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2011 The Year of Beer

2011 will be the 'year of beer' for many reasons. Craft Beer continues to gain popularity and there are more beer related events than ever. The year gets off to a great start at the Jupiter Brewfest. This year the festival area has been increased with the same number of attendees as last year. "Just Hoppy to be Here" is the theme for the festival this year. The Beerdrinker contest finals at Wynkoop Brewing take place in February; more details to the right. Late February brings "Stogies and Stouts" at Dunedin Brewing a favorite brewery just north of Tampa. They also will have the 3rd annual IPA festival in June. In March my usual trip to the races at Sebring will include stops at breweries around Orlando; a new one in Winter Park as well as some old favorites. A September trip to Maine will bring many good beers and great places to drink them. My fall visit to North Carolina will also find new and interesting beers all around the state. I have a beer and food pairing class at the Biltmore Culinary Academy and a lecture on beer history at Fairchild Gardens Edible Garden Fest. So..let's get started

Beerdrinker of the Year

Wynkoop Brewing of Denver CO. has been running this contest for the last 15 years. I entered the contest two years ago for the first time. This year I revised and updated my Beer Resume and placed in the top ten! This is quite an accomplishment in this prestigious national contest! Next year --the Finals

Past reviews 2006 - 2010 Click on each year. Enjoy, Larry Wynkoop Beerdrinker 2011 Webpage
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Tequesta Brewing Company

Tequesta Brewing Company - Tequesta Florida

This is a new brewery that I heard about just before my Jupiter Brewfest trip in late January. (Review below) The entrance is different; there is a display of growlers and kegs in the window as you enter. I ordered the double IPA; enjoyed it and the atmosphere. The DIPA was quite tasty with a good hoppy nose and a smooth finish. The brewery is a few doors down from The Corner Cafe and Brewery and serves some of the same beers. The beers were great and they have new ones now too. The DIPA I had was one of the new beers; I was able to try the English IPA later at the festival. The bar has a cool history; it originally was in Pennsylvania where one of the owners friends' father in law worked it many years ago. They were able to get him to work the bar once again later that night. They are bringing new life to the 95 year old bar; that's for sure. I met some friends there for a quick beer as it was getting late and we were on our way to the Field of Beers event shortly after. Like a few other breweries I have been to in Florida they can't make food there so they call next door and it is 'delivered'. This is good as I have had the food from the Corner Cafe and they use the best ingredients and organic food whenever they can. I had Sunday breakfast there and really enjoyed my raspberry french toast. My visit to TBC was too short and I will be sure to allow more time on my next trip north. Meanwhile, if you are in the area it is a great place and has good beer which can be hard to find up that way. Facebook Page

Field of Beers 2011
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Field of Beers Craft Beer and Food Pairing - Jupiter, FL

This is still one of the best beer events I have attended; this was my second time. The number of participants is limited; 16 stations each had a chef and brewer (or rep) there to talk about the beer and food. It was set up inside both dugouts and by home plate down on the field at Roger Dean Stadium just off the Abacoa Town Center. It was cool, after dark, but nothing like much of the country's frigid temps. It would be hard to hit all sixteen but here are a few highlights. Left Hand Polestar Pilsner paired with Chef Carlino's Lobster Mac and Cheese. Good match; the lighter taste of the lobster worked well with the lighter tastes of the pilsner. The taste of locally raised bottom round beef roasted in a pepper and coriander glaze went well with Big Bear's Imperial Stout. Bluepoint Brewing's RastafaRye Rye Ale was a good match with Marinated Gator tail in a sweet and spicy dipping sauce. Cigar City Brewing had a new beer; White Oak Aged IPA. Their IPA is excellent to begin with; this mellowed it out a bit and it was great with the marinated roasted pig topped with "Rincon Heat" gourmet hot sauce. Joey, the owner, was there to talk about his beers; the cooks were great there too. For the complete menu click here. It was small enough to meet people both participants, brewery reps and cooks. There was ample time at each station; it is hard to keep moving so they all can be tried. The evening ended near the home plate area. Swamphead brewing had their Imperial Stout with Warm Chocolate Beignets which were a nice dessert and good warm finish to the event. Look for tickets in December if you want to go in 2012.

The 5th Annual Jupiter Craft Brewers Festival Jan. 29, 2011

The fifth annual festival theme was "Just Hoppy to be Here!" There were none of the lines to get in; I have found that if you arrive slightly late (1/2 hour) whatever lines were there are gone. I arrived on time and saw some short lines; what holds people up is the ID checking and ticket scanning. I forgot my ID and went for my wallet. By the time I returned the lines were clear. (5 - 10 minutes at the most.) Once inside I met several vendors from the night before; there was one table that was offering 'beercation cruises" from various locations. This is a cool idea. I had some cards about my Beer 101 class and was able to put a few around. I know this is far from Miami but you never know. Most of the vendors were ok with putting a few cards at their booth and I didn't have that many anyway. Terrapin was first; they had a beer I didn't know. One of the founders, John, was pouring as well. Right next door was Southern Tier, the newest out of state brewery to come to Florida. I have come to enjoy several of their beers. They had Unearthly Imperial IPA on tap which was welcome for my second beer. The silent disco was 'hopping' as usual and would through out the day. It was a clear day; not too hot but the sun could get hot. The new expanded area along the back of the event was mainly in the shade of several large oak trees. This area had some good vendors and I liked the shade. The Florida Beer set up was in the corner and became the party area later in the event. They are marketing all the beers they make for others as well as some they now brew for themselves. Swamp Ape is a 10% IPA that is very smooth drinking; the alcohol doesn't stand out like many with that percentage. The Funky Buddha, in Boca is now brewing. At 3:00 they released their Maple Bacon Porter; this was quite a mob scene as everyone knew about it and tried to get into the small area all at once. I did get to try it; very coffee dominated and not much bacon. Still a cool idea and I would like to try it sitting at their bar. These guys love beer! Down that back side were: Bluepoint Brewing, Seven Bridges , Bold City, Native, and Liberty Steakhouse. Brewzzi had several beers and malts all over the table. I asked where could I get some to show the class and the brewer said right here. He gave me samples of four different malts which I will put in bottles to pass around the class. Thank you Brewzzis. Tequesta Brewing was next door; I was able to try the smooth English IPA that I missed at the brewery. About this time I headed back over to try the Bacon Porter at Funky Buddah. I stepped away from the big crowd ending up by Florida Beer.This was the fun party area of the festival. I met new people and some in the industry. It was suggested that I might want to try and get certified as a beer Cicerone; not a bad idea. For details click on the link. My final area was the north side of the festival. It was late and some were out of beer. I enjoyed Stone, Saint Somewhere and finally, Victory. With any event this size every booth can't be visited; I was able to get to many favorites and some new places while talking to many new people all around the fest. Most liked the new GBL cards and thought the class was a cool idea. It was lots of fun; let's do it again next year! Website: Jupiterbrewfest

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Shipyard Emporium - Winter Park, FL

My yearly trip to the 12 hours of Sebring was special this year. This was the 30th year I have been to the race. This year I talked my good beer drinking friends into camping out on Friday night. We haven't stayed over in years and sleeping on the ground is pretty much a thing of the past. This year we had another friend driving in a vintage race on Friday so that was another reason to come up early. Naturally good beer was in store. In addition to the regular 'drinking beer' we brought several special beers along. For the 30th celebration I brought 3 of the 4 Sierra Nevada 30th anniversary ales. These were very appropriate and much enjoyed. Thinking back to that first race in 1981 who would have thought about being there 30 years later drinking all the great beers now available. Back then it was Miller Lite or 3 Horses (Holland) Lager. Coors wasn't even available in Florida yet. Some of our Texas race buddies used to bring 20 cases and that was a big thing in 1981. The 2011 edition was great fun and celebrated with many beers and memories. This was as big a Friday night I have ever had in all the years there. So big that I didn't even open my usual breakfast beer at the 10:30 AM start of the race. That was tradition back then but I was younger and could get away with more. On race day (Saturday) we got perfect weather and walked all around the track looking at all the crazy campsites and partying wondering if this is what we looked like back in the day (It is!) All fun things come to an end so we headed to Orlando to check out the Shipyard Emporium. We met my brother and an old friend for beers and dinner for what became a reunion of sorts and was a great time. They serve several Shipyard beers all the time and have a few special beers available. The regular shipyard beers are brewed elsewhere; the local brewer makes special and seasonal beers. We asked about this and didn't really get an exact answer. I had the IPA and Double Thumper; the others had Blue Fin Stout. The food is unique here; Chili "soup", Emporium Pot Roast, Maine Clam Chowder and Pot Roast Flatbread to name a few items. This get - together was fun and we all were laughing so hard it almost hurt. It was a great place for us, loud, so we weren't noticed and good food and beer to make the evening complete. We will do it again! WebsiteShipyard Emporium

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Dunedin Brewing 3rd Annual IPA Festival

The theme for this year's festival was "The Saga Continues", and it did. This is usually one of the best festivals of the year for many reasons. The brewery is small, which limits the size of the crowd; everyone there loves IPAs and other bitter beers. It is a friendly crowd and everyone has a great time. The 'usual suspects' from Miami attended, and we had some Eli's BBQ just before we walked over to the brewery. Upon entrance we were given a glass made for the occasion. Yes, a real glass; not cheap plastic like many festivals. There was a continuous raffle of beer swag; many cool items were given away over the course of the evening. Usually the raffles are later in the event and KK has to yell out the numbers, post them and collect the valid tickets. This year a group of numbers was drawn every half hour and posted. We all bought tickets and left with a box of stuff! (None of it mine!) We then were able to go all around the festival to try the extensive menu of beers. The first area had local brewers' beers. There were some really good beers here - these guys and gals are brewing some great 'homebrews'. They had 'Hop Back in Black' a black IPA, Orange IPA, Dawn's IPA 7.6% ABV and WM2 # 2 an IPA at 7.9% ABV and 287 IBU. (I'm not sure how they come up with that number but the beer was quite tasty and very bitter.) Nearby, the Dunedin Doggie Rescue had some stuff set up by the raffle area. They do some great work with abandoned dogs and help socialize and find homes for many area dogs. The next day they would have thier monthly Dog Wash, a cool event in itself. Across the way was a trailer with taps on the side, featuring some 'national' brand IPAs. Stone, Bells, Terrapin, Cigar City and Dunedin's own IPA Chronical 2 Southwest Pacific, just released for this event. That was a good one as well as the others we all know. The rest of the menu was inside in various places. The main bar had many with a special Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale on cask. This was special and we were told to enjoy it as it would run out. (It did!) Throughout the festival, the band played inside, and snacks were laid out from time to time. This year there was extra food available outside but it went quickly. I met and had a great time with many people, both new and old friends. Many people enjoyed my work in promoting good beer and my Beer Drinker of the Year shirt. The night went by too fast; time flies when you're having fun...and we were. There was still something special left: Michael, the owner, had a special beer he brought back from Colorado. It was Odells Myrcenary Double IPA. This was a great surprise and much appreciated by everyone there. I especially enjoyed it, getting as many small sips I could. As they were running out, I went to the hotel to bring back a surprise of my own: New Belgium Ranger IPA, which I put out for some to enjoy. It wasn't advertised, but those who tried it let me know that they appreciated the chance to try it. (I brought it back from North Carolina and wish I had brought more with me!) Another great IPA fest and we all look forward to the next one. Website

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Dogfish Head Beer Dinner - The Local - Coral Gables, FL

The Local is a new Beer Bar / Gastro Pub in Coral Gables, FL. Since I live and work in the area I found them the first week they were open. That visit was their first Friday night happy hour. The beer list was a good one; they said that it was only the beginning. The food platters all looked good; the one we tried was excellent. Some of the items you might not think go with beer but everything worked with what I had. A month later they had their first beer dinner. The Dogfish Head Food and Beer Pairing event on Wednesday June 1st didn't disappoint. When I first came in for the event I saw that the regular beer list was much more extensive that that first visit. They have done well in a month. Tonight's beer list was all Dogfish Head Beers - Limited Release and all on draft. There were five beers for the event; 90 Minute IPA, Sah'tea, Hellhound on my Ale, Burton Baton and Black and Blue. Nick from the brewery was there to lead the event and tell us a bit about each beer. He had some good Dogfish stories and information about each beer. Chef Alex introduced each dish; explaining how it paired with the chosen beer. The first beer was Sah'Tea paired with smoked marlin with citrus, avocado, coriander topped with corn chips. This really went well together. Sip the beer then try a bite followed by the beer again. It's a great way to get the beer and food separately then together. The beers were served in large wine glasses to allow the smells to be enjoyed and augment the flavors. The next course paired Hellhound on my ale with rabbit brat. (Pictured to the left.) Hellhound is an IPA with lemon flavorings which went well with the spiciness of the brat. Burton Baton is a blend of strong ale and oak aged IPA. It was great with the BBQ nuts and boneless lamb rib. Dessert was the Black and Blue ale fermented with Blueberries and Blackberries, paired with three different house- made fudges each with a different topping. After the event, some Dogfish stash was available. World Wide Stout 2009 was there as well as 2007 from a local collector. Nick had brought some Chicha, an ancient Peruvian corn based brew. This beer was part of the Brewmasters series on Discovery channel last year. Part of the old recipe involved chewing the corn to speed up fermentation. The entire Dogfish staff ended up helping out on this to get the beer done on time. Nick had a growler with some in it; it has a cinnamon taste along with the corn tastes. Being in the growler for a day, it was fairly flat when poured. But I had tried the beer; another cool Dogfish Head adventure. Thanks to everyone involved; this was truly a team effort and it showed. Thanks also to those who brought the special beers; I enjoyed them and somehow ended up with the empty growler! Cheers! Website: The Local 150

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The Brick Store Pub - Decatur, GA

In July I had a family reunion, of sorts, in Highlands, NC. I flew into Atlanta and got a rental car and made Brick Store my first stop. I have been here before, always at night. It's been called "the second best beer bar" by Beer Advocate and they know what they are talking about. My lunch stop didn't disappoint today either. It was a hot Thursday as I parked and walked to the pub. It's a cool old building that has 'character' unlike so many newer places. It was refreshing as I walked into the cool air and a half full pub. The place is totally different in the day mainly due to the large skylight that makes it brighter that any lighting could, alone. I sat at the bar and saw a great beer list. (It always is!) I decided on a Lagunitas Lucky 13 Imperial IPA, which I haven't seen on tap. It tasted great and has classic Laguntias west coast hops taste along with sweet citrus smell and tastes. A good starter beer while I waited on lunch. The bartender was great about letting me taste some of the other beers. There was a hand pumped version of Left Hand Sawtooth Ale that was light smooth and would go good with the hot weather outside. Several others were tried while I was eating and enjoying the place. I tweeted a short note that I was at this great place and minutes later I met Lee who is the guy in charge of social media for the pub. We spoke briefly; he asked if I was going to enter the Beer Drinker of the Year contest this year and I said I would. (I had the shirt from the contest on.) It also was good to see that the pub takes social media seriously and knows how to use it. Most places won't even see the mention much less use the various media for marketing. Good job there keep it up. There is a Belgian beer bar upstairs but I was only there for lunch and didn't want to over do it as I had a drive ahead of me. One day I will get to the upstairs; today just wasn't that day. As I got my roast beef sandwich I ordered the Smuttynose Doppelbock another beer I haven't seen. It was a reddish brown color and had some sweet smells as I drank it. It had malty tastes and the alcohol was evident. A good beer; I just haven't had too many dopplebocks so I don't know the style well. This one was good and I would hope that it makes it to Florida. It probably would age well; if I can find it I will put one away for a year or two. Good food and good beer; that's what it is all abut here. I finished my lunch and hit the road for a fun four days of hiking, enjoying great weather and having mini beer tastings for some family members I haven't seen for years. Everyone enjoyed the time and we would like to do it again. The Brick Store Pub was a good way to start that weekend of fun and good beer. Brick Store Website

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Sebago Brewing Company - Portland, Maine

In late September I took a vacation to Maine. During this trip I would enjoy many Maine made beers. I visited from Portland to Acadia National Park enjoying the scenery, Maine lobster and local foods. I arrived in Portland to a rainy day. I drove to the downtown Portland / Port area where I met my cousin Elizabeth for lunch. We found Sebago Brewing situated in the first floor of a Hampton Inn near the port. The building looked fairly new and the brewery was designed in modern styles. It was good to get indoors,out of the rain, and get a warm greeting form Olivia our beer tender for this visit. There were only a few people in the brewery so we were able to enjoy lunch and talk without interruption. We were able to sample several of the beers; both year round and seasonal. The fall seasonal 'Harvest Ale' was quite tasty. It was Elizabeth's favorite of the group. I also tried two IPAs; one regular and a 'Single Batch Series'. Frye's Leap IPA is the regular and The Hoppy Homunculus is the seasonal. This beer was similar to their regular IPA; it was an experiment using different hop varieties. The brewers tried several different hop blends and ended up with a blend of Centennial, Cascade, and Citra hops. I like the idea of having several hoppy beers available and it was fun to try and taste the differences. I also tried Runabout Red and Lake Trout Stout. Both are year round beers. We ordered Haddock Bites which went well with the different beers we were having. Those were so good we had a second order. After a while the rain let up and Elizabeth had to leave to get home where we would meet later. I got some Harvest Ale to go for a surprise later. I decided to walk around the port area and see what was around there. There are many shipping facilities, restaurants and bars here. It is a working port but also set up for tourists. After I had enough pictures I found my way to Gritty Mc Duff's which is the nest Maine brewery I visited. See review below. Sebago Brewing Website: SeabagoBrewing.com

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Gritty McDuff's Brewpub - Portland, Maine

After walking around the port and the surrounding area the rain was still drizzling away. The historic area has many old buildings and most have been converted into restaurants and shops. As I came around the corner on Fore street I discovered Gritty's. I knew it was somewhere around but not exactly where. Since I found a brewpub I did the right thing and went inside to try their beer. Gritty's is the first brewpub in Maine, going back to 1988. The place has history all over the place. There are several different rooms and memorabilia on the walls. It's a perfect fit for the over one hundred year old building. When I entered the first room and bar was full. This is the main bar with all the mugs hung above. I got a picture of it and it is to the left here. I made my way around the the other side of the bar, in another room and found a spot to sit and enjoy some beer. On this side of the bar there are several openings in the wall that each sit about three people. When I sat down I met a regular who was there for his afternoon beer. He was from the British Isles but lives here now. He was in the mug club which has 21 oz ceramic mugs and other benefits. We talked about the local beers and Maine in general. I ordered the Halloween Ale which is a great autumn ale; it's a robust ESB that is malty with a nice hop finish. It is available at the pub and bottled so it can be found around Maine. The other beer I tried was the Red Claws Ale an amber ale; it has a light hop finish, is quite flavorful and is known as a session ale. There are several "trophys" up on high shelves that are made from aluminum foil and I wondered what they were all about. They were models of the superbowl and world series awards. I believe they are made each year and awarded to the winner of the bar's pool for each game. The details weren't clear; maybe you have to be there... I was enjoying Gritty's but noticed it was getting late. I wished my new friend well and headed out. As I left I found the 'brewtique' next door that sells Gritty wear and beer to go. This was great as I wanted to have some beers when I got to where I was going later. Here I was able to buy Gritty's 21st anniversary IPA and the Halloween ale. These were enjoyed immensely at a impromptu beer tasting before dinner. I enjoyed my visit to Gritty's and if you are ever in Portland it is a worthy stop. The atmosphere alone is great; to also have beer brewed there makes it even better. Website: Grittys.com

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King Eiders Pub - Damariscotta, Maine

After my stay in Portland I headed north to Acadia National Park. I took the back way, US 1, and had a great day. I left Portland with some helpful tips about what to see and where to go. Up the road is a small fishing town of Damariscotta where King Eiders pub, a family favorite, was waiting. I arrived before they open so I looked around a bit. It was drizzling (!) so I walked around with an umbrella. At one time Damariscotta had a large ship building industry. This was when all ships were wooden and the masts were made from the tallest, largest trees around. These all came together in Damariscotta. The shipbuilding business is long gone but fishing and other sea faring businesses continue on. The local oysters are legendary and there is still a fishing fleet there. Soon, King Eiders was open. As I came in I received a friendly greeting and was asked where I would like to sit. I choose the small pub downstairs and had one of the best lunches I have ever had. The place was friendly and it was filling up. I had been told that they are small and reservations might be a god idea. They have an interesting selection of beer; some English, some American light and craft beer. I had discovered Baxter Brewing's "Stowaway IPA" several days ago; they had it on tap. This brewery cans all of their beer. A great Maine brewery; they are new and adding beers as they grow. I ordered a pint of the IPA and read the menu. First up was the local oysters; they were plump and succulent just perfect. These oysters are from the Damariscotta river where there is water constantly flowing over them. This keeps them clean and allows them ideal conditions for development. I decided on the seafood pot pie with fresh haddock, salmon and scallops in a creamy sauce for my lunch. This was another Maine original and really made the lunch and day. Since it was damp and cool outside this was filling and warm. I would not need any food for the rest of the drive and it gave me great energy to make and enjoy the rest of the drive. The pub is a friendly place; I met several people that come there from far away as well as several locals waiting for the Sunday ball games to start. I savored everything; slowly finished my beer and prepared to go. I could have stayed there all afternoon but still had places to go before I ended my day at Acadia National Park. This is one of those places that only comes along every now and then. I recommend that anyone reading this who goes up to the Mid Maine coast area find a way to drive though Damariscotta for a visit to King Eiders Pub. Website: KingEiders.com

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Bar Harbor Brewing Tasting Room

Bar Harbor Brewing, Bar Harbor, Maine

After a cool cloudy start to my day of exploring all around Acadia National Park the sun showed up for a grand finish atop Cadillac Mountain. The sunset was like we see in the Florida Keys where the 'ball' sinks below the horizon only this went down behind distant mountains instead of the water. With the day over I headed over to Bar Harbor Brewing's tasting room, which I had seen on my earlier drives. The tasting room is right on the main road across form the town green. A good location and near everything that downtown Bar Harbor has to offer. The tasting room has all their regular beers available to taste and some specialty brews that are local only. There are four regular beers always available to taste and they open up special 22 oz bottles from the "Manly Men's Beer Club" series one at a time. All the beers are brewed at Atlantic Brewing which I visited the next day. (See below) The tasting room gives them an outlet in town where room for all the brewing equipment would be hard to find. The store is a friendly place with package and gift sales as you walk in and the tasting area to the left. There were several people at the tasting bar as I came in and we were treated to each beer with information about each. I enjoyed the Cadillac Mountain Stout the most. It is an American Stout with hints of cocoa and good roasted malts. It wasn't as 'thick' as some but drinks well and finishes with slight coffee aromas. The ABV at 6.7% wasn't evident and it is a creamy smooth stout. The Thunder Hole ale is an English Brown ale with interesting toffee tastes. The two lighter beers were good but not memorable. The big beer that was opened was the Manly Men Series' Pete Fen's Finest Ale. Named for a cranberry farmer born on Mt Desert Island in the 1800's, this dark ale has a tart cranberry taste and caramel notes. It was a surprise to find this beer; I haven't seen a cranberry beer before. The tartness and sweetness work together rand the 8.5 ABV is masked. It was the best and most interesting beer offered that day. I enjoyed the tasting and talked beer with several people while we tasted. As I left I got a shirt and a Manly Men Sea Smoke which is a Smoked English Barleywine, another new interesting beer to try back at the motel. Website: BarHarborBrewing.com

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Jack Russell's Brewpub - Bar Harbor, Maine

A friend said to try Jack Russell's Brewpub and it was a good recommendation. As it turned out I had driven right by the place several times in my travels around Bar Harbor. It was only blocks from my motel! Another good beer find in Maine. I was ready for a good dinner and it was almost dark when I got there. It was a Tuesday night and not too busy in the restaurant / bar area. I have heard since that there is a outdoor bier garden; it was probably closed for the season. (This goes on in this area as the winters slow down quite a bit. My motel was closing in two weeks another restaurant was gone as of the next weekend.They all will reopen in the spring.) Jack's is open year 'round. I received good service and everything was up to expectations. As I entered there was a group at the bar and some at tables. I took a table by the front windows and got a sampler. The sampler has four house beers on it and each was a great Maine beer as I have been experiencing all along my trip. Most were classic english styles, Precipice Pale Ale, IPA, Best Brown and Irish Stout. I chose the IPA for my larger glass of beer. Meanwhile I enjoyed a five piece shrimp cocktail with zesty sauce. For dinner I had one of the better steaks I have had in a while. This is a steakhouse and there are many different types and cuts of steak available. I found a NY strip that was prime and all natural. (Whatever that means!) It truned out excellantly and I savoried every bite and the IPA worked well too. It was getting late and people were leaving. Many Bar Harbor restaurants close up on the early side this late into the season. I wasn't hurried but could see that things were finishing up. I did have a final choclate mousee which went well with my left over Stout sampler. Another great dinner in Maine, I would like to return, someday, to see the brewery and enjoy the outdoor garden. Website: BT Maine.com

Atlantic Brewing Company Bar Harbor, Maine
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Atlantic Brewing Company - Bar Harbor, Maine

On my second day in Bar harbor I awoke to a cloudy, rainy day. After a late breakfast; getting some advice on where locals get lobster, I drove to Bangor to tour the museum of Maine transportation. This was a good idea as the rain was steady the entire trip over and back. The museum was cool but that's a story for another time. As I drove back I decided to check out Atlantic Brewing Company which is on the west side of Bar Harbor. The street they are on intersects the main road and I turned down it. I was surprised to be in a residential neighborhood. I kept driving and wondered if it was the right road. The addresses were going the right way so I kept driving. This was a fairly wooded area; when it opened up a bit I saw the small building that is the brewery's office and gift shop. Upon turning in I saw that there are actually several different buildings; the others all big metal buildings. The 3:00 tour had just started and I joined it. We were in the second building which has most of the brewing equipment. This was a good tour and the girl who gave it knew Atlantic's brewing process well. We saw the Mash Tun, Brew Kettle and Fomenting tanks. Each step was explained and some malts and hops were passed around. I enjoy any brewery tour and this was no exception. Even though I teach and talk about beer and brewing there is always something to learn. This day it was about their yeast. Yeast can be reused many times and most breweries do that. So does Atlantic, but we were told that some yeast does have to be discarded. The yeast they discard is any used to make their Blueberry Ale as the berries spoil the yeast and it can't be used again. It can, however, be given to local farmers to recycle. It was a good tour; the rain let up so we could walk back to the gift shop / tasting area for the tour tasting. This is done for each tour and they are generous with the beers and there are about ten or more to try. We tried all the regular beers and several of the specialty beers .Someone mentioned that the brewery was 'grand fathered' into the neighborhood so there won't be any other commercial businesses in this area. I met a couple from Indiana during the tour and after in the BBQ joint that is part of the complex. The brewery is experimenting with an IPA and it was available at the bar. I sat and talked beer with the Indiana couple while enjoying the new IPA. This beer will probably be available on a regular basis next year after they finish testing it. It gets my ok; a good "East Coast IPA". Not super aggressive or bitter like some just a good drinkable beer. Atlantic is twenty years old and many of the original beers have a big following so they can't just change them to suit the tastes of today. This is what is great about having a brewery; you can always try new stuff and expand your line at your pace and most beer drinkers will enjoy your beers no matter when the recipe was created. If you are in the Bar Harbor area Atlantic Brewing should be on your to do list. An added bonus is the Knox Road BBQ. See AtlantciBrewing.come for more.

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The Great Lost Bear - Portland, Maine

My trip was almost over; I was back in Portland and checked into the hotel at the airport. I had an early flight and wanted to be close. The best part is that the hotel isn't far from the Great Lost Bear. The "managers reception" was a good start with a great spread of foods and local craft beers. I still needed to gas up the car and get something to eat. I found the Bear with no trouble, parked and went in. The Bear is not to be missed by anyone who appreciates craft beer. they have over 60 taps; many of them local or from surrounding states. The picture to the left is at the main bar and includes mostly Maine and New England beers. The place is cool and had beer related memorabilia everywhere. The walls are covered as well as the ceiling. I started with a five beer flight. There aren't too many places that can offer eight or more IPAs. I had Baxter Stowaway IPA, Sebago Fryes Leap IPA, Victory Hop Devil, Marshall Wharf Big Twitch a big local beer and Sebago Harvest Ale. (Substitute for Loose Cannon IPA.) I choose the Baxter's Stowaway for my pint glass. For a Wednesday night it was fairly busy. I was at the main bar and met several locals. They were beer drinkers and really got a kick out of what I am doing with beer. (Teaching, tastings etc.) The Bear has a long history and has supported craft beer forever. It is beer centric and has quite a varied menu as well Everyone should be able to find what they want in beer and food. My grilled tuna steak, unusual for a bar, was good and the fixings worked as well. My GBL card is up somewhere in this classic bar. Overall it is a great beerdrinkers bar with an incredible selection of draft craft beers; I will leave more time for it on my next visit. Website: GreatLostBear.com

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Southern Appalachian Brewing - Hendersonville, NC

In mid October I take a trip to Highlands NC. This year the fall colors around Highlands were some of the best I've seen in my 25+ years of going up there. As always there is good craft beer in NC; several that I can't get in Florida and many old favorites. The latest beer idea, in western N C, is to have a brewery and an associated tasting / tap room. This way they can have a tasting room (bar) and offer growlers to go. One day I was up on the Blue Ridge Parkway and met a group of people, at a pullover / viewing area. Somehow beer came up.(!) They had been to a brewery in Hendersonville that I had never heard about. Southern Appalachian Brewery was near the downtown area and a friendly place with great brews. I decided that a visit was in order ASAP. Since it was late that day I made plans to visit later. A few days later I visited the brewery and the recommendation was totally correct. It was a Sunday; the brewery was open and fairly quiet as I got there around mid afternoon. I received a friendly greeting from Kelly, (one of the owners as I found out later), who told me what they had and about becoming a member. This is one of the quirky things in NC law; if the place serves liquor or beer by the single serving they have to be a membership only club. I had seen this before, in Highlands, so I was familiar with the rules. In this case a membership is $1 so I became a member and ordered a flight. There were 4 beers that day: Belgian Blonde, Amber Ale, IPA and Stout. Each was correct to the style and easy drinking. The Belgian was light and the traditional yeasts could be tasted with a light citrusy flavor. The amber was malty and very tasty. My favorite was the IPA which I call an east coast IPA. This is good and rapidly becoming a favorite style of mine. I like all IPAs but some really pound you with the hops. I enjoy these but sometimes it is nice to have a good easy drinking IPA with a reasonable alc %. (6.5 in this case.) The stout also was enjoyable; it was full bodied (thick) and chocolaty with slight coffee aromas. Good; some stouts are overwhelmed by coffee tastes. I enjoyed my flight and ordered a pint of IPA. The place was friendly; people were coming in to see something on TV or just enjoy a Sunday afternoon beer. The Brewer / Owner Andy come out and we talked about beer and some of the issues of opening a brewery in NC. He said that the membership thing was coming up for a vote and, hopefully, the state would abandon that unnecessary regulation. They were in another location before this; he has been brewing for several years. Andy and Kelly are running the place; there are a few employees but the operation is small so they work the bar or do whatever needs to be done. The place is friendly and the people coming in all enjoy the atmosphere and beers. I will return, in the future as this is a unique place and worth a visit by anyone reading this. They don't serve food but there are vendors that set up in the parking lot with good food. Local restaurants can deliver there or you can bring your own! What a concept; bring your own food and enjoy great craft beers in a relaxed, friendly place. How soon can I go back? Website: SABrewery.com

Mad Crow Brewery and Grill - Sarasota, Florida

After driving around for a bit we finally found Mad Crow. This is a new gastropub located in downtown Sarasota. Not the easiest place to find but well worth it. The entrance is on the side of the building which is why it was hard to find. The copper covered bar is big and roomy. There are tables and an entire second room available. It was Sunday and fairly quiet. We sat at the bar. They had 3 of their house brews on: Gulf Coast Gold an American Pale Ale, Independent Proud American an 8.5% ABV IPA and Paul's Porter. I had the IPA and it was a hoppy brew with some bitterness and grapefruit notes. Surprisingly the alcohol wasn't evident. The menu was great; no ordinary pub grub here; all chef cooked dishes. There aren't too many bars with escargot and bone marrow on the appetizer menu. The regular menu also had some different dishes, prime rib and mahi among them. I had the mahi which oven cooked on a bed of varied cooked vegetables topped with a yellow spicy sauce. Nice presentation too; roll over the picture to the left to see it. The escargot was good and we tried the bone marrow. Maybe we were missing something but there isn't much taste to it. It was ok; you get two bones that you hollow out and eat the marrow. This is a delicacy somewhere but it wasn't appreciated here. Overall the meal was good and the service excellent. I spoke with the shift manager who told me that they still has to work out some issues. It was still a good experience and the beer is good. He said that the beer is selling well and they have a hard time keeping all of them available. This too will work out, I'm sure. This visit was in June; the review never got posted! Website: TheMadcrowBrewery.com

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Biltmore Chefs Page

Biltmore Culinary Academy Class

This class was held at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. The Biltmore has a variety of programs for guests and locals to attend. In September I was asked to create a class for beer. The class was on Fall Beers and cooking dishes that go with the beers.From the website: Beer and Food Pairing Class at the Biltmore Culinary Academy at the Biltmore Hotel. Learn about craft beer, how to pair with food and cook the dishes that are matched with the beers. Classes are fully participatory where students are actively involved in every aspect of food preparation. Class concludes with a meal comprised of the recipes created by the students, each paired with an appropriate beer. More from the Biltomre website: "As the nights cool and the leaves fall from the tress our thoughts turn to rich and flavorful beers and food. Join us to learn about the autumn beers; preparing the hearty foods that go with them and enjoy a few along the way. Learn about beer and food pairings and get ideas for your own tasting or pairing. The class is 3 hours in duration and includes instruction and preparation of the various dishes in the pairing. The class will start by introducing the beers and the dish that goes with each. Preparation and cooking of the dishes is next followed by enjoying what we have created with the appropriate beers." The class ran in September; sevral additional classes were scheduled. If there is any interest in these classes Contact me.

Download and print the flyer for Biltmore Beer Class.

Biltmore Press Release for the Autumn Beer Class

Fairchild Botanical Garden Edible Garden Festival

Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden - Coral Gables, FL

The annual festival has garden and cooking demonstrations on two weekend days in October. My demonstration was on Sunday October 23 at 1:00 PM. There was a large tent set up with chairs for about 50 people. Near the Cycad Circle area my lecture was on the history of beer and brewing. The tent was full and the audience was attentive and asked questions as the lecture went along. How did beer relate to the festival? Beer comes from plants; barley malts and hops. There aren't many beer related plants that grow here in a tropical garden but some tropical plants could be used for flavors or substitute for grains. This would be a good area for study; to see how beer was made many years ago at this latitude and see what the ingredients were. Beer developed differently depending on where you were and what the native plants were. Certain berries were probably used for flavoring and they probably didn't have hops yet. Some native plants can be crushed into a flour like paste which might have had fermentable sugars in it. Next to the tent was a group of beer vendors giving out samples of local microbrews and other flavorful beers. It was a great day and the beer fit right in at this festival. Festival Website - also links to current events at the garden.

Beerdrinker of the Year 2011 Contest

Beerdrinker of the Year 2011 Wynkoop Brewery, Denver, CO.

Results of the Beer Drinker of the year contest: I made the top ten semi finalists! Of those ten, three have been chosen to travel to Denver for the finals at Wynkoop Brewing on Feb.. 26, 2011. I didn't make the final three but to make the top ten in this prestigious contest is an accomplishment in itself. I only wish I could have been there to witness the crowning of this years Beer Drinker of the Year. As always, I continue to support and promote all craft beer in any way I can.
Some excerpts from the e-mail from Wynkop: "Our panel of experts has counted up the votes for the 2011 Finals. The ten semifinalists are Krysi Butler, James Clark, Mike Dixon, Phil Farrell, Logan Perkins, Lisa Grimm, Larry Goeser, Steve Hirsch, Tim Nichols and Greg Nowatzki. Congratulations! Seven of you will receive a lovely 2011 Beerdrinker of the Year Semifinalist shirt. It's a very fashionable piece of garb and an ultimate beer conversation starter Three of you will receive a Finalist shirt and be flown to Denver to compete in the Finals. Those three esteemed folks are James Clark, Mike Dixon and Phil Farrell." Contest Webpage.
Congrats to all, have a great time at the finals February 26th. - GBL

© 2011 larrygoeser.com