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2012

In 2012 there will be more craft beer and food events than ever. As the craft beer movement grows and matures beer and food pairings are coming into their own. Many establishments have noticed this phenomenon and are scheduling beer dinners, food and beer pairings and beer pairings with their regular menu items. This has been several years in the making and will continue this year. The year kicks off with the Field of Beers event the night before the Jupiter Brewfest. This event is all about food and beer. There are 16 stations each with a brewer and a chef with a pairing that has been created just for this event. See last years video here. Here, in south Florida there are more beer bars, brespubs and breweries opening. To keep up with all the action subscribe to my monthly "Beer Blast" e-mail. South Florida is one of the areas of the country that has room for growth for the craft beer industry. There are areas that have many craft beer venues; here we are just getting started. So, get out there and try some new beers and breweries and I'll see you there! My usual trips to the Sebring races, and North Carolina will happen. I aalways find some new beers then. The Dunedin IPA festival is in June. In late August I am going to California. The trip will include Yosemite and Redwoods national parks. Local beer will be had whenever possible. Sierra Nevada Brewery, North Coast Brewery and Russian River Brewing are all on the itinerary. Here's to beer travel!

Cheers, Larry

Wynkoop Brewing of Denver CO. has been running this contest for the last 16 years. I entered the contest three years ago for the first time. This year I revised and updated my Beer Resume and placed in the top ten for the second year in a row! This is quite an accomplishment in this prestigious national contest! The three finalists have been named and a top ten finish is great. I will try again next year! On February 25, 2012 J Wilson of Prescott Iowa was named the 2012 Beerdrinker of the Year. Congratulations to J a worthy winner for sure. Read more HERE.

Past reviews 2006 - 2011 Click on each year. Enjoy, Larry
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Tequesta Brewing Company_Tequesta, FL

Tequesta Brewing Company - Tequesta Florida

Florida breweries are really growing and making some great beer. Tequesta is a great example of the growth and the good beer. Last year they were just starting up and now they are all over south Florida. I had lunch at a local eatery, Food Shack, and they had several Tequesta brews in tap. ( I really enjoyed the California Commons Ale and recommend Food Shack for great food too.) I have seen their beer down in Miami as well. This weekend they had an all Florida line up which would have been almost impossable a few years ago. While at the brewery several beers were enjoyed; both Tequestsa's and other Florida breweries. Green Room, out of Jacksonville had several as well as Cigar City (Tampa) Brewing. The brewer, Matt Webster, was there and our group met him and talked beer and heard about what they were doing for the coming events in Jupiter. (See below) Since it is a brewery, with no food service, they are allowed to sell growlers of beer to go. The Corner Cafe is next door and patrons can call for a to go order to enjoy with the good beers. Tequesta Brewing is a cool place to visit and have great beers too. We saw them out at both Jupiter events later that weekend.

Tequesta Brewing's Facebook Page or Website.

Field of Beers 2012 Homepage
Field_of_Beers_Dogfish / Stone_Brewing
Jupiter Craft Brewers Festival 2012
Funky Buddha / Swamp Head Brewing
They Love Their Beer! / Fun Group
Harpoon Brewery / Cigar City Brewing

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

The fourth annual Field of Beers was, once again a great event. This year the weather was unusually warm and no sweaters or jackets were needed. The event brings together 16 different beers with special paired food dishes. I started in the left field dugout, at Roger Dean Stadium. A few highlights: First up was Brooklyn Lager paired with New England clam fritters fried in a sea salt batter with chipotle tarter sauce. Great start! Next door was Lobster Mac and Cheese paired with Florida Brewing's Florida Lager. Then came Coffee Rubbed Osso Bucco and grits paired with Tequesta Brewing's Vier a Belgian Quad. This was just the first three I visited. Several memorable pairings from the other areas: Wild Antelope and White Bean Chili paired with Saint Somewhere Cynthiana Belgian Ale. I would like to get this recipe so I could make this dish. La Caja China was a Smoky, slow roasted marinated whole pig with “Rincon Heat” gourmet hot sauce paired with Brewzzi Double IPA. This style is new for Brewzzis which usually brews German styles. They have a new brewer who is trying new styles to reflect the changing market in craft beer. Good job. There was Fresh Florida Wahoo Ceviche Marinated in Ligero Lager with onion, mango and cilantro paired with Cigar City Ligero Black Lager a traditional German Schwarzbier. Dogfish Head beer brought their 120 minute IPA and paired it with NY Style apricot cheesecake on a stick, dipped in dark chocolate, rolled in smoked toasted almonds, and finished with gingersnap dust. What a combo! The intensely bitter and hoppy IPA went well with the incredibly rich cheesecake "pop". For the complete menu click here. The event was small enough to meet people; participants, brewery reps and cooks. There was ample time at each station; however it is hard to keep moving so they all can be tried. The focus on Florida beers and food was really good to see. Florida has come a long way in a few short years. Look for tickets in December if you want to go in 2013.

The 6th Annual Jupiter Craft Brewers Festival Jan. 28, 2012

The sixth annual festival theme was "We'll Leave the Tap on for You!" The entrance went smoothly; the organizers have it together by having 2 lines and limiting the attendance. Once inside the taps were, indeed, on. A map is handed out so you know where favorite breweries and new ones are located. It is crowded but there is enough space to make it work. We headed over to the Funky Buddha, a local brewery, as they always have something interesting. They had Apple Pie a beer that tasted like you had just had a piece of apple pie. I am not a big flavored beer guy; this was good but I probably won't have several on a Friday night. next door was Victory with several selections.. Swamp Head Brewing, from Gainesville, was there with all six of their beers available. They aren't in this market yet but will go statewide at some point. Existing Florida breweries really have taken off; they can't keep up with demand. Swamp Head is one good example. The beer is good too! Tequesta Brewing and Brewzzi were next door; both with local beers available. The brewers were both there for the festival. Tequesta brewing just celebrated their first year in business. We then headed across the festival to Due South Brewing a new local (Boynton Beach) brewery. They are still building the brewery but had some beer ready. The brewery will open in March; meanwhile they are getting their beer out for people to try. They had a good IPA, Caramel Cream Ale, Porter and several rotating beers. This new local brewery was very popular. On my way home I stopped by Due South Brewery, but there wasn't anyone home. Now I know where they are. (A minute off I-95 and Gateway Blvd.) Bluepoint Brewing was nearby and had their IPA and BP Toxic Sludge available. The IPA is excellent and the Toxic Sludge was from the Field of Beers event. It is a Black IPA with extra malts for a hoppy yet malty dark beer. Rob, the national sales manager said that it was so popular that they are going to add it to their regular line up. (It was a one off beer.) We talked beer for a bit then I met some folks that liked my beerdrinker shirt. One lady's name was Wynkoop and she had never see the name like this. She said the name was Danish and I didn't know where the brewery got their name. (They named it for the first sheriff of Denver.) The music played on and the festival was at full speed. We found Green Room Brewing with only their IPA left. (That was fine with me.) Bold City was out but Sierra Nevada had something. I wanted to try their new Rye IPA but it wasn't there. (Why? A beer festival is all about introducing your beers to new customers; a new SN beer doesn't come out every week!) Greenman Brewing was a great wooden table with 4 taps running the entire festival. They are from Asheville, NC and may expand to Florida in the future. They are making some good beers and have a new brewery with additional capacity. This was the fun area of the festival and where we would finish it. By Twisted Pine there were some folks that really enjoyed the "Billy's Chilies" beer. They were carrying on about it and I tried it. It has a much accented pepper taste throughout the tasting. It would be good with Mexican food but it's not a drinking beer. The Hoppy Boy is a decent IPA I would like to try it on tap sometime. Cigar City, Lakefront and Brooklyn were all near this area. Our day finished at the Holy Mackerel table where founder and brewer Robert Gordash was there and they had several beers on tap. There were pitchers of Mack in Black an Imperial Black Ale. I had a couple of beers and met some fun people who were taking pictures of everyone and having a good time. My day finished there as closing time came. The word went around that everyone had to quit pouring and start to head out. I did manage to get a lady to take my picture, in the Beerdrinker shirt, and got it sent to my e-mail. That picture is on this page just roll over the Jupiter logo, to the left, to see it. It was a good time and I represented the Beerdrinker of the Year well. This is a great fun event where "good people drink good beer" See you next year!

Website: Jupiterbrewfest

Holoywood_Organic_Brewpub

Hollywood Organic Brewery - Hollywood, Florida

In February I visited another new Florida brewery, this one in Hollywood on the boardwalk by the beach. This is an unusual location and this is not a typical American brewpub. It really is a German beer hall that makes their own beer. As you walk in the beer making equipment is in a small room to the right. The main room has a high celing and is decorated in the beer hall style. The owners have several successful brewpubs in Hungry and Russia and want to bring a piece of this to Hollywood. The menu has a good variety of German food; much of it made here on the premises. The night I was there there were four beers on tap. They had a Pilsner, Pale Ale, Wheat Beer and a Stout. I was able to try all four and found them to be authentic German beers. My favorite was the wheat beer, served in a Weitzen glass and quite refreshing. It will be a hit this summer with patrons coming off the beach. The food is good with much of the prep being done right on the premises. The home made sausage was cooked to order and excellent. My party tried many different items and found them all to be of good quality and taste. One dish was served with 'cartilage' still in the meat. Strange; it must be a German dish we weren't familiar with. All the food went well with the beers and our server was helpful; telling us what some of the dishes were and what beer they went with. It was a quick visit and I would like to return this summer to see how they have progressed and what new brews they will have. Website HERE; see "Page 5" for the always updating menu.

Shipyard_Emporium_St Pats
Redlight_Redlight_Orlando_FL
Redlight_Redlight_Taps

Redlight Redlight - Orlando, Florida

As is tradition, in March, I attended the 60th anniversary edition of the 12 hours of Sebring races. I have now been there for over half of the races. This was my 31st year. This year I went along with my two good beer loving friends with many different beers. We arrived on Friday and, once again, would camp out for the night. Late Friday afternoon we had a friend racing in the historic races. He now has a historic Porsche 914 that raced and won class at the track in the early 1970's. (He added to the history by winning his class in this race.) We had several different beers; I found all four of the Sierra Nevada 30th anniversary beers so, once again, they were enjoyed at the races. Late Friday night (or early Saturday morning) we met a group that was walking by and good beer came up. They invited us to their campsite for a St Patrick's day "Irish Car Bomb" a drink to remember. They pour half a glass of stout then drop a shot glass of Irish Cream and Whisky into the stout and the entire thing is drank quickly like a shot. After the first Patrick's day drink we found out that the group was from Jacksonville, FL and brought several local beers with them. Intuition Peoples Pale Ale is a hoppy pale ale that comes in cans. We have not seen this beer before. Looking at their website they are making many great ales. Another new Florida beer! Great, our state is moving up in the brewing world. (Road trip to Jax?) On Saturday we stopped back by and brought them some beers that they had not seen before. We walked all around the track and enjoyed one of the best weather days in my 31 years. Later in the afternoon we would head to Orlando to explore the local beer scene. There was one more celebration left with our race winner. Several special beers were opened for this; Dogfish Noble Rot and two of the Sierra 30th beers. Overall it was another great Sebring and it is always good to see and party with old and new friends. Once in Orlando we had dinner at the Shipyard Emporium and retired for the night. On Sunday we slept late and enjoyed a local state park in the early afternoon. We were ready for a beer about 3:00 so we drove over to a craft beer parlour we had heard about, Redlight Redlight. The pub looks like nothing special from the outside. However, once inside, there are hard to find and unusual beers on tap and in bottles. They have a vintage beer menu that will stand up with the best. We decided on beers and soon met several friendly locals. It's all about beer here and most of the patrons were of the same frame of mind. We were able to enjoy several beers we had not seen on tap. There was talk of a new location opening up nearby but I think this older place has the real character. No ferns or bad beer here. While we were there two kegs blew and both were replaced with different beers. (Typical in the craft beer world.) I went to the car and noticed a 1967 Camero that looked original in the lot. We soon met it's owners and made two new friends. They live nearby and enjoy the craft beer like we do. After a while we were thinking of heading on they said they would show us another craft beer place nearby. My friends rode in the back of the convertable over to the Milk Bar (Across the street from TG Lee Dairy.) This is a cool small beer bar for locals and it isn't on most maps. We had beers and sat on chairs that could be in a living room. Comfortable and laid back we enjoyed the time with our new found friends. This was great to meet some locals and go to places we would have not found ourselves. Since it was Sunday there was no food servce so everyone had to head on. They went for meatloaf pizza and we headed over to BJ's Brewhouse for dinner. Orlando was fun today.

Fairchild Botanical Garden Food and Garden Festival

Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden - Coral Gables, FL

The 33rd annual food and garden festival has garden and local cooking demonstrations on two weekend days in April. There is also a plant sale at the festival. My demonstration was on Saturday April 14 at 11:00 AM. The garden demo tent was set up with chairs for about 50 people. My lecture was on spring and summer beer styles. We had a fairly dry spring but not this morning. It rained overnight and for the early part of the morning. This didn't help attendance but, as it goes with me and beer, the rain stopped about an hour before the demo. My lecture started with a few people and finished up with the tent almost full. The latecomers kept asking beer questions which held up the next plant demo which was running late anyway. After introducing beer styles in general I then spoke about the different styles of spring and summer. Spring styles include Maibock, Lager, Belgian Amber Ale, Red Ale, Irish Dry Stout and Wheat Beers. Summer styles are Hefeweizen (German wheat beer), Belgian Wit, Pilsner, Helles (German Light Beer), Kolsch, Blonde ale and Lagers. The beer sampling area was now officially open and the group was able to try most of the styles they had learned about. Festival Website - also links to current events at the garden.

Funky_Buddha_Bar /Art
Funky_Buddha_Bar / Band

The Funky Buddha- Boca Raton, FL

In mid April an old co worker of mine, Tim Young, was visiting the Palm Beach area. I had been wanting to visit the Funky Buddha since I heard they were brewing their own beers. When Tim stopped by the shop earlier in the week I suggested we meet on Saturday at the Buddha. I drove up with two friends that also wanted to check the place out. We got there in the late afternoon and the place is appropriately named. The Buddha is a long narrow place with beer related stuff all over and a complete hookah service. There were hookahs all over and all kinds of smokeables for them. This was cool and they really have the ventilation down as I never smelled anything the entire night. People were coming up and getting stuff all night. They have a beer bottle collection, beer art, a tap handle collection and lots of Funky Buddhas. There were 5 beers available the day we were there. They have growler sales but have stopped as they can't keep up with the beer demand. They will restart the sales when they start making some of their beer at Cigar City Brewing in Tampa. We ordered a sampler flight to try each beer. The beers: Red Dawn Red Ale, Floridian Heffeweizen, Puti Porter, Hop Gun IPA and a Berliner Weiss. I had ben studying for the certified beer server exam and just read about Berliner Weiss. It's a slightly sour German Wheat beer. In Berlin they add a green mixture called woodruff to soften the acidity. Here I tasted key limes. It was good to try but I don't think I'll have several pints of it. (Tim took one sip and said "This is beer?".) It did look like lemonade; no beer color at all. The other beers were all tried; the Red had good malt sweetness and slight hop taste as I drank it. The Porter was a goof one; several of us ordered pints. My personal favorite was the IPA; they have a good one here. Nice floral aroma, bitter taste and very hoppy. I had several and Tim like it too. We stayed for the evening; tried some of the snacks available and a good band came on later. Our bartender, John, was alone at first and gave good service to everyone. He was knowledgeable about the beers and helpful the entire night. His reinforcements arrived; just in time as the place started to get busy. The band was good and has a local following; I didn't get their name but we met them during a break outside. I must be getting old; they looked young, I think one of the guys was 17 or so. They did playing good music; even us older guys liked them. if you are in the area the Funky Buddha is well worth the visit and they are very "beer centric" there and that is appreciated. They will always have different beers; check the website for what is on this week. TheFunkyBuddha.com

Due South / Guest Tap Area
Brewing Area / All Roads Lead to Beer

Due South Brewing - Boynton Beach, Florida

On Saturday May 12, 2012 Due South Brewing had their highly anticipated grand opening. They had been hoping to open sometime in March but when building a brewery expect delays of many kinds. I saw them at the Jupiter festival (see above) and liked the beers and people involved. On the way back from that festival we stopped by the brewery location and were glad we did. There was no one home but now we knew where it was. Some people had a hard time finding it; it's right off I-95 Gateway exit in Boynton Beach. When we arrived there was already a good sized crowd there. There were food trucks outside with a cool breeze blowing. Upon entry we were given wrist bands and Due South cups for sampling. They set up a ticket system so the bar staff only has to serve and talk about beer. I liked the system; 1 ticket got you a 1/2 glass and two a full. This allows for trying more different beers and not having a full pint of each. In addition to five of their beers there was a guest tap area with several Florida breweries beers. Cigar City, Tequesta and Swamphead were all there. First up was the Due South Caramel Cream ale. This had a sweet caramel taste creamy texture with a slight vanilla finish. This ale will probably be their flagship lighter brew. Next up: Southern Saison. I tasted the yeasts and some spice; I couldn't identify the spices; someone told me they were "Caribbean" spices. This is vague; perfect for a Belgian as many Belgian brewers won't tell anyone what the "secret" spices are in their beer. I tasted a slight guava but that isn't a spice. A Belgian tradition continues. My favorite was the Category 3 IPA; a well balanced hoppy ale with lots of citrus notes and a bitter finish. I met Mike Halker, the brewer and mentioned that I like all his beer with the IPA as a favorite. I also thanked him for the old blues in the background; it was classic and being played form his iPod. Mike is like many in the craft beer world; a good guy and friends with many in the business. They are "competitors" but at the end of the day they can sit down and have a few beers together. Everybody knows each other and willing to help out a friend any way possable. I have found this at most craft beer beweries I have visited. It is a good thing and I hope to see it continue as the industry grows. There were many industry people there; I met festival organisers, sales guys and many other industry insiders. It was a great kick off party and I look forward to seeing their growth and beers all over South Florida. Welcome to South Florida Due South; a new craft brewery has been 'due' here!! Website: DueSouthAles.com

Brevard, NC Moose / Brevard Brewing
Pilot System_Canning Dept / Front Docks
Delivery Van / Tasting Room
Site Entrance / First View of Property
Hops _Research_Site_Mills_River_NC
Job Site Sign / Beautiful Property
 
New_Belgium_Brewing_Asheville_NC
New_Belgium_Brewing_Riverview / West_Side
Bruisin_Ales / So App Brewing

Asheville, NC New Brewery "Brews Cruise"

In late May, I spent a week in western North Carolina at my home in Highlands, NC. As I usually do, I took a day trip to Asheville, as I really enjoy the city and it's local beer culture. I know that three established western craft brewers are building their east coast breweries in the Asheville area. The idea here was that I wanted to go find each location, see where the new guys are planning to build, and take some "before" pictures and get a feel for the areas where they are going to build. The three are: ( in order of the trip from Highlands) Oskar Blues Brewing, Sierra Nevada Brewing and New Belgium Brewing. The day turned out well; I found all three and did a few other beer related things as well. Update: The trip was repeated in October; I found progress at all three and some surprises. Each brewery has been updated to reflect current information as of October.

Oskar Blues Brewery - Brevard, NC

From Highlands, US 64 goes toward Asheville, passing through downtown Brevard. I have been through Brevard many times but never have stopped and looked around. I liked what I saw; clean old downtown area with new businesses, cool old Victorian homes around the area, and very friendly people everywhere. Sounds like a pretty good place to live. I found Brevard Brewing on my first trip in May. They had just opened for business on April 23rd. The brewery opens at 4:00 so I wasn't able to visit. This time I was early but found the door open and Kyle the owner / brewer was there. We spoke beer for a while and he let me look around the brewery and take pictures and do as I wanted. I didn't get to try his beers but will return when they are open. No one knew exactly where Oskar Blues' new location was so I stopped by the local Chamber of Commerce. They were friendly and helpful. They knew exactly where OBB was building and gave me good directions to get there. I gave them one of my cards and everyone liked what I was doing. Oskar Blues Brewery is located just north of town in a light industrial area. Head north on the old H'ville Hwy and go left on Industrial Drive. It feels somewhat rural here; the existing large metal building has vacant land all around it. The view west is of mountains and the east side has a few other low warehouse type buildings and trees on it. The property is fenced; it looks like they will have plenty of room to grow. When I arrived, the place appeared to be deserted. I walked around the entire outside and didn't find anybody. I knew people had to be somewhere as there were parked cars on the west side. I walked in the front garage door and finally saw someone working on the building. I introduced myself and gave him a card. He was one of the construction guys and said that there was someone I should meet. We went into the office area and it turns out there were several brewery employees already there. I met Brian, the guy in charge, Noah the brewer, Eric, and later Chad, the brewery spokesman. They all moved from Colorado to open the new facility. Everyone was very welcoming to me; I told them that I wanted to see the place before it was done and take some pictures. Brian said that he wished he had more time to spend showing me around; he let me have the run of the place. This was great access; I walked all around the place and have many pictures of it as it was that day. I have a separate webpage with several of the pictures from that day. The next time I see the place it will be a fully functioning brewery and this kind of access won't be possible. This is the way it is all over Brevard; friendly and helpful to people they really don't know. As I said above, it looks like a good place to live. I walked all around the inside and outside of the building and got some good shots of everything. I see great potential in the tasting room which will be abvoe the offices. It will offer a complete view of the entire operation which will be just below. If it is possible, I believe they should cut some large windows into the west side wall, so the mountain view, that I saw upon my arrival, will be visible from inside the tasting room. It will be great: mountain view, great beer and a full view of the brewery in action. This could be a tasting room to remember! I look forward to having a beer there. Thanks to Brian and the gang for the hospitality; I owe y'all a beer! Website: OskarBlues.com

Sierra Nevada Brewing, Mills River, NC

Driving north on 280, toward Mills River, I knew that it was about 15 miles from Brevard. I stopped at an antiques store that had some cool old bikes out front, and found out that Mills River didn't really have a downtown like Brevard. The lady inside didn't know exactly where the brewery was going to be located and told me to stop by the "Ag Center" and someone would know. I drove a few miles more and saw Valley AG Farm and Garden on the right side. I stopped and went inside and found a guy that liked craft beer and knew where Sierra Nevada was going to be built. He directed me to take the first left, just south of the Asheville airport which went by some runway construction, then the brewery site was just beyond that. He was excited about the prospect of the brewery coming to town; we talked beer for a minute but he had to get back to work. I found my way to Fanning Bridge Road and turned left. As I was told there was construction on the runway to my right. Mills River is an agricultural community and there are fields and farms everywhere. In 2003 they incorporated in order to maintain the area’s character of farms, homes and businesses. Many families have lived on the same land for generations and the people want to continue that tradition. The area near the airport is for businesses and Sierra Nevada will fit in here nicely. The brewery will be clean and green having minimal environmental impact on the surrounding area. The jobs and tourists will be welcome, I'm sure. I went just down the road to the Horticultural Crops Research group of buildings to find out where the brewery site was. I went inside and a lady came out and said the the brewery was indeed coming there but she thought that most of the property was inaccessible and the state was putting a road in so construction could begin. She also had another thing to add: the center was involved in research to see what type of hops would grow here. SNB has already grown hops on their California property. This is a new area of the craft beer business and Sierra Nevada is at the forefront as usual. The idea is to grow and produce everything in the beer locally and on your own farms. Most breweries get hops and malts from suppliers; Sierra has grown their own and made a few special 'Estate Beers' that have been made form all SNB ingredients. This is very cool and there will be more of it in coming years. I drove back by and parked on the north side of the street. Right in front of me was a field with 12 small garden sites. This is at the back of the brewery property as I found out in October. The hops project was finished, but I was looking at where it had been. I hope they got results that will lead to more beer with their own hops in it. October update: The brewery is now under construction. The property is directly in front of you when you approach from the airport runway site. There were trucks coming and going so I drove in to see the building progress. I got all the way to a trailer where a security guard stopped me. I wanted to go to the site to take some pictures but was told that I had to have permission. This is a major construction project and a hard hat area. I took a few pictures of the property and will try to get permission to go to the site when I return. It is a nice piece of property; some trees and rolling hills. Sierra Nevada made a good choice; a small community with good access to area major roads and a good country vibe too. I look forward to visiting the finished brewery in a few years. Maybe they will need a craft beer enthusiast, event planner, Cicerone CBS and beer historian to join their Eastern operations team! If they do I'm ready. Website: SierraNevada.com

New Belgium Brewing - Asheville, NC

Since New Belgium Brewing is locating in the old Western Carolina Livestock Market, it was relatively easy to find the site. I knew it was on Craven Street in Asheville. While at the Horticulture Center (above article) the friendly lady there told me to exit at Haywood Street and go east. Craven street intersects Haywood and the site is a few blocks in. I was coming in from the back and could see long tin buildings with graffiti all over them. As I came around the curve, the front of the metal building was painted and had the market's name on it. I pulled off the road after passing the building; there is an open drive going well into the property that probably gives access to other properties along the river. The river is hard to see as there are overgrown bushes and trees blocking the view. To the north there is a view of an I-240 bridge. I'm sure the brewery will face the open river and the entire area will be renewed. I got out to look around and was hit with the stench of a livestock yard. This has been used for so long that the smell is probably in the ground even with the animals gone. I made a short video and the odor was noted there too. I also made a second video of the backside of the property. It's going to be a big job but New Belgium is up to the task. They plan to "revitalize a brownfield site near a vibrant downtown". The site is in the River Arts District and New Belgium will fit in here well. I drove around and can see that the entire area is under going a revival.Two blocks on the other side of the river, there are new streets with bike lanes and many old buildings that have have been revitalized. I see an up and coming area that will be in full swing by the time the brewery is built. Of course the brewery itself will draw more people and businesses. This will benefit everyone involved. I look forward to watching the progress on the brewery site and building. Of the three, New Belgium has the most challenging job and they are excited about it as am I. See New Belgium CEO Kim Jordan on the new brewery. (Video) Website: NewBelgium.com

Now that the three breweries had been found, it was time for real beer. No visit to Asheville would be complete without a visit to Bruisin' Ales, a great craft beer store in downtown Asheville. It is a small store with a large and varied selection. On this visit I met Julie who I have 'met' on Twitter but never in person. It's a family operation and Jason was also there checking in new beer. I am never disappointed and today was no exception. In addition to finding some favorites, there were new beers there as well. I asked Julie if they ever considered a larger space. She said that they like the store small and also own the building. It is a great store and the size really doesn't hurt; I just noticed that it does get crowded from time to time. Good to meet Julie; I'll visit them in October if not sooner. Website: BruisinAles.com

On my way back, I wanted to get a growler at Southern Application Brewing in Hendersonville. It is the closest brewery to Highlands and I also had one of their growlers with me. I got there late in the afternoon and there were regulars there enjoying the beer. I sat at the bar and Chris got me an IPA. This IPA was special; it won a prize in a local contest so it was limited. The special IPA was slightly stronger, 7.2% ABV, than the regular and made with different hops. So much for my growler; there were no growler fills until the regular IPA came back in a few days. This is also a family operation; Kelly recognized me from my last visit and was busy all around the place. Andy the brewer, was not there this afternoon but his beer still was good. I met several of the regulars; they all like the place and the people. One guy gets kegs for his home bar here and was picking one up today. Of course when picking up a keg at a brewery several beers should also be enjoyed. I had one more and had to go; Chris gave me his DVD from the Best Firkin Beer Festival at Highland Brewing on April 28, 2012. It's a great DVD; a very cool festival; all breweries made cask beer and most were for the festival only. It's a great chronicle; they spoke with most of the breweries there and many of the beers sound great. Maybe next year... Website: SABrewery.com

Intuition_Ale_Works / Aging_Barrels
Intuition_{Ale_Sample_Flight / Outside _Shot
Lindsay and Hanna_Beer_Servers / Brewing area

Intuition Ale Works - Jacksonville, FL

I have wanted to visit Intuition since I tried their beer at the races at Sebring (Story above) Once I saw the beer list on the website it provided even more motivation to go. There are 15 + beers available at any given time. On my way back from North Carolina I decided to take a route through Jacksonville. Intuition is located in the Riverside neighborhood just west on I-10 from downtown. There aren't really and hotels near the brewery; I found a place about 8 miles away. I checked in and headed to the brewery. I found the brewery with no trouble parked and went into the larger brewery building to start my tour. This area has a long bar on one side and all the various brewing equipment filling the rest of the space. They are going to be barrel aging some beer as I saw some barrels stilll on their shipping pallets. This was the last night the outdoor bar area would be open. They close it for the summer as it gets very hot in the un-air conditioned area. I headed over to the tasting room and found a dark cool area. Everything about the atmosphere of the tasting room is welcoming. Over the course of the evening I would meet many interesting people and the staff was great as well. I sat down at the bar and asked for a sampler flight. I was handed a yellow sticky note pad and told to go over the list, on a nearby wall, and write down any 6 beers for the flight. My six beers were: Belgian Hoppy Blonde, Red Man Red, King Street Stout, I-10 IPA Shotgun Shack Black IPA and Riverside Red. I gave my list to Lindsay, my beer server for the night, and she brought a great platter with full sample gasses of each beer. (See picture to the left.) The Belgian had the Belgian yeast tastes and was hoppy. Red Man was a classic malty red; the Riverside Red was the 2012 version of the same beer. It was hoppy and bitter. My notes say" Not your Father's red!" The IPA would be my everyday beer if I was a regular; the Stout was roasty and smooth for an Imperial stout. Later I was able to try the Siren a black lager with three peppers and Dubbel Helix a classic Belgian brown ale. I also met the other beer server, Hanna. Both servers were friendly and had great beer knowledge. I found out that they both had taken and passed the Cicerone Beer Server Exam. This is the same exam I had just passed recently. Small world; it was good to talk to some recently certified servers. They said that they had heard about the Cicerone program and asked the owner if he would like them to study and take the CBS exam. Of course he thought it was a great idea so Lindsay and Hanna are both Cicerone CBS's. Jacksonville is becoming a beer town; there are several breweries and beer bars right in this area. Bold City is right around the corner and a local gastropub Kickbacks, with a great beer selection is right down the street. Lindsay told me that there are three new breweries on the beach. For more see the Jacksonville listing on Beer Advocate. The clientele is great too; I met people coming in for growlers as well as regulars. One engineer was headed back to Iraq and really like my beer website. He said that there were guys over there that would like to read about happenings in the beer world back home. The evening was fun soon it was time to go. I really enjoyed the place; great beer, staff and people. I will return and only wish for this type of place in South Florida. Lindsay and Hanna really like and know beer. They made my visit even better. When in Jax be sure to visit. Website

Dunedin_IPA_Festival_2012
Dunedin_Brewers_Guild / Rapp_Brewing
Larry_Steve / Party_Outside

Dunedin Brewing 4th Annual IPA Festival

The fourth annual festival was on Saturday June 2nd; the folks at Dunedin Brewery have this one down. The number of people, the beers and the music all worked out well. I attended with the three Pearl brothers; Art, Jeff and Steve. This was unusual; the last time all three were there together was the Barleywine Festival in 2006. It is hard to get everyone together for a festival 300 miles form home. This was Steve's last weekend in his 50's as he had his 60th birthday the next week. No one was disappointed; it was a great weekend and festival. As we entered everyone walked in different directions. I got a sample and walked around to see who and what beers were there. There was a long line to my right and I went over to find out about it. This was a sampling for a new local brewery; Rapp Brewing. They weren't on the brewers list "officially" but were there to let people know about their new brewery. Brewer Gregg and wife Dawn were running the booth. They had 4 IPA's available. I tried all 4 and liked the Bitterhead Belgian the most. When the brewery opens there will be many Rapp beers there. The brewery is under construction and will open soon. Nearby the local home brewers were set up. They always have something good and didn't disappoint today. Here, I tried the White IPA, Black IPA and Imperial IPA. The White was my favorite but all 6 were enjoyed. In the meantime Steve was going to each booth to try all the beers at the festival. I walked inside where the band was playing; the front bar had many great IPAs. Dunedin had their The Rock a double IPA and an excellent cask beer; Hops on the Vortex among others. This area had several Florida breweries; Green Room, Cigar City and Swamphead. I still really like Cigar City Humidor IPA, a cedar aged IPA with a black peppery after taste. Swamphead 10 - 10- 10 always rocks as well as Stone Ruination. Boulder Mojo was a good break between all these huge hop monsters! (The water didn't hurt either.) Now it was on to the Nook. a small bar in what was the brewery offices several years ago. There were six beers here; I tried most. My favorite was Ft Collins Vortex IPA. The Mojo Risin' and Stone Double Ruination were both enjoyed as well. Terrapin Hopzilla fit right in here too. The Nook was the most fun; people came and went everyone having a good time. Some pictures were taken these are good memory aids later! Outside the usual raffle to benefit Dunedin Doggie Rescue was being held. I bought tickets but no luck this year. As the raffle wound down my original group was all together outside. We were comparing notes and talking about different beers. I had a case of New Belgium's Ranger IPA and went over to the hotel to get it. Upon my return I poured samples of an IPA that currently isn't available in Florida. This was appreciated; many had never tried it. It was getting later now and it looked like Steve was ready to go back to the hotel. Yes, he did try all the beers; the walk back proved that! I gave the last bottle of Ranger to Art who promptly dropped it on the floor, inside. Fortunately these guys are ready for anything; someone appeared with a broom and mop right away. All in a good days festival drinking; no one got hurt and all had fun. See you next year. DunedinBrewery.com

Event_Page

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beerholder - Dania, Florida

On August 9, 2012 this event was held at the Eggersmann USA showroom at DCOTA in Dania. The event was on 'Kitchen Day' when all the kitchen showrooms had special events. The theme was all things German; beer, foods and kitchens. Working together with the Eggersmann staff this event turned out great. There were over 15 different German beers; most paired with the various foods at the event. To start the event I gave a short history of German beer including mentioning Reinheitsgebot the German Beer Purity law. The law states that beer can only contain 4 ingredients: water, malted barley, (or wheat) hops and yeast. All the beers at the event were brewed following this law. There were 4 food items with several beers paired with each. Roast Beef and Horseradish on Brioche paired with Helles Lager and Pilsner. Veal Meatballs Beer Braised with Weissbier and Kolsh. German Sausage and Potato Skewers paired with Dunkel and Schwatrzbier. Black Forest Ham with apple Beer Butter paired with several Dopplebocks and Oktoberfest. Some favorite beers form the event: Weihenstephaner Helles, Schneider Edelweisse, Bischoff Black Lager, Spaten “Optimator” Dopplebock (with Ayinger "Celebrator" also enjoyed) and Spaten Oktoberfest. The Aecht Schienkerla Rauchbiers (smoked beers) interested many as well. Overall the event went well; people tried beers then came back for favorites later. The attendance was great and everyone had a good time. Eggersmann hopes to do something similar again. Event photos on my Facebook Page. View my original invitation and event page.

21st_Amendment_Brewery_Front/Beer_Menu
21st_Amendment_Brewery_Bar/Beers

21st Amendment Brewery - San Francisco, CA

On Thursday August 23, 2012 I flew west with two friends for a 10 day vacation in California. This trip was all about hops and parks. We would visit 11 breweries and many different state and national parks. From San Francisco down to Monterey, across to Yosemite leaving via the eastern road to drive north to Lake Tahoe. Then we would drive west to Chico, continue west to Humboldt County and the Redwood Forests. The trip would then head south along route 1 then east toward the Sonoma Valley and back to San Francisco. The first stop was 21st Amendment Brewery for lunch. We arrived around 1:30; it was still busy from lunch but 3 seats were available at the bar. We settled in and took in the place and beer menu. The front is a semi - circular bar with a large room of tables behind. The open kitchen is at the rear behind the table area. It looks like it could get busy as there is an entire mezzanine above with it's own bar. A couple of locals, who worked nearby, were seated next to me. They told me that it iis an up and coming area and many new businesses were opening here. They work nearby at an on - line firm and have lunch here once a week. The menu offers 8 beers; I ordered the Live Free or Die IPA, a very drinkable, hoppy west coast IPA at 7.0% ABV. The amber and stout were also ordered. Our bartender was Billy, who took care of us with good service and details about the beer. He is a Cicerone CBS which showed in his beer knowledge. He showed us the 4 beers that they now are canning; several of them are hard to find locally, but are here at the brewery. Hop Crisis Double IPA was one; we got one to try later. Meanwhile, we were deciding on lunch. The menu has many good things on it and there was a board of daily specials. I had chili and the pulled pork from the specials board. While lunch was being prepared we tried some samples of other beers. Hqt Egyptian Ale would be good for my beer history class. Several breweries have made Egyptian beers based on what we know was available for brewing at that time in history. Hqt is made with Emmer wheat, honey, and dates using Egyptian herbs and spices instead of hops. It was a golden color, slightly malty and sweet. The Hell or High Watermelon Wheat also was tried. When lunch arrived, I ordered Batch 800 Double IPA which came in a goblet type glass. It was strong, 9.1% ABV but had no classic aroma as the Live Free. My favorite here was the Live Free IPA, the classic west coast IPA. I wanted a pint glass and was surprised at the low price. So many places want to make max money on everything they do. The manager told me that they sell them cheap so many will buy them; thereby getting their name into many more places. Overall, a good visit and a great start to the California trip. Website: 21st-amendment.com Roll over photos for additional shots.

Toronado Front / Beer Menu
Toronado_Tap_Handle_Collection / Wall of Beer_Signs

The Toronado Bar - San Francisco, CA

Our next stop was The Toronado bar on Haight Street. It wasn't far form 21st Amendment and we found parking directly across the street. Walking in, it was pretty busy for a Thursday afternoon. It wasn't completely full as we were able to get seats at the bar fairly quickly. It is a very cool, funky old beer bar with 50 plus beers on tap. I ordered a Pliny the Elder, a double IPA from Russian River Brewing. My friends ordered Deschutes stouts. Service was fine despite what some reviewers say. Our barmaid was Jennifer and she gave us good service and knew about a beer that one of my friends was looking for. The place is beer centric with all kinds of breweriana in every available space. There is a huge tap handle collection and all kinds of beer signs on the walls. I could spend some time looking at everything; this collection has some cool stuff. The small back rooms also have more beer stuff on the walls. I got a few pictures around the place; I probably looked like a beer tourist at the time. A local, sitting next to us, said that if they know you and you know how the place works, you should be fine. We had a good time and everything went well. The Toronado was 25 years old in early August and still had some of their 25th anniversary ale available. It was made for the occasion by Russian River brewing. I had one; it was a very drinkable sour beer. I must be getting used to them as several years ago I probably wouldn't have liked it. Also, Russian River is making several sour beers and doing well with them. We would try them at the brewpub later in the trip. I wanted to try one more beer that I didn't know. I chose Moonlight Brewing Bombay by Boat IPA. The beer was from cask; smooth and it had piney aromas when starting. It was a tasty IPA and, as I found out later, from a small brewery in rural Santa Rosa. It was a good west coast IPA with a big hop taste and nice bitter finish. We needed to get going; I could have stayed for the rest of the day. Jennifer was leaving and the next shift was coming on. (Dave?) Everyone we met there was cool and into the beers. The place has a cool vibe and I can see why the locals like it. The prices were good, too; look at the beer menu I posted and compare quality, quantity and price to almost anywhere else. We were able to try Rosamunde Sausage Grill, next door. We got sausages to go and brought them back to the bar. The sausages were excellent; an added convenience of the Toronado. I have always said that dive bars can be some of the best places, and the Toronado certainly qualifies. When in SF, be sure to stop by. Website: Toronado.com For August 23, 2012 beer list look HERE.

Seabright_Brewery_Santa_Cruz_CA

Seabright Brewery - Santa Cruz, CA

After our first viewing of Redwood trees, just north near Fenton, we returned to Santa Cruz for lunch. The morning was cloudy but cleared into a beautiful day by the time we arrived at Seabright for lunch. It wasn't too busy and we tried several of their beers. I found a good IPA and my friends liked the stout. There were several other good beers listed that were out. It is a friendly place; our waitress was good and I met several locals when I was looking around the place. They have been here for over 20 years and have a good local following. The brewing area looks small and tight but if it works why change it? We didn't meet the brewers but there is an old interview on the Beer Channel. It was time to go; we headed south to Monterey. Website.

Fifty_Fifty_Brewing_Truckee_CA Taps / Outside silo

Fifty Fifty Brewing co. - Truckee, CA

After a beautiful drive from east of Yosemite to the Tahoe area Fifty Fifty Brewing was a good way to end the day. It was a quiet Monday night; we sat at the bar and were able to try some interesting beers. There were three barleywines on tap; blond, barrel aged and whisky barrel aged. The blonde was the best followed by the whisky barrel aged. They also had an excellent Rye IPA available along with several other 'regular' beers. They are doing some barrel aging; there are barrels all over the place. Our barmaid, Tiffany let us try every beer and when they closed didn't hurry us at all. (Early closing off season.) Food was good; green chili gumbo was memorable. A brewpub to return to in the future. Website: fiftyfiftybrewing.com

Sierra_Nevada_Brewing_Chico_CA
Brewkettle / Hops Freezer
The 3:00 Tour Group

Sierra Nevada Brewing - Chico, CA

The California trip was almost halfway finished, and we were heading into the 'beer' part of the trip. We would visit 7 brewpubs or breweries in the next several days. We got started with one of the largest and quality - oriented breweries in the craft beer world, Sierra Nevada Brewing. After some back road adventures we arrived in Chico at 2:30 on Tuesday August 28th. Sierra was easy to find; just off the freeway on East 20th Street. As we approached, we could see the land where they grow hops and a huge solar array, trellis like, that serves as a cover for the parking lot. The brewery tour area is in front and they are ready for visitors. The way to get a tour is to register ahead at the tour desk. We signed up for the 3:00 tour as the 4:00 was full. This turned out to be good as our group was only 5 so we got a personal tour. We met our guide, Ryan, in the tour waiting room, along with two local ladies Kelli and Jenna. Our tour began with the milling room where the malts are cracked and prepared for the brew kettle. The next stop was the brew house. This is a most impressive room with the mash tun and the big copper kettles. After the mash is run through the lauter tun, the resulting wort is moved to the brew kettles. Here it is cooked for an hour and a half with the fresh hops that SNB uses for all their brewing. We then went to the" Hops Freezer" where all incoming hops are broken up and prepared for brewing. This is unique to SNB's tour; I have never seen a big hops room like this and we were allowed to go inside and touch / smell the different hops that were there. Some of the hops were 'gooey' and left resin on your hands when rubbed. Everyone was encouraged to rub the hops in their hands to bring out the aromas and resins. Some really got into it; their hands were covered with resin. It was fun to have enthusiastic participants on the tour and we had ours. The next area of the tour was the fermentation tanks where the yeasts convert sugars into CO2 and alcohol. Depending on the brew, this can take several weeks. Then the beers are filtered to remove haze- creating proteins. This produces the clear tasty beers that SN has become famous for. We then were able to walk above the bottling area which is the final step for the beer before it is shipped out. We then returned to the tasting area just by the brew house where we sampled 8 SNB beers. Several of these are brewery only; that's a final treat from everyone at SNB. We really enjoyed the tour; I always learn something on any tour as each brewery does something differently. We took a group photo which is to the left. We found a few beers in the gift shop, Audition Double IPA and Brux, a 'domesticated wild ale', that were enjoyed later. We had dinner at the Tap Room, another great experience at SNB. The food is excellent, service is top notch and the room itself is worth visiting. I wish I lived closer as the tap room would be great to visit more than once. We closed the place down and while walking around, looked through the windows at the original brew house, still in use, where a brewer was brewing at this late hour. They make some of the house only beers here; I wonder what was being brewed that night. Thanks to everyone there for the hospitality and great brews. SNB is a class operation and will enjoy growth for years to come. I look forward to the new facility in NC; it is closer to home. More photos on the GBL Facebook page. Website: SierraNevada.com

At Lost_Coast_Brewery_Enjoying_Cask_IPA / Coaster_Collection

Lost Coast Brewery - Eureka, CA

From Chico we drove to the coast on road 36, a long windy 2 lane road. When we got to the Redwood Highway (US 101) we headed to Eureka for a late lunch. Lost Coast was busy for a Wednesday afternoon; we found a table near the front door. The brewpub is housed in a cool over 100 year old restored wood frame building, breweriana is everywhere; I saw a collection of old coasters; some form long gone breweries. They had all of their beers on tap along with 2 specials: Cask conditioned IPA with Apollo hops and Hop Cat a dry hopped version of Alley Cat using whole leaf Cascade hops. My favorite was the IPA; smooth and different than their regular IPA. We were welcomed to Humboldt with good food and service. Photos from the visit are on the GBL FB page. Website: lostcoast.com

Eel_River_Brewing_Co Beer Board / Taps

Eel River Brewing Co. - Fortuna, CA

Our motel for the Humboldt stay was in Rio Dell. It was 6 miles from Fortuna so we had a late dinner a the Eel River Taproom and Grill. This is their original location; the brewery is now located up river in Scotia. It is a converted old mill building with high callings and local memorabilia on the walls. It has been a long time since I have been offered a 12 beer sampler. This included all the regular beers and some taproom only beers too. This was a great variety of beers; including Humboldt Green a double IPA which was very hoppy and had a good floral aroma. Onyx, a Cascadian dark ale, Cali Pale and Fortuna Fog, a hoppy amber ale, were all enjoyed. The pub food choices were many and quality was high. Website: eelriverbrewing.com

Six_Rivers_Brewing_Co The Group / Sampler Glasses

Six Rivers Brewing - McKinleyville, CA

After a full day on the Redwood highway, Six Rivers beaconed for beers and dinner. It was almost dark when we arrived so the view was missed. It is a big place with a large bar side and a dining room area side too. The bar was full as a band was playing later so we got a table in the dining room. There are ten or more beers available; the samplers were 4 oz small pilsner glasses. The IPA was big and floral; they have some unusual beers too. A raspberry Lambic at 7.4% abv, a chile pepper ale and a special wood aged beer. This is a popular local spot; they have it all; good locally sourced foods, brewery beer and live bands every night. The Jim Lahman band provided local blues for us and they were good. Website: sixriversbrewery.com

Redwood_Curtain_Brewing_Arcata_CA  / Beer Board

Redwood Curtain Brewing Company - Arcata , CA

Finding Redwood Curtain was tough in the dark. We turned in to a small warehouse area and there it was in a small unit on our right. Redwood Curtain closes at 11 but we wanted to give it a try. When we got there the place was jumping. The tasting room is really part of the brewery; the tanks are right there in the same room. This is a small local brewery full of locals enjoying the beers. We were accepted as 'locals' and spoke with many different people there from the bartender to friendly locals. The IPA had citrus aroma ; and well balanced malts and hops. They had a good beer list for a small brewery. Belgian Dubbel and Trippel were authentic. Double IPA could be ordered with different hops. I tried the centennial. Website

North_Coast_Brewing_Co Bar / Sample Tray

North Coast Brewing Co. - Fort Bragg, CA

We left Humboldt on a bright sunny day, drove down the Redwood Highway to the Pacific Coast highway. By the time we got to Ft Bragg is was foggy, windy and misty out. It was right out of a mystery novel. North Coast is in several different buildings; we parked and saw the Skunk Train readying to go. This was by the brewery; the tap room was across the street. It was chilly and we were glad to get into the warmth. The small bar area was full so we got a table over on the restaurant side. NCB is in 47 states and all of their beers are available for sampling. The Old Rasputin was a favorite here. The restaurant has excellent food; the dinner menu looked good too. The chili was perfect and my French dip sandwich worked as well. Website

AVBC_Samples / Beer Board

Anderson Valley Brewing Co - Boonville, CA

We made AVBC in time to help close the place. It was Friday, so it was open until 7. I would like to tour the entire place; it looks interesting. The tasting room was busy; there is a big board that lists all of the beers. They do some interesting brews that are brewery only. There were some barrel aged beers, a sour stout, bourbon stout and some Belgians. We knew most of the styles and enjoyed trying them. I then had a double IPA that I haven't seen in bottles. The tap room is a local favorite; one lady took my picture in the arms of the "Beer" on display. (A bear with antlers attached!) This looks like a fun place; if you visit, allow more than the hour we did. As it got dark, we had to get on to Santa Rosa. Website: AVBC.com

Russian_River_Brewing_Company_Santa_Roas, CA
Russian_River_Brewing_Co_Beer_Menu
Russian_River_Brewing_Co_Sampler_Tray_18_Beers

Russian River Brewing - Santa Rosa, CA

Russian River Brewing is known, in the beer world, as one of the best craft breweries in the world. Their beers get high marks in beer drinker based polls. (See Beer Advocate review page of Pliny the Elder; one of just a few beers to get a 100 score.) When my California trip was planned Russian River was put on the map. A visit to the 'Holy Grail' was in order. Appropriately, the visit was made on the best beer day of the trip and our visit was memorable. We visited three breweries that day and saved the best for last. (The others are reviewed above.) This visit shows how beer works for me; good things happen when beer is involved. It was a Friday night and we pulled up in front of the pub. There was parking, for us, right out the front door. Once inside is was fairly busy so I got on the list for a table and went to the bar for a beer. I got a Pliny and spoke with a few people while I waited for it. After paying I looked around for my friends and they had found two seats at the bar. Good job; find seats on a busy Friday night. They were near the middle of the bar so I stood just behind and read the beer menu. There were 18 beers on tap! This is one great job by any brewer to keep 18 beers available at all times. Soon we got notice that the table was ready. We sat down and ordered one of the sample trays with 18 beers. There were 4 sour beers which we were told to try first. The sours are made right there in the brewpub. The sampler tray was great; it was hard to keep track of what was what but I know many styles and was able to appreciate most of the samples. When the tray was done I had another Pliny which I will say is one of the best. I have had many double IPA's and have decided that 8.0% ABV is a perfect level; any higher is just adding alcohol not improving the beer. As it turns out Pliny is 8.0% so it would be my go to beer if I could get it at home. The menu is all good pub food; munchies, sandwiches and pizza. We had some wings and two different pizzas. Our dinners were excellent and the place was quieting down a bit. Drew, our waiter mentioned that one of the brewers (Guy) was at the next table. I was able to speak to him later and told him what a job it must be to keep 18 beers on all the time. He was a good guy and a beer drinker like most of the staff there. I was looking at some of the breweriana on the walls and Drew pointed out the New Albion Brewing sign which was from the original brewery. I will add it to my beer history class. It also was signed by Jack McAuliffe the original owner. I mentioned that Jack is now doing a collaboration with Sam Adams and he didn't know about that. It's always good to pass on information on beer. We were wrapping things up; I got a shirt and pint glass; my friends were looking around. We were then invited in the back for a quick tour of the brewery. This is the pub brewery and they are making the sour beers here. There is a unique set up for the yeast fermentation. With sour beers the yeast is naturally acquired from the air with the wort in an open cool ship to pick it up. This is an old Belgian tradition that American brewers are embracing and improving. The cool ship "trough" is deeper that any I have seen. These guys are on to something and it looks like fun making some interesting, complex beers. Russian River is a great brewery and they are beer people who are very hospitable to beer visitors like us. This is appreciated and we will spread the word. Thanks to everyone we met. I will return someday; maybe sooner than expected! Website: russianriverbrewing.com

 
Lunch and Learn October 12, 2012

Floridean Rehab Center - Miami, FL

The Floridean is a local, well respected, rehabilitation center. They offer many different activities for patients, treating them like guests in their home. Once a month, there is a "Lunch and Learn" session in the on - site dining room. The purpose is to give people a chance to do something different and learn about new things. On October 12th, the subject was 'Discover the Wonderful World of Beer presented by Beer Expert Larry Goeser'. The menu was set up as a beer and food pairing; the staff really got into it too. Each course was paired with a beer of my choosing. Several of the dishes were cooked with beer. There were five beers presented; several seasonals and reliable regulars. The Oktoberfest and Pumpkin Ale really went over well. I would talk about each pairing and then ask people how they liked it. Several thought it was great and one told me "You have a different outlook on the world than most." I took it as a compliment and management was pleased with the event. There may be more seasonal events in the future. Website

Grovetoberfest - Coconut Grove, FL

The second annual event was on October 13th. I made this the first day of my fall vacation. I had VIP passes and it was well worth it. The line in was shorter and having a separate area to go to and relax in a large tent with different beer and food vendors was great. Overall I enjoyed the festival and was able to access most booths easily. By the entrance Titanic and Brewzzi were there with good local beers. There was a big tent with several home brewers with beers to try. Out in the middle area there was almost every beer available in south Florida. Overall it was a good festival; I meet many local craft beer folks and handed out cards for my beer classes. More photos on the GBL Facebook page. My day ended at Cervezas enjoying Dogfish beer. The festival went so well that the promoter is thinking about a spring event. Stay in touch by signing up for the Grovetoberfest e-mail list.

Nantahala_Brewing / Trail Magic Bottles

Nantahala Brewing Co - Bryson City, NC

After hiking with my cousin earlier in the day, I drove to Nantahala Brewing for Trail Magic bottle release day. This was the third release, a Belgian Golden Ale aged in French wine barrels with elderberry. It is a big place and looks like fun.This is a brewery tasting room so people are encouraged to bring their own food or can order from nearby restaurants. I had samplers of several beers and the Trail Magic brews too. The Blonde ale stood out and I enjoyed the IPA's as well. I took some pictures which can be seen on the GBL Facebook page. I met brewer Greg Geiger, the "Mad Zymologist" and the owner. They are doing a great job here; ten plus beers on and many activities going on. For current happenings see NantahalaBrewing.com

 
FIU_Brewers_Bash / Vendors - Students

FIU Brewers Bash - FIU Biscayne Campus Miami, FL

The first annual FIU Brewers Bash was on Sunday Nov. 4, 2012. The FIU Hospitality School has a Beer Academy teaching different levels of brewing. This event gave the students a chance to run an entire festival and pour some of the school brewed beers. Vendors included local home brewers and commercial brewers. Most area breweries were there; Titanic, Brewzzi, Funky Buddha and Due South. Some small home brewers included Pank Home Brewers and Subvert Ales. This was a small venue so we could meet the brewers and students on a beautiful day with Biscayne Bay in the background. It also was a chance to meet craft beer folks from different areas of the business and try some of their beers too. Photos on FB Page.

Good people drink good beer. Hunter S Thompson
© 2012 larrygoeser.com