Key Lime Pie Mead Wins Judges Choice at Gastrofest 2015

Key Lime Pie Mead Wins Judges Choice at Gastrofest 2015

Harris Meadery Wins!

 gastrofest 2015Jacksonville, FL: On Saturday, March 21st 2015, Harris Meadery brought five gallons of it’s famous Key Lime Pie sparkling mead for sampling at Hemming Plaza Park in Jacksonville, Florida for the GastroFest 2015 brewing competition. Two tasting sessions were offered to the general public between 2:45 pm and 3:45 pm and again at 6:45 pm to 7:45 pm. Over three hundred thirsty event goers lined up on a beautiful warm spring day to sample the works of the best up-and-coming brewers in the north Florida area. In the early serving event, the public was allowed to vote for their favorite beverage out of thirteen different local beers, ciders and meads. Winners of the GastroFest 2015 People’s Choice award went to Eric & Ed Washington for their Muddy Waters Brown Ale with an honorable mention going to Mike & Noel Williams of Three Beauties Brewing for their American Apple Pie hard cider.

The Gastrofest 2015 Judges Choice Award:

green lion festivalLocal professional brewers and celebrity beer judges in the region were invited to evaluate and score the afternoon’s Judges Choice competition hosted by The Beer Apostle Brian Little. The Guest judges on hand were Kevin Burns (Beer:30), Steve Halford (Pinglehead Brewing), Carolyn Graham (Brown Distribution), Glen Weiger (Green Lion Festival), Preben Olsen (Aardwolf Brewing), James Moriarty (Veterans United), and Marc Wisdom (beer blogger). After each ale, cider and mead was tasted and scrutinized by the panel of Judges, Harris Meadery’s Key Lime Pie Mead came out on top with an honorable mention to Eric Lesage for his Imperial Stout. The grand prize included a beautiful medal and a fresh small batch whiskey barrel from Florida’s own Palm Ridge Reserve. I’m looking forward to brewing something magnificent to ferment in the barrel, and then using it again to age something wonderful for tasting in the fall.

What’s next:

green lionWith such positive feedback and high demand from the general public wanting to purchase our products, we are currently investigating taking our meadery to the next level and opening our own brick and mortar (and web) meadery and tasting room. If you enjoyed our meads and wish to speak with us about bringing our products to market as a profitable venture, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us using our feedback form on the main Jaxbrew front page. We think we’re making an amazing, locally sourced Florida product and we can’t wait to introduce it as a regional beverage available for purchase.

gastrofestIn the meantime, several new batches of Key Lime Pie mead are already in the works. After winning both of the largest home brewing festivals in Jacksonville’s recent history, we’ve decided to retire the Key Lime Pie mead from competitions where we’ve already won. Do not worry, there are many other events being planned for the Spring, Summer and Fall season for 2015 and we will be unveiling wonderful new meads and honey wines for future events. We will also be entering our Key Lime Pie mead in larger competitions in support of our local brewer’s guild CASK (the Cowford Ale Sharing Klub) and nationally as time and brewing capacity permit.

So, keep a close watch here on our website and on our social media links for more about Harris Meads!

 The Winning Moment:

 

Harris Meads at Gastrofest Jacksonville

Harris Meads at Gastrofest Jacksonville

Gastrofest Jacksonville is a Foodie Paradise!

gastronomy floridaWe are happy to inform everyone that Harris Meadery will be presenting our Key Lime Pie mead at Jacksonville’s Gastrofest event on Saturday, March 21st in Hemming Plaza Park. Gastrofest will be open from 11:00 am through 10:00 pm. We will be entering our Key Lime Pie into both the public tasting competition and the judges competition during Gastrofest which is hosted by Brian Little of The Beer Apostle. If you would like to try our award winning Key Lime Pie mead for free, please come and see us at the Special Events tent between 2:45 pm and 3:45 pm. This version of our Key Lime Pie mead will be carbonated and presented in the exact same manner as the Green Lion Festival. If you like our mead, please vote for us!

What is there to see and do at Gastrofest Jacksonville?

Per their website, “Gastrofest (seeks) to foster a thriving local food scene in Jacksonville and put the region on the map as a culinary destination. We celebrate Jacksonville’s culinary scene with tastes, talks, films and workshops all day. Buy Taste Tickets or Star Passes to try the restaurants and food trucks throughout the day. Taste Tickets are $1 each and most Tastes are 3 Tickets or less. Four Star Passes get you all the tastes in the park, and Five Star gets you all the Tastes, plus alcohol, a GastroFest Bag and souvenir cup from Friends of Hemming. We’ve also got Kid’s & Education Zone during the day (11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) and a great schedule of free expert speakers and films at the MOCA through the end of fest, workshops at Down the Rabbit Hole, a Homebrew Contest and much, much more.”

What Vendors and/or Sponsors will be at Gastrofest Jacksonville?

There will be a plethora of food, drink and craft vendors at the event. In addition to all of the fine dining available to sample, the main stage will host eight musicians and bands sponsored by D’Land Productions. There will be breakout sessions, speakers, films at the MOCA and a Kid’s Zone just for youngsters.

Current Gastrofest Vendors:

  • Engine 15 Brewing
  • Intuition Ale Works
  • Veterans United Craft Brewery
  • Corner Taco
  • Dig Foods
  • Down To Earth Farm
  • Fresh Jax
  • Trader Hill Farms
  • Bistro AIX
  • Blue Bamboo
  • Brewer’s Pizza
  • Chef’s Garden Catering & Events Planning
  • Culhane’s Irish Pub
  • Flying Iguana
  • Mezza Restaurant & Bar
  • Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails
  • North Beach Fish Camp
  • Orsay
  • Ovinte
  • Tapa That
  • Taverna
  • The Cafe at The Cummer
  • The Candy Apple Cafe & Cocktails
  • The Metro Diner
  • Tres Leches Eatery

How can I get to Hemming Park?

Hemming Park is located at the center of Hemming Plaza at 117 West Duval Street in Jacksonville, Florida. The main plaza itself will be closed off due to the event, but there will be limited metered parking on the streets surrounding Hemming Plaza. The Skyway might be a great alternative transportation source. Please contact the JTA regarding Skyway operations and running times.

 

Craft Brewing Update (03/19/2015)

Craft Brewing Update (03/19/2015)

Things happen fast in the craft brewing world. Here’s the latest bi-weekly Craft Brewing Update on what’s happening in our region and the craft brewing scuttlebutt and goings on around the country:

Jacksonville, FL hosts GastroFest 2015:

Harris Meadery will be offering a free tasting of our Key Lime Pie mead during this event from 2:45 pm to 3:45 pm, and then again from 6:45 pm until 7:45 pm at the Special Events Tent.

gastronomy floridaOn Saturday, March 21st, 2015, GastroJax will be hosting it’s first annual GastroFest festival in Hemming Plaza Park in downtown Jacksonville Florida. GastroFest is a celebration of regional gastronomy, craft and film. Beginning at 1:00 pm through 9:00 pm, area residents can taste their way around the many cuisines offered around the city. There will be craft beers, wines and mixed drinks being presented by Jacksonville’s top brewers and bartenders. Films will be presented at MOCA adjacent to Hemming Plaza throughout the day and over ten bands/musicians will take the center stage throughout the event. Admission is free with tasting tickets for sale for $1.00 each. Unlimited VIP food passes are available for $45.00 and unlimited VIP food & adult beverage passes are available for $85.00.

Where to Park?

Parking around Hemming Plaza Park will be difficult. JTA will be operating it’s Skyway tram during the event which has multiple stops around downtown. This would be an excellent option to park at one of the several Skyway parking lots (such as the one at the Prime Osborne Convention Center) and just ride the Skyway trams to the Hemming Plaza station. GastroFest is also offering a $5.00 discount on it’s VIP tickets for riding the Skyway. Present your Skyway receipt to the information booth when picking up your tickets. You can learn more about GastroFest Jacksonville by clicking here.

Dark Lord Day 2015 Special Release Newsflash:

dark lord variantsDark Matter coffee company has let the cat out of the bag regarding at least one of the special treatments of Dark Lord variants that will be available during Dark Lord Day 2015. One variant will be a Remy Martin Cognac & Dark Matter Coffee Barrel Aged Dark Lord. Three Floyds Brewing will offer special scratch offs during the event and the lucky few winners will win the opportunity to purchase some of the variant bottles. There will be much more to come from Three Floyds about other variants potentially available to scratch off (and possibly golden ticket) winners. Stay tuned.

The Rare Barrel Releasing Ensorcelled:

EnsorcelledThe Rare Barrel is releasing the next beer in it’s Ambassadors of Sour series called Ensorcelled. This is a Barrel Aged Dark Sour beer infused with fresh Raspberries. It seems like everyone is getting in on the Raspberry bandwagon (Lushious, Blushing Monk… we’re looking at you). A four bottle pre-sale will happen to it’s Ambassador members on March 24th at 9:00 am PST. Prices are $30 each for a 750 ml. bottle. Sales will open to the general public shortly thereafter.

 Jester King Releasing  Montmorency vs Balaton:

Montmorency vs BalatonOn Friday, March 20th, 2015, Jester King will be releasing it’s dueling cherry wild fermented fruit ale. Made with copious amounts of Montmorency and Balaton cherries sourced from Michigan, this beer has been aged in American oak barrels and fed to the single celled bugs living on the wildflowers around the Jester King brewery. This beer is limited to three thousand 500ml. bottles and will retail at the brewery for $16.00 a pop (1 bottle limit). These are the same varieties of sour/sweet cherries that are found in several types of cherry meads. With the wild yeasts, I would expect this beer to be just as funky as the other Jester King offerings.

Ninkasi Brewing to release Space Yeast Beer:

Ninkasi Brewing of Eugene, Oregon is set to release it’s first Space Yeast beer. Ground Control is an Outer Space Imperial Stout made with Ninkasi’s proprietary Rockets yeast. Rockets yeast was launched into space on an SL9 rocket on October 23rd, 2014 from the Spaceport America, NM site and recovered at the White Sands missile range. Aged on Oregon hazelnuts, star anise and cocoa nibs, this rich thick stout should prove to be out of this world. Ninkasi Ground Control space beer will be available at Ninkasi Brewing on April 13, 2015 in 22 oz. bottles and on draft.

Alewife: Ennobling Jacksonville Brewing Culture

Alewife: Ennobling Jacksonville Brewing Culture

The story of the Alewife:

craft beer jacksonville“The history of brewing in The United States has a rich tradition which is often overlooked. Prior to the industrial revolution, brewing was largely a home brew activity. In the days before rail cars, refrigeration and rapid distribution, ales were brewed by beer loving families in the home by the masters of their domain, the Wives. When the lady of the house had extra beer to spare, she would often hang a broom over the door of the home to signify she had beer to sell. The sale of home brewed beer was a lucrative source of income in a world that often didn’t offer many financial opportunities for Women in that era. This is the tradition of the Alewife.” – Kelly Pickard, Owner.

Alewife comes to Jacksonville:

beer from jacksonvilleThe Alewife Craft Beer & Bottle Shop is the newest retail location for craft beverages in the Riverside section of Jacksonville. Open in the former Riverside Liquors location on Park Street directly across from the Sun Ray Theater near the Riverside Roundabout, Alewife currently offers it’s customers an all American selection of craft beer, hard cider and wine. The space has been re-purposed into a modern, relaxed, family friendly environment and has both an extensive cold beverage reach-in section which was designed inside of a massive shipping container. The reach in contains beers for mix and match bottle sales along with extensive beer laden wooden shelving for purchasing six packs, larger bottles (bombers & 750 ml) and case sales.

Feeling At Home At The Bar:

craft beer fills jacksonvilleNestled between two massive shipping containers rests the custom designed bar space. Supporting up to six taps at any given time, Alewife has filed for a license to become a consume on premises location, where you can not only purchase bottles of your favorite beverages for sale, but can also purchase growlers of beer and consume your beers right on the spot. On the opposite end of the bar is the other half of the massive shipping container, which has been outfitted with a round table space, restrooms and water fountain. Along the opposite wall, a comfortable cushioned space has been constructed from tables and wooden shipping pallets. The rear of the Alewife shop is decorated in brewing murals and contains picnic table space along with entertainments such as corn hole bag toss.

Alewife & Education:

craft beer riversideFor those that would love to learn more about beer, Alewife is being crewed with experienced Cicerone trained staff. The Alewife Craft Beer and Bottle shop will soon begin hosting brew tasting events where you can learn more about specific beer styles and pairings of beers with fine foods at home. Home brewing classes will also be offered where you can learn every step involved in producing a fantastic tasting beer of your own. Alewife is poised to promote Jacksonville Brewing Culture like no other bottle shop in our area.

 

Family & Pet Friendly:

The Alewife Bottle Shop & Tap Room strives to be much more than just another Jacksonville bottle shop. The owners, Jamie Burket and Kelly Pickard have worked had to ensure a relaxed friendly atmosphere. Customers can relax and come in for a quick pint throughout the day, speak with the friendly staff or pick up something in a bottle or a growler for the way home. If you’re travelling with your pets, don’t hesitate to bring in your furry friends. Alewife would love to make their acquaintance, too.

Where is the Alewife Craft Beer & Bottle Shop located?

The Alewife is located at 1035 Park Street in the Riverside section of Jacksonville, Florida. It is located in the row of shops opposite the Sun Ray Theater and is adjacent to the round about in five points. This week, the Alewife will continue it’s soft opening from Tuesday, March 17th through Friday, March 20th from 12:00 pm though 8:00 pm. At this time, Alewife is only open for bottle sales and merchandise and is not yet consume on premises (no taps or growler fills yet). Stay tuned to Jaxbrew.com for updates on when consume on premises will be permitted and when the taps will start flowing.

 

Craft brewing Update (March 13, 2015)

Craft brewing Update (March 13, 2015)

Things happen fast in the craft brewing world. We have more about Hunahpu’s Day in our previous update here and Jacksonville Gastrofest 2015 here. Here’s the latest bi-weekly Craft Brewing Update on what’s happening in our region and the craft brewing scuttlebutt and goings on around the country:

Central Florida Zoo Hosts Brews Around the Zoo:

brew at the zooSanford, FL: The Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens will be hosting the Brews Around the Zoo event on Saturday, April 11th from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. For the 21 and older crowd, pre-event tickets are $40 per person for all the beer you care to sample. Brew Around The Zoo will also feature select wines, food from multiple vendors, music and live animals from all around the globe. Click here to find out more information. Get your tickets now as the price jumps to $50.00 per person (if available) at the door during the event.

Night Shift Brewing Releases Picasso:

night shift brewingEverett, MA: Night Shift Brewing will be releasing Picasso, their first 2015 Barrel Society beer on Thursday, 3/19/2015. Picasso is a Wild Ale rye beer fermented with strawberry and rhubarb. As a wild sour, Night Shift Brewing is recommending aging this beer for 3-4 years to increase the complexity, or if you’re impatient, consume it immediately. If you like fruit sours, check with your New England contacts and see if they can help you with a bottle or two. That is, if they’re lucky enough to be in their barrel society.

Green Bench Hosts 2nd Annual Foeder for Thought:

foeder's daySt. Pete, FL: Green Bench Brewing in St. Petersburg, FL will be hosing the second annual Foeder for Thought festival on Friday, March 13th at 4:00 pm. There will be over 40+ house and guest taps available at the event and they will be releasing their new Belgian beer bottle line fermented on oak foeders. The beers will also be available on tap during the event.

The following bottles in their St. Peter’s Belgian Line will be available for the first time ever in the tasting room on March 13th:

Saison de Banc Vert
Saison de Banc Noir
Le Banc Belge
Brettanomyces Conditioned Saison de Banc Vert
Brettanomyces Conditioned Saison de Banc Noir
Oak Fermented Sour Farmhouse Blend #1
Oak Fermented Sour Farmhouse Blend #2
Oak Fermented Sour Farmhouse Blend #3

You can find out more information about Foeder for Thought including ticket prices here.

Bells Brewing Sues Micro-brewer Over Trademark:

bells brewing lawsuitIn a typical douche move usually relegated to big corporate beer, Bell’s Brewing of Kalamazoo, MI has decided to sue Innovation Brewing of Sylva, NC over what it considers copyright infringement. According to the Detroit Free Press, “Bell’s has filed a federal action against Innovation over the use of its name. Bell’s says its unregistered advertising slogan “bottling innovation since 1985” could lead to confusion with customers. While the slogan is used on bumper stickers, it’s not present on any of the brewery’s beer packaging. Bell’s also uses a slogan “inspired brewing” that’s been part of the legal complaint that the company believes would be confused with Innovation Brewing’s name.”

Innovation brewing is a 500 barrel per year micro brewer defending itself against the 300,000 barrel per year juggernaut. Size aside, Nicole Dexter and Chip Owen (owners of Innovation Brewing) have retained attorneys to defend themselves in the U.S. Trademark Trials and Appeals Board. “[Their Attorneys] say that Bell’s “bottling innovation since 1985″ slogan is not protected by a registered trademark and has not been used in conjunction with the sale of beer.” The Asheville Brewer’s Alliance has also lent it’s support to Innovation Brewing. If you would like to help, please sign the change.org petition requesting Bell’s end it’s lawsuit against Innovation Brewing.

Starbucks Test Markets Stout Coffees:

Dark Barrel LatteVarious Test Markets, USA: Starbucks has begun test marketing new dark malt flavored coffee treats that mimic the flavors of Guinness stout. Titled “The Dark Barrel Latte,” this coffee confections seeks to capitalize on the coffee stout craze by taking it’s beverages one step further. If brewers can mix coffee into their beers for a pleasant beverage, then why can’t Starbucks mix a little malt into their drinks for the same effect? Genius, I say, although this author wishes Starbucks would’ve chosen a domestic stout. Request one at a starbucks near you.

Cicerone Program Announces New Exam Schedule:

ciceroneChicago, IL: If you’re already a Cicerone certified beer server working in the beer industry, listen up. Cicerone has announced a new exam schedule for 2015 for the Certified Cicerone exam. This would be the level 2 exam under the Cicerone program and it involves two parts: An extensive written exam on craft beer and a tasting portion for identification of styles and off flavors. Various study guides exist online both at the main Cicerone site and through other sources and off flavor tasting kits are available through Cicerone as well as the Beer Judge Certification Program through the American Homebrewer’s Association. Click here for a complete list of exam places and times and click here for their exam registration page.

The Rumor Mill:

  • Avery is set to release the next beer in it’s Botanicals and Barrels program called Raspberry Sour. We’re guessing it’s a barrel aged raspberry sour.
  • The Lost Abbey is releasing it’s first Rum Barrel aged beer, called Santo Ron Diego. A spiced rum barrel aged beer with ginger and orange peel.
  • Cycle releases MTuWedThF Stout series for Tampa’s Craft Beer Week. Stop by cycle brewing to try some Monday (cherry vanilla barrel Imperial stout) or other flavor treatments ready to go (gingerbread barrel aged, coffee barrel aged, etc.). Yum.
  • Crooked Stave is kicking off it’s Spring Artisan Beer Project with a beer called Progenitor: Noir. Progenitor: Noir is a dry hopped dark sour ale with a resinous hops bite.
  • Craftbeerkings.com will be having it’s semi-annual online only craft beer cellar sale starting on March 22nd, 2015 @ 9:00 am PST. Rumor has it that bottles of Cantillon Fou Foune, as well as limited releases and rares from Firestone Walker and Avery will also be offered up for sale.
  • Prairie Artisan Ales is releasing a collaboration with Evil Twin Brewing called Coolship Truck, a spontaneously fermented ale. Limited to 800 bottles.
Craft Brewing Update (March 10th, 2015)

Craft Brewing Update (March 10th, 2015)

Things happen fast in the craft brewing world. Here’s the latest information on what’s happening in our region and the craft brewing scuttlebutt and goings on around the country:

Hunahpu Day 2015:

hunahpu imperial stoutTampa, FL: Hunahpu’s Day is this Saturday, March 14th, 2015 at Cigar City Brewing in Tampa. Limited to 2,000 ticketed guests, this year Cigar City Brewing has put in some serious efforts to prevent scammers from entering the event. The tickets were pre-sold to the event and are hard tickets mailed out by a ticketing company this year. The names on the tickets MUST MATCH your state issued ID (Driver’s Licence) or you will be denied entry. For the entry price of $200, you are guaranteed four bottles of Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout upon exit and can enjoy all of the open taps, beers, games, music and food truck offerings for free. The gate will open at approximately 11:00 a.m. (get in line early) and the event will continue until approximately 6:00 p.m.. Tasting glasses and other schwag will be available from the vendors tents. Re-entry once you’ve left will also not be permitted.

Rumor Mill: The rumor mill is that Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout WILL NOT go to distribution as suggested by Cigar City’s Joey Redner in 2014. Rumor also has it that there are approximately 47 kegs for regional distribution with this batch. The supply of Hunahpu in 2015 will be very limited, inflating its trade value greatly.

Dark Lord Day Tickets Go On Sale This Weekend:

dark lord dayMunster, IN: On Saturday, March 14th, 2015, at 12:00 pm, tickets for Dark Lord Day at Three Floyds Brewing go on sale. Three Floyds Dark Lord is a Russian Imperial Stout that is much sought after in the craft beer community. If you plan to be in Munster, Indiana in April 25th, 2015, you can join the organized madness come rain or shine. Ticket purchases are limited to two per person and the tickets must match your driver’s license. During Dark Lord Days past, rare limited Barrel Aged versions of Dark Lord often become available. Click here to learn more about this season’s Dark Lord Day or click here for the direct link to the purchase page. Set your beer geek chronometers and good luck!

Best Florida Beer Championship 2015 winners:

Tampa, Fbeer championship L: Open to both professional brewers and home brewers across the state of Florida, the Best Florida Beer Championships is a yearly event that kicks off the Tampa Bay Craft Beer Week. Highlights for this years competition include Tyler Singletary with Southern Brweing & Winemaking winning Best Of Show All Beers for his Prickly Pear Raised Bungalow Berliner-Weiss. Other winners included Michael Lukacina of 7th Sun Brewing (four golds) and Mad Beach Craft Brewing (Best of show Cider).

Several Jacksonville breweries and home brewers also did quite well. Aaron Taylor with Pinglehead Brewing won gold for their Mind Drive Porter and Bronze for their Reign of hOPs IPA. Michael Payne with Aardwolf Brewing brought home two silver medals (Styrofoam Pony & Sarah Lovely) and three bronze medals (Stormageddon, Wreck it Rauch & Belgian Pale Ale). Veterans United won a bronze medal for their Buzzin’ Bee Honey Rye Wheat ale, First Magnitude brewing in Gainesville, GA won two silver medals as well as Swamp Head brewing won a silver medal. Jacksonville Home Brewers and members of Jacksonville’s CASK brewing club that took in medals included Jesse Johnson, Shaun Newman, Steve Bloomfield, Mark Slater and Scott Whisler. You can view the complete list of winning home brews here.

Toppling Goliath releases SR-71:

toppling goliathDecorah, IA: Toppling Goliath released two versions of it’s SR-71 American Imperial Stout. The first, a platinum waxed Barrel Aged version and a regular silver waxed version. Currently on sale, these are two bottles per person per day with no on-site holds. They will continue to sell all bottles until each beer is sold out. If you have any contacts in the Iowa area, you might want them to help you out on this one.

The Rare Barrel releases Wise Guise:

raspberry beerBerkeley, CA: The Rare Barrel brewing is releasing Wise Guise this Saturday, March 14, 2014 at 2:00 pm. An oak barrel Raspberry sour beer, Wise Guise is a blend of Rare Barrel’s Ensconced Dark Sour and a golden sour ale, this beer will have both citrus and raspberry flavors in it. It will be available at The Rare Barrel’s tap room this Saturday from 2:00 pm at $24 a pop for a 750ml. bottle. There are no known bottle limits at this time but it is entirely possible that there will be by the release date.

 

east end brewingEast End Brewing releases brews:

Pittsburgh, PA: East End Brewing company in Pittsburgh, PA released three new beers on Saturday, March 7th. Crystal Schip (wine barrel aged sour brown ale), Sketchy (wine barrel aged brett farmhouse ale) and Brett Hop (sour brett/lacto hoppy ale). If you’re a fan of all things sour and/or brett, these beers are for you.

East End Brewing will also release their Gratitude Barleywine and Bourbon Barrel Aged Gratitude Barleywine this Saturday, March 14th, 2015 at 12:00 pm. Purchases are limited to one case each per person per visit. $17 per bottle for the regular, $24 per bottle for the BBA version. Case prices are $204 for the regular and $252 for the BBA.

Coppertail Brewing opens in Tampa:

coppertail beersTampa, FL: Coppertail brewing opened on Friday, March 6th in Tampa, Florida. Located at 2601 E. 2nd Ave. in the Ybor City section of Tampa, “Coppertail is the strange and fantastic that lurks beneath Tampa Bay.  It’s the idea you believe in even though it’s impossible. Kind of like the craft brewing industry going up against the giant mega-brewers. Or like a couple guys putting everything on the line to start a brewery.” Currently offering tap beers, tastings and tours, look for a bright future from the brewers at Coppertail.

Tomoka Brewing signs with J.J. Taylor Distributing

tomoka beersPort Orange, FL: Tomoka Brewing company has signed a new distribution agreement with J.J. Taylor distributing. Famous for their “Elvis,” Peanut Butter & Banana Jelly beer and others offered up on tap, the new distribution agreement means that kegs and eventually bottles/cans of Tomoka’s beers will start to spring up in retail locations in along J.J. Taylor’s distribution network. Look for a Tomoka beers at a watering hole near you!

Big Storm Brewing releases Brushfire

big storm brewingOdessa, FL: Big Storm Brewing in Tampa, FL released their new Brushfire Smoked IPA on March 5, 2015. A part of ther new Brushfire series, the Brushfire Smoked IPA is a heavily hopped (95 IBU) big IPA (10% abv) intensified with cherrywood smoked malt, the Brushfire Smoked IPA is a must-try for fans of the Rauchbier style or anyone that might want to try a smoky imperial IPA. Big Storm Brewing is located at 2438 Merchant Ave. in Odessa, FL.

 

Lickinghole Creek to release Illuminatos:

illuminatosGoochland, VA: Lickinghole Creek brewing is set to release it’s Rum Barrel Vanilla Bean Russian Imperial Stout called Illuminatos on Saturday, March 21st, 2015. Fans of Lickinghole Creek will be able to sample it on site as well as purchase bottles. No word on bottle limits or case amounts. Prices weren’t posted with their update either but I would expect the costs to be inline with their other bottle releases of late ($20-25). The price is a pure guestimation so it wouldn’t hurt to bring extra cash.

Jacksonville Beer Society is here!

Jacksonville Beer Society is here!

florida beer lawsThe Jacksonville Beer Society

The Jacksonville Beer Society is a new trade association being established by local brewers and supporters of craft beer in Northeast Florida. Recently spotted at the annual Riverside Arts Market Beer festival, the purpose of the Jacksonville Beer Society is to support the local brewing industry in the realm of Florida beer politics, new Florida beer laws and the new 64 ounce Florida beer growler law. Their mission statement states “Jax Beer Society is open to fellow North Florida craft beer lovers. This is a forum for a positive sharing of knowledge between those who make, distribute, sell, and appreciate a great pint of local, craft beer. Feel free to share news about upcoming events, beer releases, industry related issues, and more. We encourage you to upload your current tap lists, bottle offerings, and menu changes. Use this forum to connect with other beer lovers to coordinate meet ups, bottle shares, beer trades – the overall goal is to further your passion for all things craft beer.”

florida beer breweryWhy would Florida Beer Politics concern me?

The Jacksonville Beer Society supports local craft beer, wine and mead-making. This organization believes that drinking local beers supports job creation through industry growth in Northeast Florida. Beer tourism is on the rise with several events, festivals and new craft beer venues opening up all over the Jacksonville area. According to a local distributor, in one linear mile on King Street in Riverside, there are more taps of craft beer available there than in any other location in the country.

Just as the lovers of craft beer have helped in the popularity of adult beverages, several short sighted international beer corporations and their distribution networks have worked diligently to block and derail the growth of craft beer in the nation’s largest city (by land area). The Jacksonville Beer Society seeks to counteract these efforts through support, education and raising awareness of issues that affect craft brewing in Florida as a whole.

How can I learn more information about the Jacksonville Beer Society?

You can contact the Jacksonville Beer Society directly at their website (jaxbeersociety.com) or you may find them on facebook. Their website also contains a calendar of events where you can meet local brewers and talk about our local craft beer industry in person.

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!