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East Orlando Beer Festival

Kevin Hernandez 3/29/12 2:41 PM

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Last Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the East Orlando Beer Festival. It took place at Waterford Lakes Town Center and it was pretty amazing. There was unlimited beer and food sampling accompanied with live music.

When I first got there I was a little confused. The actual festival was in this little, fenced off area of the parking lot in front of the movie theatre. It didn’t look as formal as I imagined it to be.

For photos, check out the gallery here.

There were what seemed to be only a few canopies set up with people serving beer and food. I told myself, “This isn’t going to be as awesome as I thought it was.” I turned out to be completely wrong, furthering my need to learn the lesson -don’t judge a book by its cover.

What looked like a few canopies turned out to be a whole lot of canopies that were just directly next to each other in several rows. As I walked around, observed and inhaled the atmosphere, I realized this was more of a casual, fun event with mostly young people in between the ages of 21 to 35.

The event featured tents from World of Beer, Mellow Mushroom, Gator’s Dockside, Friendly Confines, Harp & Celt Irish Pub, Roget’s Fine Wine & Beer and several other companies sponsoring their beer.

When you get your wrist band at the entrance, you receive a plastic cup with the two ounce line marked on it, because that is how much beer you are supposed to get when sampling (although some people poured well over that line). There were more than 100 beers at the festival but I only tried 13. There were a few that really stood out to me.

The first beer I tried was the Toasted Lager by Blue Point Brewing Company. It was possibly the best beer I’ve ever had. It tasted like a Yuengling but better, and I love Yuengling. I suggest that anyone who ever comes across this beer should try it.

I’ve always seen Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA but never tried it because it’s an india pale ale, which I hate. I figured I would give it a shot and try it, despite the fact that I don’t like IPAs. It was actually very good. It had all the fruitiness and spices that an IPA would have, but the taste was more subtle. I don’t think it’s a beer a person could drink a lot of because of the full flavor.

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout was the best stout I have ever had. It had a taste of chocolate, but it wasn’t overpowering. It was very rich and smooth. It is such a delicious beer that the guy pouring it immediately finished the can he served me out of. I thought that was pretty funny.

I stopped by a Magic Hat tent and decided to have a taste. I know this is going to sound crazy, but I’ve never had Magic Hat #9 before. It’s just so expensive in the stores that I don’t want to waste money on a beer I’m not sure I’ll like, but I had a try and it’s so good. I don’t really know how to describe it besides a blend of the best combinations of flavors. It has the right amount of everything, although it is a little sweet.

I also had the chance to try Magic Hat’s Vanilla Porter. To me it tasted kind of buttery, but not in a bad way. It was a dark beer. It was an interesting take on a porter because it was vanilla tasting. I didn’t really enjoy it that much, but I thought it was interesting and it’s a beer that everyone should try.

The next beer I tried was by the Florida Beer Company out of Melbourne. I tried their Florida Lager and it was amazing. I don’t know how it isn’t more popular. It is smooth and easy to drink. It has a very good taste to it. It has the perfect amount of bitterness to it also.

The last beer I tried at the festival was Flying Dog’s Old Scratch Amber Lager. It is the best amber I’ve ever had. It has the perfect color also. If the color amber had a taste, Old Scratch Amber Lager would be it. It’s everything an amber should be.

When the festival comes around next year and you’re of age, you should definitely go. Try buying tickets in advance because they are a lot cheaper than at the door. Make sure you go with your friends too and do not miss out. It is more than worth the price of the ticket.

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