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2019 Storm's a Brewing?

2018 brought change to the craft beer industry and 2019 will bring more. From new and different styles, different trends, business issues and more 2019 promises to be interesting to say the least. The year should show slower growth but still some, but not like 5 years ago. Overall beer sales were down sightly but craft increased by 5%.( in 2017) 2019 should continue this trend; smaller growth at the expense of the big national brewers. Local will still matter; most smaller breweries have taprooms where they can sell directly to consumers and this will continue. Taprooms are a major source of money for many. There were closings and scaling back of growth plans in 2018. Green Flash is a good example of "biting off more than you can chew". The company was foreclosed and the east coast brewery was sold. Mystery Brewing (NC), open since 2012 closed on October 31st due to lack of working capital. Still the industry chugs on...there are now over 7000 breweries nationwide. Most people live within 10 miles of a brewery. This is a huge change from just 10 years ago. Growth will now come from new customers from different groups than the past. Making the brewery taproom a fun place with different things to do will drive solid growth. The competition, even when friendly, will give us beer drinkers better quality beer and more choices. 2018 was the year of the Hazy IPA or New England IPA. These brews explode with juicy tastes and are less bitter than the traditional IPA. Almost everywhere I visited last year had a version. This years IPA will be the Brut IPA very 'dry' drinking and another evolution of the venerable IPA. The 'dryness' is accomplished using a brewers enzyme, AMG. The result is a light bodied beer with lots of hop flavor and alcohol sweetness. IPA is still the most popular style but new different styles are coming up. Pilsner and other light brews have come to craft. They were associated with the big brewers but all lager styles have now become popular in small craft breweries. The sour beer category will expand on the 'American Wild Ale' style. American brewers will change and adapt the traditionally Belgian sour styles for the new world.

In 2018 I experienced over 40 breweries which are on my 2018 page. This was a banner year and I got to see many of the above trends live. I don't have plans yet but hope to make a journey to many new breweries no matter where they are. Florida has 250 as of 2017 and I'll bet it's over 300 when the yearly stats come out from the Brewers Association. So, you don't have to go far to experience good craft breweries. To kickoff the year I hit the Jupiter festivals, as I have for many years. This year I made a pit stop at Due South Brewing in Boynton Beach. Opened in 2012 they have come a long way. Jupiter was great, even with some rain. Plans to head west and north are in the works. As I make plans and visit breweries they will be on this page. Watch this space...

Cheers, Larry

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Due South Brewing - Boynton Beach, Florida

On Friday January 25th I headed to Jupiter for the weekend festivals. Along the way I stopped by Due South as I haven't been there for a while. Back in 2012 I was there for the grand opening. I have been by several times since and they have come a long way. Each time I visit there are changes and improvements that any growing business would have. The taproom has been expanded as has the entire brewery. Due South is now one of the older established breweries in south Florida; I see their brews in cans and on tap all around the area. Not only is the facility improved the beer selection and quality is up as well. There were almost 20 brews available this day; many speciality brews along with the regulars. It was early in the day so samplers were ordered. There are several IPAs which always pleases me as well as some of the Mariana Trench imperial stout from the festival the weekend before. There are several variants; mint chocolate, aged and the original. My favorite IPA was the Nun with a Chainsaw which is brewed with Amarillo, Azacca, and Idaho 7 Hops. This is a good one and also available in cans to go. The different Mariana brews all were enjoyed and some were available to go. It was good to 'catch up' with DSB and the staff was friendly and helpful to everyone. This is one of the better south Florida breweries and a must stop when traveling on I-95 as it is only 2 blocks form the highway at the Gateway road exit. Stop in for a quick brew or an entire evening; looks like fun with great beers to go with it. Website:

Field of Beers 11th inning stretch/ Fun at the festival
Photos: Got Beer? / Ready for the fest..still dry!

Field of Beers / Jupiter Craft Brewers Festival

The Field of beers was in it's "eleventh inning stretch" and the festival in it's thirteenth year. Both went well with some rain at the festival for the first time in thirteen years! The rain didn't hurt anything; people made the best of it and still had a good time. At the FOB there were 15 stations with small bites of food paired with a special beer form each brewery. There were several memorable pairings. Kurobuta Pork Sliders paired with Funky Buddha Stick Nuts, a peanut infused blonde ale that tastes like peanut butter. Nearby was festival regular Rincon Heat a local hot sauce with fresh sucked oysters. New West Palm Beach brewery, Steam Horse had a "double play" with 2 beers; a light lager and a black lager. They were paired with Bauernwurst and Grainy Mustard German potato salad. Double the pleasure... Last but not least was the "Doughnut Forget" dessert and beer pairing all the way out the third base line. As always this was one of the best festivals; it's a tough ticket but well worth the effort to attend.

The Saturday festival had new brewers and is practically all Florida beers as there are so many. In year one there were probably five; now they are the majority of breweries in attendance. Some highlights. Copperpoint Brewing had six beers and the best was A-10 Hop Hog a red IPA. That is now available in a store near you. Gulfstream Brewing of Ft Lauderdale makes best new brewery this year and one of the best. I met the owner, McKay who is from Oregon and is bringing quality Oregon brewing methods and thinking to the south Florida beer scene. I visited later (see below) and really like the taproom and top notch beers from a brewery only open for months! Quality regulars include: Cigar City, 26 degree, Salt Water, Devour, NOBO and Intercoastal of Melbourne. These all are Florida brewers of different sizes and markets. Remember the names. The band was great for the rainy day; they continued to play many familiar covers and were fun to watch. A lady taught me and Mitzie to do the "Lambada" in the pouring rain! All in good fun and the singer played different roles well. A great afternoon of good craft brews, music and fun. See you next year! Website:

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