Improving the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Craft Beer Collection Booth

August 20th, 2012 by in Walt Disney World Beer Reviews

2011 Craft Beer Collection Menu

Now that we’ve had some time for the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival menu to settle in, let’s take a closer look at the Craft Beer Collection booth. It’s a decent selection, but with some changes in the lineup it could be easily improved. Here’s what is being served:

Let’s start right off with Abita’s Purple Haze. One of the three most common beers in Abita’s lineup and served at the Port Orleans resorts as well as Raglan Road and ESPN Club. I can make this substitution simple; just order Abita’s best brew (in my opinion): Andygator.

Blue Moon’s seasonal will probably be Harvest Pumpkin Ale, but Disney isn’t committing to it. Personally, pumpkin ales are one of my favorite styles. Taking that into consideration, who can brew a pumpkin ale with enough volume to serve at Food and Wine? Could Cigar City brew enough Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale? Would Dogfish Head be able to provide enough Punkin Ale? Honestly, I’m not sure, but I think Good Gourd would be a great substitution if it could be pulled off.

Keep Devil’s Triangle; I like that it’s a brand new beer from Florida Beer. It is, however, one of three IPAs out of eight beers. I’d cut Full Sail IPA and replace it with a different style. How about something dark? Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro would fit the bill here.

Leinenkugel’s Berry Weiss was panned by Jenn and Patrick last year; they referred to it as carbonated Hawaiian Punch. The original lineup (assuming Blue Moon’s seasonal is Harvest Pumpkin Ale) also contains three fruit beers. I’d get away from the fruit beer entirely and tap some Stone Arrogant Bastard instead.

I haven’t had Red Hook Pilsner but Jenn and Patrick called it nothing special after tasting it at last year’s Food and Wine Festival. Instead, serve Lagunitas Pils. It’s definitely one of the more interesting pilsners I’ve had.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale won our Walt Disney World Beer Tournament earlier this year, but I can’t help but think that it’s already served all around the resort. With Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale not being served at the Hawaii booth, I see no reason why it can’t be served here.

Finally, I’d keep Widmer’s Spiced IPA. I haven’t had it before and would be interested in trying it.

For those of you that glossed over the article, here’s my Craft Beer Collection list:

  • Abita Andygator
  • Cigar City Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale
  • Florida Beer Company Devil’s Triangle
  • Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro
  • Stone Arrogant Bastard
  • Lagunitas Pils
  • Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale
  • Widmer Rotator IPA: Spiced IPA

To me that’s a much better list and one that could truly be called a Craft Beer Collection.

  • Ken Goyette

    I like your list way more than Disney’s. I would mention, I doubt though, sadly, the Cigar City could get enough Good Gourd out, but I assume DFH would be able to do that with Punkin. Love the idea of the Left Hand Milk Stout, again can’t see any issues with Left Hand being able to provide enough. Arrogant Bastard, or really any Stone would make me happy. I am sure they could stock enough.

    I would like to see more IPA/DIPA’s too, but only because it’s my favorite style. Again DFH, could stock enough. Also Stone, Green Flash, Ballast Point, and Firestone Walker seem to have enough distro to handle this.


    • Scott Post author

      I liked the idea of a local brewery providing it when I was searching for a good pumpkin ale, so I left Cigar City in there. In actuality, it would probably have to come from DFH or somewhere.

      IPAs are some of my favorites also, but with a seemingly hard limit on eight beers (all three beer-centric booths have eight) I thought it could use a bit more diversity in style.


  • Julie Saunders

    It’s a shame craft beers make a short and small appearance at WDW – especially for those of us who can’t pop down for Food & Wine any ol’ time. However, I applaud your top pick, Andygator. It’s my #1 fav rave too (and not just because I dated the namesake during college).
    Here’s hoping for some Spatan Oktoberfest at the outside bier stand in German when I’m at WDW in early Sept!


    • Scott Post author

      I like the idea of breweries having a limited engagement at WDW; perhaps a stand in the American Adventure that rotates craft beers every so often. The highest barrier here would be getting any breweries who don’t distribute to Florida set to do so (label approvals, licenses, etc.).


    • Scott Post author

      Wait wait wait… I missed that you dated Andy the first time I read your comment. How cool is that?!


  • Estelle

    Hi! I’m so glad you made your own craft beer list. I like the idea of pumpkin a lot… I think it’s a great beer that even non-beer drinkers could enjoy & also it’s a great way to get people INTO beer. (I know the first beer I drank and liked had some kind of champagne in it & I was stuck.)

    I know it might be hard but it would be great to have New York and Jersey craft beers represented in that list, maybe going with a first colonies of the US thing near the American Adventure. That’s obviously wishful thinking though.

    I’m wondering with time (and some research on Disney’s part) if they will be more open to providing other craft beers during Food & Wine and in the parks. I would think F&W is a great way to guage what the average theme park guest is willing to try and what is popular.


    • Scott Post author

      Sam Adams already owns the American Adventure during F&W; what more do you want? (j/k)

      I do like the idea of regional beer booths. A northeast one could include Clown Shoes, Schmaltz (He’Brew/Coney Island), Dogfish Head, and others.

      F&W really does seem like the perfect time to experiment; something that sells quickly may be something to look at for the normal menus at WDW.


  • Gerard Walen

    Good list suggestions. I’ve had the Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin, and it’s pretty much the worst pumpkin beer I’ve ever had. Shipyard PumpkinHead is pretty decent, and might be able to supply enough. Or how about rotating the seasonal tap?


    • Scott Post author

      I’d be fine with rotating the seasonal tap. Buy however much you can of one beer, put it on until it runs out and move on to the next one. Good Gourd, Punkin, and PumpkinHead would be good to rotate through.


  • James King

    I love the idea of regional beers. BTW they already have Blue Point Toasted Lager, an excellent craft beer from our local brewery here in Long Island, NY, at the Tutto Gusto wine cellar, and I have no doubt that Blue Point could churn out similar quantities of their other fine and delicious brews. Not to mention Brooklyn Brewery, Sixpoint, etc.
    I also think Disney could do a better job bringing in some of the bigger, better American craft brewers like Stone, Anchor Steam, Brewery Ommegang, etc. Sierra Nevada and Leinenkugel are not bad, but there are lots of craftier beers out there produced by very competent breweries that could make this booth much more interesting.


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