Sure, most craft beer drinkers know the wonders that is Octoberfest. And some of them even know the German origins behind the festival.
But that’s just you. How Octoberfest is your town?
Thanks to Trulia, we can see exactly how Octoberfest cities in Florida aren thanks to something they called ‘The Octoberfest Index.’
So, this is open only to cities with populations north of 100,000 residents. Trulia took those cities, calculated the number of breweries, number of bars, number of bottle shops, and number of German Americans to arrive at a number between 1 and 100.
The top city in the US, interestingly enough, was Traverse City, Michigan. Here, rank ordered, are the top ten in the state of Florida:
Naples is a gorgeous little town on the West Coast, almost as far south as you can go without running into the Everglades. There’s also a lot, and I mean a lot, of money there. I didn’t realize there was as much alcohol in the vicinity, but I can assume the Germans all come more from the cars in the area than the people. In terms of craft beer, the big player is Naples Beach Brewery, which I have yet to go to yet. Maybe I’ll have to roll up in a Beamer first.
Ft. Walton Beach is almost on the complete opposite end of the state, close to Alabama. While it’s not as glamorous as Naples, it is home to Elgin AFB, and I’m sure having the military close by is always a great thing for bottle shops and bars. There’s not so much German but Irish with McGuire’s Brewery and Pub. Same continent, right?
I expected Orlando would have been higher on the list than this. There may not be a ton of German there past whatever’s at Epcot, but there is a lot of nightlife and a budding beer scene anchored by stalwart Orlando Brewing. But the Germans have to be hiding somewhere.
If you travel to Sarasota, basically you need to stop for Amish food. Good old fashioned Amish home cooking. While you can’t even dream of getting a beer at a restaurant like that, there’s a fair amount of craft beer in the area, which is really starting to get big with places like Big Top, Motorworks, Darwin’s, J Dubs, and more. Grab some and head to the beach. Watch the sunset. Do calm things like that. But don’t pass up the Amish food.
Once again, a quiet, charming West Coast city makes it onto a list of big Florida drinking cities. It was the summer home of both Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, and breweries like Ft. Myers Brewing and my homebrewing buddies at Crazy Dingo are starting to make some nice inroads. But it’s definitely less Rammstein and more Christopher Cross. Grab your loafers, kids.
I’m sorry, there’s just nothing German I can honestly think about a city whose biggest claim to fame is Club La Vela. You couldn’t pay me enough to go there. Eew. Moving on.
I want to see someone jumping into a race car wearing lederhosen. I really want to see this. Anyway, given Daytona’s pedigree for Spring Break and biker debauchery, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see it ranked highly on this list. While they’ve made great strides in cleaning up the town, especially with the well-regarded Daytona Beach Brewing Company, well, there’s still a reputation to uphold.
Melbourne is a pretty sleepy town, shockingly enough. It has some bars and clubs, plus Intracoastal Brewing, but on the whole, there’s not a lot of pedal-to-the-medal excitement here. And next door is the Space Coast/NASA community of Titusville, home to places like Cocoa Beach Brewing and the gigantic Florida Beer Company. It’s sleepy, but there’s a small, high quality drinking community there. German? I don’t know, but alcohol nonetheless.
I was surprised that the Tampa Bay area only made it to second. It’s not like the area isn’t known for craft beer or anything (because names like Cigar City, Coppertail, 3 Daughters, these just don’t get out). It has more than its fair share of, shall we say, drinking establishments of ill repute. Plus, with how the Bucs and Rays are playing recently, you would think more bars would be open and jammed. Or maybe everyone is too busy cheering on the Bolts.
Go Bolts. Which brings us all the way to Number One…
I’m a bit surprised that a city whose claims to fame include a strip club built inside an old Stuckey’s and the University That Will Not Be Named is the most Oktoberfest city in Florida. It’s not to say craft beer isn’t exploding in the city, anchored by Swamp Head and First Magnitude, but my only real memories on Gainesville primarily include Steve Spurrier throwing his visor and not any sort of oompah bands or anything. Oh well. Congrats, Gainesville!
There’s a lot more to put here, but those are the top 10. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or the like to argue to your hearts content.