Elder Care Oktoberfest goes to next level with craft beer

A range of craft  brewers are participating in this year's Elder Care Oktoberfest on Oct. 18.

'Tis the season for German music, dressing in dirndls and lederhosen, and eating your weight in pretzels, brats and sauerkraut. 

Oh, and beer ... lots and LOTS of beer.

Yes, it's Oktoberfest season and there are many German-themed festivals and events going on in our area with a heavy craft beer focus. And over the next few columns, we're gonna break it 'em down for you one by one.

But let's begin with a focus on one of the biggest, baddest Oktoberfests in North Florida every year: The Elder Care Services Oktoberfest on Oct. 18 at the Tallahassee Pavilion.

This event is, hands down, the granddaddy event in the Big Bend every year. And it's all in the name of charity. 

Going on its 21st year, the Elder Care Oktoberfest is the local organization's primary fundraiser each year. This fundraiser — which typically attracts between 1,000 and 1,500 guests — raises money so that Elder Care can continue to provide community-based senior care through thousands of hours of volunteer service, like delivering Meals on Wheels, providing companionship, and helping improve the quality of life for seniors and their caregivers.

And we, personally, are once again honored they asked us to be involved.

A year ago, the organizers of this event approached the Tallahassee Beer Society, seeking to "raise their craft beer game," so to speak. We responded in Year 1 by working with Deep Brewing, which brewed a special beer just for the VIP guests: "Shallow End German Kolsch." The beer was so popular, in fact, Deep brewed it again after the festival and eventually made it into one of their new core beers.

Well, good news: Not only will Deep be back again pouring that same beer — this time in the main area of the festival so that everyone can taste that delicious Kolsch — Deep will also have some serious local company.

And when we say "serious," we mean it.

The VIP area this year will be homage to the Tallahassee Beer Society's business venture, the Tallahassee Brew Bus. And the experience will offer guests a "party bus" themed atmosphere as soon as they step inside.

But it gets so much better.

VIPs will also be treated to a festival within a festival this year as we have amassed quite possibly the greatest collection of local breweries in one place — at one time —that Tallahassee has ever seen. Currently committed to pouring in the event, in addition to Deep, is: 

• Proof Brewing

• Ology Brewing

• Lake Tribe Brewing

• Fool's Fire Brewing

• Oyster City Brewing

• Eastpoint Beer Company

• Halpatter Brewing

• Georgia Beer Company

• Southern Philosophy Brewing  

• Salty Oak Brewing   

• Southern Fields Brewing "

Like, whoa ... right? 

With South Georgia's craft brewery on the rise and new breweries opening up to the East and West of Tallahassee, this is shaping up to be an incredible moment in the history of our local beer scene.

You'll notice some of our usual area big dogs on that list — Proof, Deep, Ology, Lake Tribe, Oyster City, Eastpoint and Halpatter — and then there's the new guys to the scene: Georgia Beer Company out of Valdosta, Georgia, (opened in Feb. 2019), Salty Oak Brewing out of Panama City (opened in June 2019) and Southern Philosophy out of Bainbridge, Georgia, (opened in July 2019).

And don't sleep on Fool's Fire Brewing of Tallahassee — due to open November 2019 and become Tallahassee's fifth craft brewery — and Southern Fields Brewing out of Campbellton, just north of Marianna. What makes Southern Fields' inclusion so cool is that they have never poured their beer for ANYONE before because they're busy trying to get open before the end of the year. If you remember, we broke news on Southern Fields just a month ago in the Around The Brew Bend column and then we hosted them on our ESPN 97.9 Radio show two weeks ago to talk more about the new brewery coming to the 850.

As this VIP collection of local breweries agreed to pour over the last month, Elder Care Oktoberfest organizer Nicole Ballas said she was in awe of how amazing this year's event was shaping up to be.

"Oktoberfest, Elder Care Services' premier fundraiser, has been a tradition in Tallahassee for over 20 years. The event raises valuable financial support to serve homebound seniors with the nutrition, personal care, and socialization they need to age with dignity at home," Ballas said. "While our Oktoberfest event has grown over 20 years, the area craft beer scene has also exploded, so in 2018 we reached out to the Tallahassee Beer Society looking for something new and exciting to bring to the long-standing event. With their passion for the local community and knowledge of craft beer, we knew it was the perfect partnership. 

"This year we are taking it to the next level with a full Tallahassee Brew Bus experience for VIP guests. In the VIP saloon, guests will get to 'take a ride' through some of the area’s top beer spots without leaving the Pavilion. Oktoberfest always promises unlimited drinks, traditional food, and a fun night out, but this new VIP experience will bring out the best of local craft beer, taking the event from a great fun night to an epic craft beer experience."

In addition to the VIP room being filled with local beer and Deep pouring in the main area, event sponsor Tri-Eagle Sales will have its beer trailer on site stocked with German brews from many of its brands, as well as specialty high-end bottles for the VIPs. Meaning, there will be no shortage of suds at the 2019 Elder Care Oktoberfest!

So mark your calendars, Tallahassee: Oct. 18. Tallahassee Pavilion. Tons of amazing beer. Food. Music. Games. Atmosphere. You name it, we've got it. 

In fact, Elder Care — and the Tallahassee Beer Society — have you covered at this event like never before.

Hope to see ya there!

The TLH Beer Society is a group of avid craft beer lovers co-founded by Danny Aller, who is also the co-host of the Saturday Morning Bottle Share on 97.9 ESPN radio. Follow TLH Beer Society at Facebook.com/TLHBeerSociety or @TLHBeerSociety on Twitter and Instagram or email tlhbeersociety@gmail.com.

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