Craft Beer Blast Spriing beer Glasses Artwork

Summer 2014

From Larry...

Florida and North Carolina both have good craft beer scenes. They are just at different levels of development. I had my first craft beers (then called micro brews) in NC in the early 90's. In 1994, I had a book with listings of microbreweries nationwide. Florida wasn't even listed! The early years were fun; I used to plan trips around where a microbrewery might be. In Boone, a hillside Mexican place brewed their own beer. In Asheville, Barley's Tap Room opened and had 24 taps, all with names I didn't know. From that start, the Asheville beer scene has become one of the best in the entire country. "Beer City USA" now boasts over 15 local breweries, and several national breweries are moving in. This is all in a metro area of 250,000 people. Florida has a very different history. There were many false starts and brewers that were there before their time. There was a brewpub in South Beach before South Beach was "cool". On trips to the car races in the Tampa area, we discovered a small package store that sold many singles, called the World of Beer. Many early places are gone; the WOB is now a nationwide chain of beer bars and Florida is now on the craft beer map. The Florida craft beer scene has exploded in the last 10 years. Cigar City, Due South, Swamphead, Barley Mow and many more breweries are here, and more will be opening. The statewide count is now over 65, but the human population is more than 15 million. Looking north to Asheville and the numbers there, the Florida craft brewers are just warming up. So, get ready, Florida, there will be a craft brewery opening near you very soon! Many of them will start small, and the good ones will discover that they need to expand capacity sooner than they thought. I really do like some of these small guys; hidden in out-of-the-way small towns and making good beer; friendly, cool places with small bars that might only seat 10 people. Grab a beer and head outside to a beer garden and support the local food trucks. This is what is so cool about the craft breweries- everyone has a different idea of what they should be. No two are the same and the beer variety is almost limitless. Enjoy your summer and try to get to some of these different breweries wherever you are. You will find good people drinking good beer anywhere you travel in the U.S.


The Beer Blast is taking the summer off. I will be spending time in the mountains of NC and in Florida as well. There will be new breweries visited and some old favorites as well. In early August, I will be at the final stop of Beer Camp across America, at the new Sierra Nevada Brewery in Mills River, NC. For more on that, see below. I want to attend the Hourglass Brewery's 2nd anniversary this summer. They are one of those small out-of-the-way breweries in Longwood, FL. I should have plenty of stories about new breweries and will try as much beer as I can. Some of this will make future editions of The Blast or will be on the GBL Facebook page or Twitter account @goodbeerlarry.


The "Style of the Season" is Hefeweizen, a German wheat beer from Bavaria. The traditional Hefeweizen is served in a tall glass with a big head. The yeast used will produce phenols of banana, clove and medicinal flavors. All of these are a result of fermentation; nothing is added to the four allowable ingredients in all German beers, those being water, hops, barley, (or wheat) and yeast


The Featured Beer Bar is the "World Famous' Thirsty Monk in downtown Asheville. On three levels, there is a beer for any taste. The lower level is a great Belgian beer bar. The second level (street entrance) is an American craft beer bar, and the Top of the Monk has classic cocktails and bites. During Asheville Beer Week, I attended the "Drinking in the Dark" beer event on the third level.


All back issues of The Blast are available on the Media / Archive page.






Hefeweizen_Glass                      Style of the Season



In the summer, we look for a light, refreshing drink with a crisp, fruity flavor. This is a classic warm weather brew. Hefeweizen has a traditional flavor of cloves and bananas, all from the brewing process. The banana phenol is produced by isoamyl acetate. The clove phenol is a result of fermentation of ferulic acid which is in the wheat. Both of these compounds are what you smell when you peel a banana or use cloves in a recipe. Hefe means yeast and weizen means wheat in German. These beers are usually cloudy as they are unfiltered. Yeast remains in the beer, settling at the bottom of the bottle. Hop bitterness is low and carbonation is high.




The Thirsty Monk-Asheville
is a cool funky "only in Asheville" beer bar. It is on 3 levels in an older building downtown. I visited for a beer event by Sierra Nevada: "Drinking in the Dark". It was a good idea for an event; everyone was blindfolded and allowed to smell a glass of various aromatic items - coffee, different fruits, pepper and other interesting aromas,that appear in different beers. Then we tried to ID the aromas and beer. My visit started in the basement Belgian beer bar. Then upstairs to the main craft beer area. The top of the Monk is via a hidden stairway. I got a nitro IPA while I waited and met several friendly locals. I like the atmosphere and the selection is great. The event went well; I will return again to enjoy the variety of beers here.
 Beer Camp Across America

In early April, Sierra Nevada Brewing announced that they had invited all the craft brewers in America (over 2800) to participate in a 7 stop travelling beer festival this summer. This celebration will be for the entire craft beer community, bringing brewers and their fans together."We're about to open a second brewery in North Carolina, and while that's exciting for us, it's an even greater reason to celebrate the future of craft brewers everywhere," explained Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada's founder. "We've watched and learned from each other for decades, and together we've seen tastes change and craft's momentum snowball. Beer Camp Across America is our way of reflecting on this-with thousands of brewers, fans and great beers. It should be pretty fun." Beer Camp Across America will feature seven stops-in cities with thriving craft beer cultures-moving geographically west to east, much like the craft movement has historically spread. Each tour stop will feature that city's local and surrounding regional brewers. The festivals will appropriately begin and end at Sierra Nevada's two brewing locations, kicking off in Chico where it took root in 1980, and culminating in Mills River, NC, on August 3rd,  for the grand opening of its East Coast brewery.  For information and tickets to any of the 7 locations see the SNB BCAA site. See you in Mills River!

Titanic's new session IPA is on just in time for the summer. Whitecap Wheat is back as is the Tripel Reserve. The guest tap list varies; New Belgium Fat Tire and Sixpoint Resin Double IPA are on.
Total Wine will have several different beer classes through out the summer. The schedule varies by store. For a complete listing of classes see the Learn About Beer webpage. This has a listing of all classes and links to the event calendar.
Yardhouse has over 100 beers on tap and a great food selection. They continue an emphasis on craft beer with limited release beers, specials each month, and beers brewed just for their stores. Yardhouse has locations around South Florida and nationwide.
New Breweries

Wynwood Brewery  brews are appearing all around South Florida from Jupiter to Key West. Pop and the crew will be at the Beer Camp event at Mills River this summer, representing Florida craft brewers.  It will be great to see them there!  The taproom is running full time; see the Events Page to see what's up.


MIA Brewing Co.; Construction continues; my inside sources say the brewery and beer garden will open in July.  See MIA's Facebook page to follow construction progress on the brewery and where MIA will be pouring beer.

A South Florida craft brewery success story, FBB continues to grow. There has been a huge local following; now the brewery is going statewide starting in Orlando. Currently, FBB is adding brewing capacity. Read more on the FBB Website.

© Larry Goeser
Miami, Florida
Good Beer Larry