First Draught

Glass of light beerHops, one of the main ingredients in beer, are typically harvested at the end of summer. Perhaps that’s why fall seems to bring more beer-themed events than the rest of the year. Whatever the reason—and does it actually matter?—’tis the season for local opportunities to partake in the world’s favorite brewed beverage.

• Several Bavarian-inspired beer festivals hit the First Coast in October, and all are free to attend. Up first, Oktoberfest at Art Walk is centered in Hemming Park from 5-10 PM on Oct. 7. Expect a biergarten, two music stages, contests, carnival games, prizes and plenty of flowing brewskies.

• Jaxtoberfest (Oct. 9-10) has moved to St. Johns Town Center this year and includes traditional food like bratwurst and pretzels to go with your brew. There’s also a Kinderfest for the kids, a 5K beer run and drinking games like cornhole and beer pong.

• The Beaches Oktoberfest takes over the Seawalk Pavilion Oct.16-18 and features “Craft-Toberfest” with more than 30 craft breweries on Friday night, a “Dogtoberfest,” on Sunday, a music lineup including polka and non-polka bands, food and more.

• Jacksonville Magazine’s Beer Cup has been reinvented as Burgers & Brews, a gourmet burger and craft brew tasting benefit slated for Nov. 5 at Downtown’s Jessie Ball DuPont Center. Top eateries team up with brewers to win the “Best Pairing” award. Tickets are $40. Proceeds benefit Nemours Children’s Specialty Care.

• The fourth annual Jax Beer Week takes place Nov. 7-14. More than 40 events that showcase local breweries, restaurants, bars and bottle shops will be on tap around town. “We’ll have a [Jax Beer Week] kick-off event at the new Engine 15 production facility at 601 Myrtle Ave. from 2-6 PM on November 7,” says Kara Scremin, president of the Jax Beer Society. “We are empowering [Society] members and all Jax bars & restaurants to host tap takeovers, pint nights and beer dinners.”