Pensacola, Florida
Wednesday September 20th 2017

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Wish You Were Beer—The Main Event

Back in the mid-‘90s, a group of home brewers and small craft brewers got together at Apple Annie’s in Seville Quarter and had a beer tasting.

Twenty-two years later, that tasting is now called Emerald Coast Beer Festival and it has grown into an annual event that attracts almost 2,000 attendees year after year and features over 300 craft beverages to sample.

The fest also does good in the community, as portions of the proceeds benefit local charities and help the Escambia Bay Homebrewers Club continue in its mission of teaching others how to brew at home and educating people regarding craft beer, wine, mead and cider. The charities benefitting from the 2017 Festival are Alfred-Washburn Center and Seville Rotary Club.

Escambia Bay Homebrewers Club Secretary April King said that breweries and homebrewers will be on hand to discuss the details of the beverages, so if you’re interested in learning about beer, how it’s made and what ingredients are used, this fest is definitely for you.

“This is the only regional beer festival that highlights the home brewer,” King said. “A beer created by a home brewer is a one-of-a-kind beer that you will not taste anywhere else. Since home brewers work with smaller batches, they experiment more and have come up with some fabulous beers that taste wonderful.”

Some newcomers this year include Bold City Brewery from Jacksonville, Crosstown Brewing Co. from Memphis, Big Beach Brewing Company from Gulf Shores, Haint Blue Brewing Co. from Mobile, Second Line Brewing and Parleaux Beer Lab from New Orleans, Oasis Texas Brewing Company from Austin and locals Swan Neck Winery and Mead.

Returning local favorites will include Pensacola Bay Brewery, Gulf Coast Brewery, McGuire’s and Redneck Riviera Brewing Project.

“This is the first time that Swan Neck, a 100 percent meadery, will attend,” King said.

King also said that Alga Beer Co., a homebrew club that is just starting up, will also be participating, as well as A Little Madness Brewing Company.
“We also are anticipating the opening of Perfect Plain Brewing Co., as they just recently got their tanks delivered,” King said. “They won’t be at the fest this year, but they will be opening soon downtown.”

The Santa Rosa Beach based brewery Grayton Beer Company will be in attendance and kicking off their fall brewing season. The brewery has a new seasonal harvest ale slated for release in mid-September, after a successful harvest of Centennial hops from Hop Head Farms, located in Hickory Corners, Michigan.

“We are not only highlighting Florida craft beer makers, but the entire Southeast region as well,” King said. “Oasis Texas Brewing from Austin will be our furthest brewer in attendance.”

As always, King said, the homebrew clubs come up with some unique beers and this year is no different.

“The beers this year include an alternative beer made with honey and molasses, Cherry Agave Wine, Peachy Coconut Ale, Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout and a Coconut Lavender Shandy,” she said.

The festival is Friday, but there is also a Beer Pairing Dinner Thursday night. The featured brewery for this year’s dinner is Founders Brewing from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Founders was voted the second best American brewery this year by the American Home Brewer’s Association

EMERALD COAST BEER FESTIVAL
WHEN: 5:30-8:30 p.m., Friday Sept. 8
WHERE: Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government St.
COST: $30 in advance, $40 at event
DETAILS: emeraldcoastbeerfest.com