Grovetoberfest returns to Coconut Grove on Saturday

One year after Grovetoberfest poured pints in Virginia Key, the massive craft-beer bash has come back to Coconut Grove.

The 7-year-old beer festival returns Saturday, Oct. 14, to the Grove’s Regatta Park with 120 breweries local and national. This week, a last-minute venue change shifted Grovetoberfest from its longtime perch, Peacock Park, to Regatta Park about 500 yards away, organizer Tony Albelo says.

“We’re putting a big, 14-foot banner at Peacock Park that tells people the event is 500 yards thataway,” Albelo says of the change, which has drawn multiple phone calls from confused festivalgoers. “You can’t miss it.”

This isn’t the first time Grovetoberfest, which regularly draws about 15,000 beer drinkers, has been plagued by venue woes. Rainstorm flooding and a conflict with Miami’s parks division in 2015 forced Grovetoberfest to relocate to Virginia Key in 2016. But after talks with Miami commissioner Ken Russell this summer, Albelo planned to return his festival to Peacock Park.

Then, in late September, king tides flooded Miami’s streets, followed by torrential October rains, putting Grovetoberfest’s Peacock Park venue in jeopardy again.

“We realized that even with a little rain tomorrow, Peacock will probably flood again,” Albelo says. “So we upgraded. It’s a bigger park, we didn’t have to turn away any breweries, and we’re facing a great ocean breeze right on the marina.”

Grovetoberfest is also growing: This year’s beer selection features 500 brews, up from 400 in 2016, and Abelo says every South Florida brewery will be represented. Newcomers include Dania Beach’s 3 Sons Brewing Company and West Palm Beach’s American Craft Aleworks.

A new Homebrews and High Scores Lounge will offer samples from rising South Florida homebrewers and flat-screen TVs on which visitors can play retro Nintendo video games. A nearby fenced-in playpen called the Puppy Playground will cater to festivalgoers’ pooches.

Local breweries will tap rare and special treatments of their craft beers for the occasion, Albelo says. J. Wakefield in Wynwood will offer a twist on its Haterade, a wheat beer designed to taste like a fruit-punch-flavored sports drink. LauderAle in Fort Lauderdale, meanwhile, will serve a whiskey barrel-aged version of its C. Porter, which recently won a gold medal in the prestigious American Craft Beer Festival. Descarga Brewing in North Miami will pour Pastelito Guava Hibiscus Wheat, a take on the Cuban pastry.

Food vendors will also be on hand, and a Kitchen Lab will host food- and beer-pairing demonstrations from chefs, notably from Glass and Vine’s Giorgio Rapicavoli, a James Beard Award nominee.

Grovetoberfest will take place 2-7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, at Regatta Park, 2700 S. Bayshore Drive, in Coconut Grove. Admission is $44-$89 via Eventbrite.com, but use promo code BACKINTIME at checkout to save 25 percent. Call 305-461-2700 or go to Grovetoberfest.com.

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