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2017: Too Many Breweries?

I never thought the above headline would exist! The craft beer industry has been on a phenomenal expansion over the last ten years. In 2006 there were just over 1400 breweries in the US. Today there are over 5000 with more in the planning stages. There have been acquisitions, mergers and partnerships formed in the last few years. Although most of these newer breweries will be primarily local, are there enough beer drinkers to consume the additional quantity of beer being produced? Will the breweries take each others business? One of the latest trends is small producers brewing light lagers similar to the big guys. Since over 45% of the US market is light lager there is room for growth there. The big three (Bud, Miller, Coors) could lose market share as people move to local producers, if the quality is there. Of course, the big three already are into the craft market. Craft beer is considered an "affordable luxury", so growth will continue. It remains to be seen just how much that growth will be. Younger drinkers having grown up on craft beer will 'move up' to premium brands and styles (high end IPA's, barrel aged styles and limited release brews). As always, it will be important to bring new consumers to the table. Education on the product and its background will be helpful in raising interest in the wide variety of brews now available. I expect the growth of the industry to continue in 2017 and beyond. It won't be as robust as the last few years but it will still be impressive compared to other consumer product categories

Cheers, Larry


Past reviews 2006 - 2016 Click on each year. Enjoy, Larry
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Civil Society Brewing - Jupiter, FL

Civil Society Brewing is in the Abacoa area of Jupiter FL. For the last 10 years the Jupiter Craft Brewers Festival, (See below) has been held just blocks from Civil Society. I mention this to show just how far the industry has come. At that first festival there were no Jupiter area breweries because there weren't any. There were a few south Florida breweries but nothing like today. Jupiter now has several breweries and craft beer is available almost everywhere. Civil Society is about a year old and the space has an industrial look with exposed concrete, steel everywhere and 'graffiti' all around. My visit was in the early afternoon so it was quiet in the taproom. There is a good selection of brews with several different IPA's. The "Fresh" IPA was my favorite followed by "Seventh Wonder" a DIPA. It was a good start to the festival weekend; several others that were going to the festivals also were here. The atmosphere is laid back and friendly and there will be return visits, I'm sure. There are a few pictures on the GBL FB page and CSB's website is HERE.

Comcert Stage / Copperpoint Brewewing Images

Field of Beers / Craft Brewers Festival - Jupiter, FL

The eight annual Field of Beers was held Friday January 27th. The event is in Roger Dean Stadium along the baselines and dugouts. It is limited to 375 people and has 15 stations where a beer is paired with a special food selection. The event is one of south Florida's best with beer enthusiasts and industry people enjoying the food and beer pairings. It was a beautiful late January night; cool and clear. This festival had been blessed in it's 9 years, to never have weather affect the event. As I entered the left field Twisted Trunk Brewing had their Leroy Brown Jr. Ale paired with "Arby's" Beef & Cheddar! (Sous vide beef topped with cheddar ale sauce.) Other memorable parings: Venison and Elk Shepard's Pie paired with Tequesta Brewing's Mind Bender Golden Coffee Stout, Rabbit Empanada with Green Room Brewing Three sheets Belgian Tripel. Oceania Coffee and Rincon Heat (Good hot sauce) both were there as they have been for years. They are local companies that usually have their products featured in several of the pairings. The FOB was the best as always and the walk home made the evening complete. (There is now a hotel just across from the stadium.)

The festival was on Saturday afternoon. This was the 11h annual and the organizers really have everything down. After entering the stadium there is a wide variety of food available. The festival area is set up with tents around the perimeter and a few in the center. I have found that arriving late is the answer to lines entering. A map of breweries is provided so you can find one you are looking for. This festival has changed over the years. When re-reading my 2007 review it sounds like a different place. There were very few Florida breweries in 2007; this festival has become a show place for all of our new breweries. It has been a subtle change but the make up of breweries has changed. Most south Florida breweries were represented. The Tamps Bay area has been coming here for years. New areas include Jacksonville and north Florida. They have just started coming and will increase each year, I'm sure. Noticeably absent was Sierra Nevada; I guess as a company they can't come to every festival on the calender.





Beer Flight / Brewing Equipment
Menu / Street View

Hoppy Trout Brewing Company - Andrews, NC

Hoppy Trout Brewing in Andrews, NC, located in far southwestern NC surrounded by beautiful country and lakes. With a variety of activities available to do locally Hoppy Trout is a great asset to the area, With several of their own brews and guest taps, thirsty patrons can enjoy good beer along with the menu of brick over pizzas, brats and other good pub grub. HTB is a nano brewery ( a 1 barrel system which yields 31 gallons per batch). There were 5 brews on the day I was there and I had a flight of 4. Sabrina was behind the bar and had good knowledge of the house brews and food menu. Wentzek is a Belgian tripel with authentic taste and very drinkable at 9.9% ABV. Best Day Ever is a "Milkshake" IPA with chocolate notes in the aftertaste. HTB is known for brewing almost anything in a beer. Being small they can experiment with different flavors. "There is nothing we won't put in beer". Hop Out the Sun is an IPA brewed for the upcoming total solar eclipse on August 21st. My favorite was Front Line Winner a red (amber) ale with good malty tastes; with ABV of 4.9% and low IBU (19) with medium hop flavors. Very refreshing and good on a hot day which it was outside. When you walk in HTB you are hit by the aromas of fresh baked pizza, The pizzas look great and taste good, I'm sure. They only do whole pies so bring someone with you when you come. The menu also has an assortment of food; I enjoyed the beer cheese and bacon brat. There is plenty to select from. HTB is a small space with some old photos of Andrews on the walls. With a rear patio and large street side table in front they could get very busy on a Friday night. I enjoyed my visit and will return in the future. Website: HERE More Pictures on the GBL Facebook page. July 24, 2017

Outside shots / beer garden
Brewer Daniel / Brewery Swag
Inside the building

Andrews Brewing Company - Andrews NC

Just a few blocks from HTB is Andrews Brewing. It is only a few blocks but it could be miles. Approaching I thought I was in a residential area and only saw the small house you see to the left. There are signs indicating where to park and then you see the entire outside beer garden area, These is no indoor seating; you go inside to get beer then return outside. Even though it was hot earlier the day had started to cool down The feel is of a remote village where people gather after work to relax and forget about the world. Already in vacation mode, that was easy for me. There were several groups in the garden when I got there. I went in to see what they had and was surprised to see how small and old fashioned it was inside. The brewer, Daniel was serving the six brews they had on tap. It was a quiet Monday so he wasn't too busy so we became friends and talked about many different aspects of the beer business. He is 20 and learning everything he can about brewing and I think he already has some good knowledge of brewing based on the 6 excellent brews available. I was able to sample each and all were good with a couple that were excellent. First up was Belgian Cucumber, a tart ale not a sour but the cucumber made it seem that way. Johnny's Apricot Amber Ale was light and easy drinking with hints of apricot. Pale Ale was next; it was different the aftertaste had me wondering. Daniel said that it was an unusual mix of hops that gave it that flavor. Scarlet Overkill Imperial Red was my favorite; the imperial red I always hope for but rarely find. At 7.7% ABV it can fool you; this brew shows me that Daniel is on the right track to brewing excellent beers. The ESB was one that I would let light beer drinkers try as it is light drinking. If there is someone who thinks dark beers are all heavy, malty and strong this is the beer to try. Ellipse IPA was also outstanding with good mix of hops and malts helping out. This has been brewed for the solar eclipse event and they hope that they have enough to serve everyone. After the event this should be in the regular line up. After my sampling I went outside and met a few people. Several friendly locals were there and the day had cooled down. This outside area is a great place to relax and froget about th outside world. There is a stage for live music. Andrews Brewing is unique and a must visit if you are in the area. Website: HERE. July 24, 2017