Saturday's New Times' Beerfest at Fort Lauderdale's Esplanade Park had a lot going on: a great band, people sporting pretzel necklaces and lederhosen, and giant turkey legs roasting on an open flame. But, of course, the thousands of people who attended had one thing on their mind -- great beer.
From fantastic seasonal pumpkin beers that tasted like autumn in a glass to crisp IPAs, the selection didn't disappoint. What Beerfest proved, however, once and for all, is that South Florida's local beer scene is alive and well, with some of the best beers at the festival being brewed right here in out backyard -- including some kick-ass home brews that stood tall with the big boys.
J. Wakefield might not even be open yet, but the Wynwood brewery's selection of beers to sample was already plentiful. Favorites include a guava hefeweizen, tart and fragrant; and the vanilla coconut porter, rich with cake batter and tropical notes.
Saltwater Brewery's newly released pumpkin stout puts most other pumpkin beers to shame. It's balanced and spicy, resembling pie filling without that fake sweetness found in some other seasonal offerings.
Native Brewing's Thunderhead Red is an easy to drink amber with hints of orange and caramel.
Best beer name goes to Wild Oak Artisan Ale for their Babies With Guns, a blend of Berliner Weiss and pale ale.
Blended beers were a thing at Beerfest, with Brunner Brewing's "The Leftovers" mixing a blonde ale, an amarillo pal ale, and a citra double IPA to make a completely satisfying brew.
Funky Buddha's Nikolai Vorlauf, a Russian imperial stout aged with Jim Beam-soaked oak chips, was a silky, dark beer that could double duty as an after-dinner substitute for a cognac or a cordial.
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As the name implies, Islamorada Beer Co. keeps their beer light and refreshing -- perfect for a day on the beach.
The Wynwood Brewing Co. guys proudly pour their award-winning Pop's Porter.