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2021 Double Double...

...Toil and trouble? Lot of work (toil) and buyouts / closings (trouble) will be coming our way this year. 2021 will be a year of many changes in the craft beer industry. From Covid / Pandemic issues to changing tastes we are in for an interesting ride this year. The big style will, once again, be IPA; this time the Double IPA. This trend has been building for a while. Now many breweries have one or two DIPAs on the menu. one of the largest craft brewers, Sierra Nevada, has 3 double IPA's in their lineup. Innovation Brewing, of Sylva, NC now has two on the menu. Great Lakes Brewing has an Imperial IPA series with 6 new DIPAs for 2021. In the last few years brewers all over have added DIPAs to their lineups. Most breweries I visited in 2020 had a DIPA. many more will in 2021. Over time, there is a style that craft brewers feel they must have on the menu. For several years is has been IPA and it's many derivatives. There were Brut IPAs, Hazy IPA's and the Juicy IPAs with many varieties of citrusy flavors in them. Now it's the Double IPA. Usually brewed with massive amounts of hops and malts the final product is a robust boldly flavored medium bodied brew. These have higher AVB and big aroma from the minute it is poured / opened. Craft beer is big business and has been for a while. However, the majority of the over 8000 breweries are small and serve a local market. If they make great beer and present a fun experience the brewery should prosper. Many folks want a genuine experience and will support locals when possible. I have seen breweries open in some totally unexpected places and they get a local following. Many small industrial areas have surrounding neighborhoods and these people become regulars because it is close and the there (usually) is nothing like it in the area. I know of a local brewery in Miami that opened in a warehouse district and now has two other locations; each has secured nearby locals that really like the beers and tap rooms. I see this most everywhere I go. In more rural areas the breweries can afford larger facilities and they offer plenty of room for expansion. The Covid pandemic has forced some changes; the biggest is where to put people safely. i have seen several that added huge outdoor areas which gives people space and they feel safe enough to come visit. Of course everyone has added to go beer and contact-less pick up and delivery. We have lost a few breweries but most seem to have figured out a way to keep going until the Covid is solved. We all need to support craft breweries whenever possible and I look forward to a better year in 2021. See you at a local brewery soon...

Cheers, Larry

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Photos of Maxwell Bros Clothing Store Window Display and Pizza Oven.
Photos of Maxwell Bros Clothing Store: Taps and Mug Club South Party

 

Maxwell Bros Clothing Store & Beer - Miami, FL

Maxwell Bros is named for an old family store in Ohio. Visit their History page for more. From the outside it does look like a clothing store complete with a window display and mannequins, Once inside there is a long bar, pizza oven and brewing tanks. It's unassuming at first but soon you will discover some great beers and pizza to go along with them. The beer is part of the Lincolns Beard group which now has three locations. Many of Lincolns brews are here and there will be one off small batch beer in the future. I visited on one of the first nights open and recently for a friends birthday. On that first night I was able to sample most of the brews. It was some familiar beers and several made for the opening. As will happen at new brewery openings, beers will sell out. There was live music that first night; a guitar player near the front clothing display. On December 31st I met a friend for our last beers and pizza together for the year. My most recent visit was for the same friends birthday. He lives nearby and has become a regular at the store. As I have mentioned, opening a brewery near a neighborhood where there is nothing like it is a recipe for success. Having friendly staff also helps. I am in a Mug Club at another local brewery and sometimes the group goes to other local breweries. The 'Mug Club South' was born on this evening. Good beer, pizza and friends make for a great time. We had some birthday gifts (beer) that were enjoyed along with lots of pizza. My favorite pizza was the 'Wise Guy' which was excellent with capicola and banana peppers for toppings. The group will return for sure. There is Covid spacing and a new outside deck is almost finished. When things open up I could see this getting quite popular. Parking is already tight in the front lot. Website: MaxwellBros.Beer

Wet Dogs Brewing Photos of Flight / Tanks
Wet Dogs Brewing Taps / Mural Photos

Wet Dogs Brewing - Lake Placid - FL

After the Sebring races I was heading to SW Florida to try some of the new breweries there. Wet Dogs Brewing in Lake Placid was the first stop. Lake Placid is known as the Town of Murals and they are painted on many buildings there. Wet Dogs is located in an old building that formally was home to the local newspaper. It's mural depicts the print shop as it might have been. The front part now houses a restaurant and the rear is Wet Dogs. It was quiet inside when we arrived to try the beer; everyone was seated outside. The outdoor patio was great and the weather was perfect. My taster flight included Hop Life Zero Viz NEIPA. It was hoppy and cloudy and at 6.0% easy drinking. Next up was the 81 Bay Pretty BIRD Hazy DNEIP 8.0% ABV. These first two were from other Florida breweries and added different beers to the line up. WDB Pineapple Pooch IPA was good and pineapple tastes were slightly evident in this quaffable ale. The Cit Ranger IPA was the house IPA brewed using Citra hops. Another house brew, Irish Red Rover, was perfect for St Patrick's day. At 6.3 ABV it had a malty robust taste. My friends enjoy darker beers and there were several enjoyed here. WDB Spiced Beerhound Ale has a slight cinnamon after taste. Morning Walk Coffee Ale uses fresh ground coffee from a local coffee house. They order the coffee and wait until they are grinding it fresh so it is really fresh when brewed. Of note was 'Bacon Strips to get through College', candied bacon we had to order from the craft kitchen next door. We could have spent more time there but it was time to hit the road for the next brewery. Website: WetDogsBrewing.com

Photos of LaBelle Brewing beer Flight and Bar Area
Photos of LaBelle Brewery Front and Cypress art

LaBelle Brewing Co. - LaBelle - FL

When planning a 'brewery crawl' I usually check it out on line to see what might await me. With LaBelle Brewing my note said that the Beer Menu looked great and food was made on site not a food truck. This is usually a good thing and we weren't disappointed. That list of brews were all there and the food, provided by Buckingham Farms made for an excellent dinner. They still have Covid spacing with tables apart and ordering was done at a separate counter. So, there isn't table service per se. We found three spots at the bar and were able to try enjoy our visit there. LBC has a varied selection and all the beers were correct style and taste wise. i god a flight of 4 to try before ordering a pint. Cowboy Way IPA is the go to IPA here. At 7.2% ABV it was dry with citrus notes throughout. Swamp Stomper is a NEIPA, hazy also with tropical notes. My favorite, being 2021, was the Capitan Hendry DIPA. With 8.5% ABV and double dry hopped it had good bitterness yet was easy drinking. LBC is keeping with the 2021 theme of 'double, double! Red Tide Red is a smooth malty Irish Red just in time for St Pats. Other brews tried were Peregrination an authentic Belgian Tripel. Jingle Belle is a Belgian Dark ale; it could be a holiday beer and left a good cinnamon aftertaste. Utterly Stout had good chocolaty tastes. Oak Grove also was brewed with Hazelnuts and also lad note of chocolate in the finish. The Redfish was my choice for dinner; served blackened with citrusy sauces and a chili sauce drizzle it made my visit. LBC has some of the best food in a brewery that I have found. It was a nice surprise to find this quality in a remote brewery that many miss. i recommend going out of your way for this one; You won't be disappointed. Website: LaBelleBrewingCo.com

Crazy Dingo Brewing Co Photos of Flight and Bar
Crazy Dingo Brewing Co Photos of Bar and Artwork

Crazy Dingo Brewing Co. - Fort Myers- FL

Located within Southern Fresh Farms, Crazy Dingo Brewing Company is SW Florida's only brewery to grow their own hops. The farm itself has pioneered growing methods that save space while increasing output from areas of the farm. This is Agra-toursim at it's best. The farm is open to the public and they can learn about the growing methods and also buy fresh produce, at the farmers market, to take home. When visiting the farm Crazy Dingo's brews ere also available. It's a cool experience; there is something for everyone. Families with children can take them to the petting area with goats and cows. There are also many other animals around the public areas.. A few years ago the brewers of Crazy Dingo were making home brew that friends and neighbors were enjoying. They needed a place to set up and let people enjoy their crafted beers. Meeting the farm owners it was decided that the addition of a nano brewery would enhance the guest experience at the farm. It all worked out and the brewery is now an integral part of the farm. This is a very local attraction; there were many there the day we visited. we tried several brews and found some good ones. Sin Nombre is a copper hued American ale. McSpud is an Irish Red Ale tasty with good malty tastes. Keel Hauled is a rum barrel Black Ale. At 9% ABV it has cherries and cocoa additions for a unique taste. Angry Scotsman is a spiced Scottish Ale that was easy drinking and the favorite on this early afternoon visit. The weather was perfect and we enjoyed the tasting area with both live and recorded music. A very cool place with easy atmosphere and crowd. The owners and workers are all friendly and around to answer any questions about the farm and its products. Website: CrazyDingoBrewing.com

Photos of Point Ybel Brewing - Menu and Taps / entire Bar
Photos for Point Ybel Brewing Sampler / Brewing Process

Point Ybel Brewing Company - Fort Myers - FL

When visiting breweries; I try to find out more by going to their website. Brewery website aren't always accurate especially for the current beer list. Many times it hasn't been updated so the 'current' beers might not be on anymore. Point Ybel's tap list showed over 20 beers. I was skeptical as that is a big number for any smaller brewery. Also, looking at the site it looks like they brew mainly German styles. They do brew those styles but the tap list has several IPA's and other ales listed first. My kind of place. 'High quality small batch brewery in Fort Myers' is a totally accurate statement. So, in this case the website was spot on. Point Ybel is located in Kelly Crossing mall, close to the bridge over to Sanibal Island. PYB is a taproom brewery with food available from a nearby restaurant. The focus here is all beer. That tap list shows a good selection of many different styles. Sanibal Red Island Ale is a malty, bready brew that is easy drinking with a smooth finish. At 6.2% ABV it has a robust taste not seen in traditional Irish Reds. Mega Hops Atlanticus Triple NE IIIPA was opaque and golden yellow. The 10% ABV isn't evident and, as the NE style tends to be, not too bitter. It has a nice hoppy finish and I got a crowler to go for my birthday celebration later in the week. These two are pictured to the left. Snake Bite IPA is the flagship IPA; brewed with with Citra and Mosaic hops and dry hopped. The combo gives a fruity taste and aroma to this 7.2% ABV ale. There are many other brews; darks and sours are featured. My friends really appreciated the five stouts, Barleywine style ale and even a Schwartzbier here. The taproom has a mellow friendly vibe and a strong local following. I was impressed with the number of beers and the quality. It looks like a candidate for Brewery of the Year and it's only March! I will return when in the area. Website: PointYbelBrew.com

 
 
 
 
 
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