published: Friday, October 12, 2012
BEER LOVERS REJOICE!
ROXANNE BROWN | Staff Writer
Beer lovers from all over South Lake County may be glad to know that their craft selection got a major boost with the recent opening of World of Beer in Clermont.
Paul Darnell, World of Beer's general manager, said the boost is "a huge one" since people can choose from about 600 different styles of craft beers from all over the world -- both on tap and in bottles -- at the bar.
Darnell said even if people think they don't like beer like they're used to, they are in for a surprise.
"We're basically a beer garden featuring craft beers from all over the world. We change our kegs about twice a day, so there's something new to try all the time from Pilsners and IPAs to Lambics and Stouts with nearly 20 styles in all," Darnell said, adding that they also carry gluten-free and organic beer.
"If you think beer is the yellow fizzy stuff that you see advertised during sporting events, or only tastes like what you've already had, World of Beer is going to change your mind," he said.
Jaileene Santiago, one of World of Beer's bartenders and manager, said customers love knowing that they can come in and get beer that they cannot get at the local gas stations, grocery stores or anywhere else in town.
"It's a fun experience," Santiago said. "Customers can sample the beers before ordering, and they get to try so many new tastes and flavors.
"We ask our customers questions about what types of flavors they like so we can find them a great beer, and everyone has a great time," Santiago said.
According to World of Beer's website, the guest experience is the cornerstone of the company's culture.
"WOB Culture is about being a part of the neighborhood. It's about being surrounded by good people who enjoy awesome beer, great music and sports. When you walk into World of Beer, we want you to feel like you're hosting a party in your own living room," the website said.
At World of Beer, customers are encouraged to take advantage of the selection by joining a loyalty club that rewards them for trying new flavors; offering prizes in return.
"Drink good beer, get free stuff, it's that simple," according to loyalty card promos.
Richard Foley, proud of his second place status on the loyalty club's leader board located near the bar, called the selection of beers to try "fantastic."
"I really like the selection of beers. It goes beyond the limits of what you can find in stores or anywhere else locally," Foley said. "And although I like domestic beers, I really like more flavorful beers from Germany and England, and I can get that here."
Arthur Vega of Clermont also likes that he can get the variety without having to travel all the way to Orlando.
"Clermont needed something like this to pick it up. It's great; you get points when you try different things," Vega said, adding that his favorite beer so far is the Weinenstephaner Hefeweizen he recently tried.
Customers can sit at an indoor bar area, or sit outside in a large, open covered patio. Either way, there are eighteen 50-inch televisions set up throughout the place, and plenty of seating indoors or out with free WiFi throughout.
There are also many specials in place starting with happy hour from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.
Other daily discount specials include service industry night on Mondays in honor of active/reserve military and restaurant, police, fire and healthcare workers; teacher and college student "WOB U" nights on Wednesdays, and ladies nights on Thursdays.
And though no food is prepared on site, customers are given the opportunity to order small snacks, such as chips or pretzels, or "order in" from participating nearby restaurants -- like Jimmy John's, Pasta Vino, Fancy Sushi, Flipper's Pizza and Beef O' Brady's, whose menus are on the table. The restaurants deliver their food straight to the tables at World of Beer.
Live entertainment is also featured on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, and there is never a cover charge.
Sundays are usually customer appreciation nights with a free cookout for customers that have a loyalty card.
"There is so much space outside and inside is so nice and relaxing, but no matter where you sit, it's nice to come in here, hang out and relax. The staff is so helpful, and it's just a lot of fun, Foley said.
Leslie Santiago, another Clermont customer, described the environment as "pretty chill."
Darnell said customers should check in frequently because there is always something going on as far as events or special themes, including the upcoming Lost Coast Brewery Night.
From 3 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, World of Beer is holding Clermont's first ever "WOBtoberfest" annual Beer and Music Festival (the company's version or Octoberfest).
Darnell said the event is one he thinks people will enjoy, adding that there will be at least 15 different German beers on tap, a German style cookout, live music by Bryan Malpass, games and "a good time to be had for everybody."
A sign on the door touting the event ensures that everyone is "Willkomen," or welcome.
"Every night is fun, but Satur-day is looking to be pretty special," Darnell said.