Sunday, August 1, 2010

St. Pete Craft Beer Expo

Firkin Around...St. Petersburg, Florida.
The St. Petersburg Coliseum
The St. Petersburg Coliseum was this year's venue for the 3rd annual St. Pete Craft Beer Expo, held on July 31st, 2010. Easy to get to and centrally located on the west coast of Florida, a large turnout arrived to hail the ale.

Historic, famous, quaint and beautiful.

The building is a throwback to a simpler time of dance hall days. It was built in 1924 and the interior has the look of an aircraft hangar. Graceful metal arches are covered with diagonal slats of tongue and groove planking. Strings of small white lights are draped and drizzled from the rafter tops. With a beautifully polished hardwood floor and a full sized stage at the far end of the hall, you can imagine the scene in its heyday when The Coliseum was the place to be on a Saturday night. If only these walls could talk, oh the stories they could tell. Interesting footnote - The Coliseum was used as a set location for the film Cocoon.

Oh yeah, there was beer, too!

Beer and cheese pairings
Here for the beer? Big name micros to local nano's and brewpubs were in attendance. These brewers were represented at the event: Abita, Avery, Bell's, Boulder, Brewdog, Brooklyn, Chimay, Cigar City, Dogfish Head, Flying Dog, Fort Collins Brewery, Highland, Holy Mackerel, Hoppin' Frog, Lagunitas, Little Giant, Peg's, Rogue, Saint Somewhere, Shipyard, Sierra Nevada, Smuttynose, Stone, Swamphead, Tampa Bay Brewing Company, and Terrapin. Were there more? I'm sure I missed a few along the way.

Full sensory experience.

State Road 64
The mood was kept afloat not only by the beer, fine cheese and food, but also by State Road 64. This bluegrass band kept the great tunes wafting through the hall, most of the afternoon. Everyone shuffled along to the beat; cruising from one beer table to another.

Wayne Wambles and Bob Sylvester
Local Florida head brewers, Wayne Wambles (Cigar City) along with Bob Sylvester (Saint Somewhere), gave a "firkin tapping" teaching session in the upper balcony. This was followed up with some sampling of Cigar City's Hunahpu's Imperial Stout.
Hunahpu's Imperial Stout & Guava Grove
This year's event had over one hundred different craft beers and fifteen different types of artisan cheese to sample. Brooklyn, Saint Somewhere, Chimay, Unibroue, Holy Mackerel and Rogue had separate booths down the left flank of the building, paring some fine ale and cheese combination's, all included in the price of your entry fee.

Little Giant Brewery
For those with a larger appetite, delicious pulled pork slider sandwiches with several different sauces, were available for purchase. Reasonably priced.

The festive atmosphere was completed by Fraulein's dressed in traditional dirndl's. They worked through the crowd, making sure everyone had a smile to go with their beer. What else could you ask for?

Firkin Great Beerfest!

The St. Petersburg Coliseum
535 4th Avenue North
St Petersburg, FL 33701-2807


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  1. Nice write up.

    My wife and I were there volunteering.

    I noticed you are also homebrewing.

    I am a homebrewer also.

    Perhaps you had a chance to talk with our club that had a booth there. If not, come to a meeting sometime.

  2. I would like that. Drop me an email at alesfromthecrypt with the dates/times your group meets.