Cocktails & Spirits

New Belgium Brews Available Today: Try Them at Grovetoberfest Free Beer Tasting Series

If you're a beer geek, you already know about New Belgium Brewing Company's line of craft beers, especially its Fat Tire amber ale, which has a cult following and an 82 rating by Beer Advocate.

The Fort Collins, Colorado-based brewery is also noted for its commitment to its employees. Voted "Best Place to Work in America" by Outside magazine in 2008, New Belgium Brewing Company gives employees free yoga classes, a case of beer per week, a bicycle on their one-year anniversary, and a trip to Belgium on their five-year anniversary. Good karma makes good beer.

New Belgium, previously unavailable in Miami, just announced a distribution deal with Gold Coast Beverage Distributors, and its brews will be available in South Florida beginning July 29.

If you want a first taste of Fat Tire and other New Belgium beers for free, head to Barracuda Bar Monday, July 29, from 6 to 8 p.m. for the first in a series of free beer tastings, hosted by the producers of Grovetoberfest.

The free tastings run throughout the rest of the summer and the fall, leading up to the beer festival October 19 at Coconut Grove's Peacock Park. Each one features a different focus, from light summer brews to local Miami craft beers.

The events (and the beer) are free, but space is limited, so arrive early to avoid any disappointment. We asked Grovetoberfest director Toby Albelo to walk us through each scheduled beer tasting and explain what to expect. Here's the rundown:

Tasting One: Summer Beer's Here

July 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Barracuda Raw Bar and Grill

This is a tasting of summer beers, ciders, with lots of fruity inspirations. Also, in celebration of New Belgium's Miami launch, you'll be able to sample four or five of their beers -- for free!

Tasting Two: Paleo Aleos

August 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Titanic Brewery

This tasting will feature a collection of pale ales.

Tasting Three: World of Which Crafts?

August 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. at World of Beer Dadeland

This tasting showcases international craft beers. We will have some beers with limited availability in the U.S., as well as some that are not available here at all.

Tasting Four: Dark Side of the Moon

September 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. at OTC

This tasting will focus on dark beers. We'll featured porters and stouts, as well as hybrid dark beers, like dark IPA's.

Tasting Five: Big Bottle Bonanza

September 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Barley & Swine

New this year: What's the big deal with big bottles? We'll highlight some of our favorite big-bottle-only beers.

Tasting Six: Dear Autumn: I'm Fallin' for Ya'

October 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Pincho Factory in Coral Gables

This is your basic fall beer lineup.

Tasting Seven: Locals Only

October 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Grove Spot

New this year: With the surge of new breweries and others on the way, this tasting will concentrate on only local breweries and their beers. We will also be working with Olav from the Grove Spot to create some great beer-infused appetizers for those who make the cut.

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss