Eastpoint Beer Company celebrates one year anniversary Saturday
We'll never forget the call we received not long after Hurricane Michael ravaged North Florida last year.
"It's bad, man," Eastpoint Beer Company owner Josh Parker told us. "It's really bad. Worse than I thought. I don't know what I'm gonna do."
Parker had just walked into his brewery hours after the storm had passed and was staring at the damage to his small, coastal brewery location off Highway 98 along the Forgotten Coast — a brewery he had been just days from opening.
Flood waters had rushed into the back of the tasting room, leaving six inches or more of standing water. Layers of mud, seaweed, oyster shells and seashells caked the floor. Huge boulders from the ocean floor had been lifted up by the tide and storm surge and came crashing into the back door, leaving holes in the back of the building. And there Parker stood in the aftermath, soaking it all in — unable to fathom the destruction in front of him.
Or his bad luck. Again.
You see, before Parker — a native of upstate New York — moved to Eastpoint and opened a craft brewery, he had been oh, so close once before to opening another brewery in his home state. But when that didn't pan out with his partners over creative differences not long before it got off the ground, he started to ask himself the question, "Am I even supposed to be doing this?"
But he persisted.
He spent countless hours cleaning up EBC, and on Dec. 14, 2018 — almost exactly two months to the day he was slated to open his doors —it finally happened.
And this weekend during Eastpoint Beer Company's anniversary, Parker and his crew will be celebrating more than just one year in business — they'll be celebrating a comeback that's been unlike any other in the history of the Big Bend craft beer scene.
"It's been a wild ride for sure," Parker said. "None of this would've happened if the Eastpoint community hadn't rallied around us after Hurricane Michael and helped us get the brewery cleaned up — and then came out to support us in full force once we opened. We feel very fortunate to not only be here, but be here and doing well after a tough start last year."
The anniversary festivities kick off at noon Saturday when Eastpoint taps its special anniversary beer, "The Big Bender" — a 4.2% ABV session IPA (their first-ever session IPA) that's an homage to the area Parker and his girlfriend Jen Klingmann now call home.
Eastpoint will also have the "SGI Food Truck" on site serving food, as well as live music by singer Eric Mason.
And we, for starters, are really excited.
We'll never forget walking into Eastpoint that first night they opened, fresh off the Tallahassee Brew Bus and eager to sample these beers we'd been waiting so long to try. And boy, oh, boy were they good.
Add in that amazing view of the Apalachicola Bay and the cool breeze from the back deck of EBC, and you knew instantly Eastpoint was gonna be just fine.
We can't even express how thankful we are that they joined the area scene and gave Franklin County a second craft brewery along with Oyster City Brewing. Parker and Klingmann have also become good friends of the Tallahassee Beer Society along the way, and we appreciate their support of all that we do.
So if you don't have plans Saturday — or even if you do — consider hopping in the car and making the short drive to the coast to celebrate with Eastpoint Beer Company. Their award-winning coffee imperial stout — "Dark Overload," which was named "Best Beer" at the inaugural Tallahassee Beer Festival way back in January at the VERY first festival EBC ever poured at — will also be on tap.
And that's just a bonus to seeing our pal at Eastpoint thriving after what they've been through. Cheers, Eastpoint Beer Company — and here's to many more.
TLH Beer Festival tickets now on sale
The 2nd Annual Tallahassee Beer Festival — another event affected last year by Hurricane Michael last year — is slated for Jan. 25, 2020, at the Tallahassee Pavilion. Tickets went on sale at the beginning of November and already over 25 percent of the total tickets available have been sold so far.
Yours truly will be handling the voting once again this year for Best Overall Brewery, Best Local Brewery, Best Overall Beer and Best Homebrewer -- with the help a certified public accounting firm, of course. Because we ain't no good at math! (Or grammar)
So come see us at our table, cast your votes and pick up some swag. It's gonna be an awesome event, and it sold 1,200 tickets last year — with plans to exceed that in Year 2.
So don't delay — grab those tickets today.
The cost for tickets is $35 for general admission and $55 for VIP -- and be sure to use our special Beer Society codes when you purchase: VTBEER for VIP tickets and BEER for general admission.
Can hardly wait for Jan. 25.