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This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Key West Brew Fest

September 6, 2015

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Key West Brew Fest

This year marked the sixth anniversary of what has become one of the best events in Key West all year, the Key West Brew Fest. I have been fortunate to attend every year and watch as the event has exploded in popularity, attendance and quality over the time it has been held. The brainchild of Matt Babich from Southermost Hotel Collections in partnership with the Key West Sunrise Rotary Club, the fun event raises funds for the Rotary Club and the charities that they support.

 photo 031_zpsl1pplgnl.jpg Debbie and Matt

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Having fun for a good cause is pretty much the Key West mantra, but this event is wonderfully entertaining, especially to craft beer lovers like myself. The main event is held on the beach at the Southernmost Café but there are seemingly more and more ancillary events such as pool parties, tap takeovers, special releases, beer dinners, parties and even seminars on the brewing process and home brewing.

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Every year more and more Florida Breweries send representatives and where they once had to practically beg some to come down, now there is a line of breweries trying to get access to what has become one of the premier craft beer events in Florida. The signature tasting event now features over 150 beers from multiple breweries and it is something to behold.

 photo 024_zpsfr1lzucn.jpg Wynwood Brewery Crew

I had purchased, as I always have, a VIP ticket for the event which allowed early entry by two full hours this year. This is a great way to avoid the massive crowds that file in once the event is opened up to the public. You are able to get around and sample just about any craft beer available with no lines and there are some breweries which unveil specialty beers during the VIP section that are not available during the general session. Also there is free food during the VIP hours which is a nice bonus.

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It was as per usual, incredibly hot at the beachfront location, but the sweltering heat was tempered somewhat by the icy cold beers that were being offered from every one of Florida’s finest breweries. All the best were on hand from Cigar City to Funky Buddah to the Wynwood Brewery and more. The Keys were well-represented as every brewery in the Keys was there including a great booth by the newly opened Waterfront Brewery.

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 photo 057_zpslmaev6gc.jpg Amanda and Effie

 photo 088_zpsue2jk9ym.jpg Andy, Robyn and Johnny

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One of the other things that I really love about the Brew Fest is how it really brings out the local crowd to enjoy the Labor Day weekend party. You see so many friendly and happy locals and it almost reminds me of the old Cayo Carnival days or classic Goombay Fest. Everyone is in a good mood, one enhanced by the beer of course, but this is not a drunken party, which is another pleasing aspect. It is all about quality not quantity.

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It was another fantastic event, and this year something new and exciting closed out the fest as the New Orleans based band Waterseed led a traditional Second Line March from South Beach, down Duval Street and over to the Green Parrot bar, where the party continued late into the night. It was a classy and cool new addition and people really seemed to get in to it, with hundreds of people marching behind the band down the street.

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