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2013 - Florida's Beer Year!

The above headline says it all. Florida is finally coming into it's own in the craft beer scene. The total number of breweries, in the US as of last July is 2075. There are 1000 more in the planning stages. (Source: Brewers Assn.) Much of that new growth will take place in places that are 'behind' the rest of the country. (Craft beer production and beer culture wise.) Florida has lagged behind much of the country for years; now that is coming to an end. Over the last several years new craft beers appear on store shelves almost weekly. Florida brewers, seeing the growing popularity of their craft, are making their move to open themselves. Why bring good beer from far away when you can product it locally? The new breweries are opening up all over the state providing locally sourced jobs and beer. As this advances Florida will have it's own beer culture that will have it's own identity and different products than other areas of the country. If you are in or visiting Florida be sure to find your local brewery, beer bar or brewpub; you will be glad you did! Tip; Use Beer Advocate's listing to find your town and see where the good beer is.

My beer year starts in Jupiter at the yearly events, as usual. In March I will travel to the Orlando area to visit craft beer venues. Redlight Redlight Beer Parlour and Hourglass Brewery both will be visited. In September I am going to a Belgian Beer Festival in Boston and will spend 10 days around New England enjoying the weather, people and the beer. In October I will go to western NC for my usual fall visit. I can't wait to see how the new breweries around Asheville are doing. I want to try some of the new local breweries that have popped up over the last several years as well. If we meet out there....let's have a beer!

Cheers, Larry

Click for larger image

Cool Florida Brewery tee shirt design. It has every brewery open at the time it was designed. (Mid 2012) The designer, Mike the Florida Beer Geek created the design and will make more in the future.

Past reviews 2006 - 2012 Click on each year. Enjoy, Larry
 
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Tequesta_Brewing_Growler_Station / Enjoying _Tequesta_Brewing_Co

Tequesta Brewing Company - Tequesta Florida

This year Florida's breweries are really growing and making some great beer. Tequesta is an example of the growth and the good beer. They celebrated their 2nd anniversery a few days before I visited, so this brewery is doing quite well. I had lunch at a local eatery, Food Shack, and they had several Tequesta brews in tap. The beer is at many other local bars and restaurants,. almost everywhere I visited had something from Tequesta. They have a great reputation and beer to match. On this visit there the bar was full so we sat at a couch and table like a you would at home. Nearby the growler filler was busy the entire time. Brewer Matt is brewing great beers here; some for the tap room only. I enjoyed his Double IPA and my friends liked the imperial stout. We were there the afternoon before the Field of Beers event so it was a quick visit. After two years Tequesta has a great local following and the beer can be found all over South Florida. Most people there were local and many were stopping by to get growlers for later that day or night. It's a fun place and I have a few pictures from my visit on the GBL Facebook page in the Field of Beers album. The first 12 are from Tequesta. Tequesta Brewing can be found on Facebook and Twitter. If you are in the area Tequesta is a must visit.

Field of Beers 2013 Homepage
2013 Field of Beers -  Dessert Station /  Poached Egg and Corned Beef
Jupiter Craft Brewers Festival
Monk in the Trunk / Wynwood Brewery
Mile Marker Brewery / Stone Miami Crew

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

The fifth annual Field of Beers was great as usual. The weather cooperated too. The event pairs 16 different beers with specially prepared food dishes at Roger Dean Stadium. I was able to try most of the pairing stations. A few memorable ones: poached egg with corned beef paired with Brooklyn's new Dry Stout. Lobster Pot Pie and Left Hand Pole Star Pilsner. Tequesta Brewing's Matt Webster served his Russian Imperial Stout with Braised Ribs a good combination. Another local brewery, Inlet Brewing, had their Monk in the Trunk Belgian Amber paired with Tomato Bisque and Artisan Cheese. The home plate station is usually a decedent dessert and this year was no different. Big Bear Brewing paired their Decadence Chocolate stout with "De-constructed" Belgian Chocolate cake. This event is good to meet and talk with brewers and chefs. It is small enough that no one is in a big hurry; each station can be savored. There were even more Florida breweries this year another sign that this year will be big for Florida breweries. I wrapped up my evening at Brewzzis where Wagu beef sliders were paired with Matt's Belgian Dubbel a great ending one of the best events in South Florida.There are more pictures on the GBL Facebook page. It sold out in less than a day so if you want to go nest keep you eye on the Website for tickets. (Early December.)

The 7th Annual Jupiter Craft Brewers Festival Jan. 26, 2013

The seventh annual festival theme was "Sunday can wait until Tomorrow!" The secret to quick entry to the festival is to arrive 20 minutes late. By then the big line is gone and you can walk right in.The day was perfect; not a cloud in the sky and tempatures in the low 70s. While some folks are freezing up north we were enjoying the day in shorts and tee shirts! A map is provided so you know where breweries located among the 60 there. First up, the Funky Buddha as their hourly beer was on. This hour is was "Reese's" a beer that tasted like chocolate and peanut butter. I barely made it; the beer ran out as my glass was filled. It tasted as advertised; almost like a Reese's cup candy. There would be more special beers each hour. Nearby Sierra Nevada had a good selection of beers all afternoon. They have so many newer beers to try. Miami's newest brewery, Wynwood Brewing, was next with Brewmaster Naga telling me that they hope to open Miami's newest brewery this spring. Greenman Brewing out of Asheville, NC, had a big wooden 'bar' set up for the tasting. I returned to this booth for the releasing of their Double IPA, a hoppy tasty brew. Due South was nearby and Mile Marker Brewing was good to see here. MMB is a small brewery from St Augustine and was spreading the word about their fine ales. Sam Adams had a good selection of beers; even New Albion Ale a limited release beer made in collaboration with Jack McAuliffe one of the first craft brewers from the 1970's. This festival brings out the best from the participating breweries. The festival usually has some local homebrew groups; the Palm Beach Draughtsmen had several interesting beers to try. Swamp Head Brewing was popular; they will be expanding to south Florida as soon as they can make enough beer. Nectar Ales is new to our area; I tried them in California and liked what they brew. Orchid Island Brewing out of Vero Beach was serving several special beers. They try to make popular styles with a twist; each has local citrus in the recipe. Unfortunately, the Ruby Red IPA was gone but they had some bottled specials that were good. I spoke with the guys who are running OIB and they are excited about the breweries future. I walked to the back corner area and the Goose Island folks didn't even have a line. This little area was not crowded; making it easier to get to Bluepoint, Oskar Blues and 7venth Sun. I will visit 7eventh Sun on my next visit to Dunedin; they are making some really good beers. As I got a sample at Big Bear brewing I met several people who liked my Pliny the Elder shirt. It turns out that they had visited Russian River Brewing back in October. I made several friends in this area and we spoke and enjoyed the last few beers of the festival. Stone Brewing was finishing up but Big Bear was still pouring. My friends, who had been around the festival, found me and we all had a good double IPA by Big Bear. As always, the Jupiter festival was great and we look forward to next year. Website: Jupiterbrewfest

This festival is in it's 7th year and I can see some effects locally. At a local Italian place (Zipz's) the beer selection always was only the big 3. This year they had all craft beer. Seven years ago the big 3 was all that was available anywhere in this area. The festival increased awareness and demand for craft beer. Almost everywhere I went now had craft beers. Tequesta brewing is local and probably 'broke the ice' in many places that previously only served industrial lagers. This is great to see and it is happening all around Florida. Cheers!!

Big Storm Brewong Tasting Room

Big Storm Brewing Co. - Odessa, Florida
by Jeff Pearl - Guest Reviewer

Big Storm Brewing is a small warehouse brewery, located in Odessa. This is about 30 minutes North of Dunedin, on the West coast of Florida. We found it in a rural area of warehouses in the middle of the afternoon. It's a very mom and pop- type of atmosphere, in that the young man who was serving the beer to us, was on the other side of a sliding window. We tried three of their beers, and one of them was very nice - a double IPA. There were a few people there when we arrived. This up and coming brewery is going to take delivery of some larger tanks, and they will be getting an automated system for brewing. On some nights, they have food trucks on the premises.
The tasting room was cool, and you could enjoy the beer right outside it, at a table, or on a couch. About a half mile down the main road near the warehouses is a large mall. There are many food spots here. The brewery sells growlers, in both the 32 ounce and gallon sizes. I'd like to return in 6 months and see the progression. The staff numbers about 3. This was a pleasant side trip on the afternoon preceding the Stogie and Stout fest at the Dunedin Brewery. But before the fest, we had to make a quick stop across the street from our residence for the night - at the 7th Sun Brewery. Their expansion into the next bay had recently taken place, and there were people all over the place. We especially enjoyed an imperial Porter. It was rich and high in alcohol - about 12% - just the start that we needed before taking on about 30 stouts at the festival. Whew! What a day and night! The night at the brewery was accentuated by the band, wherein they played a very up-tempo version of the Jimmie Hendrix song (something to do with Fire). Website: BigStormBrewery.com

VIP Service / Oskar Blues Beer
Lagunitas / BREW FIU Food Pairings First Session

Sprung! Spring Beer Festival - Coconut Grove, FL

The 'first annual' festival, run by the same folks that organize Grovetoberfest. Sprung was well organized and held on a beautiful day in early March. The VIP ticket is worth it; you get a separate entrance, shirt and glass to go. (Pick it up after which is great so you don't have to carry it all around the event.) The VIP ticket also includes a separate area with different beers and food. I got there early and walked around the nearly empty festival meeting people I know in the local industry and making some new friends. It was nice to walk up to a booth and actually be able to talk to someone and not be hurried. The festival started to get busy as more people were coming in. A good new idea was the beer pairing workshop with different pairings each hour. The BREW FIU guys and a local chef ran the sessions. They spoke about different pairings and why they work with a particular beer. At the end you could walk up and try a piece of the food with the beers. This went over well and will be done again, I'm sure. I got around to most of the vendors and enjoyed several new beers. I tried Abita spring IPA and a Quad from Sierra Nevada. All the local breweries were there too. A new 'fun' area was at one end with a bar with TVs nearby. I found Green Flash and had some Palette Wrecker for my final beers. Overall a very well organized event; that is appreciated. The event map was helpful and I got a cool glass on the way out. Sign up for their e-mails to get discount ticket notices and other relevant information. More photos on the GBL FB page. Website: IGotSpring.com

Redlight_Redlight_Orlando_FL Day / Night
More pictures on the GBL FB Page

Redlight Redlight - Orlando, Florida

My annual trip to the 12 hours of Sebring happened as usual. This year we went up on race day and stayed for the afternoon. I attended with my two good beer loving friends and we had some different beers as usual. Race day was a perfect Florida spring day; a few clouds in the sky and temperatures in the 70's. The day went well and I spread the love of good beer with our other friends already camping out at the track. We wanted to get to Orlando early enough to check out the new location of Redlight, so we left the track about 4:00. We said our good byes to our local friends and hit the road. We decided to go straight to the 'beer parlour' to see how the new location was. The new Redlight is in an old air conditioning repair store. They have kept the original neon signage so it still looks like an a/c store. Their name has been created to match the old signage. (See picture to the left.) The new Redlight is much larger than the old location and there are more beers. The beer menu has all great craft beers and is always changing. It is printed daily and each beer has an "On deck" listing which will be the next beer on that tap when the first one runs out. (This happens a lot here.) This is a cool idea and keeps the list changing almost daily. You can always count on Redlight to have great craft beers; they will just vary with each visit. We met many good beer drinkers; some had been going to Redlight for years. We were told about the original location which was in a 'red light' district; hence the name. The location we visited in 2012 was their second location. They should last here for a while. The place is huge and has several different seating area. We were at the bar which winds it's way to the backside in a different part of the building. The vintage list has some great aged beers; we decided to try Jerome and Spikes collaboration Barley Ryne from 2011. It had aged well; I smelled dark fruits, some alcohol and it poured with a slight foam that quickly went away. This was a collaboration between Terrapin Brewing and Swiss Brewery BFM. It had some rye in it and was aged in oak barrels for a year. Overall a great palce and visit. Darkness came and we had to go. We still had to get our hotel rooms and have dinner at the Orlando location of BJ's Brewhouse. (No food at Redlight.) When in the Orlando / Winter Park area be sure to try Redlight. Website Redlght (under construction) Redlight's FB Page

Hourglass_Brewery_Taproom_Tap Area / Artwork
Hourglass_Brewery_Sampler / Three Beer Travelers

Hourglass Brewery - Longwood, Florida

The Florida brewery theme continued on my trip to Orlando after the Sebring sports car races. It was Sunday March 17th, St Paddy's day, a perfect day to visit a new brewery. After a visit to nearby Wekiwa state park it was time for a beer. I had directions that were to 255 North RRB but really should have been 255 South RRB. Amazingly, the wrong address was an Irish pub. We asked if anyone knew of Hourglass but no one did. (The Miller Lite signs should have been a clue.) I looked it up and we drove to the correct address, nearby. Hourglass is in a small older building, with the taproom in the back. We walked into the small taproom and found one of Florida's newest breweries. The staff and patrons were friendly and helpful. Brett, the owner / brewer was a good guy and hopes to expand capacity and the tap room. With the beers he is making I'm sure that will happen. The place was almost full but there were still seats available. Heather got us a sampler with all six of their brews. A beautiful sight, from a light California Common to an inky black Imperial Stout, Hourglass had it covered. There was a good hoppy IPA and an Irish Red which was my favorite. Shillelagh Whack is a tasty well balanced new style red that clocks in at 7.8% ABV. By new style I mean it is not the red style I drank 15 years ago. I met several people there; one guy from Miami that knew all the places there. Another couple had recently visited Russian River Brewing and had some pictures to show. From beer folks to locals looking for a good beer Hourglass had something for everyone. The taproom menu is on a big TV screen; this streams live to their website so the menu is always up to date. I really enjoyed Hourglass and look forward to returning to see how they are doing and trying some new beers.More pictures on the GBL FB page. Website: theHourglassBrewery.com

 
Tiki Bar Tasting / Toast to Carlo

Carlo's 30th Birthday Surprise Tasting - Miami, Florida

The party and beer tasting was to be a surprise for Carlo on his 30th birthday. The idea was that there was going to be a small family get together for the occasion. This would have been about 8 family members at the most. Instead there were probably 30 family members, relatives and old friends.This worked and it really was a surprise. I arrived early to set up the beer tasting and assorted beer memorabilia. The tasting was a light to dark beer line up using several spring ales. Once I was set up the people started to show up. While we waited I explained what we were doing with the tasting and answered many beer related questions as well. There were also several different beers that friends had brought. I worked them into the tasting as we moved along. One of those, New Albion Ale, was really enjoyed by several people. I know the beer and the history behind it so some folks got the entire story and thought the beer and history was very cool. Carlo and his family were now coming over. Everyone gathered inside the house for the big surprise. As they came it some of the family that was 'supposed' to be there started talking about cooking the dinner. This just led them on more. When they came in the group yelled "Surprise" and they were very surprised. Once Carlo found out about the beer tasting he was all for getting it started up right away. Tasting sheets were handed out as well as a short history of beer. All the beers were liked by many; there was a good variety so people got to try a good selection of beer. After the actual tasting people could then have whatever beer they wanted. Each beer had it's fans and the bar was open as well. Dinner was served for everyone; then it was time for cake and a toast. The group all had a great time; several like the tasting idea and want to have their own. For a few photos of the event see the GBL FB page. Cheers!

TBB_Co_Coral_Springs_Brewing_Tanks / At the Bar

Tampa Bay Brewing Co. Taproom - Coral Springs, Florida
by Jeff Pearl - Guest Reviewer

TBB's Coral Springs Taphouse is located on the very busy restaurant row of Coral Springs, just down the street from Big Bear Brewing. We were there on a recent Saturday afternoon. There is seating on the outside, and inside, there are 24 taps. Some of the beer is from TBB in Tampa, as one would expect. We found the staff to be very friendly and knowledgeable. The owner was there, and he conducted a tour. There are many guest taps, as there were only about 6 from the brewery in Tampa. However, this place will be brewing TBB's brews very soon.
Food is available from a couple of nearby restaurants - you place your order with an employee, who orders from a separate computer for the restaurant. We did this, and in a little while, an order of delicious wings arrived. This is a concept that was apparently started by the World of Beer chain. It works very well. The taphouse has been open for only 5 weeks, and there is a mug club. This is a fun and clean place, and they will also be having special days where aged beer will be offered. I recommend this place to anyone that is interested in good craft beer in a friendly atmosphere. There are also many televisions, though the sound was off, so that conversations could be held. Website: TBBC_CS.com- Facebook Some photos from the day are posted on the GBL FB Page.

Floridean Beer Memorbilla / Lunch Room

Floridean Rehab Center - Miami, FL

Last fall I gave a talk on beer at The Floridean, a local, well respected, rehabilitation center. The event went well and they asked me to come back for another. Each month there is a "Lunch and Learn" session which offers guests and their families something different at lunch. On May 24th "Something New" was presented. This was my talk and tasting of Spring beers. I have beer related memorbilia all around and the subject was beer styles. We had four spring seasonal styles and explored the idea of styles in general. The beer was paired with the lunch items. The cooking staff always goes all out. One of the cooks really enjoys beer so they cook with beer in several of the dishes. The brews were enjoyed by most; there are several new Hefeweitzen fans as a result of that sample tasting. Spring Fling copper ale was favored by many. The talk was good; I usually interact with some of the guests to see how they like the beers. Most do, and there are usually a few that really appreciate the entire event. Website

Pinglehead Beer Lineup / Guest Taps

Pinglehead Brewing Co. - Orange Park, Florida

Pinglehead Brewing is a local brewery in the Jacksonville area. They are making some great hoppy beers. As their website says they make Beer with Attitude. If you don't like big hoppy beers don't even look our way. If you really like pale lagers served freezing cold; don't waste you time trying our beer. Great! I love this attitude as too many try to cater to everyone; these guys only cater to drinkers of real beer; hopheads welcome. They also have a good selection of guest craft beers so people can compare them. Many locals do try many beers and end up with Pinglehead beers as a first choice. On my visit I drank only their beer as I won't be back soon so I wanted to try theirs. A sampler flight of 4 six oz glasses was my first order. I thought I ordered several different styles but ended up with 3 IPAs and the Red. Smooth Operator, 9 Voices and Dream Catcher are all IPAs. Each one was good and had it's own characteristics. That is very good for a smaller local brewery that is only a few years old. The Red is their flagship beer and I can see why. It's the modern version of the Red Ales of the 1990's. Not a Red IPA as the malty sweetness is there too. At 7.8% ABV and only 25 IBU it is a really enjoyable drinkable Red Ale. Pinglehead beers are available all around town. Growlers of various sizes are available to go. My pizza was one of the best I have had. The Florida Smacker really is "Lip Smack'n Southern Style Pizza". Paired with the Red this was one of the best meals of the trip. I got a growler of Red to go and will return when ever I'm in the area. Website: Pinglehead.com and BrewersPizza.com See the GBL FB page for more.

Sea Dog Brewing Co - Clearwater, FL / Sea Dog Taps

Sea Dog Brewing Co. - Clearwater, FL

Sea Dog Brewing, from Maine, has opened several brewpubs in Florida. They brew some of the beers on premises and also have a complete line up from Ship Yard their sister brewery also from Maine. The menu has many Maine or New England offerings as well as a wide variety of good pub foods. This visit was the first of four breweries the we would visit on a Saturday in early June. (The others are below.) The trip was for the IPA festival at Dunedin Brewing but we wanted to try some other Pinellas county breweries too. Sea Dog was a good start as we found the food good and enjoyed the different beers too. There are 13 beers on the menu so a sampler was had to try different beer. I decided on the Sea Dog IPA a good hoppy not too bitter brew. Everyone had something different. Lobster rolls were enjoyed along with New England clam chowder. I tried the Bahamian conch chowder which was excellent. Others had Lobster Mac & Cheese, pulled pork BBQ and pot roast sandwich. Everyone enjoyed the lunch and service was good as well. The place is huge; it probably can seat over 300 just inside. It wasn't too busy; our server told us that is does get very busy on weekend nights as locals have discovered it and keep coming back. There is a mug club with big mugs on the wall behind the bar. It was a good start to our day and we will return one day. For pictures see the GBL FB page. Website: Seadog.com

Barley Mow Brewing Company - Largo, FL

While at lunch as Sea Dog we met a local who knew how to get to Barley Mow Brewing. Once we heard how close it was we headed over for a quick visit. It was about 15 minutes but well worth the drive. Barley Mow Brewing Company is a nano brewery which is much smaller then a micro brewery. The good part of this is that it enables a brewer to test out his recipes and have a place for people to try them. All that at a much lower cost that setting up a full scale brewery. We arrived at the small building, with a old time BBQ right across the street, and went in to find a friendly place. There were 13 beers on tap that day; something for everyone. Several of us got a flight so everyone could try the beer. I had Lamplighter Amber Ale, Quackalope IPA, Imperial Red and Selkie Belgian Rye Pale Ale All were good; the Selkie was memorable. Nice Belgian yeast tastes with a light rye taste in a pale ale. The others had some of the dark offerings; stout, brown and porter and a grapefruit pale ale with grapefruit brewed into the beer. The brewing takes place in and around the tasting room area. They then keg it and store it in a building at the back of the property. Most of that beer is consumed right there and a few kegs are distributed to other nano breweries around the area. There is no food service but they allow you to bring your own in. The Rib Shack BBQ across the street smelled great so next time I will have my lunch at Barley Mow Brewing. Website More photos on the GBL FB page.
7venth Sun Brewing Taps / Tanks

7venth Sun Brewing - Dunedin, FL

7venth Sun Brewing was our third brewery of the day. After checking in at the Holiday Inn across the street we had enough time, before the IPA festival, for a short visit. As we came in the place was busy. It was full on locals enjoying the good beer and company. There were a few people we would see later at the festival but most were locals. Our timing was good; we got our order in just as someone came in for 6 growler fills. I ordered the French Oak Aged Overhead IPA. This was a hoppy brew at 80 IBU and 7% ABV. The oak really made it smooth; it was tasty and very drinkable. At 7venth sun they serve everything in glass and the 12oz are nice goblets with their name painted on. That's really good; most anywhere else the glasses would all be stolen the first night! That's a good thing about small places. The brewery is a small micro brewery and most of their beers were very good. I tried a few sips of what my friends ordered and all were good. Brewer Justin was on hand in the newly added second room; I wonder how they did this in the original space. Justin told us that the equipment there now was added with the expansion. Everyone there was friendly; we want to come back with more time to enjoy different beers. They had many IPAs on that day and two at the festival. There were also many other styles available; the full menu can be seen on the GBL FB page. If you are near Dunedin 7venth Sun is a must do; spend the night just across the street. 7th Sun FB Page. Website

Dunedin_IPA_Festival_2013 / Inside_Decorations
The Nook had 6 IPA's / Larry, Steve, Art

Dunedin Brewing 5th Annual IPA Festival

The fifth annual festival was on Saturday June 1st. This festival is one of the most fun and smaller than the rest. I attended with the three Pearl brothers just as we did last year. Last year Steve tried to drink all the IPA's there and had a rough ending to the evening. This year he wanted to go slower and enjoy the festival. It worked out well for him. This year we visited several breweries earlier so we were ready for the day's finale, the IPA festival. Our other adventures are just above. Rain played its part this year for the first time. All these years we have gone to various events rain has never been a factor. It started at 7venth Sun; as we were thinking of leaving, a big cloud came up and drenched the area. This was ok; in meant that we would just have to try another beer. The clouds cleared and everything looked good for the festival. Due to the rain we were late to the festival; this just made it easier to get in. (I'm starting to think coming late is good at all beer festivals!) We got in and started to try the various IPA's available. At the main bar there were 13 IPA's. Among them were local beers from Dunedin, Barley Mow, Rapp and 7venth Sun. Dogfish 60, 90 and 120 Minute IPA were there along with Sierra Nevada and Hoppin' Frog. Dunedin went all out I think they must have had 12 or 13 of their own IPA's all around the festival. The crowd is always good here; all good beer lovers and some that work in the business. I met an ex brewer of Hoppin Frog and some folks from Jacksonville who are familiar with all the new craft beer activity up there. The Nook area had 6 additional beers available. About the time I was in the Nook the rain returned. As someone said later, the rain didn't hurt anything; it just brought the crowd closer together! That's true as is rained so hard that people outside came inside. The rain eventually slowed and I went outside to get some raffle tickets. At all the Dunedin events our friend KK runs a raffle of breweriana benefiting the Dunedin Doggie Rescue. It's a great cause and I get tickets every year. This year I won a pint glass and a tall boy can of IPA from New Orleans Brewing Co. The grand prizes were handed out and the festival was winding down. I joined the Pearl's at a table to finish the night. Michael, the owner of Dunedin was nearby and we talked beer for a while. I mentioned the recent growler bill that failed to pass the legislature; we both want to see it passed among other things. It was a good festival, everyone had a great time, see you next year. See the GBL FB page for more pictures and Dunedin Brewing's website for info on all their events. Happy 17th anniversary to the folks at Dunedin - July 6th 2013. Cheers!

Funky Buddha Oakland Park Taproom / Bar

Funky Buddha Brewing - Oakland Park, FL

Funky Buddha has been brewing at a small lounge in Boca for several years. I visited last year and liked the beers. Now they have opened a full scale production brewery. The Buddha is all about beer. Upon entering the huge taproom this is obvious. There is a long bar, two groups of 15 taps and the brewery in view behind. Outside there is a game area and a full view of the entire brewing operation. We decided to try all the beers so we got several flights. You can choose 4 different beers served in a wooden holder with the beer name in chalk. These are cool and shaped like a buddha head too. There is a variety of beer; Floridian Hefeweizen and Cabana Boy Wheat are good hot weather beers. Dark beers included DOC Brown Ale and 2 porters. All were good; one porter had chocolate nibs which really upped the flavors. My favorite, Hop Gun IPA, was good and hoppy with floral aromas and bitter after taste. They are using different hop varieties that give Hop Gun its unique tastes. Apple Pie ale and PB & J ale both live up to their names. These beers are a feature of Funky Buddha that people really like. I tried Reese's Peanut Butter Cup ale at a festival and it also tasted as advertised. I probably won't order several pints of these, but I think they add to the experience at the taproom. This is a great place to bring friends or just hang out for a few beers. If you haven't been, be sure to put Funky Buddha on your to do list. You will find a good laid back crowd enjoying lots of different beers. For pictures from my visit go to the GBL FB page. For the latest at Funky Buddha, see FunkyBuddhaBrewery.com

Stoudt's Taps / Ceiling Breweriana
Mr Stoudt's Packard / Serving area

Stoudt's Brewery - Adamstown, PA.
by Jeff Pearl - Guest Reviewer

In early August of this year (2013), my brother and I had the opportunity to visit the northeastern part of the country. This was because a very interesting music concert beckoned our attendance. While in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, we took advantage of our time, by visiting some special breweries and brewpubs. The first of these visits was to Stoudt's, located in the Amish-like city of Adamstown, Pennsylvania. The brewpub began many years ago as a steakhouse. The brewery was added years later, as the owners enjoyed craft beer. They wanted their customers to be able to enjoy it there. It is operated by an older couple, the Stoudts. They and at least one daughter, who runs a separate business on the property (making bread and cheese) are involved in the day-to-day operations. Mrs. Stoudt who is now perhaps 68 years old, is still the brewmaster.
Upon entering this German-like emporium, we were met by Mr. Stoudt's 1928 blue and black Packard. We then entered the bar area, and to the left of that were a couple of rooms. For our dining pleasure, we chose the room that can only be described as a temple of breweriana. If you enjoy beer and history, this was the ideal place with which to have your beer and food experience. The room was a square, with a high ceiling, a lot of curio cabinets and walls which housed a great deal of beer-related memorabilia. On the ceiling are two skylights, which let light in as the clouds and sun moved about. We partook in some taster glasses of their beer selections. They were, for the most part, very good. The food menu is highly Germanic, as the ambience would dictate. We relished some of the delicious offerings, including a cheese plate and German sausages. After lunch, we were given a tour of the rest of the property, including the bottling line, and an area where weddings are held. This village of sorts even includes old circus memorabilia. The hospitality from our waiter and the girl who gave us the tour were fantastic. This was a truly fascinating and memorable place, and a fine start to the brew segment of the four day excursion. Stoudtsbeer.com

Sampler / Boston Beer Works Fenway

Boston Beer Works - Fenway Boston, Mass.

When the plane landed at Boston Logan Airport a car was rented and we headed to Boston Beer Works for lunch and a few brews. After a mixed up ride over (thanks stupid GPS) we arrived after the regular lunch crowd had finished. It was a non baseball day which made it possible to park out front and get a spot inside. I remember the place from 10 years ago and it is almost unchanged. The chain has grown; there are now 7 locations to enjoy the wide variety of beers and good food to go with them. Samplers were ordered; I got Imperial Pilsner, IPA, Double Pale and Rosemary IPA. I enjoyed the hoppy double pale the most. The imperial pilsner was memorable also. There are 16 brews on at any time; we tried almost all of them. They serve a blueberry ale that has blueberries in the glass. I looked down the bar and could see a beer that had something in it; that turned out to be fresh blueberries. Our bartender was helpful and got small samples of any other beer we wanted to try. We finished up our lunch and realized that time had slipped by and we needed to get going to make the 3:00 tour at Sam Adams. (See below) The lunch food was really good; just what we needed for our first day in Boston. Service was great and we would come back again. It would be nice to try some of the other locations as the beer list can vary. Maybe next time. Website: BeerWorks.net More pictures at the GBL FB page.
Sam Adams Brewhouse / Fermenters

Sam Adams Boston Brewery - Boston, Mass.

The last tour if the day was at 3:00 and we were driving over from Boston Beerworks Fenway a "15 minute" drive. It was a short drive but Boston traffic hadn't been taken into account. Light after light, holdup after holdup and mixed up streets and directions were happening. We got there a little after 3 but had to go around the block which took 10 more minutes. We parked and walked over to where the tour signs were and no one was to be found. The area looked deserted as if they were closed. We walked around and took some pictures and found ourselves near a loading dock with aging barrels there. There was a small door built into the larger garage door and someone came out. This was the tour ending and the first people coming out. The tour isn't long and there is a classroom where they taste beer and tell everyone about Sam Adams Brewing. We were able to get in that door and looked around to see what we could see. Eventually someone asked us what we were doing and we explained. Brendan was good enough to give us a short personal tour. This was greatly appreciated and also is how good things happen to me when beer is involved. We were able to get a glass and tasting just as the rest of the tour had done. The aging room was impressive; there is a lot of Utopias and other special beers there. Brendan also told us that Sam Adams was having an Oktoberfest event that weekend. They would be serving some special beers there too. Alas, we already were going to the Belgian Beer festival so maybe next time. The tour is good; I recommend taking the train and getting there a bit early. Brewery and Tour webpage. Photos at and around the brewery on the GBL FB page.

Zero Gravity, Trillium / Weyerbacher Brewing

Belgian Beer Festival - Boston, Mass.

On September 13 - 14, Beer Advocate and Allagash Brewing presented the Boston Belgian Beer Festival. I was there along with my good beer drinking friends. Belgian beers are some of the most intriguing and tasty beers in the world of beer today. The festival was planned well; there were no long lines and plenty of different brews to try. There were the larger brewers (Sierra Nevada, Sam Adams, Stone) and many smaller, local brewers. Trillium, Pretty Things, Mystic, Lost Abbey and Nightshift to name a few. Everyone has their own idea about what Belgian style beers are and the variety was incredible; Belgian beer is gaining in popularity; almost becoming 'mainstream'. Most brewers now make one or two Belgian styles. Sierra Nevada is a good example; they had two brews from their beer camp series. An India Farmhouse Ale (IFA) and a Belgian Style Black IPA. Both beers were good and could become good sellers if they decide to make them part of the regular lineup. I haven't ever tasted this many different sour beer varieties at the same venue. Most brewers had one or two; there were several that were all sour beer styles. Trillium Brewery, a new local brewery, had a Saison and several farmhouse ales to try. The BA guys know how to throw a good festival and I would recommend it to any beer aficionado. I have some pictures up on the GBL Facebook page of some great memories and brews

Allagash Brewing Portland, Maine
Allagash Brewing Barrel Aging Program

Allagash Brewing Company - Portland, Maine.

Allagash Brewing is one of the best brewery tours I have been on. It is well organized, the new brewery area is bright and spacious and they are brewing great beer. Each brewery tour includes a complete tour and tasting of four of the brews; some are brewery only. The on line signup is a good idea; this way you know when your tour will be. If a time is full you can just choose another time. Tours are given Monday through Saturday; check the tour section of the website to find tour times daily. The tour starts in the tasting room; everyone is given earphones so the guide can be heard. This is a working brewery and can be noisy at times so this was a good idea. The first area is the brew kettles where all the cooking and hopping takes place. This is a new area of the brewery so they were able to custom build it to their specifications. The brewing process is in a long line. The brewing room was first, fermentation is next and so on. The final area is bottling and shipping. So, the beer moves from one area to the next in an orderly fashion. There is plenty of room for expansion; right now there are some areas that are very open; these could get tighter when more capacity is added. The original building is now the storage and aging area for Alllagash's barrel and bottle conditioning programs. This started in 2001, long before brewers were doing anything like this. I would have liked to try some of the aged beers but that is only on special tours. The tasting room has a great atmosphere and the tasters are small wooden holders for 4 small snifter glasses; perfect for the beer sampled. This day the four were: Allagash White, Four, (A Belgian Quad style) Hugh Malone (A Belgian Style IPA a tribute to responsible agricultural practices; for more see the Hugh Malone area of the website.) and Bourbon Barrel Black (The Belgian Style Stout aged for 1 year in bourbon barrels.) My favorite was the Hugh Malone; a nice Belgian twist to the IPA style. Overall the tour was great and everyone there is friendly and likes their job. I liked the different beers and didn't realize how many different beers Allagash makes. I will be looking to try and enjoy them soon. Website: Allagash.com See a complete set of pictures on the GBL Facebook Page.

Sebago Brewing Portland Maine Bar / Flight of brews

Sebago Brewing Co. - Portland, Maine

Two years ago I visited Maine and enjoyed it and was able to visit again this year. Sebago Brewing was my first stop then; today it was for dinner at the end of a great Maine day. The day started at Allagash Brewing, above, with a trip north to Damariscotta where local oysters were had at my return to King Eiders Pub. See my 2011 review page for more. We then drove out to Pemaquid Beach where there is an old lighthouse and fisherman's display. Some great pictures were taken of the rocks and the weather over the ocean. We then headed back to Portland for dinner at Sebago. This night was trivia night so the bar area was mostly full; we got a table in the dining room. A flight of all the beers was ordered; each of us then decided on which to get a full pint of. There were only 5 beers; 2 more would be on by the weekend. I had Frye's Leap IPA and the others ordered the Harvest Ale and the Stout. All were good and our dinners were quite tasty too. It was a great day and I will return to Sebago next time. SebagoBrewing.com

 

Baxter Brewing Lewiston, Maine Tanks / Waterfall

Baxter Brewing Co. - Lewiston, Maine

This visit was a 'drive by' as the brewery was closed on the Tuesday I was driving through. I want to mention Baxter as they are one of the newer Maine breweries and I like their beer. Stowaway IPA has been good to see several times on my visits where I was somewhere that didn't have very many craft beers. As with many breweries these guys look like they are having fun making good beer. All Baxter beer is canned "We Do What we Can and we Can What we Do" is the brewery motto. Go to the website and see what cool event is planned this week. They have brewery dinners, music and many other events. They are getting into the education end of beer with a collaborative class with the nearby university. Each of the brews they make is unique and they can do what they want as there isn't a 15 - 20 year old recipe that must be followed. The brewery is in the Bates Mill an historic building surrounded by other cool old buildings. There is a small waterfall next to the brewery; I hope to be back soon. BaxterBrewing.com

Moat Mountain Brewery Beer Flight / Bar  Area

Moat Mountain Brewing Co. - North Conway, NH

After a drive up Mount Washington on a perfect cool and clear day it was time for lunch. I remembered Moat Mountain Brewing from a visit 10 years ago. They serve good BBQ and smoke house foods and have a small brewery in the pub basement. Everything is housed in a cool old historic building. It still is a good stop for lunch (or dinner) and the beer is good too. I ordered a sampler flight of six beers. They were all tasty and I had a pint of Scottie's IPA the new brewmsters' versions of a west coast IPA. It had piney and grapefruit aromas along with a nice clean bitter finish. The craft beer industry is growing and Moat Mountain is growing too. They have out grown the small basement brewery and are building a new brew house. Some of the new equipment was waiting outside for installation. They now are bottling and sold through NH and southern Maine. There are some new recipes that all sound great. I look forward to trying some of the new beers on a return trip. See some pictures on the GBL FB page. Website: Moatmountain.com

 

McNeills Brewery - Brattleboro, VT.

Cool funky place serving some good English style ales. Great selection with several on cask. The owner was enjoying a few at the bar; told me he had some health issues and was not bottling anymore; he wants to keep the bar going. I sure hope he does as this os a one of a kind place. This was my third try; they were closed the last two times!

Northhampton Bewerry - Northampton, Mass.

My second visit to one of the older brewpubs in Western Mass. The business has expanded; there is a beautiful new dining room and an outside patio. Still serving good ales; I had Boots IPA and Hop Harvest Ale. Good food selection too.

 

Waschusett Brewing Taps / Bottling Line

Wachusett Brewing Co. - Westminister, Mass.

Wachusett Brewing has been in business since 1994. This makes them one of the older craft breweries in the New England area. The current building was split up into several different businesses but Wachusett is slowly taking the entire building. This has made the brewery areas different from most breweries I have seen. The spaces are small the they use all of it. To tour the bottling area we had to duck under part of the bottling line. The fermentation tanks are nearby along with other storage tanks. It is all in a small area but the beer produced it some of the best in the area. I first tried their IPA on a trip years ago. At that time it was the best beer I had on that trip. This time I had read about a beer with my name, Larry, and wanted to try it and see the brewery where it is made. There are tours every hour and plenty of chances to try all their beers. After an introduction the tour starts with the malts going into the Mash Tun. The spent grains are removed so the wort can go to the brew kettle. Then it's on to the fermentation tanks followed by the bright tanks. When ready kegging and bottling take place. As with many breweries we saw people making a hard job fun and enjoying what they were doing. Everyone was friendly and helpful. The tasting break during the tour was cool and the tasting at the end completed a good time and tour. Since they were out of Larry someone gave us some cans and told us where to find it just down the street. Be sure to try their brews when in the Mass. area. There are some pictures on the GBL FB page and the website is WachusettBrew.com

Wicked Weed Brewing Asheville, NC / Inside Bar
Upstairs Bar / Downstairs Beer Menu

Wicked Weed Brewing - Asheville, NC

After exploring around Brevard and the Blue Ridge Parkway it was time for lunch. I was traveling with my brother Gary and his wife Karan and they usually don't make it into Asheville. I have been wanting to check out Wicked Weed Brewing for a while and today would be that day. We were up some of the higher elevations on the parkway and it was nippy and windy. As we arrived in Asheville it was 60 with light wind. I really like this type of change; available all around western NC. We parked and arrived to a mid afternoon crowd; small and relatively quiet. We were greeted and shown to a table by David an enthusiastic guy who has been around the craft beer business and wants to learn and do more. I'm sure he will get his chance. We started with a wicked sampler with six brews. Freak Double IPA, an 8 % hoppy west coast style IPA that was the choice of the table. Lupulin Lab IPA, a 7.2% IPA that was good but not as hoppy as the Freak. Dirty Weeds a 6.85 Black IPA that was hoppy and had the malt tastes too. Hersey Brown a strong Brown ale at 7.85 with a good chocolaty taste; it was the other choice at our table, Sir Ryan the Pounder an American Session ale. At 4.6% it is indeed sessionable. The Wicked Fest Beer is a deep gold to light copper ale; the WW's Oktoberfest brew. We tried all the sampler brews and ordered pints of our favorites. The lunch menu is very creative and everything is of top quality. we all enjoyed the food; Our waiter, Jed, told me that my sandwich was some type of a Cuban Ham sandwich. It was good anyway! the downstairs tasting room had opened so we went down to see what was there. It is a smaller area right by all the brewing activity. They were finishing up as we got there; one of the guys said to come back on Friday and there would be two new beers opened. All three of us really liked the GABF 2013 Gold winner wild ale: Serenity Wild Ale. If this is where Americans are taking sour beers they will really go over with many more than just the few who love them now. It was a light golden color with some sweet taste to start then the Brett comes in but not too strong. This is why it was enjoyed by everyone. An easy drinking sour ale; this will probably become a best seller at Wicked Weed. It was time to go way to quickly; I will return again to enjoy some different beers and the good ones I had today. My photos of this visit are ant he GBL FB page. Website: WickedWeedBrewing.com

 
 
 
 

Beer Resume created for the 2013 "Beer Drinker of the Year" contest at Wynkoop Brewery in Denver CO. (PDF)

Results of the 2013 Beer Drinker of the year contest: The panel of wigged and robed judges has cast its votes for the 2013 Beerdrinker of the Year award. The winner is Warren Monteiro, a New York City freelance writer, beer traveler, homebrewer and beer columnist. His in-depth beer expertise, extensive travels in pursuit of beer, and his efforts to promote great beer to others helped him win the 2013 title. In his 2013 Beerdrinker of the Year resume, he detailed his philosophy of beer drinking: “It’s not a habit, it’s a lifestyle. This is why I constantly travel – to get a taste of a new brew or one I’ve been missing, and to find a way to share it whenever possible. I consider creative beer drinking to be an essential part of the tapestry of art and fellowship contributing to a full life.” For more about Warren and the other finalists see the 2013 BeerDrinker Page. Congratulations to Warren for a great beer year and job well done.

2013 was the last year of the contest. Marty Jones, Wynkoop's idea man has moved on to a new venture. He had been at Wynkoop since 2009. In addition to running the BeerDrinker of the Year contest he helped update the beer recipes and created new beers at the oldest brewpub in Colorado. I had a lot of fun entering the contest for the past 4 years and the annual resume was great to see where I had been, where I was going and gave me a chance to take stock and plan more of my different beer trips / events etc. Each year I grew and changed just at the industry has. 2014 will be an interesting year as one of my stated goals was to work in the industry in some capacity full time. Stay tuned..LG

This Year...Try Florida Beer ! © 2013 larrygoeser.com