There is nothing like getting a small group of people that love beer together and talk beer. Well actually there is one thing better than that, add in that these people will be sharing and drinking beer as well. This is exactly what I had the great pleasure of partaking in last night.
Thanks to Ed Roberts, of the Fort Lauderdale branch (formerly of the Boca Raton and Boynton Beach stores) of Total Wine and More, he assembled a bit of a who’s who of South Florida beer people. Four people from three different beer blogs including Kelly (Cerveza Chica) and Phil (The Ferm) from Dos Beerigos, Rob from Daily Beer Review and myself. We had Adam and Ian from South Florida’s number one craft beer distributor Fresh Beer. Pam, aka Brew Slueth, who is a home brewer as well as an artist that makes things out of bottle caps. And finally Jonathan, the creator of the Boca Beer Lovers Meetup group. And we all came together at the Total Wine and More in Pembroke Pines, FL. And let me just say that it was a hike to get out there but absolutely worth it.
Everyone brought brews to share with everyone and to say the lineup was impressive would be a major understatement. The victims that were set up and knocked down were Magic Hat Howl, Left Hand Smoke Jumper, Ian’s Homebrew Imperial Raspberry Stout, Bell’s Hopslam, Cigar City Bolita Brown (the infected batch), Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence, Lozen Boer, Mikkellar It’s Alive, Ridgeway Seriously Bad Elf, Bourbon Porter Homebrew (courtesy of Chung at Coffee District, Kevin at Funky Buddha and Chris), Avery Maharaja (2007), The Bruery Two Turtle Doves, Dogfish Head Squall and Canteen Gueuze (2008). It’s really difficult to pick a favorite from the bunch. Both the home brews were outstanding. I loved the CC Bolita Brown’s funkiness. The Maharaja really became a smooth balanced IPA with the age that was amazing. And the Canteen was a great way to end the night.
But besides the beers we talked about a wide range of beer related topics. Adam and Ian taught many of us about the laws that go into a brewery coming to the state of Florida and getting a distributor in each particular area. We all talked about the growler bill that is trying to get passed into law that would legally allow brew pubs to sell growlers. And we all shared stories about what got us into craft beer and some of our experiences.
This was truly one of my favorite moments in my time of experiencing craft beer. I’ve been to numerous festivals, beer bars, dinner pairings and so forth but this was just really awesome. This helped reassure to me how much I love the craft beer community. They are about unity and celebrating craft beer and trying to bring it closer to light to a larger range of people. I really never thought that in my almost 2 years of blogging about beer that I would be at this point where I am meeting with other beer folks down here, including ones in the business, and being able to talk about something we love. I’m very happy that everyone also agreed that we should continue to do these meetings and it looks like quarterly with rotating locations.