Thursday, April 18, 2024

The San Pedro BTIA chapter hosts first island Beer Festival

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On Saturday, August 5th, the Belize Tourism Industry Association San Pedro Chapter (SP BTIA) added one more festivity to the island’s summer calendar with the debut of their Beer Fest. The new festival, co-sponsored by Bowen and Bowen, the San Pedro Town Council, Belize Tourism Board, and Capricorn Restaurant, featured a wide range of Belizean beers, a beer tasting competition, DJ music, artisanal products, and even a Rice and Beans competition.

Held at Capricorn Restaurant 2.5 miles north of San Pedro Town, the first-of-its-kind event was also a fundraiser. The SP BTIA organized the event to raise operating funds for their San Pedro Tourism Information Center on Almond Street, with 20% of the proceeds going to the San Pedro Artisan Market. The funds will assist the San Pedro Town Council in enhancing the market area on the same block as the Tourism Information Center.

The fun event started at 4PM on Capricorn’s beach. Beer lovers could choose from different types of beer, like four different Two’5 craft beers on tap, Belikin Regular on tap, Ultra Belikin, Light House, Belikin AF, Belikin Black  Tan, Heineken, and Red Stripe, among others. Next to the beer tents, some of the Artisan Market vendors displayed their products to sell. Rice and beans (with stew chicken), a Belizean favorite meal, were also available to enjoy with ice-cold beer, while DJ Debbie and DJ Babee kept the party mood with the right music. Capricorn offered a full bar for non-beer drinkers and a special restaurant menu as well.

As the festivity continued, attendees participated in ‘blind’ beer-tasting contests where competitors sampled beers identified by number to identify the correct beer. Many joined the challenge, but only a few could master the tasting. After a series of preliminary tastings, the winners entered a final contest of who knew their beers the best by taste alone. Grant Ice was the grand champion, taking home a case of Belikin beer and gift certificates from Happy Island Beach Bar, Victoria House, Blue Water Grill, and Playa de Sala.

While the beer tasting continued on one side of the compound, three food connoisseurs were preparing to judge the Rice and Beans competition set for that evening. BTIASPC Chairlady Tamara Sniffin addressed the crowd before the round and thanked them for their support. She invited them to continue enjoying the celebration, which they hope to make an annual event.

The Rice and Beans blind tasting started when the judges considered the food’s presentation, flavor, and if the contestant followed the instructions. A random number identified each plate, so there was no knowing who the contestants were. The judges wrote their scores, and after sampling four submissions of Rice and Beans, a winner was announced. Jamie Humes took the grand prize of $500, sponsored by The San Pedro Town Council, for the most delicious dish that met all the criteria.

The Beer Fest continued until 9PM, welcoming more guests throughout the evening. According to Chairlady Sniffin, they consider this first festival a grand success. “There’s always a huge learning curve when planning an event like this, and I am proud of our hardworking members who organized the festival. We had over 250 people attend, and everyone had a great time. We will make this an anticipated annual event to celebrate a Belizean favorite: great beers and our national dish, Rice & Beans! This year was our ‘trial run,’ our second annual festival will be on June 8, 2024.”

“We thank everyone for attending the event, the artisans, the Rice and Beans competitors and judges Melly Sanchez, Samii Gonzalez, and Robert, our food vendors, Bowen and Bowen, Belize Tourism Board, the National Belize Tourism Industry Association, Mayor Nuñez and the San Pedro Town Council, Capricorn Restaurant, businesses who donated gift certificates and offered employees to help, all the volunteers, especially the San Pedro Rotary Club,” Sniffin ended.

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