South Florida's first and only oceanfront craft beer festival returns to Deerfield Beach this weekend.
The Ocean Brews & Blues Fest takes place on Saturday, May 20, with a block party-style format featuring local artisans, restaurants, and breweries from across the region and country.
The festival, now in its sixth year, is a collaboration between the City of Deerfield Beach and event coordinator Frank Barecich, who says his goal is to create a family-friendly event that showcases the best of the nation's craft beverage creators.
Since taking over the event in 2019, Barecich says the Ocean Brews & Blues Fest has grown to include more vendors than ever before. Barecich, the founder of South Florida-based digital marketing agency GMB Rocket, says he's helped organize several similar events across Broward County in recent years — but nothing quite like the Ocean Brews & Blues Fest.
"This event is unique in a number of ways, from its oceanfront location to its diverse selection of food, vendors, and breweries to the live music," says Barecich. "But most of all, it's a family- and dog-friendly festival that's free to the general public."
This year, more than 200 craft beers will be poured by over 70 local and national craft beverage makers and breweries.
"Every year, we continue to grow, and our main focus is always bringing in more local vendors and top talent where breweries are concerned," adds Barecich.
The 2023 Ocean Brews & Blues craft beer lineup features several renowned breweries, many from out of state, including Knee Deep Brewing, Cascade Brewing, Clown Shoes, Destihl Brewing, Leatherback Brewing, Thomas Creek Brewery, Penn Brewery, War Hammer Brewing, Melvin Brewing, Heretic Brewing, Edmunds Oast, Equilibrium, Prairie Artisan Ales, Sierra Nevada, Revision Brewing Company, Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery, and Captain Lawrence.
Florida breweries include newcomers Rockateer Beer, Bay 13, Conscious Brewing, Uncommon Path, and Unapologetic American Craft Brewers alongside established breweries such as American Icon, Dangerous Minds, Storm House Brewing, Crazy Uncle Mikes, King Fox, Holy Mackerel, If I Brewed The World, 3 Mavins, Yeasty Brews, Flying Monkeys, Pareidolia, Infinite Ale Works, War Hammer, Sour Seacow Cider, Pompano Beach Brewing, South Beach Brewing, Islamorada Brewery & Distillery, Hollywood Brewing, Tampa Bay Brewing, Big Storm Brewing, Untitled Art, King State, 3 Sons, Woven Water, Unbranded, Ravenous Pig, Gulfstream Brewing, La Tropical Brewing, Dream State Brewing, Barrel of Monks, 26 Degree Brewing, Funky Buddha, Cigar City, NOBO Brewing, and Prison Pals.
The festival also includes more than a dozen local vendors, such as Uptown Deli Cafe, Don Tacos & Ceviche, 681 Seafood, That's My Dog, GringArepas, Marco's Top Burgers, Sunshine Pickle Co., Earl's Slow and Low BBQ, and CrumbUp Cookies.
Festivalgoers can enjoy a lineup of live music acts throughout the day, including the Low Ground Trio Band (3 to 4 p.m.), Shaw Davis & the Black Ties (4:15 to 5:15 p.m.), Adam Uhlan & the Blue Risers (5:30 to 6:30 p.m.), and Joey Gilmore (6:45 to 8 p.m.).
Admission to the festival is free to anyone who comes for the live music, food, and vendors. A festival ticket is required for those 21 and older interested in participating in unlimited beer sampling.
General admission tickets are priced at $45 per person and include unlimited sampling from 4 to 8 p.m. and a souvenir glass. A VIP experience is available for $70 per person and allows one-hour-early entry at 3 p.m., as well as access to exclusive VIP beers and food samples from Truli Italian Restaurant and What' Sub.
Ocean Brews & Blues will take place along S. Ocean Way from SE Fourth Street to Hillsboro Boulevard. A complimentary shuttle at the Cove shopping center will provide transportation to and from the event.
Those interested in making a staycation out of the weekend can book a room at the preferred partner hotel, Comfort Inn Oceanside, by calling the hotel and mentioning the event for a discounted rate.
Ocean Brews & Blues Fest. 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday, May 20, at 149 SE 21st Ave., Deerfield Beach; oceanbrewsandblues.com. Admission is free; beer-sampling tickets cost $45 to $80 via eventbrite.com.