Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Sarasota Beer Festival

Firkin Around...Sarasota, Florida.
The first (hopefully annual) Sarasota Beer Festival was held on Saturday, August 28th.  I can't remember a beer festival of this size ever, previously being hosted in Sarasota.  Of course, I don't get out much! Wink!

Robarts Arena was the venue, on Ringling Blvd., just off Fruitville Road. Florida Beer Festivals was the promoter of this event.  They host many beer festivals in other Florida cities, some of which I have attended in the past.

Beer, beer and more beer...
A lot, make that a a whole lot of beer was available at this venue.  Over 110 different beers to sample. It would be way too long a list to write up, so I will leave it to your imagination.  It's enough to say that if you like hops, they were there and well represented.  Fancy a malty porter or stout?  Well there was enough to satisfy an Englishman.  Want an exotic or alternative brew?  Those were also well represented and in quantity.

Hungry?  Want some tunes, too?
There were many local food vendors serving up every manner of pizza and wings; the perfect food to go with beer!  One local eatery had deep fried hot dogs...oh, mama!  Served up with a mayo/mustard/horseradish sauce that was just - - - ooh la la!

Music was by the Paper Airplanes.  Great stuff!  Crowd engaging renditions of current and past favorites played for all.  The tunes kept everyone swaying through the hall all night.

You just can't go wrong with one of these local beer festivals.  Your entry price of $20/advance gets you plenty to eat, drink and otherwise enjoy.  Go to one the next time you get the chance.  Cheers!

Firkin Great Beerfest!

Robarts Sports Arena
3000 Ringling Boulevard
Sarasota, FL  34237

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Morton's Gourmet Market - Celebration of Brewing

Firkin Around...Sarasota, FL.

Morton's Gourmet Market is one of those "go-to" places for different, unusual, hard-to-get or just downright exotic eats.  A foodie's best friend, a purveyor of specialty soda pop all the way up to your favorite grape or grain beverage.  Basically, if you are "jones-ing" something good to eat or drink, chances are they can scratch your itch.

This fine Saturday evening was a three hour craft beer festival.  But wait.  It gets so much better.  The entry was a mere $15 far enough in advance.  Even at $25, at the door, a terrific bargain.  Morton's pulled out all the stops.  They had The Morton's chefs serving up wonderful grilled sandwich sliders and there were baskets of jalapeno bread scattered throughout.

The main portion of the event was outside, in the parking lot underneath a tent.  Over 40 beer vendors and distributors poured from many various craft beers into your real glass sampling vessel supplied courtesy of Budweiser.  The glass was a keeper.  Several vendors had tables set up in the cool, air conditioned bakery inside the store. The crowd was just right; no shoving or over-crowding. Just everyone learning, sampling, tasting and enjoying the great Florida sunshine, craft beer and gourmet cuisine.

This is another example of the fine food and beverage events they hold throughout the year.  Picture yourself at the next event...or if you can't wait, get down there now and pick something up to go!

Firkin Craft Beer and Gourmet Food!

Morton's Gourmet Market

941-955-9856 begin_of_the_skype_highlight              941-955-9856      end_of_the_skype_highlighti


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Bonefish Grill - Sarasota, FL

Firkin Around...Sarasota, FL.

Bonefish Grill Beer Menu

Bonefish Grill now has craft beer available.  Nationwide, Bonefish selects craft beer to place on their menu from available distributor stock and from local breweries.

I had a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale to go along with my selection of Fish & Chips. Delicious.

Good to see that national chain restaurants are starting to get the idea that their customer base wants alternatives in their beer.  Now you can get a great beer to go along with their great menu selection.

Thanks Bonefish!

Firkin Craft Beer Restaurant!

Bonefish Grill - Sarasota
8101 Cooper Creek Boulevard
Sarasota, FL 34201

(941) 360-3171 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (941) 360-3171      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

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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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