I sure wish the media folks at Walt Disney World Resort would put Beer in Florida on their contact list so I can stay in the loop about the craft and import beer offerings at this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Maybe I should wish upon a star?
Regardless, I have been relying on the good heart of my friend AJ from The Disney Food Blog to feed me the drips of information she garners for her fantastic site. And today, it’s more of a flood. She let me know that her blog now contains lists of pretty much all of the beer being offered. There’s are the eight beers being poured at the Craft Beer Collection booth; eight more brews from Sam Adams at the Hops & Barley booth; the menus of food, drinks, wine and beer at each of the International Marketplace Booths; and the German brews at the Brewer’s Collection booth.
There are some disappointments. The Craft Beer Collection offerings are fewer and less imaginative than the brews at last year’s 15 Beers for 15 Years venue. Among last year’s offerings that are missing in 2011 are Fischer Amber, La Fin du Monde and Widmer Drifter Pale Ale. Still, you’ll find some decent brews such as Full Sail IPA, Red Hook Pilsner and Widmer Hefeweizen.
A highlight will be the Sam Adams beers at Hops & Barley, near the U.S. pavilion. Among them is the 16th Anniversary Festival Beer Boston Ale, brewed exclusively each year just for the Food & Wine Festival. Also on tap will be the Boston brewery’s Octoberfest seasonal and the very drinkable Latitude 48, among others.
One of the most baffling beer choices, at least to me, continues this year. The Belgium booth will serve Leffe and Hoegaarten. Really? Some of the finest beer in the world is brewed in Belgium, and they choose to serve common supermarket-aisle brews? Please, at least have Chimay as an option.
There are no standout beers at the other country’s booths; just what you might expect: Moosehead in Canada, Tsingtao in China, Dos Equis in Mexico, and so on.
However, the Brewer’s Collection, first introduced in 2003, is a real bright spot that will feature a variety of German brands and styles: Radeberger Pilsner, Schofferhofer Weizen, Braufactum Indra, Rauchweizen Roog Smoked Wheat Bier, Altenmünster Octoberfest, Altenmünster Dunkel, Hovel’s and Dion Kolsch.
Smoked Wheat Bier? I’ve got to try that!
Though this festival may not be tailored for the hardcore craft beer geek, keep in mind that the focus really is FOOD and WINE, both of which are represented quite well. And the beer served has shown steady improvement over the years as the craft beer culture continues to become more mainstream.
Be sure to keep up with The Disney Food Blog’s coverage of the 2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival taking place September 30 to November 13. I certainly will be there, off and on, and as AJ shares the beer news with me, I’ll in turn share it with you. Heck, maybe the Disney folks will start sending updates directly. I can wish.