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Friday August 22nd 2014

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Beer, Beer, and More Beer

By Kate Peterson

We are not talking about any old run-of-the-mill beer. The Escambia Bay Homebrewers organization prides itself on making the finest of adult beverages. The club, along with Seville Quarter, will host the Emerald Coast Beer Festival.

This year marks the 12th year that the Escambia Bay Homebrew Club has been in charge of the festival. The club was founded in the spring of 1985. Their mission is to educate its members about the art of making fine adult beverages and to share the art of making these beverages with others interested in learning. They strive to engender an appreciation of fine micro brewed and imported beers, wines and adult beverages among those who make them and are always looking to bring new breweries into the mix.

“We have added quite a few new homebrew clubs,” said Jim Martin, treasurer of the Escambia Bay Homebrew Club, noting the growth of this years’ beer festival.

A beer pairing dinner kicks off the event on Thursday, September 6, hosted by Southern Tier of Lakewood, N.Y. They will feature a virtual tour of the brewery on large screen TVs, as well as an opportunity to ask questions of the brew masters. Two special beer firkins will be produced for this dinner. A firkin is a British unit of capacity usually equal to a quarter of a barrel.

Seville Quarter’s executive chef, Brandon Melton has created a very special menu to pair with the six unique beers. The menu is impressive, to say the least. Curried shrimp puffs, smoked salmon flatbread with herb creme, and twice fried pork sticks with spicy BBQ sauce paired with Southern Tier Firkins of Phin & Matt’s and Unearthly IPA. Tupelo honey roast quail, sweet potato johnny cakes and Jack Daniels Beurre Blanc will be served with Southern Tier Harvest ESB. The Southern Tier 2X IPA will be matched with boudin and andouille sausage with 3-year cheddar, while cold smoked flank steak, porcini jus, truffled gratins and grilled broccolini will be served with Southern Tier Iniquity Imperial Black Ale. And, of course, there will be dessert: mint Choklat Mousse Cake will be coupled with Southern Tier Choklat.

The beer-tasting portion of the festival will feature exquisite microbrews and home brew styles, from more than 45 breweries and brewers from throughout the United States. The places to sample beers will be located throughout Seville. Some are inside each of the bars you pass through, and most of the vendors are in the side lot and pour out on to the street.

When you enter the event you will be given a special tasting glass. It will have a pour mark on it, so that you will have a chance to taste each beer of your choosing.

“Originally we were going to change the color each year, but we lost track of that,” said Martin, of the tasting glasses. “Last year the color was a lilac, this year they are red. The logo is the same.”

The Escambia Bay Homebrewers Club donates proceeds of this event, as well as others, to charities. This year’s Beer Festival will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida and the Seville Rotary.

“We give the charities tickets to sell and they keep the money,” said Martin. “It has been good so far. Recently, we provided a keg of beer for all the people who participated in a charity bean bag game, and gave beer to golfers at a Boo Weekly charity event.”

Ticket sales have been moving along swiftly. According to Martin they have less tickets left now than last year. They printed 2500 and have just 350 left. The tickets are handed out to members, mailed off to those who ordered by mail and some are reserved for people who show up at the door. Martin mentioned he mailed some tickets to as far away as West Virginia.

VIP tickets are limited to 100 and can be purchased in advance for $55.00. VIP ticket holders receive early entry to the VIP room, hors d’oeuvres and special exclusive hand-selected beers chosen by the top breweries.

There will be plenty of food and music at the festival for all to enjoy. Food vendors on site will include Happy Pig, Tin-Tin Oriental Foods and Woody’s Pizza. Music will be provided by The Hotheads, formerly The Gravy Soppers, string musicians from Alabama who feature the fiddle, banjo, mandolin, guitar and upright bass, and the Posi-Tones playing blues and jazz classics.

EMERALD COAST BEER FESTIVAL
WHEN: Pairing Dinner, 7 p.m. Thursday, September 6; Apple Annie’s Courtyard
Beer Fest, 6 p.m. Friday, September 7
WHERE: Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government St.
COST: $20-$50
DETAILS: emeraldcoastbeerfest.com; sevillequarter.com