The event that local craft beer lovers anticipate yearly, the Emerald Coast Beer Festival, is nearly upon us. Hosted by the Escambia Bay Homebrewers, the festival consists of two events, a Beer Pairing Dinner and Beer Tasting. The Beer Pairing Dinner takes place on Thursday, September 4th while the Beer Tasting is Friday, September 5th.
This year we won't be including a lot of information on the Beer Pairing Dinner, only because it already sold out. This year's dinner is with Cigar City Brewing, the venerable Florida brewery out of Tampa, and is sure to be a memorable event for anyone who was lucky enough to already get tickets.
We love to see more local beer festival opportunities popping up around us but if you can only make one festival this year, we would recommend this one. Why do we and many others love this festival so much? It is hosted by our own local homebrew club, brewery representatives are present and pouring which always leads to lively conversations, many homebrew clubs participate allowing you to sample unique beers you would not have access to otherwise, and the festival includes a really good showing from local and regional breweries.
You are bound to have a great time no matter which venues you check out during the festival. A few booths that we personally would recommend this year are:
Pensacola Bay Brewery (Pensacola, FL)
If you live in the area, we truly hope that you've already tried their beer at local venues and visited the brewery as well. But, this is your chance to remedy the situation if for whatever reason you haven't. If your attending from out-of-town, make sure to check out Pensacola's hometown brewery.
Fairhope Brewing Company (Fairhope, AL)
If you haven't gotten the chance to visit their brewery yet, this is your chance to try their brews without leaving Pensacola. You can't get their beer in Florida but after tasting their beers, we are sure you will make a trip out to visit them every once in awhile. We do!
Crooked Letter Brewing Company (Ocean Springs, MS)
A chance to try this breweries offerings without making the trip to MS as they are not available in Alabama or Florida yet. We recently visited and found their brews exceptional.
Oyster City Brewing Company (Apalachicola, FL)
Opened very recently, we haven't even tried their beers yet. A great chance to try beers from a new FL panhandle brewery.
Serda Brewing Company (Mobile, AL)
In case you haven't heard, the days of Mobile currently not having its own brewery are hopefully numbered as Serda plans on filling this gap in 2015. Try their beers before they even open the brewery!
Escambia Bay Homebrewers (Pensacola, FL)
We always recommend checking out as many homebrew clubs as you can but of course, our highest recommendation goes for our local club - Escambia Bay Homebrewers. You get to try beers not commercially available and your guaranteed to get a chance to try some very unique brews. They bring along an impressive variety of brews to try. So stop by and make sure to thank them for hosting this event every year.
You can check out the complete list of participating breweries, homebrew clubs, and distributors on the bottom of the Beer Tasting page of the festival site. You will also want to grab a festival map to start planning which booths are on your "must visit" list.
Advance tickets are $30 and will be $40 at the gate the day of the event. VIP tickets are $55 and will be $60 at the gate the day of the event if any are still available. Designated driver tickets will be available at the gate for $10. You can get your tickets online or you can pick them up in-person at the following locations:
Event: Beer Tasting
Location: Seville Quarter
When: Friday, September 5th 5:30pm-8:30pm (VIP Room 5pm)
Cost: $30 in advance, $40 Day Of / VIP - $55 in advance, $60 Day Of
Tickets: Website or at venues listed above