Have you ever been to a beer festival where you felt like you weren’t rushed in line or waiting in line forever, or maybe didn’t have to spend a million bucks to get VIP tickets to avoid that? What about a beer festival where you could be social with brewers and reps from craft breweries, especially ones that are not local to you?
Well, I have! This beer fest was one for the books, a total game changer.
The first annual Centermost Point Invitational, hosted by What Ales Ya and Ten10 Brewing of Orlando, was a great success!
Why Smaller is Better
This beer fest had about 15-20 vendors of breweries not local to Orlando–the closest being about an hour away and the furthest, North Carolina (Asheville, to be exact). That’s it. You might be thinking, who the hell would want to go to a beer festival that small? Let me tell you why I thoroughly enjoyed it: the size of the beer fest allowed all of us to have time to actually mingle and talk with people & the breweries they represent. We didn’t have long lines, there was plenty of beer to grab two, three, or even more samples of. It wasn’t shoulder-to-shoulder, feet shuffling, misery that most beer fests have the tendency to feel. The intimacy of this event made it different in comparison to other beer festivals; I felt that it brought the brewers & drinkers closer together and everyone made friends. Who doesn’t want that?
The people reporting for brew-ty:
- Angry Chair (Tampa)
- Hidden Springs Ale Works (Tampa)
- Green Bench (St. Pete)
- Intracoastal Brewing (Melbourne)
- Arkane Aleworks (Largo/Clearwater)
- 7venth Sun (Tampa)
- Bold City Brewing (Jacksonville)
- Bhramari Brewing (Asheville, NC)
- Amor Artis (Fort Mill, SC)
- MIA Beer (Miami)
- Leaven Brewing (Riverview)
- Ten10 Brewing (Orlando)
- Overflow Brewing (St. Pete)
- Infinite Ale Works (Ocala)
- Southern Swells (Jacksonville)
- Brew Hub (Lakeland)
- Crooked Thumb (Clearwater/Dunedin)
The Centermost Point of Love
Orlando has a friendly, supportive community, and that is no stranger to craft beer. Our beer community is advancing to the next level, and fast! I have always said great ideas start with beer and beer brings people together. If you don’t have that attitude about it, you will get nowhere. Something I’ve noticed and adored, pint after pint, is that people in this niche of Orlando want each other to flourish and succeed. I have had great fortune in meeting some of the nicest, welcoming people after becoming a small stitch in the tightly knit fabric of the craft beer neighborhood in Orlando. Orlando is & has always been my home! I cannot wait for the next Centermost Point Invitational. It might not be this blissful or small forever, but I see it being a continuous progress and getting better every year. It brought opportunity and creativity never before seen in this part of Florida. It put the spotlight on other local breweries outside of Orlando and gave them a chance to showcase their strengths and capabilities, in hopes to impress new people. I feel like everyone at the festival yesterday did just that.
Thank you to everyone who showed up, brewed, poured, built, hosted, and created this event!
Please let me know what you thought in the comments: How do you feel about smaller festivals? What are the things you most enjoy about that? Was there anything you would have changed? Also, tell me your favorite beer from the CMP Invitational–I’d love to know more about your experience.
Until next time, cheers!