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Pour it on. America on Tap brewfest coming to Kissimmee

Posted on Wednesday, September 7, 2016 at 11:41 am

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By Peter Covino

A&E Editor

Fall means Octoberfest and in Kissimmee it also means the arrival of the Kissimmee On Tap Beer Festival at Osceola Heritage Park.

The festival is part of America on Tap, which has many stops nationwide. It comes to Osceola County, Saturday, Oct. 22.

It’s the first time the beer festival comes to Osceola Heritage Park. The Celebrate Beer Festival was at OHP last year at about the same time.

The festival, which will feature more than 100 craft beers, also has an entertainment angle as well. Coming to Kissimmee as part of the fun are the dueling pianos of Dallas Reese and Johnny Stone, also known as the Legends Dueling Piano Show.

The participating brewers are mostly of the smaller, microbrew variety, but it also includes some bigger, familiar names like Samuel Adams, Abita and Angry Orchard. Also participating is Osceola County’s only microbrewery, Reprise Brewing in St. Cloud.

The list includes many names that should be familiar to beer drinkers, including 2 Henrys, Funky Buddha, Maui Brewing and Coney Island.

Other brewers coming to Osceola County are 5 Rabbit. B Nektar, Bards Tale  Beer, Bells, Blackberry Farm, Brew Bus Brewing, Central 28 Beer, Ciderboys, Darwin Brewery, Duck-Rabbit, Fat Heads Brewery, Funky Buddha, Green Bench Brewing, Heavy Seas, Holy Mackerel Small Batch Beers, Hopwater, Hyland, Intuition Ale Works, JDubs Brewing, Lazy Magnolia, Left Hand Brewing, Lexington Brewing, Madman Ciders, Merchant Du Vin, MiA Beer, Narrangansett, New Planet Beer, Original Sin, Rivertown Brewery, Rogue, Shmaltz Brewing, Sixpoint Brewery, The Bruery, Thirsty Dog, Travely, Truly, Two Brother Brewing and Uinta Brewing.

The On Tap festival features two ticket levels, standard and VIP. The standard ticket features three hours of sampling, a souvenir glass and live music entertainment. The VIP ticket features four hours of sampling, an America on Tap baseball hat, a food voucher and live music.

VIP tickets are $60. General admission tickets at $55 at the gate, but you can save significantly by ordering ahead on line. Tickets are $35 until Sept. 11; $40 until Oct. 2; $45 until Oct. 22.

If you have never been to a beer festival kind of show, the October event should be well worth attending. Typically, you can drink all the beer you want (of course, attendees are urged to drink responsibly). The sample sizes are small so you get a chance to sample many different brands and types of beer.

Beer connoisseurs know it is best to go easy, particularly at first. Usually it  is good to familiarize yourself with the layout, see what brews are available, and then sample new beers you have never tried before.  You never know what you might find at a beer event, including brews made with blueberries, honey, chocolate and even hemp.

Frequently, microbreweries will show off a limited-time beer, something you might not find for retail anywhere in the state, or a seasonal brew, one that they make just for the summer or winter.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions. The guys and gals tending those vendor booths usually know a lot about the beer they are pouring, so it can be an educational experience. Many vendors have freebies such as key chains, beer mats and other items until supplies run out.

Beer festival organizers recommend attendees arrive about 30 minutes prior to the start time. The festival runs from 2 to 5 p.m. for standard tickets. The VIP session begins at 1 p.m. The earlier arrival is recommended  because ID checks are performed at the gate. In order to be admitted, you must have your printed paper ticket in hand or a digital ticket on your mobile device.

Tickets can be purchased online at Americaontap.com, at the Arena Box Office at Osceola Heritage Park, at the electronics department at participating Walmart stores and at the Florida Mall Guest Services booth.

A portion of event proceeds  goes back to InfoTech Education Corporation, a group that encourages young men and women to enter STEM-related careers.