When spring hits, the taps at South Florida breweries start pouring its flavors of the summer: golden India Pale Ales, citrusy wheat beers and crisp, hard ciders.
An early testing ground for these brews will be this weekend’s Sprung Craft Beer Festival, returning Saturday, April 1, to the old RC Cola Plant in Wynwood. Sprung will come bearing 300 local and international beers from 101 breweries, including J. Wakefield, the Tank, Biscayne Bay, Wynwood, Funky Buddha and M.I.A.
For organizer Tony Albelo, Sprung is an occasion to indulge in beer and another pastime from his younger days: doughnuts. In another life, Albelo, 47, was a professional competitive eater, setting the 1997 Guinness World Record for most powdered doughnuts eaten in three minutes (four doughnuts, but consumed without a water break). Albelo, along with former Salty Donut pastry chef Max Santiago, will judge a doughnut-eating contest during Sprung, and he’s toyed with the idea of coming out of retirement.
“It’s the ultimate beer pairing,” Albelo says. “And it’s just more summer-y, more fun. Sprung has so much more focus on the social side of craft beer.”
Sprung! is a spring counterpart to Grovetoberfest, a fall-themed gathering with Oktoberfest, pumpkin-punched beers and darker, belly-filling dessert ales, Albelo says. Sprung’s all about lighter citrus beers, including MIA’s Encanto de Amor, a special-release sour beer brewed with kale, cucumber and lemon-lime; an Accomplice Ciderworks Strawberry Cider; LauderAle’s Double D imperial IPA; and Flagship IPA, a citrus-infused beer from Jupiter’s Civil Society Brewing.
“The breweries now are bringing out their spring and summer beers, but not so much focused on award-winning, experimental stuff,” Albelo says. “It’s the kind of beer you can drink while relaxing by the pool or catching a football game.”
Beer aside, Sprung will offer parlor games such as giant Jenga, cornhole and a giant beer pong tournament (oversize red Solo cups and volleyballs). A lineup of food trucks will also be on hand, as will the Kitchen Lab, with beer pairings and cooking demonstrations from chefs Santiago, Constantine DeLucia of Providores and Publicans in Miami, Anderson Osorio of 320 Gastrolounge in Coral Gables and Ryan Martin of 180° at the DRB in Miami.
The Sprung Craft Beer Festival will take place 2:30-7 p.m. Saturday, April 1, at the RC Cola Plant, 550 NW 24th St., in Miami. Admission is $45, $70-$90 for VIP. Go to SprungBeerFest.com.
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