Craft Beer Blast
The Florida craft beer scene is really warming up. Last year was a record year; I think this year will surpass it. There have been many new brewery openings. All of that beer has to get to more than just the people that come out to the brewery. The breweries have to line up a distributor and possibly start bottling (or canning). It's an involved process but can be rewarding when a brewer sees his beers all around the area. At the Jupiter Brewers Festival I saw many more Florida breweries than ever before. Several of these are smaller places now ramping up production and distributing their beers statewide. There are more openings to come; I expect my 2014 review page to have more Florida breweries than ever before. It's great to see this growth in Florida; the craft beer industry continues to grow nationwide. There are now 2347 craft breweries in the US. (Source: Brewers Association.)
The "Style of the Month" for February is Imperial Red. When the craft beer movement began, everyone had to have a Red. Visiting any brewery or brewpub at that time, there was a Red available. It is similar to IPA now; everyone has to have one. This style is characterized by a medium to high caramel malt sweetness. As with many other styles, Americans started with one thing and made it bigger and better. In recent years several breweries have made a new breed of Red Ale. These are bigger, bolder and quite tasty. The brewery of the month, Greenman Brewing had an Imperial Red at the Jupiter Craft Brewers Festival and I voted it the best beer of my day. Florida breweries Due South and Hourglass Brewing both make an excellent Imperial Red.
The Brewery of the Month for February is Greenman brewing of Asheville, North Carolina. Starting out in 1997 at Jack o' the Wood brewpub in downtown Asheville, they now have their own full production brewery and are growing. At the Jupiter festival, I was told that they should be in Florida this year.
All back issues of The Blast are available on the Media / Archive page.
Enjoy the winter seasonal brews and support local breweries whenever possible. It's getting easier every day!