Plant City Strawberries make excellent Mead

Plant City Strawberries make excellent Mead

Plant City Strawberry festivalPlant City Strawberry Mead anyone?

It’s that time of year. The first big Florida strawberry crop of the season is celebrated each year just outside of Tampa, FL at the Plant City Strawberry Festival. This is our first year making the trek down to Plant City to hand pick strawberries for our fresh Strawberry Shortcake mead. The festival itself happens at the fairgrounds just off of I-4 in Plant City, FL and runs this year from February 28th, 2015 to March 8th, 2015. This year, we have selected over ten pounds of giant, fresh sweet locally sourced strawberries for our next batch. Just like our famous Key Lime Pie mead, our Strawberry shortcake mead is full of bright fresh fruit. The aroma and flavor are reminiscent of the best Strawberry Shortcake just like Grandma used to make.

Interested in sampling our Strawberry Mead?

This batch of Strawberry Shortcake mead should be finished by early summer. We will post updates on which competitions we will be submitting our Strawberry Shortcake mead to so that you can enjoy a taste. As always, we are home mazers (at this point, contact us for business opportunities) and always give away our meads at no cost. As we produce small batches, supplies are generally very limited, so please arrive early if you’d like a free taste.

What ingredients do you use?

All of our meads are made with locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. We strongly believe in supporting local apiaries for honey and local farms for fresh fruits and spices. As far as what goes into our Strawberry Shortcake mead, we can tell you with all seriousness that it’s made with local Plant City Strawberries, honey and water. Our spices and the way we use them are our trade secret.

When can I try some Strawberry Shortcake mead?

Soon, my grasshopper. Soon. Our target date for sampling this mead will be in May or June, 2015. Please subscribe to our feeds, social media links on the left hand side and here at the website closer to that time frame for more tasting information.

 

AB-InBev seeking top Florida beer brands…

AB-InBev seeking top Florida beer brands…

top Florida beer Top Florida Beer Brands for sale?

With all of the flack and fallout surrounding Budweiser’s superbowl ad poking fun at the craft beer world, AB-InBev is reaching out to popular regional craft breweries in the hopes of buying back some market share. Facing a dramatic decline in Budweiser sales (50 million barrels production in 1988 vs. 18 million barrels production today), the international behemoth headquartered in Europe that now owns Budweiser’s iconic brand is looking to add to their portfolio by strategically purchasing popular craft beer breweries from coast to coast. With the recent acquisitions of such notable micro breweries as Goose Island, Elysian, 10 Barrel Brewing and Blue Point, AB-InBev is now attempting to increase it’s market share by outright purchasing popular regional brands.

Bought the “hard way?”

The advertising campaign mocking craft brewing on the one hand and outright purchase of craft breweries to increase market share on the other hand may seem a bit schizophrenic. To make matters worse, distributors working to preserve the antiquated 3 tier system in Florida have been heavily funding and working diligently with local, state and federal legislatures to hamper the growth of craft breweries with a flood of new legislation.

Funky Buddha, expect a phone call!

This week, the Tampa Tribune confirms that the much beloved Cigar City Brewing has been approached by AB-InBev. This comes as no surprise, as Cigar City Brewing has grown into a wildly popular brewery in our region. This makes perfect business sense for In-Bev (if you can’t beat them, buy them) but Cigar City Brewing’s owner, Mr. Joey Redner, isn’t interested at this time. It doesn’t hurt to listen to anyone’s offer as a brewery owner, but talk is just that, talk. I’m sure Mr. Redner and other brewery owners would love to gleam some insight into AB-InBev’s overall growh plan but I wouldn’t expect anyone to take them seriously without being offered dump trucks full of cash. I would fully expect that if other Florida craft breweries haven’t been approached yet, they probably will be shortly. Funky Buddha, Cycle Brewing and Intuition Ale Works might possibly be next in the sights of big corporate brewing.

funky buddha brewingThe backlash against the practice of big corporations purchasing regional craft breweries has been pretty dramatic. Fans of recently purchased breweries are not happy and feel as if the brands they’ve helped to grow and enjoy have sold out, completely abandoning them as consumers. Even one of the founders of Elysian Brewing, Dick Cantwell, was solidly against the sale of his own brewery. It appears that in these instances, the lure of wider distribution through AB-InBev’s wholesale networks and an outright cash grab of what is probably obscene amounts of money is all that it took for these smaller companies to sell out. This would be a bit of a sticky wicket as breweries that are perceived to have “sold out” to a larger company will have to contend with a certain amount of backlash from their fan base. What seems to hurt worse is when your parent company spends $9 million on a superbowl commercial also seemingly mocking what you do for a living.

The Struggle is real.

As I see it, large international corporate beer has no love for local and regional craft beer. On the one hand, they seek to restrict and slow it’s growth in the marketplace while in the other hand, seek to purchase successful craft breweries. If you are a fan of local craft beer, the best way that you can help the craft beer movement is to simply drink locally produced craft beer. Be vocal about it and introduce as many people to craft beer brands as possible. Purchase your beers directly from brewery tap rooms or from reputable sources (not from FISA, sorry ABC & Foremost. You suck.).

As a consumer of craft beer, is there anything else I can do?

Yes, there is. Contact your local government representatives and let them know that you support craft beer. Be vocal and visit them. Keep a careful watch on the Florida legislature and get politically involved. Follow the latest information from the Florida Brewer’s Guild and support their indiegogo legal defense campaign. Lastly, consider brewing your own beer. Learning to brew is perhaps the best way to learn about the complexities of beer and what it takes to produce a great adult beverage at home.

 

Bourbon County Brand Stout Distribution

Bourbon County Brand Stout Distribution

Bourbon County Brand Stout 2014BCBS in Jacksonville:

As of 2013, Bourbon County Brand Stout Availability has increased. Bourbon County Brand Stout distribution has finally reached Florida. In celebration, Goose Island has selected seven new cities in the USA to host their official Bourbon County Brand Stout release date party, and Jacksonville is one of them. Starting with a publicized pub crawl at King Street on Wednesday, November 26th, 2014, one hundred lucky participants will have the opportunity to taste the first Bourbon County beers of the season.  Goose Island representatives will be there to raffle away special prizes, give away all manner of gifts and Bourbon County swag and unleash their film crew upon us to record the merry making.

Here is all the info you need for the Bourbon County Bar Crawl. It’s open to the first one hundred people, first come, first served. It’s going to be the first opportunity you get to try this years variants of the Bourbon County Brand Stout. From BCBS, Coffee Stout, Vanilla Rye and others will be made available for your tasting pleasure. Sign up for the bar crawl starts at 6pm on the 26th at the Silver Cow on King st.. All participants will receive a passport and a collectible 5.5oz snifter that will be used as the tasting glass for the bar crawl.

The crawl starts at 7pm. Each pour of the variants will be $5.00 at each location. This will be limited to one pour per location. During the crawl, each location will be visited in order. When a pour is received, the passport will be punched at that location. After receiving the final punch on the passport at Kickbacks Gastropub, the participant will receive a raffle ticket. The event will end and there will be a raffle/drawing at 10:30pm. This raffle will include Bourbon County prizes which will consist of bottles, gift baskets, etc.

The bars in order of the crawl are:

Silver Cow:  7pm – Bourbon County Brand Stout. This is also where you sign up at 6pm.
The Garage: 7:45pm – Bourbon County Coffee
Dahlia’s Pourhouse: 8:30pm – Bourbon County Barleywine
Kickbacks Gastropub: 9:15 – Bourbon County Vanilla Rye

 

Florida BCBS Bottle Sales:

The street date for Bourbon County Brand Stout in Florida is on Black Friday (November 28th, 2014). The first location to have them on sale is going to be Beer:30 in Jacksonville on King Street in Riverside. The store opens at 8:00 a.m. and the first 50 persons in line are guaranteed at least one bottle of each variant available to Florida. This will be a special event and will include the chance to purchase extras, schwag and even the original coffee used to brew the special coffee stout variant.

One last thing. If you miss the release at Beer:30 you still have a chance to grab bottles at other locations:

Broudy’s Liqours
Total Wine
Grassroots
Harris Teeter
Riverside Liquors
Select ABC Liquors
Royal Palm Village Wine & Tapas
and more.

Intuition Ale Works Stout now in cans.

Intuition Ale Works Stout now in cans.

Intuition Ale Works

Intuition Ale Works King Street Stout!

Beginning August 2nd, 2014, Intuition Ale Works in Jacksonville, FL is going to start selling their King Street Stout in cans. The initial roll out will be offered for sale in their tap room on King St. with a goal of offering it in their regular distribution channels shortly after. Expect to start seeing King Street Stout (abv 8.4%) on local store shelves in the fall.

The Jacksonville Beer Scene: Growing step by step.

King street stout is a solid beer brewed for people that like a good strong dark stout ale. It has wonderful roasted malt notes and pairs well with steak, big game meats and decadent desserts that can stand up to it. At 8.4% ABV, this beer is a strong sipper that must be respected and enjoyed in moderation. Please don’t drink and drive!

 

Green Room Brewing Secret Spot to be released this Saturday…

Green Room Brewing Secret Spot to be released this Saturday…

Green Room releases it’s Secret Spot!

green room brewing facebookI can’t believe i’m going to miss another beer release this year. I’m one for three since Hunahpu’s Day this past spring. I’ve missed the Intuition Brewing Underdark Release, nearly missed the Green Room Tequila Barrel aged Quetzalcoatl release and completely missed out on the Funky Buddha anniversary bash a week ago.  I have only excuses to offer why i’ve been truant from so many local craft beer release events. All of the absences were family related. Blood is thicker than beer. Besides, if I missed little things like my oldest Daughter’s final vocal recital for a beer release, i’d regret it. My Wife might just kill me. No, she’d definitely kill me.

Why is Green Room Secret Spot so great

Secret spot is an amazing beer that is best consumed young. It’s one of the few locally produced Imperial Stouts in the Jacksonville area. There is a limited supply of Secret Spot produced every year, and the more people that learn about how great Green Room brewing beers really are, expect to see less and less of it available on local store shelves. If, like me, you do have to miss this bottle release, I would stalk the local beer bottle retailers on the hopes that this edition does hit the store shelves. The only way to be sure that you can get a hold on a bottle or two of this beer is to come to the release party this weekend in Jacksonville Beach.green room brewing jacksonville

News Flash: Man Killed Over Beer by Wife.

There are just a few beers worth dying for. Secret Spot Imperial Stout by Green Room Brewing is perhaps one of them. Their anniversary release is commonly barrel aged. This year, the word on the street is that the barrel aging took place in Wild Turkey whiskey barrels for six months. That should make for quite a tasty boilermaker style Imperial Stout. Clocking in at around 10% abv, this beer would make a nice beer to share with friends and family or slowly sipped with a hearty meal (including chocolate desserts). Along with the bottle release, music and possibly a food truck will be in attendance to get the party started. It’s all happening around 12:00 pm on June 14, 2014. Come and visit one of the best secret craft beer events florida has to offer.

Green Room Brewing Groupon?

Yes, if….. like me, you can’t find the time to get down to Jacksonville Beach during the bottle release, the best times to save a buck and visit Green Room Brewing is when they issue the occasional groupon. Signing up for notifications with groupon or keeping up with Green Room Brewing Twitter feeds are the best way to stay in the loop when the valuable coupons for beer tastings at green room come out.

Sounds Great! How do I get to Green Room Brewing?

Green Room Brewing is located at 228 3rd. street North in Jacksonville Beach. Parking is limited along 3rd street some come early. From anywhere in Jacksonville: Take I-295 to either Atlantic, Beach or JTB. Head east. From Atlantic, head south on A1A until you reach 3rd st. north (brewery on your right). From JTB or Beach, head north on A1A until you pass 3rd street north. Make a left U-turn at the next stoplight and the brewery will be on your right. It’s likely the front (and only) parking lot will be closed for the event for music/catering, so just pull onto 3rd street N. and look for a parking spot along the street.

Cigar City Brewing Hunapu Release 2.0

Cigar City Brewing Hunapu Release 2.0

HunahpuHunahpu’s Imperial Stout: The End of an Era?

Cigar City Brewing announced the release of their second batch of Hunahpu Imperial Stout this week. This is the apology batch that Joey Redner decided to brew out of the kindness of his own heart when over 9,000 people invaded Hunahpu’s Day this past March. Through a combination poor ticket verification and the eagerness of over-purchasing hipsters, Cigar City ran out of Hunapu’s Imperial Stout at approximately 4:30 pm on that fateful day in March. This second batch is to give an opportunity to all of those honest ticket holders that didn’t get to purchase their bottle(s) of Hunahpu on the original date.

So how do I get my Hunahpu?

If you still have your silver wristband and are able to visit the tap room, present the wristband for a free bottle of Hunahpu. You also have the opportunity to purchase up to two additional bottles for $20 each. This offer expires June 30, 2014.

If you can’t visit the tap room, email wristband@cigarcitybrewing.com by June 30, 2014. CCB will help you in any way within the law to receive 1 bottle of Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout at no cost and the opportunity to purchase up to 2 additional bottles ($20/each).

What if I lost or threw away my Wristband?

The word on the street is that if you don’t have your official Hunahpu’s Day silver wristband, you’re probably screwed. I know that they have turned away people in the tap room for not having them. This is probably for the best to prevent ‘just anybody’ from buying extra bottles of Hunahpu. If you really did lose your wristband, contact the brewery at wristband@cigarcitybrewing.com and maybe you can help verify that you purchased legitimate tickets to the event. They might be willing to work with you at that point. Might.

Tampa Bay Beer Week 2014Warning for CCB: Potential for Abuse.

I’m glad that Cigar City have several employees that are social media savvy. The potential for abuse in the over-purchase of this second batch also exists where scammers are attempting to forge the silver wristbands. I hope that Cigar City has a way to verify the original ticket purchase along with the silver wristbands to avoid this issue. I feel sure that they will strive to verify the sales of the second batch goes to legitimate ticket holders that missed out on the first Hunahpu’s Day go around.

What’s the future of Hunahpu?

The scuttlebutt is that Hunahpu’s Day is permanently over. Joey Redner of Cigar City Brewing announced he no longer wishes to deal with the headache and problems that have surrounded the event for the past three years. Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout will now go straight into distribution as a seasonal offering of Cigar City, which has both positive and negative consequences. Yes, there’s less headache for the brewery (and less profit margin) but it also creates headaches for regional fans of the beer. With a middleman, distributors are going to want to take their cut of cases of Hunahpu and I can envision local bottle shops receiving anywhere from one to two cases each maximum. Once the bottle shop employees purchase their cut, very few (if any) bottles will actually hit the shelves for sale. Hunahpu, at approx. 16,000 bottles each release, just won’t go that far to make everyone happy. Worse comes to worse, you can start homebrewing your own amazing beers by following other posts in my blog.