PGA National Resort & Spa saw a lot more than golfers and hotel guests this weekend, when more than 1,400 thirsty carnivores descended on the resort for its first-ever Craft Beer Festival & Burger Bash on Saturday afternoon.
The 90 degree heat and relentlessly blazing sun did not stop the droves of folks from lining up at each booth, all eager to sample sliders-size, juicy burgers packed full of delicious and innovative flavor combinations nearly 20 restaurants known throughout the region for their exceptional take on this staple menu item, including Cha Cha’s, Nick and Johnnies, CG Burger, Burger Bar, Roxy’s Pub, Wine Dive, Chuck Burger Joint, Cantina Laredo, Capital Grille, III Forks, Tabica Grill, Brewzzi’s, PGA Members Club, The Corner Cafe, Shark Bite Grille, Talay Thai, Conch and Crab, and even Whole Foods Market.
Event-goers all received mini mugs on a lanyard upon entering the vendor village, with which they were set off to sample more than 50 microbrews between burger tasting. Most of the breweries featured their most popular beers, as well as seasonal ales and their newest brews – some even tempting booth visitors with a concoction of several brews mixed together. Breweries from Florida and beyond were represented at the first-time festival, including Monk in the Trunk, Tequesta Brewing, PALM, Shock Top, Shipyard, Red Hook, Krombacher, Widmer, Due South, Leffe, and Kona, just to name a few.
The Craft Beer Festival & Burger Bash did not discriminate in its appeal to masses, as beer and beef lovers of every age (well…beer loves over 21, of course) roamed the outdoor festival and its three roars of vendors, mini beer garden, live musical performances, outdoor games and giveaways, and even home brewing demonstrations. At the end of the day, the beefy creation that stood out above the rest was given the title of “2012 King of all Burgers,” which event goers had the mouth-watering task of selecting. This best-of-show award went to Chuck Burger Joint, for their take on the classic burger. Others were recognized for inventiveness, including III Forks, whose beef burger with pulled pork and slaw took home the prize for Most Innovative, and Cha Chas, who’s Chorizo Burger won Best Non Beef Burger. Cha Cha’s beef-alternative selection was in good company with Capital Grille’s lobster roll, which also added a little variety to the day.
And to top it all off….the perfect end to a savory day of beefy sliders and earthy brews was served up by a charming, pint-size helper from Desserts by Elaine, whose choice of Banana’s Fosters and Apple Crumble provided the sweetest possible finale to what will hopefully become PGA National’s annual celebration of two of this world’s best inventions: burgers and beer.