Saturday, November 10, especially makes me wish I had a cloning machine, with no less than
five six festivals taking place that day.
Here’s what we have to look forward to.
Friday, November 9
- Most festivals don’t ask you to bring your own beer, but NovemBEERfest Craft Beer Bottle Share is for a good cause. All proceeds will benefit Sunken Gardens, the site of the bottle share and one of Florida’s original tourist attractions. Cost is $15 in advance; $20 at the door. Organizers ask that attendees bring at least three 12 oz. chilled craft beers, or the equivalent.
Saturday, November 10
- I’ve called the Cajun Café on the Bayou Fall Beer Festival in Pinellas Park the best beer festival in Florida, and so far I haven’t had a reason to change my mind. Owners Paul and Rebecca Unwin stockpile rare beers throughout the year for the festivals (there’s also one in the spring), and local brewers and homebrewers are on hand pouring their creations. Tickets are $45 in advance; $55 at the gate; and $15 for designated drivers. Admission includes a plate of delicious Cajun food and lots of snacks.
- I was privileged to be one of the presenters at the World Beer Festival St. Petersburg on September 22, the first venture into the Sunshine State of the organization. Now, World Beer Festival Lakeland promises more of the great beer and knowledge shared at the first event. The beer list is posted here, and there likely will be even more at the event in The Lakeland Center. Bob Appleyard of the Brandon Bootleggers Homebrew Club will be among the presenters. Advance general admission tickets are $35; $45 at the door. VIP tickets are $65 in advance and $75 at the door. I’ve been told they are still seeking a few beer aficionados to volunteer. Sign up here.
- Speaking of Brandon, the second annual Brandon Brew-Ha Craft & Import Beer Festival will be at O’Brien’s Irish Pub, 701 W. Lumsden Road. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of and gives you tastes of 15 different beers of your choice from the 30 available.
- The inaugural Wall Street Plaza Craft Beer Festival will be Saturday in downtown Orlando. If you’re familiar with that entertainment district, you might worry that the beer selection will lean to mass-produced fizzy yellow lagers. No fear! The organizers promise only craft beers from more than 30 breweries from across the nation. Tickets are $20 in advance and $30 on the day of the event. Ticket sales will be limited.
- Another new-to-the-scene festival is the Baldwin Brew Fest in Orlando’s Baldwin Park. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. A $50 VIP option includes access to a VIP lounge showing all the college football games, private bathrooms, complimentary catered food, full size beer samples, and two drink vouchers to use at participating local establishments.
- The News Journal’s Food, Wine & Brew Festival in Daytona Beach will highlight local restaurants along with a wide variety of beer and wine to wash it down. General admission tickets are $50 and include unlimited sampling of the food, beer and wine. A VIP option is $75
Thursday, November 15
- This day is the kickoff for the annual Sunshine Challenge, a homebrewing competition featuring plenty of craft beer and home brews from across the state. It runs through Saturday and features a variety of events including a BYO Belgian Beer and Stinky Cheese Party on Thursday, a beer festival on Friday, and a pub crawl on Saturday. Of course, this is competition, too, so there are judging and award sessions scheduled throughout the weekend. It’s at the Hilton in Altamonte Springs and is sponsored by the Central Florida Home Brewers club. Ticket prices vary per event, but there is a Gold Pass option for $99 in advance that gives access to all events and includes a T-shirt.
Saturday, November 17
- The World Beer Festivals crew takes its show on the road to The Germain Arena in Estero, between Fort Myers and Naples. These folks know how to put on a legit beer fest – you won’t regret making the trip. Expect the same beery goodness from the St. Petersburg and Lakeland festivals and more including a presentation by Will Lawson, founder and head brewer at the hopefully-soon-to-open Naples Beach Brewery. Advance general admission tickets are $40; $50 at the door. VIP tickets are $75 in advance and $85 at the door. They need volunteers here, too.
- The Pensacola Craft Beer Festival takes place at the Panhandle city’s Bayfront Stadium. It promises not only tastings of more than 100 local and national craft beers, but for a dollar you can buy a raffle ticket for a chance to win a Mercedes 560L convertible. The raffle benefits The Children’s Home Society of NW Florida. General admission tickets are $31 plus service charge in advance and $35 at the gate. VIP admission is $100.
Saturday, November 3
- Red, White and Craft Brews Fest takes place at the Armed Forces History Museum and is a fundraiser for the nonprofit attraction at 2050 34th Way N. in Largo. Tickets are $25 and include tastings of more than 60 craft and specialty imports, and free food including pulled pork sliders, spanakopita (Greek spinach pie, fish spread, cole slaw and more.
- The Winter Garden Wine & Craft Brew Festival in Winter Garden. General admission tickets for $25 include unlimited samples of more than 100 wines from five continents, more than 30 beers and food samples from local restaurants. There is a VIP option for $50, but the website does not say what extras that includes.
- The sixth annual Brewfest Tallahassee is, unfortunately, sold out. But those lucky enough to have tickets will enjoy samples of more than 100 beers from 30-plus breweries at the Tallahassee Automobile Museum, 6800 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee.
Sunday, November 4
- The inaugural Biscayne Brewers Expo in North Miami will be put on by Brew FIU, the homebrew club based at Florida International University. Organizers promise more than 40 beers poured by 15 local brewers, as well as breads and pretzels made with spent brewing grain. Tickets are $20 for FIU students and $25 for non-students, in advance. Tickets at the door will be $35.
As a side note, Saturday, November 3, is National Learn to Hombrew Day. If you’ve been wanting to try your hand at making your own beer, check with your local homebrew club or brewing supply shop to see what they have going on.
If I missed any November festivals, leave a comment below and I’ll add it.