This was a beer geek's dream: A luncheon of who's who in the Tampa Bay craft brewing scene at Cajun Cafe on the Bayou in Pinellas Park.
Dan Pemberton, commercial brewery liaison for the Best Florida Beer Championships, invited me to the industry networking event this morning, which was hosted by J.J. Taylor Distributing and New Belgium Brewing Co. It was a relaxed meet and greet where a bunch of brewers shared their beers over some Cajun food. I'd been meaning to get out to the cafe, which is renowned for its craft beer festivals (their fall fest is Nov. 2), and was glad to finally make it and meet owner Paul Unwin, a true friend to craft beer.
Why did I call it a who's who? Read this list of the local breweries who were there (I've probably overlooked someone):
• Florida Avenue Ales (Cold Storage Craft Brewery)
Many people I knew via Twitter or Facebook, so it was great to actually meet people in person (weird, I know). I wish I could have met everyone.
The hardest part? I could only taste a few of the beers. (I did have to drive an hour back to Sarasota and go to work.) This was especially vexing because this was a gathering of brewers: They brought some really cool stuff.