Who would have thought that an animated TV series about a jaundiced, dysfunctional family would become the longest-running scripted show in history?
Homer, Bart, and the extended Simpsons family have grown from a comic into an entire industry, with movies, branding opportunities, and an area of Universal Studios in Orlando devoted to them. First came the Simpsons Ride, a fantasy 3-D simulated roller coaster that kicked the old Back to the Future attraction to the curb. In June, the majority of Springfield opened -- complete with carnival games, a Kwik-E-Mart (selling Duff energy drink), Krusty Burger, and Moe's Tavern.
Now, the second part of Springfield has just opened, with additional food and drink experiences. Lard Lad Donuts, Bumblebee Man's Taco Truck, and Duff Brewery and Beer Garden are all open and certified nutso!
Because we're fans of The Simpsons (and beer), we drove to Orlando in the middle of summer to brave the weather and grab a Krusty burger and a cold Duff (or two). Here's what we saw and ate.
Unlike many other theme park "shops and restaurants" that are façade-only, Moe's is an actual working tavern. Walk in and you'll find friendly barkeeps ready to serve some Duff and Flaming Moe's.
Once inside, you'll see Barney hoisting a pint at the bar.
Kudos to Universal Studios for "tapping" Florida Beer Company to brew Duff beer. Duff comes in three varieties: Duff, Duff Light, and Duff Dry. The Duff is refreshing and hoppy, and the Duff Light is one of the better domestic light beers we've had in a while. A 20-ounce cup of Duff is $7.25, a 23-ounce souvenir cup is $9.25, with refills $7.25 each.
We asked the theme park for more information about the brewing process of Duff and were told only that it was "crafted especially for Universal Orlando." As for the formula: "You'll have to get with the Duff Man itself to find out the recipe."
If all the simu-rides got you a little too dizzy for a Duff, check out the Flaming Moe's. We were told that "only Moe himself knows the secret to the Flaming Moe's," but we're kinda certain it's orange soda with dry ice. Nevertheless, it's awesome and refreshing, and what other beverage comes with its own show? A souvenir cup of the stuff is $7.99.
Yes, there are Krusty burgers. And they're made to order. We chose the Clogger ($12.99) with cheese sauce and bacon. There's also a Mother Nature burger ($10.99) for vegetarians like Lisa Simpson.
Fried chicken and waffle ($10.99) at Cletus' Chicken Shack. As Cletus would say, "This chicken didn't cross the road."
Krusty Burger employees are way cuter than the Klown!
Sideshow Bob's Footlong is loaded with chili, onions, and the works. Eat this and ride the roller coasters at your own peril ($8.99).
Lard Lad's big pink doughnut ($4.99). As Homer would say, "Mmmmmm, doughnut."
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Here's a video that takes you on the grand tour of the new Duff beer garden in less than five minutes: