SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld Craft Beer Festival Walkaround 2018

November 17th, 2018
  |  by Mealtrip
The very first Craft Beer Festival at SeaWorld, Orlando runs for just two weeks in 2018, and that's a pretty tight turn-around for us here at Mealtrip (as far as publishing an article goes). We think the Craft Beer Festival will be around for a while though, and so we wanted to get a walk-around article in the system for this great new Fall event.

Here and there, you'll find maps of all the food and beverage kiosks that make up the 2018 festival. Everything takes place (more or less), along what we call the "dining loop" at SeaWorld, a cool little walk around on the right hand side of the park, which is where most of the places to eat are located.

You can find large maps of the Craft Beer Festival, in a couple different locations throughout the park. These show little numbers that match up with specific booths or "beer huts"... and that's where you'll find the unique food and beverage offerings.
You can find large maps of the Craft Beer Festival, in a couple different locations throughout the park. These show little numbers that match up with specific booths or "beer huts"... and that's where you'll find the unique food and beverage offerings.


It's worth noting... the area that is normally thought of as the "special event space", is actually being set up for the park's Halloween festivities, and so it can't be used for any of the Craft Beer Festival activities.

Just like Seven Seas Food Festival, there are "Sampling Lanyards" available to purchase, and if you're planning on trying out eight or more things… $54 (plus tax), making each food or beverage sample just over $4.50!

You can buy the Sampling Lanyards at the festival's "Welcome Center" booth, or at just about any of the other festival booths.
You can buy the Sampling Lanyards at the festival's "Welcome Center" booth, or at just about any of the other festival booths.


We did find a few items that were not part of the "Sampling Lanyard" program, which is too bad, it creates a little bit of confusion, in what we otherwise think is a great, fun way to experience the festival… but more on that in a bit. Let's look at some food already!

No matter what festival at SeaWorld we're talking about… if there's a food sample at the Flamecraft Bar, it's usually a pretty great one! This time was no exception… check out these Jumbo Chicken Wings that were tossed in a Pilsner Buffalo Sauce served with Tangy Slaw!

These Jumbo Chicken Wings from the Flamecraft Bar are tossed in a Pilsner Buffalo Sauce served with Tangy Slaw.
These Jumbo Chicken Wings from the Flamecraft Bar are tossed in a Pilsner Buffalo Sauce served with Tangy Slaw.


While we're in the area, let's take a quick look at the typical size of the beer samples at the Craft Beer Festival.

Pictured here a great little People's Pale Ale from Intuition Ale Works features two-row malted barley and two caramel malts.
Pictured here a great little People's Pale Ale from Intuition Ale Works features two-row malted barley and two caramel malts.


The beer samples are served in what appear to be 6-7oz cups (I didn't scientifically measure those), and the wine samples are served in slightly smaller, stemmed plastic cups.

Moving along the walkway, (and now that we have a beer in hand), it seemed like this Beer Brat served with onions and sauerkraut and topped with some gorgeous whole grain mustard was calling my name!

The Beer Brats are topped with onions, sauerkraut, and whole grain mustard.
The Beer Brats are topped with onions, sauerkraut, and whole grain mustard.


So how do you know where the food is? Well, there's basically two kinds of festival huts. The huts that offer food are usually a little large (because there has to be a grilling surface, etc. in the booth), those are kind of brown and blue, and look like this…

The brown and blue festival huts usually have food, soft drinks, and water.
The brown and blue festival huts usually have food, soft drinks, and water.


… and then there's a few "beverage only" huts out there too. Those are smaller and are kind of blue and white…

The smaller blue and white festival huts are usually "beverage only" locations.
The smaller blue and white festival huts are usually "beverage only" locations.


… every once in a while, you'll find both kinds of huts together, all in one place! Beer Hut Jackpot!!!

Sometimes, you'll find both kinds of festival huts together!
Sometimes, you'll find both kinds of festival huts together!


These two huts across from the Spice Mill restaurant is where I found a couple of amazing street-food inspired bites. There's no denying how well some hot and fresh Beer Corn Fritters served with a Sriracha Aioli pair with an ice cold beer!

Beer Corn Fritters served with a Sriracha Aioli.
Beer Corn Fritters served with a Sriracha Aioli.


Also from the same hut, how about these Chorizo Potato Skins that are topped with Quesa Fresco, Onion, Cilantro and Avocado Crema!!!

Chorizo Potato Skins topped with Quesa Fresco, Onion, Cilantro and Avocado Crema.
Chorizo Potato Skins topped with Quesa Fresco, Onion, Cilantro and Avocado Crema.


They also had a couple of special "Craft Beer Festival" items available at Sharks™, which is SeaWorld Orlando's only full-service, sit-down restaurant (and lounge). The selections were really good, and a culinary cut above what was being served outside at the food huts.

Shark's Deep Fried Pickles served with Horseradish Remoulade Sauce and Ranch Dressing.
Shark's Deep Fried Pickles served with Horseradish Remoulade Sauce and Ranch Dressing.


But… for me, it kind of… took me out of the "festival" atmosphere and into a "sit-down and park it for a while" atmosphere. As great as the food samples were, it's not exactly what I think of as being a fun walk-around food and beer festival. Also (and this is a biggie), they were not on the "Sampling Lanyard" program… so there were additional "out of pocket" purchases.

This great looking Roasted Red Pepper Hummus was served with Kalamata 
Olives, Tomatoes, Green Onions and Feta Cheese, and Naan Flatbread 
Dippers.
This great looking Roasted Red Pepper Hummus was served with Kalamata Olives, Tomatoes, Green Onions and Feta Cheese, and Naan Flatbread Dippers.


Just for my two cents… I'd skip Sharks™ as a "festival" destination and just stay on the outdoor festival trail. Sharks™ is a great sit-down restaurant, but it's a different sort of experience.

Meanwhile, back outside… Oooooo… Sweet Potato Fries with Chocolate sauce!!!

These Sweet Potato Fries dusted with powdered sugar and drizzled chocolate sauce weren't on the planned festival menu! Oooooo... a secret, off-menu item!
These Sweet Potato Fries dusted with powdered sugar and drizzled chocolate sauce weren't on the planned festival menu! Oooooo... a secret, off-menu item!


Hey, do I hear music? That looks a lot like the band at the Busch Gardens Bier Fest!!! It's the awesome "Dana and Sharon" playing all kinds of cover tunes from Sinatra to Stevie Wonder and Classic Rock to Country... Big Band to Dance Band, R&B and everything in between! Very cool.

Hey look, it's Dana and Sharon! Well, they are based out of Orlando, so this is probably a "home gig" for them!
Hey look, it's Dana and Sharon! Well, they are based out of Orlando, so this is probably a "home gig" for them!


Another quick trip off the main path and into a restaurant, but this time, there was still a quick and festival-like, atmosphere… it's SeaWorld's newest dining location, the Waterway Grill (and they have air conditioning too)!

The Waterway Grill is SeaWorld, Orlando's newest dining location! It's also one of the stops on the Craft Beer Festival tour! There's no "hut" per say... but the whole front counter has been turned into the "festival food and beer spot".
The Waterway Grill is SeaWorld, Orlando's newest dining location! It's also one of the stops on the Craft Beer Festival tour! There's no "hut" per say... but the whole front counter has been turned into the "festival food and beer spot".


There is a full-sized kitchen in this building somewhere, so rather than being in a food booth, the main front counter was serving as a "hut location" with the food items they were serving being warmed under heat lamps.

The BBQ Brisket Mac-N-Cheese combines  BBQ Brisket with Jalapeno Cheddar Pepper Jack Cheese Sauce, topped with Spiked BBQ Sauce, and a Parmesan Garlic Crust.
The BBQ Brisket Mac-N-Cheese combines BBQ Brisket with Jalapeno Cheddar Pepper Jack Cheese Sauce, topped with Spiked BBQ Sauce, and a Parmesan Garlic Crust.


That's not entirely a bad thing though… as long as not too many are coming out of the kitchen and the supply stays just ahead of demand... those little Mac 'N Cheeses should still be hot and fresh.

They also had these little Cheese Empanadas with Avocado Sauce … that paired really well with beer.

These Cheese Empanadas with Avocado Sauce are also on the Waterway Grill's "everyday" menu.
These Cheese Empanadas with Avocado Sauce are also on the Waterway Grill's "everyday" menu.


About the beer here… because this is a "brick and mortar" location… they have chilled taps!!!! Yay!!! So all 12 Craft Beers that were on the special festival menu card… were "draught"!

All 12 of the festival beers listed on the menu are on-tap in the Waterway Grill. Some of the other craft beers at the outdoor huts, are poured from cans.
All 12 of the festival beers listed on the menu are on-tap in the Waterway Grill. Some of the other craft beers at the outdoor huts, are poured from cans.


As we get to the end of the festival walkway, there are a couple of dessert options. These Beer Floats were such a great idea… but for some reason, you couldn't get one as part of the "sampling lanyard" program.

There's all kinds of Beer Floats to choose from! You can first choose vanilla or chocolate ice cream, and then pair it with your choice of ales, like Brown Sugar Brown Cow Mocha Brown Ale, Nutter Butter Cup Peanut Butter Porte, or the Dead Lizard Komodo "Koko" Dragon Chocolate Stout. You also get your choice or chocolate, nutter butter or caramel sauce for a truly decedent hard float!
There's all kinds of Beer Floats to choose from! You can first choose vanilla or chocolate ice cream, and then pair it with your choice of ales, like Brown Sugar Brown Cow Mocha Brown Ale, Nutter Butter Cup Peanut Butter Porte, or the Dead Lizard Komodo "Koko" Dragon Chocolate Stout. You also get your choice or chocolate, nutter butter or caramel sauce for a truly decedent hard float!


I hope next year, there will be smaller sizes available that you can get with a Sampling Lanyard entitlement/punch ... or maybe even an option for using "two punches" from the sampling lanyard to try these out!

Finally, we ended up over at Mama's Pretzel Kitchen Patio Bar where a basket of Cinnamon Pretzel Bites were on the Craft Beer Festival Menu!!!!

The hot and fresh Cinnamon Pretzel Bites are available all the time at Mama's Pretzel Kitchen Patio Bar, but they're also on the Craft Beer Festival menu for one Sampling Lanyard entitlement/punch.
The hot and fresh Cinnamon Pretzel Bites are available all the time at Mama's Pretzel Kitchen Patio Bar, but they're also on the Craft Beer Festival menu for one Sampling Lanyard entitlement/punch.


Mmmmm… there's just something about a Cinnamon Dusted Hot 'N Fresh Pretzel Bite that's just so yummy… and again… great with beer!

If you like beer, or even just street inspired festival food, there's some great options to try at SeaWorld Orlando's newest festival. While it does only run for two weekends in 2018, we think this one might get mushed into the Halloween celebrations next year (and run a bit longer)… so that parents and children have their own little "treat trails" to go on!


The Mealtrip.com visit to the 2018 Craft Beer Festival was hosted by SeaWorld, Orlando. When accepting event invitations, we are not required to review the event, and/or review the event, food, beverage, or merchandise items favorably. Check out our FAQ page for more disclosure information.
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