If you’re looking for a quick beer trip this weekend, consider a drive to Tampa, where the Florida Brewers Guild hosts its annual FBG Fest Saturday, March 4, from 1-5pm, at Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park along the Tampa Riverwalk.
What sets FBG Fest apart from other beerfests is that not “only” is it an all-Florida fest, proceeds benefit the mission of the FBG to further the interests of the state’s craft breweries. This year, 65 Florida breweries are scheduled to be represented at the fest, and attendees are given the opportunity to talk all things beer with brewery owners, brewers and brewery reps who will be under the tents and behind the tables. FBG Executive Director Melissa White adds that the number of breweries has increased this year from last year’s count of 58. “It’s a great fest to meet the folks behind the beer.”
Brewery tents line both sides of Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park, and in years past, it’s been pretty easy to move around from tent to tent. To satisfy your munchies, food will be available for purchase on site by Tampa Bay Food Truck Rally, featuring: Bacon Boss, Cheesesteak Truck, Dochos, I Wanna Wok, Taste Buddz and Vanchetta. Although early ticket sales have closed, tickets are still available for both the VIP (one hour early entry at 1pm) and General Admission (regular admission at 2pm) levels.
And, you can save a few bucks! If you don’t have your Fest ticket yet, there’s still time. Order now and get $5 off the ticket price by using Code DRINKLOCAL. Says Melissa: “Let’s raise a glass to toast the success of Florida craft beer.” Indeed!
This writer has attended the past two FBG Fests (see last year’s recap story), and it’s a great way to meet new people and try new beer. Take a look at this year’s 200+ beer list, and you might just start salivating. There are a few newcomers to the scene this time around, including several breweries which just opened in 2016. You’ll see some big name beers. Due South Brewing (Boynton Beach) will pour its Mariana Trench Imperial Stout. If you missed Due South’s Trench Day in January, check out my visit. Cigar City Brewing (Tampa) will offer a squadron of its beers, including a stout you just may have heard of (just a hunch), Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout, and Marshal Zhukov’s Penultimate Push Imperial Stout with Coffee. Aardwolf Brewing (Jacksonville) is bringing the goods, including its Cinnabitch Caganer Imperial Stout. Coppertail Brewing (Tampa) will pour its GABF Medal Winner Slam Piece Cucumber Berliner Weisse. South Florida favorite Funky Buddha Brewery (Oakland Park) lists More Moro Blood Orange IPA, along with Last Snow Coconut Coffee Porter, and the intriguing Jitterbug Frappucino (Imperial Cream Ale with Coffee). Intuition Ale Works (Jacksonville) includes its Underdark Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout on its beerlist. And, the list goes on!
Downtown Tampa is a popular place on any given weekend, with this coming weekend being no exception. Believe it or not, there are a few other events going on around the area, and parking is expected to be a bit challenging. Take an Uber, Lyft, cab, or the Trolley from Ybor to the Fest. Riding the trolley is fun and inexpensive, and, after the fest, if you still have any energy left, simply walk around Ybor for more fun.
Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park is located at 601 Old Water Street, Tampa, adjacent to the Amalie Arena. The Trolley stops in front of the park for easy access. Help support the Florida Brewers Guild while sampling many of the awesome beers the state has to offer at this year’s FBG Fest.
Linda Johnson, Certified Cicerone®
… covering the local and Florida beer scene and all things Florida beer … (If you’re looking for more local and statewide beer events, be sure to look at the brewnymph.com events calendars!)
(photos by Linda Johnson)