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Beer and Music Meet for the Lebrewski Cruise

Despite the constant influx of new music themed cruises, there’s an upcoming outing that ought to find favor with folks who maybe have been reticent to get their feet wet with any offering so far. In effect, it allows passengers to wet their gullets instead. That would be the forthcoming Lebrewski Cruise, which, if you haven’t guessed already, is about music, beer, cruising, beer, more music, island excursions, beer, beer brewers, and finally: beer. Did we mention beer?

Sailing from the Port of Miami March 1 through the 5, 2016, the cruise makes its appeal to beer connoisseurs and barflys alike, keeping everyone well satiated while treating their ears to the variety of bands onboard.

Hosted by Kyle Hollingsworth, a member of String Cheese Incident and a brewer himself (his signature brew is a seasonal beer known as Hoopla), the musical line-up for Lebrewski will include O.A.R., the Samples, Molly Hatchet, Blackfoot, The Fabulous Thunderbirds and many more, all of whom will provide musical accompaniment as their audience imbibes. Be warned however, this isn’t your average hedonistic excursion. As Hollingsworth explains, there’s an intellectual side to this cruise as well.

Hollingsworth, on the phone from Colorado while simultaneously picking out new stage garb at his local Nordstrom, is attempting to explain to his snarky interviewer that in fact this voyage isn’t all about drinking oneself into a stupor.

“Some of the bands that were chosen are definitely what you would call party bands,” Hollingsworth concedes. “But the idea is to gather a fan base of people who really care about what they’re drinking. I’m going to be brewing onboard with the fans and some of the great breweries from around the country, and we’ll do talks about the intersection of creative music and creative breweries. So aside from just drinking, it can be a more fulfilling experience if you want it to be.”
Given that this is the first time ever that the Lebrewski Cruise has set sail, it’s not surprising that Hollingsworth is excited about its possibilities. “I’m psyched,” he says. “I’ve been involved in the music business forever, but over the past five years, I’ve been rekindling a passion of mine, which is to create my own home brewery. I’ve been going around the country making beers with some great breweries, so I’ve been embracing that entire experience. It involves a little bit of risk taking and some amount of uncertainty, but it’s kind of like the way I improvise on stage. So I’ve been pushing that angle for the last couple of years.”

Naturally then, he was thrilled that the cruise promoters suddenly approached him to host the event. “It was like, ‘You play music, so can you help organise this for us?’ So I kind of imagined myself as Captain Stubing from The Love Boat. It was a little out of the blue. A random phone call that promised we would get to go on a cruise. I thought, that sounds like fun. We get to go to a private island. That sounds like fun too. And I get to make music. So what could be better? So we got together and I gave them some great brewery ideas and a lot of great music ideas as well. So it’s not going to be just a beer festival. People are going to learn a lot too."

Although this isn't his first cruise, Hollingsworth admits he's still largely a nautical rookie. Nevertheless, he promises that the Lebrewski Cruise will provide some elements that other excursions haven’t offered.

“We’re not limiting the clientele, but there will be a lot of education for those that are particularly interested in the beer aspect of it all,” he suggests. “Some people may go just for the music, but there’s also a chance to absorb a little bit more. The palette is pretty wide. Beer is the star of this cruise and that’s the draw. So we’re looking for beer lovers who like music as opposed to music lovers who like beer.”

But is he worried that an unlimited supply of brew may prompt some passengers to overindulge? Worried may not be the right word. 

“We hope that if they get intoxicated, they’ll do so on some really good beer,” Hollingsworth muses. "So if they fall in the pool, hopefully it will be because they drank some really good stout along the way.”

The Lebrewski Cruise. March 1 - 5, 2016, sailing from the Port of Miami, 1120 Port Blvd., Miami; 877-490-2337; Prices range from $89 to $8998 per person. Visit for more info.
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Lee Zimmerman