SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld Craft Beer Festival Walkabout Day Two 2021

September 1st, 2021
  |  by Mealtrip
SeaWorld Craft Beer Festival 2021
SeaWorld Craft Beer Festival 2021
Yikes! I can't believe there's only a few weeks left for this year's Craft Beer Festival at SeaWorld, Orlando! Last year, we saw an extension of the festival — by a couple of additional months — but I'm not sure that's going to happen this year. Maybe. If it does, I'll let you know!

So what's with all of these Walkabout articles anyway? Well, I don't like going on the first day of the festival and purchasing one of everything. Sure, that would be great for the website — but I don't like eating all that food on one day, and it doesn't really provide me (or you) with the "actual experience" that most guests are going to have. So, I take the time and go to the festival on multiple days to see if anything has changed, and enjoy the festival in a way that most guests would.

That's enough text for now, let's eat something! First up, is one of my favorites from last year — almost.

This is the Stout Braised Beef Short Rib item from the Cigar City Snacks kiosk. The rib meat is placed on top of smoked cheddar mashed potatoes and has crunchy onion bits and green onion on top for garnish.
This is the Stout Braised Beef Short Rib item from the Cigar City Snacks kiosk. The rib meat is placed on top of smoked cheddar mashed potatoes and has crunchy onion bits and green onion on top for garnish.


This is the "Stout Braised Beef Short Ribs with Smoked Cheddar, Onion Mashed Potato" from the Cigar City Snacks booth. Last year, it was called the "Sam Adams Cream Stout Braised Short Ribs, served with Smoked Cheddar and Onion Mashed Potatoes".

  • Individual Item Price : $8.99
  • Eight Sample Lanyard Price Breakdown : $6.68
  • Twelve Sample Lanyard Price Breakdown : $5.80
  • AP Fifteen Sample Lanyard Price Breakdown : $4.64

The quality of the meat in the Stout Braised Beef Short Rib item was quite good, with only a small amount of pillow fat. This is one of those items that has some great flavor and texture combinations... warm savory beef with smooth potatoes along with a nice crunch from the fried onion bits and a little garden fresh onion snap as well.
The quality of the meat in the Stout Braised Beef Short Rib item was quite good, with only a small amount of pillow fat. This is one of those items that has some great flavor and texture combinations... warm savory beef with smooth potatoes along with a nice crunch from the fried onion bits and a little garden fresh onion snap as well.


I'm happy to report, that the short rib itself is still really great. Presumably, a different stout beer is being used from last year, but it hasn't effected the flavor or quality of the short rib. My piece this time had just the smallest amount of pillow fat on it, but was mostly a good, solid, piece of short rib meat.

What did seem to change a bit was the Smoked Cheddar Mashed Potatoes. They weren't quite as smokey or as cheddar flavored as they were last year. But, I still give this dish credit for having multiple parts — savory hot beef, crunchy onion topping, warm smooth mashed potatoes, a little green onion on top as a garnish and for a slight garden fresh crispness. This "multiple sensory" item is what you would expect to get as we approach the $10 per item price point.

The Cigar City Snacks booth area is quite nice. It seems to be a little out of the main walking pattern … and so the couple of times I've visited, it hasn't really been busy at all — and there's more "festival" seating around this booth than you will find at many of the others.

The Cigar City Snacks location has both covered and full-sun seating options. It's also a little off the festival path, so it's not always super crowded.
The Cigar City Snacks location has both covered and full-sun seating options. It's also a little off the festival path, so it's not always super crowded.


You may have noticed I'm posting the prices under the food pictures this year. I'm trying to find a quick way to show the savings between buying a food item out-of-pocket, as opposed to buying a Sampler Lanyard. There really is quite a bit of saving with the 12 Sampler Lanyard, and if you're an Annual Passholder, the 15 Sampler Lanyard offers the best deal.

The SeaWorld Craft Beer Festival Sampler Lanyard is a great way to save some money and time at the festival. There are 8 and 12 sample lanyards this year, and a special 15 sample lanyard that is available to annual passholders.
The SeaWorld Craft Beer Festival Sampler Lanyard is a great way to save some money and time at the festival. There are 8 and 12 sample lanyards this year, and a special 15 sample lanyard that is available to annual passholders.


Next up, I headed on over to the Mama's Pretzel Kitchen area … and directly on the right hand side of the Pretzel Kitchen (if you're looking directly at it) is the New Holland Brewing booth.

This is the New Holland Brewing kisok, located just off the exit door (right hand side) of Mama's Pretzel Kitchen.
This is the New Holland Brewing kisok, located just off the exit door (right hand side) of Mama's Pretzel Kitchen.


While there are some Pretzel Nuggets on the festival menu at Mama's Pretzel Kitchen — the small booth on the right is listed as having a "Pretzel Wrapped Bratwurst with Grain Mustard Sauce".

The Pretzel Wrapped Bratwurst is very similar to an item that's on the normal (non-festival) Mama's Pretzel Kitchen menu. It's served with some optional Grain Mustard Sauce to the side.
The Pretzel Wrapped Bratwurst is very similar to an item that's on the normal (non-festival) Mama's Pretzel Kitchen menu. It's served with some optional Grain Mustard Sauce to the side.


  • Individual Item Price : $7.99
  • Eight Sample Lanyard Price Breakdown : $6.68
  • Twelve Sample Lanyard Price Breakdown : $5.80
  • AP Fifteen Sample Lanyard Price Breakdown : $4.64

This is (more or less), the same Pretzel Wrapped Bratwurst that had been served at Mama's Pretzel Kitchen when it first opened. The menu now is a little different, (and honestly, I haven't updated the Mealtrip listing for the Mama's location in a while), but if I had to guess — I'd say this "Pretzel Wrapped Bratwurst" is very, very closely related to the "Jumbo Pretzel Dog" listed on the normal Mama's Pretzel Kitchen menu.

Which isn't necessarily a bad thing — it's a great item that definitely pairs with all kinds of beer. But looking at this one from a purely culinary standpoint — I'm not really sure I'd call it a Bratwurst — but maybe.

Bratwurst's are usually thought of as being more "fresh", having a higher quality meat product, and having less preservatives when compared to "hot dogs" — and this one did live up to that standard. German traditionalist would probably expect the Bratwurst meat to be seasoned with coriander, nutmeg, ginger, caraway and lemon zest — and this one was not. It's only lightly spiced, and probably intended to appeal to a larger, US based consumer.

Either way, I found last year's "Yuengling® Bratwurst Roll" to be more visually appealing and more flavorful than this year's Pretzel Wrapped Bratwurst. Since you can get this one at Mama's Pretzel Kitchen all year long, I'd probably skip it as a festival item.

I did find a band over at the Mama's Pretzel Kitchen area though, and that was pretty exciting!!! There are a decent number of umbrella covered tables and chairs to the left of the Pretzel Kitchen, and this is where a small performance stage was set up.

Next to Mama's Pretzel Kitchen is one of the festival's performance stages. Here, local bands will play sets at different times of the day.
Next to Mama's Pretzel Kitchen is one of the festival's performance stages. Here, local bands will play sets at different times of the day.


I'm not sure who these guys are, but they're really great!

These guys are pretty great actually! I believe the live entertainment is only available on Saturdays and Sundays during the Craft Beer Festival. (Or at least, I didn't see or hear anyone when I was there on Fridays.)
These guys are pretty great actually! I believe the live entertainment is only available on Saturdays and Sundays during the Craft Beer Festival. (Or at least, I didn't see or hear anyone when I was there on Fridays.)


As far as I know, live bands are performing on Saturdays and Sundays only, on these little stages during the festival. I've been out at the Craft Beer Festival on Fridays — up until around 2pm and haven't seen any stage activity.

Small one and two person bands play at SeaWorld's Craft Beer Festival for 2021.
Small one and two person bands play at SeaWorld's Craft Beer Festival for 2021.


Since I'm so close to the Motorworks Brewing booth, I make my way through Sesame Street land over to kiosk number 18 the "Beer Garden" featuring Tito's Handmade Vodka & Motorworks Brewing.

Here's the Beer Garden booth, which is located in a nice grassy area just outside the Sesame Street Land area. For 2021, they're offering beverages from Motorworks Brewing and cocktails made with Tito's Handmade Vodka.
Here's the Beer Garden booth, which is located in a nice grassy area just outside the Sesame Street Land area. For 2021, they're offering beverages from Motorworks Brewing and cocktails made with Tito's Handmade Vodka.


This location is called the Beer Garden because it's a large open area with seating and there's even cool string lights overhead!

A wider shot of the Beer Garden area shows a good amount of socially distant, full-sun seating options.
A wider shot of the Beer Garden area shows a good amount of socially distant, full-sun seating options.


I don't recall this little area being used for much previously. Since it looks like a lot of the dedicated "festival area" (next to the outdoor stadium) that's traditionally used for festivals is temporarily unavailable — this makes for a nice mini-festival area.

The Beer Garden featuring Tito's Handmade Vodka & Motorworks Brewing location is smartly placed just outside one of Sesame Street Land's entrance areas.
The Beer Garden featuring Tito's Handmade Vodka & Motorworks Brewing location is smartly placed just outside one of Sesame Street Land's entrance areas.


The Beer Garden booth itself only has beverages this year though... cocktails made with Tito's Handmade Vodka and several Motorworks Brewing beers on tap.

Here's a Sampler Lanyard portion of the Midnight Espresso Coffee Porter from Motorworks Brewing.

This is a 7oz draft sample of Midnight Espresso Coffee Porter from Motorworks Brewing. They roast their own Sumatra and Sulawesi beans to make a blended coffee, which is then infused into the Motorworks porter base.
This is a 7oz draft sample of Midnight Espresso Coffee Porter from Motorworks Brewing. They roast their own Sumatra and Sulawesi beans to make a blended coffee, which is then infused into the Motorworks porter base.


The Sampler Lanyard portions are 7oz cups (and they do fill them to the top, so there's not much "head" on your beer), you could also get a 20oz draft cup for $10.99. That pricing for full-size draft beers is pretty consistent at all the festival booths.

So how was the beer? Pretty great actually! Motorworks roasts their own Sumatra and Sulawesi beans to make a blended coffee, which is then infused into their porter base.

I found the Midnight Espresso Coffee Porter to be really well balanced beer and full of coffee flavor. If you happen to not be a fan of darker beers because they're too heavy or (too boozy) — you're probably thinking about a Baltic Porter. This one is closer to what I'd call a traditional English-style porter... or maybe that's just the espresso talking. Either way — I could see pairing this one with a steak, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream… so it's a versatile and easy to drink... a great craft beer for walking around with on a hot day!!!

The Craft Beer Festival trail does go on a bit further from here, over to the Elysian Brewing at Glacier Bar, but I decided to turn back around today and get some more food.

Beers from Elysian Brewing are available at Glacier Bar, but sadly, there's no food offerings here for the 2021 festival.
Beers from Elysian Brewing are available at Glacier Bar, but sadly, there's no food offerings here for the 2021 festival.


Over at the Kraft Heinz & Sierra Nevada Brewing Company kiosk, I wanted to try another one of this years new items — but it seems I haven't had the best of luck with shrimp and prawns this year.

This is the Kraft Heinz & Sierra Nevada Brewing Company booth. For the 2021 festival, they're offering three brand new items — a Beer Battered Popcorn Rock Shrimp, a Honeyracha™ Buttermilk Fried Chicken, and a Smoked Brisket Macaroni & Cheese — along with several Sierra Nevada beers on tap.
This is the Kraft Heinz & Sierra Nevada Brewing Company booth. For the 2021 festival, they're offering three brand new items — a Beer Battered Popcorn Rock Shrimp, a Honeyracha™ Buttermilk Fried Chicken, and a Smoked Brisket Macaroni & Cheese — along with several Sierra Nevada beers on tap.


I like the sound of "Beer Battered Popcorn Rock Shrimp" very much, and I actually have seen this dish several times around the festival — but on the day I ordered one — it was very, very different.

These are probably not Beer Battered Popcorn Rock Shrimp with Kraft Heinz™ Four Pepper Ranch sauce.
These are probably not Beer Battered Popcorn Rock Shrimp with Kraft Heinz™ Four Pepper Ranch sauce.


  • Individual Item Price : $7.99
  • Eight Sample Lanyard Price Breakdown : $6.68
  • Twelve Sample Lanyard Price Breakdown : $5.80
  • AP Fifteen Sample Lanyard Price Breakdown : $4.64

This is not the Beer Battered Popcorn Rock Shrimp with Kraft Heinz™ Four Pepper Ranch sauce that I've seen around the festival. The Four Pepper Ranch sauce is not a clear sauce — it's kind of a pale red or orange — and comes in a round plastic food-service cup with a Kraft Heinz™ label on it.

Soooo??? Actually, I'm not sure what to call this. Once you get past the slightly lack-luster plating — it tasted pretty great.

The glaze on these shrimp is somewhat like the Spicy Florida Citrus Marmalade at Sharks — but a little thinner and more sauce-like. I'm not sure if this was a temporary or a permanent replacement for the Beer Battered Popcorn Shrimp that's listed on the menu board.
The glaze on these shrimp is somewhat like the Spicy Florida Citrus Marmalade at Sharks — but a little thinner and more sauce-like. I'm not sure if this was a temporary or a permanent replacement for the Beer Battered Popcorn Shrimp that's listed on the menu board.


I do know that Sharks Underwater Grill has a "Spicy Florida Citrus Marmalade" that they serve with Chicken Tenders as an appetizer. That's kind of… maybe... what I would call this sauce. It contains some of the same components, but a little thinner, like a glaze. It was sweet and citrusy but also had some peppers and onion, maybe a little garlic in it as well.

Those are shrimp under there though, and they might even be beer battered popcorn shrimp! So, whatever this one was called — it was very good — but it's also technically not on the menu — so I don't know if you'll get to try it or not. The actual Beer Battered Popcorn Rock Shrimp with Kraft Heinz™ Four Pepper Ranch looks pretty good too though.

Time for a drink! This orchid color cup of frosty goodness is a Sangria Frosé and is available at kiosk number 4, the Ivanhoe Park and Crooked Can Brewing Companies booth.

Oooooo... pretty! This little cup of frozen goodness is a Sangria Frosé from the Ivanhoe Park Brewing Company & Crooked Can Brewing Company booth. It is a frozen Sangria though, and doesn't contain beer from either of those companies.
Oooooo... pretty! This little cup of frozen goodness is a Sangria Frosé from the Ivanhoe Park Brewing Company & Crooked Can Brewing Company booth. It is a frozen Sangria though, and doesn't contain beer from either of those companies.


All the frozen drinks are great at the festival — just be careful with the whole "brain freeze" phenomenon… it is 150°F out there, which makes it very easy to drink these too fast.

My last bite for the day was over at the Sam Adams Boston Brewery Best Bites booth — which I'm happy to say was open and making food! Yay!!!! On my first walkabout day at the festival — this is one of the booths that wasn't serving food by the time I had to leave (opening day gremlins, I'm sure).

The Sam Adams Boston Brewery Best Bites booth features two new items at this year's SeaWorld Craft Beer Festival. A Stout Glazed Tuna Lollipop and some Fried Sauerkraut Sausage Balls!
The Sam Adams Boston Brewery Best Bites booth features two new items at this year's SeaWorld Craft Beer Festival. A Stout Glazed Tuna Lollipop and some Fried Sauerkraut Sausage Balls!


This is a new item for this year, a Stout Glazed Tuna Lollipop with Daikon and Wakame Slaw with Wasabi Aioli.

This is the Stout Glazed Tuna Lollipop item from the Sam Adams Boston Brewery Best Bites kiosk. The Tuna Lollipop is served on a wood skewer and rests on a bed of Daikon & Wakame slaw and has some Wasabi Aioli drizzled on top.
This is the Stout Glazed Tuna Lollipop item from the Sam Adams Boston Brewery Best Bites kiosk. The Tuna Lollipop is served on a wood skewer and rests on a bed of Daikon & Wakame slaw and has some Wasabi Aioli drizzled on top.


  • Individual Item Price : $8.99
  • Eight Sample Lanyard Price Breakdown : $6.68
  • Twelve Sample Lanyard Price Breakdown : $5.80
  • AP Fifteen Sample Lanyard Price Breakdown : $4.64

The pieces of tuna on the skewer were very small — however — this was a pretty great item, as long as you're good with sushi grade tuna. To some, the tuna may look a little undercooked, but that's how it's supposed to look. Small cubes like this would be super easy to over-cook (there would be no pink at all), and then the tuna would be quite dry.

The sushi-grade tuna is lightly seared and properly pink on the inside. This is probably one of the more adventurous bites at the festival, but it's a good one! The Daikon & Wakame Slaw is a refreshing change of pace from some of the other fried items at the festival.
The sushi-grade tuna is lightly seared and properly pink on the inside. This is probably one of the more adventurous bites at the festival, but it's a good one! The Daikon & Wakame Slaw is a refreshing change of pace from some of the other fried items at the festival.


With larger cubes, you'd probably want to sear all four sides of the cubes on the skewer, leaving the center pink. I think what they were doing with these, was searing three sides and leaving the fourth side un-seared — so they could keep and eye on which ones were starting to get over cooked.

The dish was served with a Daikon and Wakame Slaw (daikon is a Japanese radish and wakame is a type of edible seaweed), with some black and tan sesame seeds and a (not extremely hot) Wasabi Aioli.

This was a great new item that gets thumbs up from me, and one that any sushi lover would feel right at home with. I do wish the tuna cubes had been a bit larger, but looking at the item as a whole — it hits a couple different sensory points — warm seared tuna contrasting with the cool daikon and wakame slaw — a slight kick from the creamy wasabi aioli with a little crunch from the nutty sesame seeds. A great combo of flavors and textures.

That wraps up my day two walkabout! I'll be back with one more walkabout article next week with more food and beverage photos from around the festival!

If you want to read more general info about the Craft Beer Festival event at SeaWorld, click here and check out the SeaWorld, Orlando Craft Beer Festival page!

If you're looking at any of this and thinking "that's cool, but I'm not going to be visiting Orlando until spring" — well that's okay — because there's a food festival then too! It's called the Seven Seas Food Festival, and while we don't have dates for that one yet — it usually starts in February and runs though all of March and April too! Click here and check out some info from last year's Seven Seas Food Festival at SeaWorld, Orlando.
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