Conventional beamforming with a microphone array is a well-established method for localizing and quantifying sound sources. It provides estimates for the source strengths on a predefined grid by determining the agreement between the pressures measured and those modeled for a source located at the grid point under consideration. As such, conventional beamforming can be seen as an exhaustive search for those locations that provide a maximum match between measured and modeled pressures. In this contribution, the authors propose to, instead of the exhaustive search, use an efficient global optimization method to search for the source locations that maximize the agreement between model and measurement. Advantages are two-fold. First, the efficient optimization allows for inclusion of more unknowns, such as the source position in three-dimensional or environmental parameters such as the speed of sound. Second, the model for the received pressure field can be readily adapted to reflect, for example, the presence of more sound sources or environmental parameters that affect the received signals. For the work considered, the global optimization method, Differential Evolution, is selected. Results with simulated and experimental data show that sources can be accurately identified, including the distance from the source to the array.