Neighborhood Brewers Showed Off At Palm Beach Craft Beer Fest Saturday
As the first weekend of summer reared its hot and sun-filled head, the second-annual Palm Beach Craft Beer Festival was there in downtown West Palm Beach to quench its thirst with beer from across the state, across the country, and across the world.
Florida brewers including Due South, Miami Brewing Company, J Wakefield, Lagerhead, Tequesta, Florida Beer Company and Rooney's Ale joined in the outdoor festivities with booths providing beer from breweries such as Sweetwater, Brooklyn, Harpoon and Shipyard. With such a bevy of options, there was definitely something for everyone's palate.
The event never seemed overcrowded, which can become problematic at these sorts of things, which was good, because in the summer heat, people can get worn out quick. Thankfully, the massive downtown condos at least provide shade during the late afternoon, and the food trucks lining the perimeter meant that no one could have left the place hungry (nor should anyone miss the amazingness that is the Doug E Fresh hot dog from PS 561).
Even with a veritable World of Beer at our fingertips, it was with great joy to spend the majority of the festival hanging around the Florida-based brews, and see the tremendous response for these beers. From each tent, sips of beer brought sounds of elation from the imbibers, who then walking out and recommended to all those who would listen that they too should sample the deliciousness that they had just experienced.
Some of the beer highlights included:
Due South's Category 3 IPA
Some citrus and resin come out in this American styled IPA. Gorgeously amber, with some nice foam, that really helps to release some of the hop aroma. The friendly team of Due South co-owner Jodi Halker and staff were out to spread the love of this hoppy IPA along with the ever-prized Caramel Cream Ale.
J. Wakefield's Coconut Hefeweizen
Smells of chocolate with a bit of fresh coconut. Smooth creamy mouthfeel, good body. The coconut was hinted at, and of the fresh variety rather than toasted. Excellently refreshing, touching on a pina colada.
Jonathan Wakefield himself was on hand to dispense some of his non-sour beers to festival goers, including the aforementioned Hefe, an oyster stout with fresh oysters, a Belgian pale ale, mango IPA, peanut butter cup brown, and a 'secret' keg of a blended Florida Weisse.
Miami Brewing Company's Mocha Coffee Brown
This was a rich and complex brown ale, that almost encroaches on porter territory. The brew team pushed what can normally be a basic and simple brown ale into places full of toffee, caramel, and a bit of creamy coffee.
Members of Miami Brewing were happily pouring out the mocha coffee brown ale, as well as Big Rod, their signature blonde ale. "I wanted to push for the brown today," assistant brewer Chris of the Miami Brewing Company told us as we sampled the brown ale. "The Big Rod is generally the most popular beer we put out, but I wanted something dark to accompany it."