I learned of Florida Beer Company’s Grand Opening from my friend, Pat. He had been invited to the ribbon cutting event for their brand new facility, but sadly had a work conflict. Offering to take one for the team, the social media team added Doc and I to the list. After starting our road trip across Central Florida at Arnold Day X, we got back to Da Choppa and headed out to Cape Canaveral.
Summertime heat was in full effect, so it was fantastic beer weather. Aside from hitting up the Port and Kennedy Space Center, I haven’t really explored much of Cape Canaveral, so it was fantastic to enjoy a local event! We followed the directions and eventually found the event parking. What I loved is that they had a pair of local hotel shuttles transporting event goers to and from the event area, so it wasn’t congested with parking. The check-in process was quick and easy, and in to shakes of a bar napkin we were heading in for a fun afternoon!
With the entire parking lot fenced off for the event, there was more than enough room to move around. Our first order of business was dropping by the PR counter and picking up our personalized bottles of beer. After that was completed, Doc headed back to the car to drop them off. I scoped out the dueling beer buggies and tents. FBC pulled no punches and provided partygoers the opportunity to sample some of their most popular brews and some of the harder to find items.
To kick off our sampling experience, I recommended that Doc start with his favorite genre of beer, Witbier. FBC makes a rather solid wheat beer, Key West Southernmost Wheat. Being a little more adventurous, I played tap roulette and went for one I hadn’t tried before, Devil’s Triangle IPA. What I love best about attending drinking events with someone who enjoyed food and beverage as much as I do, is sharing and comparing notes.
When I heard there would be “free samples,” truthfully, I pictured Dixie-cup, thimble-sized sips of beer. I felt my jaw hanging open when I was passed plastic cups teeming with sudsy goodness. Without a doubt, I am a fan of FBC’s sizing. While we sipped our first round, we perused the food truck rally. We elected to get some fantastic barbecue pork sandwiches at Slow & Low Barbecue.
One thing that might have made the event a little smoother would be tables and chairs for eating and some large tents to beat the heat under. The hardest thing about that freshly paved parking lot was the amount of heat it gave off. While free bottles of ice cold water were available, people were making tables and benches out of the few coolers, limiting access to essential hydration. I also found it strange that while the event was 21+ children were still admitted with their parents. Honestly, I don’t think a brewery is an appropriate venue for children, even if it’s deemed a family-friendly event with live music.
For our second round, Doc embraced his Florida Gator side and opted for the Swamp Ape DIPA (Double India Pale Ale) while I went for one of the only FBC check-ins missing from my Untappd list, Sunshine State Pils. While we were enjoying the cool breeze rolling in, but sadly a downpour shortly followed.
The tricky thing about having any event in Florida during the summer is the unpredictability of the weather, especially in the early afternoon. With the entire parking lot fenced off for the event, there was plenty of room to move around. Conversely, should Mother Nature decide to cool everyone off with a midday shower, there was virtually no where to run.
We booked it into the lobby, but folks had firmly stakes out tables and bar stools, and some were hogging chairs with purses and feet. It was disappointing how selfish some adults were as everyone was there to have a great time. With the bar four people deep, we were at an impasse, so we decided to call it an early night and head home. We truly wanted to sample some of the beers at the bar, but it was just impossible to get anywhere near the bar. As much as we wanted to stay, there simply wasn’t any room and the bar swarmed with patrons. With all the free beverage samples and food trucks outside and no where to go, Doc and I hopped on the next shuttle to the parking lot.
It was a great event, but I hope the next time I visit, I can sneak a better peek at the brewery facilities and try a beer flight or two. I am curious to find out what the winning name for their Anniversary Ale. FBC offered their guests to help name the beer celebrating their tenth anniversary. Our votes were for the Maiden Voyage which I hope winds up being the winning name. Fingers crossed and bottoms up!
One of the coolest things about the event was Personalized Bottles! of FBC beer! Being a VIP, Pat’s bottle was set aside for him, but there was also a table of miscellaneous names for guests to hunt for their own. Of the lady names printed under “K”, sadly Karen was not among them. Most likely, another Karen beat me to the punch. Doc found his name quickly, and when I saw Dad’s name available, I figured my pop deserved a brew in lieu. I would be curious to see what options are available for Karen besides “Kind.” I might have to ask how I can go about obtaining a custom label.
Event Date: July 26, 2014