Skip to content Skip to footer
0 items - $0.00 0

4th annual Tallahassee Beer Fest is just two weeks away | Around the Brew Bend – Tallahassee Democrat

Guess who’s back — back again?
The Tallahassee Beer Fest is back — tell a friend!
On Sept. 10, from 2-6 p.m. (or 1-6 p.m. if you were smart and went the VIP route!), the 4th annual Tallahassee Beer Fest goes down at the Tucker Civic Center, which will serve as the venue for the second straight year.
Birthday bash:A good time was had, $5,555 donated at TLH Beer Society 5-year birthday bash | Brew Bend
Restaurant review:Something ‘different’: Bubble potatoes are fan faves at Black Radish | Restaurant Review
Boutique cafe:Restaurant news: Halisi Africa boutique/café brings authentic flavor to Railroad Square
The event began back in 2018 at the Centre of Tallahassee, but since they closed, the Civic Center and Downtown Tallahassee has officially become the new home for the festival.
And what a festival it’s become! 
This year, records will be broken left and right — from the number of breweries attending, to the number of tickets sold, to the hopefully largest donation ever made to the United Partners For Human Services, which serves once again as the annual benefactor for the event.
UPHS, for those wondering where the money goes, is basically an umbrella organization helping 170+ member nonprofits who provide human services in our community — so that means the money raised doesn’t just benefit one charity or two — or even three or four. The fundraiser is spread out among the member organizations and It ends up benefitting dozens of participating nonprofits!
And that aspect of the event is the one that makes organizer Ben Graybar, who sits on the UPHS Board of Directors, smile wider than any other detail about this event.
“We were just happy to be profitable and be able to make a donation in Year 1, but with growth in sponsors and vendors, we went from $36,000 donated to UPHS in the 2nd year to about $48,000 last year,” said Graybar, who has plenty of experience making large donations from beerfests after having been involved in the now-defunct Tallahassee Brewfest during its 12-year run at the Antique Car Museum.
But when that fest ended, Graybar saw the need for a new one to take its place. And in 2018, the Tallahassee Beer Festival was born. Fast forward four years and one pandemic later, and the event has grown to become the biggest craft beer festival in North Florida every calendar year.
This year, a record 100-plus breweries — including a record 16 home brewers — will be pouring. And the expected attendance (around 2,000) is going to far surpass the previous three years.
The growth hasn’t come with hiccups and challenges —  like finding a new venue when the Centre of Tallahassee closed, or how to attract breweries from around the state and country — but Graybar and his team have met these obstacles head on.
“There is always a new challenge and lessons to learn. The event continues to evolve and grow — we’ve added over 20 breweries this year over last, which is crazy!” he said. “We’ve also expanded our partnerships with groups like the Tallahassee Beer Society, and marketing partners like Warchant.”
The home brewers are an interesting wrinkle in the festival that you don’t see in many other beerfests. In some cases, these are genuinely your next door neighbors who brew in his or her garage as a hobby. And in other cases, you have homebrewing brands that are getting ready to turn their part-time passion into a business and open their own craft brewery — and they want to use the event as a way to get tasting notes on their beers.
“The number of home brewers growing to 16, with a couple about to flip to retail, is exciting. They want your feedback,” Graybar said.
“There are a number coming who are not in distribution but might make that leap. Hop State and Lawless Coast are both about to go retail. We also have award-winning home brewers like Hairy Coo from Tampa and our own ‘Cider King’ – Hammerhead Brewing, who won favorite home brew last year.”
We tell folks every year when it comes to the home brewers: “Go sample their beer FIRST when you arrive. For one, they make very limited batches, so it will be gone fast. And for two, this may be your only chance to ever try their beer — so take advantage before they run out!”
Of course, the big draw is always the established breweries who are bringing their refined IPAs, lagers, pilsners, sours, ciders and stouts to the event. And if you look down the list of who’s coming this year, you’ll see there is talent across the board.
Personally, we are super excited about the additions of Wild Leap Brewing out of Lagrange, Ga. — a brewery that was named the “No. 1 Best New Brewery In America” by USA Today in 2019 — as well as Magnanimous Brewing and Big Storm Brewing out of Tampa; 3rd Planet Brewing from Niceville; Dees Brothers Brewing of Sanford; and Design Build Brewing, Ivanhoe Park Brewing and Dead Lizard Brewing, all out of Orlando.
We were also thrilled to see regional breweries like First Magnitude (Gainesville), Infinite Ale Works (Ocala) and Odd Pelican Brewing (Freeport) returning once again.
But that’s just a few of the many who jumped out to us. Graybar had a few as well.
“Keel Farms in Plant city is an agrarian ales and cider brewery — they grow their ingredients right there on their farm and then can it. Very excited about them,” Graybar said. “And 3 Sons Brewing is coming up from Dania Beach and they were recently named one of Florida’s Top 20 Breweries (by brewerystars.com). Magnanimous is another – they have collabs with one of our locals, Ology.”
Speaking of locals, they will ALL be there once again, including (from Tallahassee) Proof Brewing, Lake Tribe Brewing, Deep Brewing, Ology Brewing, Fools Fire Brewing, OCBC Tallahassee and Tallahassee’s next brewery-in-planning, Amicus Brewing Ventures.
Also coming from the Tallahassee-area will be Civic Brewing (Sopchoppy), Oyster City Brewing (Apalachicola), Eastpoint Beer Co. (Eastpoint), Blountstown Beer Co. (Blountstown), Salty Oak Brewing (Panama City), Southern Fields Brewing (Campbellton), Halpatter Brewing (Lake City), Southern Philosophy Brewing (Bainbridge, Ga,), Georgia Beer Co. (Valdosta, Ga.) and Pretoria Fields Brewing (Albany, Ga.). 
And be sure to swing by the Apalachicola Bee Company table. They’re a honey producer in Apalch that uses their honey to make homemade mead in a collab with a meadery called B Nektar out of Michigan. We hear it’s tasty!
General Admission tickets for the event are $40 each for unlimited sampling for 4 hours, or you can snag one of the few remaining VIP tickets for $90 and get in an hour early, plus have access to exclusive beers only available in the VIP room, where there will be live music and complimentary food donated by a slew of local businesses (we hear there will be fresh, farm-raised raw oysters in the VIP too!).
There will also be live music in the main event area too from local acts Ben Flournoy and DeJa Blu.
As for our role in all this? Well, once again, we’re just along for the ride — and then some! We will have our standard TLH Beer Society booth at the event, where we will have a LOT of new Drink Tallahassee Beer merch for sale (new shirt design, the debut of tank tops and the return of DTB hats!). You will also be able to pre-order those on our website later this week!
We will be handling the voting for the three awards the event gives out every year: Best Brewery, Best Overall Beer and Best Homebrewer. Last year’s winners will all be back again to defend their crowns too: Aardwolf out of Jacksonville (Best Brewery), Georgia Beer Co. from Valdosta (Best Beer – Peanut Butter Porter), and Hammerhead Brewing out of Tallahassee (Best Home Brewer).
It’s always a fun time of year when this event comes around, and we warn you now: DON’T WAIT to buy your tickets — because this event will, and always does, sell out. And once the tickets are gone, they’re gone! 
Hope to see y’all there Sept. 10!
Danny Aller is the co-founder, along with Matthew Crumbaker, of the TLH Beer Society. Reach the Beer Society on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or email: tlhbeersociety@gmail.com.
Never miss a story:  Subscribe to the Tallahassee Democrat using the link at the top of the page.


Leave a comment