Cold Beer And Air Conditioning Rule At First Palm Beach Summer Beer Fest
The sky was cloudy and forecast for rain. It didn't seem to bother anybody, though, as they made their way indoors to the Expo Center of the South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach for the inaugural Palm Beach Summer Beer Fest. Being South Florida's only indoor festival was indeed cause of celebration, and the burden of constantly checking weather updates removed from our collective shoulders. This is, especially during the heat of the summer months, the perfect venue for a beer festival.
"Which one would you like?" the enthusiastic beer pourer at the Unibroue booth asked. I pointed to the gold foil-capped bottle with a majestic sailboat on it. Don de Dieu, a golden colored triple wheat ale; yeasty, flowery, and spicy. There was a strong showing of these Quebec beers. Beside me, people clamoring for a sampling of their brew Terrible, a Belgian-style beer that belies its name, and is instead not terrible at all.
The festival was spread out across the massive interior, with a main stage dominating the center, while booths took over the rest of the space in large sections and hallways. As can be problematic at festivals of this size, lines for certain brewers would snake into shapes that, if you weren't looking for them, could stretch and bend at any time. The line to sample some of Funky Buddha's beers, of which they brought coconut-flavored Last Snow, No Crusts PB&J, and Raspberry Floridian, was over four booths long, passing well over 40 people at one time.
In fact, lines for most of the local brewers were long, for both the quality of the beers they were bringing and for South Florida's love of all things local. At 2:30 p.m., for example, Due South tapped a keg of Calling All Cars chocolate doughnut and coffee porter and seven minutes later it had been kicked. With demand that high, let's hope they have a couple in reserve at the tasting room!
9067 Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach, FL