What do a Swamp Ape from Melbourne, a Big Wave from Hawaii, a Green Flash from San Diego and a Key West Sunset have in common? Not much, until you add the appropriate IPA, ale or cider label to the end of each name. Then you’ve got just a handful of the more than 100 beers that’ll be available on New Broad Street during the first annual Baldwin Brew Fest on Nov. 10.
Brew together the minds of Red Top Productions (RTP) event planners and McKinley Property directors, add a hefty amount of support from the Baldwin Park Merchants Association and the beer knowledge of those from Orlando’s own City Beverages, and you’ve got a beer event better than nearly any other held locally, says organizer Dana Brown from RTP.
“We’ve got the right venue and the most amount of beers to sample. This venue,” she says pointing over her shoulder to the view of Lake Baldwin from New Broad Street, “plus our variety of beer — you can’t beat it.”
Baldwin Brew Fest 2012, she says, will feature more than 100 beers from across the country — along with some imports — live music and food for sale on the street from local restaurants. The street will be open for business and closed to vehicles. Anyone, she says, will be able to walk around the Village Center to come out and enjoy the event, but only those 21 and older who purchase wristbands will be able to sample the Brew Fest beer selection.
“We’re encouraging every merchant to bring their food and wares out to the event. … We’re working to be very merchant friendly,” she said.
Scott Buckley, also with RTP, said the event will cater to beer enthusiasts as well as those just starting to figure out the difference between an IPA and a stout. Tasting is unlimited, so sipping until you find something you like, he said, is encouraged.
“Whatever you like for a beer we’re gonna have … and if don’t like one, you can move on to the next one, and the next one until you do,” Buckley said.
The inaugural Baldwin Brew Fest will take place on New Broad Street on Saturday, Nov. 10, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Village Center will be closed off for cars, but open for all foot traffic. Business will be open and pets and families are welcome, but to participate you must be 21 or older and purchase a wristband, which allows unlimited drink sampling. Visit baldwinbrewfest.com for tickets.
Karl Blackledge, high-end brands representative for City Beverages, who’s securing breweries for the event, says he has local breweries coming out, such as Florida Beer Company from Melbourne and Cold Storage Craft Brewery in Tampa. Award-winning breweries from across the country will be shipping in brews, such as Magic Hat out of Vermont and Kona Brewery from Hawaii. Blackledge say’s he’s particularly excited about securing Green Flash Brewing Co. from San Diego, which recently hit the craft beer scene with a splash, winning two golds and a bronze medal at the Great American Beer Festival in October.
“That’s something that I’m definitely proud of,” Blackledge said. “It’s something the beer world people can get excited about.”
In addition to those, he said the event should also feature some “one-offs” from breweries, where attendees can get a chance to sip limited-edition brews they may never get to taste again.
From blueberry, blackberry and red raspberry brews catering to wine-lovers willing to delve into the beer world to seasonal ciders fit for the fall, he says City Beverages and RTP have worked to put together the most complete beer offering possible to kickoff the inaugural Baldwin Brew Fest.
“Some of them will be brands you can find at your local Publix,” Blackledge said, “others more obscure that you’d find at ABC (Fine Wine & Spirits). … And then hopefully some you can’t find anywhere else.”