Florida International Beer Festival Review

The Florida International Beer Festival was held yesterday in Orlando
in it's third location in as many years. This year the beer fest was in
Heritage Square which offered more room than the past locations.
Unfortunately, it offered fewer bathrooms which led to the bathroom
line being as long as the beer lines but much slower. Luckily they were allowing re-entry so we were able to leave and use the bathrooms in the bars across the street.

It was raining on and off earlier in the day but the weather held off
for the most part and didn't seem to have any effect on the crowd size.
It seemed like this year had more people than the past few years. I was
accompanied by my friends Kris and Jo and their friend Jason.

Our first stop was the Tiger Beer
tent. The beer was good and they were giving out stickers, and who
doesn't like stickers? Tiger is a pretty standard ale, a bit hoppy and
somewhat bitter but with little aftertaste.

Next was the table set up by one of the local restaurants, Crooked Bayou. They were serving Abita beers and also some of their hot, spicy jambalaya. I had an Abita Turbo Dog
but passed on the jambalaya (but Kris attested to it's yummy goodness).
This is my type of ale: dark, hoppy, chocolaty, and with a nice head.

One of the longer lines–and it stayed that way all day–was for Shipyard.
They were one of the few vendors that pulls from kegs instead of
pouring from bottles. Today the Shipyard minivan was stocked with
Summer Ale, Light Ale, and Brown Ale. There's a couple reasons why
Shipyard is one of the perennial favorites at the beer fest. First,
everything they brew is damn good. Second, they always have a great
staff working the taps who don't mind taking the time to help
you choose one of their beers or answer questions.

One of the more interesting beers was the Caribe Shandy, a ginger
flavored beer. This was what I would term a “sipping beer”. It is very
sweet and very gingery but good in small doses.  I can't see
drining a full bottle of this but it was nice to have a 2oz. sample.
This beer isn't for everyone but if you like ginger give it a try. It
was the perfect precursor to our next stop, the Dunkin Donuts table
where we washed it down with some donut holes.

Our last stop of note was a local favorite, Unique Beers' Orange
Blossom Pilsner. This is a nice pilsner that is flavored with 30%
orange blossom honey. While is sounds like it would be too sweet they
struck a good balance and the honey flavor isn't too overpowering.

We left about an hour and a half before it officially ended, but stayed
in the area to have a few beers in 12 oz. and pint sizes instead of the
2oz. samples. We noticed that quite a few vendors ran out of beer about
an hour before the end. Oddly, it seemed to be the bigger brewers or
distributors that didn't have enough beer. I've also seen this happen
the past couple years so I'm guessing it is a budget thing, not a
planning thing. That and the aforementioned bathroom problem were the
only negatives to this beer fest. I'm definitely looking forward to
next year (and maybe a new location?).

You can view the full photo album
of a few pics I shot while at the beer fest and after. I had planned on
taking more pictures but had a hard time juggling the camera and my
beer

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