Free the Whales Returns With Rare Beer From Nation's Top Breweries

A scene from Free The Whales inaugural event last summer.
A scene from Free The Whales inaugural event last summer.
Photo by Julia Rose Photography
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Several breweries from Florida and beyond that have received national acclaim in recent months are set to pour some of their award-winning suds during the return of Boxelder's Free the Whales.

The inaugural event took place last July. And it'll return this June 30 bigger than before. Boxelder's entire back parking lot will be tented for a true festival-style layout offering more than 20 breweries and more than 100 kinds of beer.

"We'll be bringing in a bunch of beers that are out of market or extremely hard to get, hence the name 'Free the Whales,'" event founder Kris Marino says.

The event lineup will include Proof Brewing out of Tallahassee, voted best brewery and best beer at Cigar City's 2018 Hunahpu Day earlier this month.

Two finalists from USA Today's 2018 "10 Best" list for best new brewery of the year — Pittsburg's Dancing Gnome and Pompano Beach-based Odd Breed Wild Ales — will also pour at the event. Odd Breed opened in November and is among the original 20 breweries selected by a panel of experts who partnered with the 10 Best editors, including South Florida's Ruth Berman, founder of Beer Bon Voyage, before voters determined their favorites.

Confirmed participants also include Florida-based breweries such as Tampa's Angry Chair, Largo's Arkane Ale Works, and Sarasota's Calusa Brewing. Out-of-area breweries will highlight well-knowns such as New York-based Finback, New Jersey-based Magnify Brewing, and Virginia's Triple Crossing Brewing and Aslin Beer Company.

Free the Whales. 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 30, at Boxelder Craft Beer Market, 2817 NW Second Ave., Miami; 305-942-7769; bxldr.com. Tickets cost $70 to $85; sales begin at noon Friday, March, 30 via eventbrite.com and include a festival tasting glass, unlimited draft beer, and food. For updated information and a full list of participants, visit the Facebook event page for Free the Whales.

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