Grovetoberfest has switched locations in Coconut Grove over the years, but now it's set to return to Regatta Park Saturday, October 12, to accommodate more breweries this year, says organizer Tony Albelo of the local event production company Swarm.
Now in its ninth year, Grovetoberfest is one of the largest and most anticipated beer festivals in Miami, and this year it will include more than 500 brews, all wrapped in a Star Wars theme. Albelo says he began organizing themed festivals three years ago, and the first was styled after old-school 8-bit Nintendo videogames. This year, the fall beer festival will celebrate the beloved sci-fi film series.
One of the breweries to embrace this theme year-round is Miami's J. Wakefield Brewing. The Wynwood brewery, which earned a reputation for brewing sour beers, will pour four Star Wars-inspired brews. According to Albelo, the list will include Tatooine Sunrise Fruit Punch Berliner, Dagobah Swamp Juice Lemon Lime Berliner, BB-8 Orange Tang Berliner, and Chewy's Morning Coffee.
"Wakefield hit it out of the park this year," Albelo says.
Albelo credits Kris Marino for curating Grovetoberfest's beer selection and attracting some of the hottest breweries favored by beer aficionados. Marino founded the ultrapopular festival of hard-to-get brews, Free the Whales. "Kris lives, breathes, and dies for craft beer," Albelo says. "He knows what's hip. He's almost like an entertainment reporter for craft beer."
New breweries pouring at the fest this year include Magnify from New Jersey and Ology from Tallahassee, and a notable local up-and-comer is Lost City, slated to open in North Miami. South Florida breweries include Hollywood Brewing, Civil Society, Lincoln's Beard, Veza Sur, Wynwood Brewing, South Beach Brewing, Yeasty Brews, Bousa, and Concrete Beach.
Another addition is Flanagan's, a Miami restaurant institution that will serve food in the festival's VIP tent.
Though many beer festivals advertise unlimited suds, Albelo prefers to distance Grovetoberfest from the all-you-can-drink mentality and keep it strictly a tasting event.
"It has always been a sampling and not a drink-until-you-pass-out event," he says. "We want to make it as inviting as possible."