Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Sip the Sunshine Craft Beer and Music Fest Debuts Saturday

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Sip the Sunshine Craft Beer and Music Fest Debuts Saturday

Article excerpt

Craft beer buffs, prepare your palates. The inaugural Sip the Sunshine event is coming to Sarasota on Saturday and Nathan Benderson Park will be awash with ales, lagers, meads, wines and ciders galore.

Dubbed an "All-Florida Craft Beer Festival," it will showcase 50 of the state's award-winning and up-and-coming breweries and wineries, as well as more than 100 beers. The area's most prestigious chefs and caterers will serve Florida-inspired cuisine in the main tasting tent throughout the afternoon. And the evening will culminate in a four-band Sundown Session concert featuring local acts and national headliner Blues Traveler.

"Sip the Sunshine was created to honor how far Florida breweries have come in the past five years and also to celebrate where we are headed as a craft beer community," says Nikki Logan Curran, a spokesperson for the marketing team of organizer Suncoast Festivals.

Craft beer college

Also, a portion of the festival's proceeds will benefit the Food and Beverage Science Program in the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM) College of Hospitality and Tourism. The program teaches aspiring brewers the science, history and techniques of the art form. Sip the Sunshine's revenue will partly help pay for the equipment, offsite brewery field trips and conferences offered in the brewing courses.

Six specialty ales produced by USFSM faculty and students -- with help from local crafters Darwin Brewing Company (DBC) of Bradenton; and Big Top Brewing Company and Calusa Brewing of Sarasota -- will be highlighted at the festival. Dr. Paul Kirchman, dean of USFSM's College of Science & Mathematics, also plans to produce a double India pale ale in collaboration with Bradenton's Motorworks Brewing.

DBC will unveil one of its latest, locally inspired collaborations: a version of its Charapa Spiced Porter aged in Sarasota-based Drum Circle Distilling's Siesta Key Spiced Rum barrels.

"The flavors of Siesta Key Spiced Rum perfectly complement the subtle spice of Charapa, in which Amazonian chile peppers and local honey blend to create a great sweet-heat balance," says DBC owner/ general manager Matt Cornelius. …

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