Don't We All Deserve To Be Served and Serenaded Aboard a Fabulous Yacht?

April 22, 2011 by Jenny Etheredge

Are you ready for the high life? All aboard the Solaris for the Craft Beer Dinner April 28! General Manager James Murray has created a series of events aboard the ship which highlight the local community. He wants to attract a whole new crowd to the Solaris, already well known for dinner cruises, weddings and private parties.

Murray is thinking outside the box to offer fresh alternatives for locals and visitors to spend an evening out. Thus the Craft Beer Dinner was born, featuring a southern-style, five-course dinner paired with exclusively-brewed craft beers and music from the Tennessee Firearms (it don't get more local than these guys, and yes, they too are exclusively brewed).

The dinner will showcase the culinary stylings of Solaris’ new chef, James Huckaby.  “Chef Huckaby hails from notable Birmingham restaurants Highlands Bar & Grill, Bottega and Chez Fonfon, and he has prepared an impressive beer-friendly menu for the event,” Murray said. “Highlights from the southern-inspired menu include South Walton Ceviche, Grilled Georgia Pharaoh Quail, Braised Pork Shoulder, Country Fried Veal Cutlet and Polenta Pound Cake.”  

Each delectable course will be paired with a craft beer brewed by Brewmaster Hank Standridge of the 30A Brewing Company.  Beers on tap for the evening include Blonde Ale, American Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, Amber Ale and Stout.

Brewmaster Standridge boasts an impressive resume, having studied at the Siebel Institute in Chicago and the Doemens Academy in Munich, Germany. In eight years of recipe formulation as brewmaster, Standridge has single handedly produced over 600 batches of beer in 27 distinct varieties – more than any other brewer in a 100-mile radius of his hometown of Columbus, GA.  

Armed with an International Brewing Certification, Standridge plans to expand the brewing culture of the South through a new venture, the 30A Brewing Company. Coming soon to SoWal, the 30A Brewing Company will be a full production and packaging facility of a variety of craft beer styles that encapsulate the spirit, attitude and identity of the area into each and every brew.  The Craft Beer Dinner offers its guests the first opportunity to preview Standridge’s impeccable selections.

Adding to the local flavor of the evening will be the energetic bluegrass tunes of the Tennessee Firearms, who despite their name are a group of popular SoWal-based musicians who often perform at area hotspots such as Pandora’s, Shorty’s and The Funky Blues Shack.  

The group is composed of Jerad Reynolds (fiddle), Neil Sebree (bass), Brian Wise (guitar) and Marcus Buckner (banjo). With experience performing all over the southeast, the Tennessee Firearms offer a traditional bluegrass sound with a modern twist.  They approach music from a raw, simple and explosive perspective and their unique sound resonates the melodies found in the heart of bluegrass and traditional country music.

“We felt that the music of the Tennessee Firearms was the perfect match for the laid back vibe planned for the Craft Beer Dinner,” elaborates Murray. “We are looking forward to a fun-filled evening complete with dancing set to one of the most beautiful natural backdrops around—sunset on the Choctawhatchee Bay.”

Tickets are $59 per person for the event and include both dinner and beer.  Reservations are currently being accepted by SunQuest Cruises at 850.650.2519. Boarding begins promptly at 6:30pm and the cruise is from 7:00pm to 10:00pm.  The Solaris is docked at the Baytowne Marina in the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. For additional information visit

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