Drink up: Bay area beer festivals for fall

When seeking local craft beer fests brimming with bubbly goodness this season, start here.

click to enlarge Drink up: Bay area beer festivals for fall - Michael Fajardo via Flickr
Michael Fajardo via Flickr
Drink up: Bay area beer festivals for fall

Unofficially, it's fall, so in the spirit of the season, where brisk afternoons hopefully await, here's a working lineup of craft beer festivals set to hit the region until December.

HALFWAY THERE: A RARE BEER FESTIVAL

Happening: Saturday

Count down the days 'til Tampa Bay Beer Week at the annual Halfway There festival. This time around, the mid-year celebration — highlighting one-off and rare suds from more than 70 global and local breweries — will be hosted at the Cuban Club in Ybor City. General admission and VIP tickets, priced between about $53 and $79, are limited, and designated drivers may enter for less. 4 p.m. 2012 Avenida de Cuba, Tampa, 813-248-2954.

FINCHTOBERFEST

Happening: Sept. 19

For a second year, Darwin Brewing Co. will throw its celebratory get-together in conjuction with the opening of Munich, Germany's Oktoberfest. Brewmaster Jorge Rosabal's Finchtoberfest Marzen-style Lager will be served alongside flagship Darwin brews and the Cala Pumpkin Lager. Live music, Peruvian-influenced brats from the Siwichi Food Truck, and a limited haul of $20 steins will also be on hand. Noon-9 p.m. 803 17th Ave. W., Bradenton, 941-747-1970.

OKTOBEERFEST 2015

Happening: Oct. 1 to 4

Held the first full weekend in October, Dunedin Brewery's observance of the Bavarian tradition will offer German eats, live music and, of course, beer. The Heavy Pets, Freekbass & the Bump Assembly and Serotonic are listed on the entertainment lineup, which will span the event's four-day run. This year's limited liter steins will go on sale Oct. 1. Start times vary each day. 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin, 727-736-0606.

HARBINGER FEST

Happening: Oct. 3

Brew Hub's inaugural beer fest also coincides with its one-year anniversary. Sip on more than 100 brews, ranging from classics to unlikely finds, including the Lakeland brewery's Umatilla Coffee Barleywine. The featured beermeisters will hail from Florida and beyond. Tickets are $35 for general admission, and VIP entry, allowing guests to enter an hour early, costs $75. Noon-6 p.m. 3900 S. Frontage Road, Lakeland, 863-698-7600.

PUMPKINFEST

Happening: Oct. 10

This fifth annual soirée from the Ale & the Witch will dedicate taps, bottles and a cask to the seasonal thirst for pumpkin beer. A flash mob dance troupe plans to infiltrate the downtown St. Pete bar's courtyard in the late afternoon, and Oak Hay will kick off the lives tunes at 4 p.m., followed by alternating sets from other local musicians. A post-festival show upstairs at the Witches BBQ Den will also be showcased alongside food specials. Follow PumpkinFest's Facebook event for updates on the beer list. 4 p.m. 111 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg, 727-821-2533.

THE FESTIVAL 2015: FLORIDA EDITION

Happening: Oct. 16 and 17

Beer geeks will descend upon downtown St. Pete's Coliseum for tastes from 90-plus breweries at the Shelton Brothers' traveling two-day gathering, The Festival. Beer, cider and mead makers from Japan, Florida (Cycle Brewing, Saint Somewhere and Cigar City included) and other places around the world will pour and discuss their offerings during the event. Three four-hour sampling sessions — one on Friday and two on Saturday — will be featured, and tickets range from $65 to $175. Various times. 535 Fourth Ave N., St. Petersburg, 727-892-5202.

BREWS BY THE BAY

Happening: Oct. 16

Expect more than 100 kinds of beer during this annual smorgasbord of beer at the Florida Aquarium. Dozens of Tampa eateries will be on site with food, and attendees will have the opportunity to explore the attraction's tanks of sea life. If folks buy a $75 VIP ticket, they'll receive early entry at 7 p.m., a tasting mug, access to a VIP area and more. 8-11 p.m. 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa, 813-273-4000.

BARLEY MOW'S PUMPKIN FEST

Happening: Oct. 24

The first pumpkin-focused beer fest from Barley Mow Brewing Company will highlight local vendors, food trucks, pours from 30 Tampa Bay breweries, carnival games and live entertainment. A $30 ticket includes a take-home tasting glass. 1-5 p.m. 518 W. Bay Drive, Largo, 727-584-7772.

3RD ANNUAL BIERTOBERFEST

Happening: Oct. 24

Celebrating specialty beer throughout the state, this yearly occasion at Two Henry's Brewing Company will showcase more than 35 breweries and 150-plus brews and ciders. Folks who purchase VIP tickets (around $53 in advance and $65 the day of) will score early entry, access to a private drinking area, exclusive beers and grub. The Two Henry's Hurricane #8 Eisbock will be sold at the event on first-come, first-served basis, and the bottles are limited to two per person. Live music will be highlighted as well. Noon-4 p.m. 5210 Thonotosassa Road, Plant City, 813-752-9100.

10TH FALL CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL

Happening: Nov. 7

More than 200 ales, local homebrews and European beers among them, will be served at Cajun Cafe on the Bayou's popular autumn beer bash. Limited to 600 tickets, which cost $60 online and $80 at the gate, admission to the open-air Pinellas Park event comes with food and a souvenir sampling glass. Raffles and prizes will be offered as well. 2-6 p.m. 8101 Park Blvd. N., Pinellas Park, 727-546-6732.

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