It’s been a bit of time since I was at the Ocean Brews and Blues event in Deerfield Beach, but in recent days it came to mind as one of the better beer festivals in the area.
It’s on Deerfield Beach, literally on the beach. As a result, it’s not necessarily blocked off and welcomes people of all ages to the event. (That doesn’t mean anyone can come up and get beer; you still need to buy a wristband).
There were a ton of food vendors, artists, clothing tents, and more, keeping the event from feeling like just a drunkfest. And music, some really good blues music as well.
Being on the beach, my wife and daughter came along with their friends, and they actually enjoyed a good bit of time just camping on the sand or those really gorgeous manicured lawn sections between the street and the beach. We did wish we had brought along chairs or a blanket or something similar to relax a bit further.
Beer-wise, I was actually pretty happy with what we were able to try. Some people brought some standard cans, while others brought their A game with some great special releases.
Sailfish Brewing from Ft. Pierce brought some of their new cans, including Tag and Release (Amber Ale, 5.9% ABV, 27 IBU). It’s a classic Amber ale, with a light touch of caramel combined with a solid regular malt base and earthy hops to deliver a deeply satisfying brew.
Saltwater Brewing in Delray Beach brought, amusingly enough, Daddy Shark (IPA, 10% ABV), a NEIPA triple dry hopped with Mosaic, Huell Melon, and El Dorado. This is definitely interesting, seeing as they dry hopped the absolute heck out of it, but with hops that are well known for their melon qualities. So what you got was very hop characters that were not necessarily aggressive, but with some uniquely dank fruitiness.
Hop Life Brewing has fast become one of my favorite breweries on the East Coast of Florida, and I’ve been drinking a lot of their beers recently. They brought two of them, the first was Reel Lite (Lager, 4.2% ABV, 8 IBU), light and crisp and very easy to drink.
Their Nut House (Porter, 5.5% ABV, 34 IBU) coffee porter was not light, but still sweet and full bodied. It’s incredibly rich and creamy.
Biscayne Bay Kapitan’s Kolsch (Kolsch, 4.8% ABV, 20 IBU) is one I’ve reviewed pretty recently, since it’s a local favorite of mine. It’s perfect for the beach, with a light effervescence and buoyant malty flavor.
I did not expect to see Tampa Bay Brewing Company’s Double Coast Lager (Lager, 4.1% ABV), but was happy to finally try some. It had a light floral touch to an otherwise bright and clean malt bill, making it simple to enjoy.
Homebrewers Misfits Brewing came with #MSDStrong (Pale Ale, 6% ABV), a Pale Ale with Mosaic, Simcoe, and Denali hops that has a good, properly balanced bite. Since we are close enough to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the gentleman from Misfits Brewing the only a few minutes away, it is still something that is fresh in the minds of our community and it’s nice to see that people still keep the message play so that it is not forgot.
What is now Mad Robot Brewing was there with the beer I was most looking forward to, Android 4K (Farmhouse Ale, 8% ABV). This dark Farmhouse beer with coffee had a great body with that spiky, rough, and bubbly mouthfeel and an almost peppercorn aftertaste that blended remarkably well with the slightly meaty, bold coffee adjuncts. It was a novel drink and well worth the wait.
Dangerous Minds Brewing is a new brewery coming to Broward County, and with beers such as Nearly Napping (Imperial Stout, 10.3% ABV), brewed with coffee and vanilla beans, they will be a welcome addition to the South Florida Brewing Community. This is big and bold and chewy and heavy, just the way a state built on Pastry Stouts likes it.
Finally, Florida Keys Brewing was there. I was amazed to hear that all of their production is in their Islamorada facility, not expecting the Keys to be big enough to hold something that can produce beer for distribution in a multi-county area. Their Iguana Bait is all over South Florida, and it’s a fantastic beer, but I had never seen them pouring Kritter (IPA, 7.4% ABV, 67.4 IBU) before. Kritters are a more colorful term for a Keys native, which ended up being a very apropos name for this hop forward, citrusy, and resiny IPA.
It was fantastic event, and if we go back (and I hope we go back), it is definitely something worth bringing beach gear to so you can set up a little spot near the ocean to enjoy the waves while you’re enjoying some tasty beers.
Special thank you to Frank for setting this up with tickets. I definitely hope to see more beer festivals in the state of Florida just like this.
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