Craft Brewing Update (5/15/2015)

Craft Brewing Update (5/15/2015)

Things happen fast in the craft brewing world. Click here If you missed our last update. Here’s the latest weekly Craft Brewing Update on what’s happening in our region and the craft brewing scuttlebutt and goings on around the country:

Florida/Regional

Jacksonville Craft and Import Beer Festival:

Jacksonville craft and import beer festivalJacksonville, FL: The Jacksonville Craft and Import Beer Festival is today, Friday May 15th, 2015. The festival runs from 6:00pm to 9:00pm for general admission at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Featuring over 40 breweries serving approximately 350 different and unique beers and local food vendors, patrons are given a tasting glass and given the opportunity to sample some of the best craft and import beers in the United States today. Admission to the event cost $45 for general admission tickets and $60 for VIP tickets. For the VIP perks, you’re granted an extra two hours of access to the event (an hour before and an hour after, 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm), access to the exclusive VIP lounge pouring special beers and access to exclusive food vendors. Always a good time on a Friday night, if you’d like something to do in Jacksonville tonight and love love love craft beer, this is it. Click here to purchase tickets and see more information.

National

green man maceoGreen Man Brewing bottling Maceo.

Asheville, NC:  Winner of the coolest brewery logo in all of (h)asheville, Green Man Brewing company is currently bottling up their latest Barrel Aged sour called Maceo. Maceo will be for sale on May 24th at 2:00 pm at the brewery tap room. Mmmm, summer sours… Tis the season.

De Garde Brewing special release party schedule announced!

Tillamok, OR: De Garde Brewing has released the dates for it’s upcoming release parties for the next rounds of De Garde beers. These two dates are August 29, 2015 and November 21st, 2015. More details about what will be released for each event will be forthcoming. Typically, De Garde does an online reservation system for bottle sales in which you have until the following release to pick up your bottles. Stay tuned to find out more.

Kane Brewing launching their new canning line for fall.

Ocean Township, NJ: Bringing further proof that East Coast IPA’s are second to none, Kane Brewing will be bringing it’s famous Head High IPA to distribution in 16 oz. cans this fall. Head High IPA is their flagship East Coast style IPA filled with mighty amounts of hops and a heap of grain juice to balance out the goodness that is hops. Look for Head High IPA to start hitting the shelves sometime in the early fall of 2015. If you like IPA’s, you want this beer.

Toppling Goliath bottles King Sue.

king sue IPADecora, IA: Toppling Goliath brewing is currently bottling up King Sue for release. King Sue is Toppling Goliath’s Imperial IPA that’s usually quite good when it’s fresh. I really like the people that run Toppling Goliath and they’ve always been approachable when i’ve run into them during Florida beer events. I hope that their latest batch of King Sue helps them overcome some consistency issues but the reviews from the locals I know near their tap room say this batch is on the money. Don’t wait, buy now.

On Our Radar:

  • Jester King: Jester King will begin selling Funk Metal today at 4:00 pm at the tap room. Limit 2 bottles per day.
  • Pizza Boy: Pizza Boy has released 3 sours, Black Sour, Raspberry Sour & Blackberry Sour. Beg your PA friends.
  • Cigar City: Three “keg only” beers released, Pour Over Brown, Grand Dix Ale & Outskirts BA Imperial Porter.
  • Clown Shoes: Josh the Revelator coming to Texas, and only Texas. Fuck you Texas.
  • Surly & Amager: Todd the Axeman IPA is coming to 16 ounce cans. Should be good.
  • Green Bench: Florida Poster Girls wild fermented ale available today at the tap room reach in.
Harris Meadery supports local Craft!

Harris Meadery supports local Craft!

Harris Meadery Supports the Jax Beer Society

Jacksonville MeadOrange Park, FL: Harris Meadery has announced it’s launch during the first brewer sponsored event of the Jax Beer Society. The event was held from 6:00 pm through 9:00 pm at Brewer’s Pizza located at 14-B Blanding Blvd. in Orange Park. As a special perk for signing up for membership in the Jax Beer Society, patrons were granted a free taste of local Florida mead including our wonderful melomels such as our award winning Key Lime Pie mead as well as our new Strawberry Key Lime Pie mead and Cherry Raspberry Currant mead. Our whole crew was on hand to answer questions about what it takes to start up a new meadery in Florida and what our future plans are for establishing our business.

What the heck is mead anyway?

Mead VikingMaybe you’ve heard about it but never have really known what mead is. You’ve seen it featured in television (ahem, Game of Thrones, ahem), seen it in movies or maybe considered it some sort of exotic, mysterious beverage that’s consumed by the gallon by Vikings before laying siege to the rest of the world. Mead is quite simply an alcoholic beverage where the majority of the fermentable sugar content is honey based. Honey + Water + Yeast = alcohol. It’s the world’s oldest alcoholic beverage with it’s earliest origins dating from the African continent from 8,000 b.c., likely from a spontaneous fermentation where a honey bee hive was flooded with rainwater. Well, somebody decided to taste that wildly fermented honey mead and the rest is history. The oldest archaeological fragments of purposeful mead production date from 6,500 b.c. in Northern China. In Europe, mead has been made since at least 2,800 b.c. and was considered the favorite drink from Ancient Wales in the west to Japan in the east, Scandinavia and Russia in the north to the southern tips of Africa, India and Indo-China.

What does mead taste like?

Just because mead has a honey base, doesn’t necessarily mean that it tastes like a spoonful of sue bee honey. Mead can be very dry like a dry beer, semi-dry like a white wine or sweet like a dessert wine. Mead comes in three standard strength levels which have to do with how much alcohol is in them:

  1. Hydromel: More water than honey. These are “sessionable” meads that are generally between 3% and 6% alcohol by volume (ABV). The alcohol level here is comparable with the majority of craft ales and lagers.
  2. Standard: Equal parts honey & water: These are average mead strengths in the 7%-14% ABV range. They pack about the same amount of punch as an Imperial ale or a glass of red wine.
  3. Sack: More honey than water. Sack meads are strong alcohol meads in ranges from 15%-20% ABV. These are generally strong drinking meads that are best sipped and savored in small servings and are close to being comparable with a shot of fortified wine or liquor without the fortification or distillation.

Now that we have strength out of the way and have investigated the gamut of dry to sweet meads, here’s a list of the most common varieties of meads and what flavors you can expect:

  • Melomel: A Melomel is a catch-all name for any mead flavored with fruit. Strawberry mead, peach mead, citrus mead and prickly pear mead are all examples of Melomels.
  • Cyser: A mead made from Apples.
  • Braggot: A mead made with added grains, like barley malt, rye or oats.
  • Methlegin: A catch-all name for meads made with spices, like cinnamon, star anise, hops or vanilla.
  • Pyment: A mead made with grapes.
  • Bochet: A mead made with burnt honey, giving it a marshmallow flavor.

So, meads can taste a lot like honey, or just about anything that has flavor that you can mix into it. They can taste like beers, wines, or something completely different from both. I like to think about meads as an intermediary between the flavors of a beer and wine.

Mead sounds pretty cool, when/where can I try some?

Florida MeadAt Harris Meadery, we’re working hard on our federal and state licensing requirements at this time. If everything goes as planned, we will begin contract brewing our meads at Pinglehead Brewing in Orange Park by the end of 2015. At that time, we will be offering our meads into distribution for retail sale all around the north Florida area. Until then, under the Federal Homebrew Law of 1974, we’re obligated to give away everything that we’re brewing for free. Please watch this website or click one of our social media links to the left of this post to see where we will be serving up our meads next (especially Facebook). Rock on mead drinkers. Rock on.

Craft Brewing Update (5/1/2015)

Craft Brewing Update (5/1/2015)

Things happen fast in the craft brewing world. Click here If you missed last week’s update. Here’s the latest weekly Craft Brewing Update on what’s happening in our region and the craft brewing scuttlebutt and goings on around the country:

Florida Regional:

Green Room Brewing’s Tequila Barrel Aged Quetzalcoatl

green room brewingJacksonville Beach, FL: Green Room brewing is releasing it’s much coveted Tequila Barrel Aged Quetzalcoatl today, Friday the 1st of May, 2015 and tomorrow, Saturday the 2nd of May, 2015. Quetzalcoatl is an Imperial Red ale brewed with cassava root, chiles, vanilla and cocoa nibs. This marks the second year that Green Room has released a tequila barrel aged version of Quetzalcoatl and it’s absolutely the best tequila barrel aged beer this author has ever tried. With a limited bottle release of approximately 200 750ml bottles, expect this beer to go fast. Green Room’s mug club members have the opportunity to purchase their bottles tonight while general sales to the public begin tomorrow (Saturday) at 12:00 pm. Last year’s price was $15.00 a bottle and this year’s price should be in that $15-$20 range. With such a limited bottle amount, you might want to line up early for this one. Click here to get Green Room Brewing’s details/address.

Cigar City, So Hot Right Now…

Beer named sueTampa, FL:  Cigar City Brewing has released another El Catador perk for El Cat 2.0, T-Shirts. There’s a pre-order for the latest designs of El Catador 2.0 t-shirts and work shirts right now through May 12th on the main Cigar City Brewing website. Cigar City’s latest beverage releases include:

  • Cigar City Cider & Wine’s Orange Blossom Mead. A semi-sweet 100% orange blossom mead that’s 13% abv.
  • Cigar City’s Jolly Ollie IPA, a 7.8% fresh hopped IPA.
  • Cigar City’s A Beer Named Sue commemorative prickly pear Florida-weisse (releasing today). Brewed in collaboration with Cycle Brewing, J Wakefield Brewing and 7th Sun Brewing to commemorate the life of Tampa beer icon Sue Muntner.

Veterans United Brewing Hop Banshee hits distro!

veterans united brewingJacksonville, FL: Veteran’s United brewing in Jacksonville, FL has released it’s new IPA, Hop Banshee, to distribution. Hop Banshee is available in 12 ounce cans and in six packs. Hop Banshee is a West Coast Style American IPA made with four C-hops (Cascade, Centennial, Chinook & Columbus). At 6.5% abv and a generous golden malt structure to support the 66 IBU’s, Hop Banshee is a delight for the hops obsessed. Ask for Hop Banshee at a quality store, restaurant or bottle shop near you.

National Brewing News:

Sun King Afternoon Delight, it certainly is…

Sun King BrewingIndianapolis, IN: Sun King Brewing has released it’s next beer in it’s reserve series: Sun King Afternoon Delight. Sun King Afternoon Delight is a Bourbon Barrel Aged Doppelbock. This beer was a winner at GABF in 2013 in the wood and barrel aged strong beer category and a gold medal winner in 2012 & 2013 for the barrel aged classic style category in the Festival of Barrel Aged Beer. Available in 2 packs @ $22.50 per pack, this beer is definitely one that’s worth acquiring. I’ve had the pleasure of trying some of Sun King’s beers. You want this. The beer was released yesterday.

Highland Park Brewery presents Cherry Spazz.

Highland BrewingLos Angeles, CA: Highland Park Brewery in Los Angeles, CA is unveiling it’s latest installment of Cherry Spazz. Cherry Spazz is a dry, tart, funky Berliner fermented with Lacto and Brett. With over 2 lbs. per gallon of sour cherries thrown into the mix, Cherry Spazz is sure to be an over the top cherry delight for the sour beer lover. Quaffable at a sensible 4.3% abv, Cherry Spazz is available via Eventbrite pre-sale only. Order your bottles for $15 a pop (plus eventbrite fee) for a 500 ml. bottle by clicking here. Arrange for pickup at the brewery in person. No word on mules or bottle limits.

Burnt Hickory Brewing takes the cake with Courageous Conductor.

burnt hickory brewingKennesaw, GA: Burnt Hickory Brewing is poised to unleash their Red Velvet Cake Porter beer called Courageous Conductor. Courageous Conductor is an Imperial Porter (7.8%) flavored with red velvet cake natural flavors. This beer will be available in 22 oz. bottles and will more than likely be a brewery release. Keep a watch on this beer to hit the craft beer world sometime in May. No word yet on prices or bottle limits.

On Our Radar:

  • Prairie Artisan Ales: Prairie Artisan Ales new beer Prairie Elizabeth midwest farmhouse ale has hit distribution.
  • Funky Buddha: Funky Buddha Blueberry Cobbler is coming to distro in 12 oz. bottles. Yea!
  • Toppling Goliath: Toppling Goliath is bottling Xhops in bombers as we speak.
  • Two Roads Brewing: Two Roads Brewing Roadsmarys Baby Pumpkin Ale is coming in 12 ounce cans. Up yours InBev.
  • Heavy Seas: Heavy Seas is releasing Blackbeards Breakfast BA Imperial Coffee Porter May 13th.