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3 March 2013

Festival fills the need for beer

Nothing is worse than the repetitive weekends downing watery Natty Light, but where is a beer enthusiast supposed to go for a good time in Miami?

On Saturday, beer aficionados will have the opportunity to sample craft spring and summer beers at SPRUNG! Beer Festival in Peacock Park.

The festival is by the same producers of Grovetoberfest, which brings thousands of people to Coconut Grove every October to sample seasonal craft beers.

This spring’s festival will include more than 150 different beers from around the world and will allow those attending to drink as much as their hearts desire with unlimited samples. For something made close-to-home, try locally brewed Michael’s Genuine Brew or Big Rod Key West Ale. Other beers include Guinness Black Lager and Fox Barrel Pacific Pear.

“SPRUNG! will be unlike any other beer festival,” event producer Tony Albelo said. “It will be a celebration of the craft beer lifestyle and of simply having fun. It will be an unforgettable experience.”

Albelo said that the inspiration to bring another beer festival to the Grove came after last year’s Grovetoberfest. He said there was an overwhelmingly positive response from festival-goers to the potential of adding a festival in the spring.

By having a second festival, it allows the organizers and attendees to sample summer and spring seasonal beers they otherwise would not have a chance to try at Grovetoberfest. However, SPRUNG! is far from the same experience as Grovetoberfest, bringing in more games and entertainment for guests.

“SPRUNG! is going to be more of a fun experience than Grovetoberfest,” Albelo said.

Beer pong tables will be set up throughout the park. Each of the 15 bars participating will have their own game set up, Albelo said.

But for those tired out from beer pong at frat parties, the festival will have a games arena and bar. SPRUNG! is super-sizing some of their games including human bowling, in which a person gets inside an oversized plastic ball and rolls themselves toward a set of oversized bowling pins. There will also be giant Jenga, mega Twister, as well as regular cornhole.

For sports fanatics, the UM vs. Clemson basketball game will be shown that night on four TVs at the bar.

Local Miami band ArtOfficial will be playing on Bougainvillea’s live music stage for the event as well.

The festival’s mission statement is to further the appreciation and knowledge of craft beers in South Florida.

Albelo said he is excited over the prospect of helping new beer drinkers discover craft beers they enjoy, while helping to grow the local economy for beer.

He cited the facts that Florida ranks fourth nationally for money spent on beer, yet 44th nationally in terms of breweries per capita as reasons to expand the market.

“As of right now, there are only two full-scale breweries being operated in Miami, and we want to help bring that number up,” Albelo said. “Hopefully SPRUNG! will help that.”

Albelo said that he has been impressed in recent years with the upswing in craft beer consumption, particularly with Belgian white beers such as Shocktop or Blue Moon, and states that he is happy that those beers serve as gateway beers in, “the fight to move away from Bud and Bud Light.”

Albelo believes that SPRUNG! will be as informative for attendees as it will be enjoyable.

“If there is a point in space where craft beer knowledge and fun intersect, that will be SPRUNG!” Albelo said.