One of the best things about fall is its many festivals. And the best things about those festivals—from our perspective anyway—is the beer.
One of the biggest and most beloved of them all is almost upon us, the annual Baytowne Beer Fest, happening Oct. 13 and 14 at—do we even have to tell you?—the Village of Baytowne Wharf in Sandestin.
Why do we love this event so much? Let us count the ways…
1. Beer (Obviously). And lots of it. All told, you can expect over 200 kinds from 40 different brewers. Even more importantly, they’re good brews. This year, they’ll not only bring back some much beloved brewers from years past, but add some new ones. So far, the lineup includes Abita, Bell’s, Back 40, Fairhope Brewing, Shipyard, Sweetwater, Sierra Nevada and New Belgium, to name just a very few.
2. The Classics. Sure, there will be lots of crafts and trendy ales, but you’ll also find the tried-and-true everyday brands with recognizable menu staples and longtime staples. Examples of past brewers repping at the fest include Miller Coors, Sam Adams, Yuengling, Blue Moon and Shiner. And we expect to see more of the same this year. Plus—all your favorite local brewers. Speaking of which…
3. You Can Drink Like A Local. No matter where you’re from, you can try some true local faves Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Beers From Around Here. Props Brewery, Grayton Beer, 3rd Planet Brewing, Destin Brewery, Idyll Hounds and more will have their golden goods up for grabs. Do we really drink this stuff? You betcha. And we also think they’re some of the best brews to be found anywhere.
4. Flat Fee Brewski. Pay one price and drink all you care to. Ticket prices start at $30 for Saturday’s Grand Tasting event and are good from 2 to 6 p.m. Friday night’s Beers from Around Here is $40.
5. You Can Be a Big Shot. Or not. Ticket options include an upgrade to VIP status that gets you into Saturday’s Grand Tasting an hour early, starting at 1 p.m. Plus, you can (and will) enjoy tasty eats from Marlin Grill, exclusive beer tastings, and bourbon from Timber Creek Distillery. That’s right—you can chase your beer with some bourbon like a real rock star.
6. You Can Get an Education. Whether you’ve got questions about brew selections, ingredients or pairings, you’ll get answers here. The brewer tents will be staffed with reps ready to have their beerful brains picked. A mind is a terrible thing to waste, so go for it.
7. You Don’t Have To Drink. Just because you’re not a drinker (or you are a designated driver) doesn’t mean you can’t accompany someone who is, or simply hang out at Baytowne Wharf. All of their restaurants and retailers will be open and ready to show you an equal opportunity good time whether you’re imbibing or not.
8. You Don’t Have To Go Home. Having so much fun that you feel like you never want to leave? You don’t have to. At least, not right away. Beer Fest participants can stay at the resort and save money by taking advantage of some generous accommodation discounts available only to ticket holders. If you’re feeling special now, it’s because you are.
9. The Sound of Music. What pairs perfectly with over 200 kinds of beer? Music, of course. The Baytowne Beer Fest delivers with live tunes provided by The Modern Eldorados and The Moon Lagoons Saturday and Beachcomber Music Award winners The Forrest Williams Band on Friday.
10. The Season. Fall on the Emerald Coast is dang near perfect. After a long, sweaty summer, there’s finally less traffic, less heat and no reason not to get out and about. A festival is a great way to positively revel in the perfection. And this one offers lots of good beer, good food and a gorgeous location, so what’s not to love?