Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Epcot Food & Wine Festival: What's In It for the Craft Beer Connoisseur?

Next week, I'm heading down to Walt Disney World and will be visiting Epcot during the 2012 International Food & Wine Festival.  While I've been to this event multiple times in the past, this will be the first time I've gone there with the craft beer connoisseur's discerning palate (okay, I'm laying it on a bit thick there--let's not forget my amateur status here).  There will be plenty of good things to eat and drink whether or not I got my beer geek on.  From the list of 30 marketplaces that will be represented in the World Showcase for the festival, the beer selection is not overwhelming for someone seeking craft beer.  Nevertheless, there will be some solid options to pursue, and, oh yeah, I'll be in Disney World!

What's shown below is not a complete list of what's available at the festival, or a complete list what's available at each indicated marketplace, or even a complete list of beers I might try.  Yeah, I might get a Boddington's, or a Hoegaarden, or even partake in a flight of German beers--I just wouldn't put any of them in even an expanded definition of craft beer. 

At the "Craft Beer" Marketplace: 

Widmer Rotator IPA (Spiced IPA)
Florida Beer Company Devil's Triangle
Full Sail IPA
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale 

Side note: Okay, you can't go wrong with a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.  I've not had the other three, and I had difficulty finding any information on Devil's Triangle, but they seem intriguing. I'm going to take a wild guess and say that Devil's Triangle is an IPA. 

At the "Florida Local" Marketplace: 

Florida Beer Company Key West Southernmost Wheat 

Side note: I don't know how the beer selections are made, or if brewery capacity/output is an issue (the festival runs from late September through early November--that's a lot of suds to produce for potentially thousands of people daily) but I'm somewhat confounded that Cigar City Brewing is not available in Florida at the "Florida Local" marketplace.  It's also somewhat amazing that, somewhat relatedly, some friendly nepotism wouldn't be at play here to have Big River Grille & Brewing Works, which has a restaurant and brewery on Disney property at the Boardwalk, represented at the festival.

At the "Hawaii" Marketplace: 

Kona Brewing Company Big Wave Golden Ale
Kona Brewing Company Pipeline Porter 

Side note:  I'll definitely be seeking out a Pipeline Porter when I'm done there.  Good work, Mickey!

At the "Hops & Barley" Marketplace 

Samuel Adams Boston Lager
Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock
Samuel Adams Cream Stout
Samuel Adams Latitude 48 IPA

Side note: The Hops & Barley kiosk is there every time and it's always Samuel Adams, which is cool. Samuel Adams does make good beer.  Boston Lager is a classic, and Chocolate Bock sounds intriguing, even in the warm Florida sun. 

One last note--Le Cellier Steakhouse, which is at the Canada pavillion and a place where I will be dining, has (at least) three Unibroue offerings on its menu: Ephemere, Blanche de Chambly, and Trois Pistoles.  Interestingly, there is a Canada Marketplace at the festival, but only Moosehead is available there.

Instant Update: It appears that, according to Beers and Ears, Disney has made some changes  to its standard beer lineup.  For one, Guinness has been replaced by Young's Double Chocolate Stout, among other changes.  Click through the link for more changes to the standard Walt Disney World beer lineup (it doesn't appear to affect the Food and Wine Festival offerings).

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