreciated and the memories will linger for many summers to come.

Even though tons of fun was had, eventually the time to say not goodbye but good night came to pass. As the air left the bounce houses and tables were packed up, Laura, Preston, and I headed home, hearts and bellies full. And on that note, a final thank you to Scott, our not-really-so-grumpy kitchen manager for preparing a most delicious breakfast and to Nicole for raiding her farm before work. Nothing beats fresh, especially when hungry. And I am always hungry for life, for beer, for food, fun, memories, and for the beauty who has blessed my life inside and out.


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

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