The Lack of Beer Seminars at the 2011 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

August 22nd, 2011 by in Walt Disney World Beer Reviews

Alright, I get it. It’s the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, not the Food and Beer Festival. However, there are over 100 of what Disney refers to as “Wine/Beverage” Seminars at the 2011 festival. Out of these 100+ sessions throughout the entire length of the festival, a grand total of one  focuses on beer.

I hope you beer lovers are available October 4, 2011 at noon, because your one chance to participate in a beer seminar is at that date and time. Samuel Adams will be hosting this one, and it’s only $10 a person.

For the rest of you who are attending Food and Wine and want to have a special experience involving beer, get your pocketbooks ready. Your first option is the Radeberger Beer Dinner on November 4 at 6:30 pm; hosted by Jens Dahlmann and the Chefs of Epcot, Radeberger beer will be served alongside each course. The Radeberger Beer Dinner will set you back $155 per person.

A second option is the Italy Food and Beer Pairing at Via Napoli. In reality, this should probably just be called Pizza and Beer, but that doesn’t sound fancy enough. At the Italy Food and Beer Pairing, “a representative discusses the pairing of pizza with regional Italian beers” according to the Food and Wine Festival site. Pizza and beer at Via Napoli will cost $50 per person, and this event occurs each Thursday from 2:00 – 4:00 pm.

The third option is sort of a toss-up; your experience may or may not include beer. Cheese Seminars at the Festival Welcome Center will occur on Saturdays during the Food and Wine Festival (visit here for the specific events, scroll down to Cheese Seminars). The website says “featured cheese will be tasted and paired with selected wines and/or beers.” So if you want to roll the dice on having some beer with your cheese, scrounge up $75 per person and pick one.

As far as Disney-hosted events that feature beer go, that’s it. Otherwise, you’ll have to create your own events such as tasting all eight beers at Brewer’s Collection or drinking beer around the world Food and Wine style and getting a beer at each booth serving beer.

In 2009, Disney had a special tasting at the Brewer’s Collection booth called The Beer Hop. $12 bought you a passport to taste four different beers. Each pour was four ounces; enough to give a good taste but not necessarily commit to an entire pint. There were two different Beer Hop passports that together covered all eight beers at Brewer’s Collection. In 2009, Brewer’s Collection was not a Germany-centric booth but featured beers from different parts of the world. The Beer Hop was a good way to taste beers from around the world.

The Beer Hop concept could easily be carried over today; buy a passport and sample beers from different booths. It makes sense from a sales perspective also; having customers move to different booths means they might buy food items in addition to the beer they are sampling. This idea could easily be duplicated for wine as well. I don’t think this is a very difficult idea; I’m not sure why Disney hasn’t brought this back since 2009.

Unless you’re going to be at Epcot on October 4 or you want to pay $50+, the special events for beer drinkers are lacking. I’d suggest taking a look at our Food and Wine Festival Beer List and seeking out the beers that interest you instead.

  • Ken Goyette

    It’s sad but not surprising. I feel like Beer is considered that yellow fizzy stuff, served at frat parties. It frustrating as a fan of Disney and a fan of the huge craft brewery rivial that is happening in the US, that it’s basically ignored.

    I would love to see some Beer Dinners with Stone, DogFish, New Belgium, Sierra Nevada maybe Founders. All of which could handle a single dinner, but it seems like Disney even cut back the Sam Adams stuff.

    It is nice to see them offering more beer, or so it seems, but even the craft beer kiosk sort of misses the mark… Come on Disney, get your crap together.


  • Ashley

    What happened to Sam Adams free beer tasting? The had it a few years ago every year and it was free! All day long. The seminar they gave was quite fun too. In 2009 we paid around $20 to see an Abita seminar that was horrible but at least they had a few to choose from.


    • Scott

      I would do an Abita tasting, but I can go to the brewery whenever I’m in Louisiana.

      The only brewery-sponsored beer tasting is the Sam Adams one mentioned in the article.


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