Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Recap: 6th Annual Jacksonville Craft & Import Beer Fest

Preben Olsen dressed in his Aardwolf best!
The 6th Annual Jacksonville Craft & Import Beer Fest took place this past Saturday. This was my third year attending the event, and my first as a BUZZ Columnist. There were a total of 2500 tickets to the event with over 40 breweries and several restaurant vendors.

With a purchase of any ticket (there were three levels to choose from: General Admission, VIP, and Ultra VIP), beer lovers were spoiled with all-you-can-drink-and-eat samples.

The beef fest was, once again, held at the Veterans Memorial Arena, which is a great location for a beer fest of this caliber. Three levels of the arena were opened and filled with various breweries and food vendors. Of the three levels, I must admit there was one place I spent the majority of my time, just as I did last year, and the year before: the arena floor.

The bottom level of the arena housed the local breweries and homebrewers. This year, the arena floor included local favorites and usual suspects, such as Intuition Ale Works, Aardwolf, and Pinglehead; and there were a few newbies, too, like Veteran's United Craft Brewery (set to open their doors in the next month or two) and Big Storm Brewing (Odessa, FL).

As if the local craft breweries weren't enough, CASK was also there pouring some of their delicious homebrews. While I don't want to take anything away from all of the wonderful breweries that were here from around the country, I found it difficult to rationalize spending much time away from the arena floor. If nothing else, this beer event confirmed one thing: Jacksonville's beer scene is reaching a boiling point. It doesn't seem far-fetched to think that in a few years, there will be a need for more than just one floor for the local breweries. Jacksonville is definitely becoming a beer-destination! We're looking at you, Tampa!

Below are just a few of the pictures from the beer fest:

Chatting with Chris from Veterans United Craft Brewery

Some of the amazingly delicious sweet treats offered in the Ultra VIP section
Marc Wisdom (Jax Beer Guy) and me before the event

Local homebrewers from CASK pouring their unique concoctions
Thanks for reading the Beer Apostle and for supporting craft beer! Join in on the discussion by following me on Twitter and Facebook! Cheers!

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