Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday August 14th 2018

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Mardi Party 2018

KREWE BREW
By Stephanie Sharp

The idea of Mardi Gras is to get your vices out of your system before Ash Wednesday and there are plenty of ways to do just that and stay local this season. For example, if craft beer is your thing the new kid on the block has just the brew for you.

Perfect Plain Brewing Co. has hit the ground running since opening Thanksgiving weekend and hasn’t slowed down. On Friday, Feb. 2, they introduced the first custom craft beer created for Mardi Gras. In collaboration with Pensacola Mardi Gras Inc., Perfect Plain hosted a naming contest at their Garden Street taproom where krewes had the chance to name the new brew.

LOCAL TRADITIONS
The team at Perfect Plain is stacked with Pensacola locals eager to promote and celebrate local culture. D.C. Reeves, CEO and co-founder of Perfect Plain, knows that Mardi Gras memories are ubiquitous to life in Pensacola.

“As a child, it’s about catching beads. In your twenties, it’s about a little revelry. In my thirties, it’s about seeing my daughter’s smile while she gets to experience it all,” said Reeves. “What’s cool about Mardi Gras is that you never really grow out of it.”

As a part of their mission to be as community-driven as possible, Perfect Plain looks for opportunities to enrich local events with a custom craft beer element. For instance, on Thursday, Feb. 1, they released the Perfect Pensacon Belgian Dubbel in partnership with Pensacon.

“We try to be hyper local, because we know at the end of the day, it’ll be the community that supports us.”

For their other event themed brew, Perfect Plain partnered with Pensacola Mardi Gras, Inc., the clearinghouse for Mardi Gras events in Pensacola and the organizers of the annual Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras Parade.

Danny Zimmern, president of Pensacola Mardi Gras, Inc., is a realtor for Scoggins III, Inc. and represented Perfect Plain during their search for their taproom and brewing facilities.

“We take a lot of pride in Perfect Plain, having helped bring them downtown,” said Zimmern.

As development downtown has flourished, so has the economic impact of Mardi Gras. Perfect Plain’s location on Garden Street and off of the official Grand Parade route signals a seasonal sprawl that Zimmern hopes will continue.

“As downtown Pensacola matures, we want to be bigger than a one street celebration.”

FLAVOR OF THE SEASON
When the team at Perfect Plain gets an idea for a new beer, the process usually starts at their Monday morning “family meeting.” Reeves, along with co-founder and director of brewing operations Reed Odeneal, general manager Bryant Liggett and head brewer Brett Schweigert.

Once they decide on an idea, they figure out what it should taste like and what features it should have. If the flavor combination is ambitious, they will do a pilot run and decide if they need to change course. When the beer is finalized and ready to tap, the bartenders are trained on the new beer to help better serve customers in the taproom.

According to Reeves, it takes about a month from that first meeting to tapping the new beer for the public. Anytime they make a commitment to custom craft beer for a local event, it’s a commitment from their whole team.

“You can’t just decide the day before,” Reeves said. “It’s not something you can just throw together.”

This particular custom beer will be a “hat tip” to a traditional Mardi Gras cocktail, the Pimm’s Cup, and will have ingredients based around that flavor profile.

KREWE LOVE
If you’ve ever seen a Mardi Gras parade, you’ve probably noticed the different floats and the various krewes that populate them. These social organizations form around mutual interests or lifestyles and adopt the theme of their choice. In Pensacola, krewes range from flappers in the roaring ’20s to local historic characters.

According to Zimmern, PMGI can identify at least 80 Mardi Gras krewes but estimates the true number to be around 90 krewes, representing different walks of life and even charitable causes.

“If you can live by the rules, you’re welcome. We’re a big tent celebration,” said Zimmern.

Interest in local craft beer is another defining factor for some of the krewes.

“All 90 krewes are not going to be into it,” said Zimmern. “But there will be some that really find a lot of energy behind coming together at a place like Perfect Plain and enjoying craft beer together.”

PERFECT PLAIN BREWING CO.
50 E. Garden St.
perfectplain.com

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