With apologies to the many accomplished musicians performing on Fort Lauderdale beach this weekend, the most important improvement at the ocean-ecology-minded Tortuga Music Festival is the news that the house beer this year is Corona (replacing last year’s underwhelming option, a brand that shall go unnamed, but rhymes with blandshark).
Because, even when you are saving the environment, beer is important.
Which brings us to Brew at the Zoo, the annual craft beer festival at the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday. As always, the event includes live music, an array of food and up-close animal encounters. (Warning: Watching river otters with a beer buzz may be hazardous to your health.)
The zoo’s events manager puts a noble spin on the brew selection, which includes about 60 beers from 25 breweries, with a focus on those made locally.
“It’s all about sustainability and the reduced impact on the environment that comes from local products,” Ron Brooks says. “Our local breweries aren’t driving trucks across the country to deliver their product — it’s coming from just down the road, which leads to a lower carbon footprint.”
Which is fine. Very fine. But it also helps that the local breweries have a reputation for quality products, including Due South, Wynwood, Funky Buddha, Mile Marker and Native Brewing Co.
Boynton Beach-based Due South Brewing Co. has been on quite a run lately. Last month at the 14th annual Best Florida Beer Competition in Tampa, Due South won gold medals for its Category 5 IPA, Mariana Trench Imperial Stout and Asylum Harbor Red Ale, with a silver for its Cafe Ole Espresso Porter and bronze for the Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Pico Duarte.
The Category 5 IPA (a personal favorite) was second runner-up for Best Beer in Florida out of nearly 400 entries (I want a recount).
That medal haul also added up to Due South winning the award for Best Large Brewery in Florida 2014.
“The competition was very stiff — there are a lot of good breweries in Florida — and we were just hoping to get a few medals. The [best brewery] award was a wonderful surprise,” says Jodi Halker, who runs Due South, celebrating its second anniversary next month, with husband Mike.
This weekend, Due South will be thinking more globally, with representation at the third-annual Barcelona Beer Festival, made possible through a collaboration with Edge Brewing, based in the Spanish city. (Long story short: They kept in touch with a brewer who helped install equipment at Due South, and he then got a job in Barcelona.)
The Halkers went to Barcelona in February to brew the beer, which began being served last month, making it the first American entry to hit the city’s nascent craft beer scene, Halker says. The beer, an amber IPA infused with local oranges and honey, is called Taronja HoeRyzan.
Also being served in Barcelona this weekend will be Due South’s Category 5 IPA, Caramel Cream Ale and Southbound Brown.
“The craft beer scene in Barcelona is growing,” Halker says. “It’s a very exciting time for brewers there.”
If you won’t happen be in Barcelona this weekend and Brew at the Zoo is sold out (which it will be at some point), you can still get some fresh Due South at the monthly second-Saturday tapping event, this one a tribute to the orange. Three beers will be served in the tasting room: Hopicana Orange IPA at noon, Hopicana with Cranberry at 3 p.m. and Maple Orange Imperial Caramel Cream Ale at 4 p.m. And there will be food trucks.
Free tours are at 1 and 3 p.m., no reservation needed. A 2 p.m. VIP tour (includes tasting) is $10. Reservations for that tour are recommended. Call 561-463-BEER (2337). Due South Brewing is at 2900 High Ridge Road, Boynton Beach. Info: DueSouthBrewing.com.
Tickets to Brew at the Zoo are available only in advance and cost $35, $75 for VIP (offering, among other advantages, a half-hour head start), $15 for designated drivers. The zoo is at 1301 Summit Blvd., in West Palm Beach. Info: 561-547-9453, PalmBeachZoo.org.
TORTUGA TREASURE HUNTING
Here are three acts on the lower rungs of this weekend's Tortuga Music Festival ladder that are worth seeking out. The Revivalists (2:30 Saturday): Polished New Orleans soul led by the angular swagger of singer David Shaw. Brothers Osborne (2:30 p.m. Sunday): True country-rock grit from siblings John and T.J., who have a new single titled “Rum,” and are opening on the Eric Church tour. White Denim (6:30 p.m. Sunday): Thumpy, party-hard psych-rock straight outta Austin. Info: TortugaMusicFestival.com.
The Tortuga Music Festival pulls the plug at 10 p.m. sharp, but you can keep the music going Saturday night without having to drink out of a plastic cup or a can just up the street at the Living Room Bar & Lounge in the W Fort Lauderdale (401 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.). The free after-party at the club, an official sponsor of Tortuga, features music from the rootsy SOSOS (who have shared a stage with Donovan Frankenreiter, Michael Franti and Spearhead and Trombone Shorty, to name a few), beginning at 10 p.m. For table reservations, email email@example.com. Info: SOSOSMusic.com.