Recall Notice: Intuition Ale Works recalls entire 2015 Underdark release

UNDERDARK_2_poster-460x710For the past few years, Intuition Ale Works in Jacksonville, Fla. has hosted an annual release party for their highly popular Underdark Imperial Stout. But, this year’s release, the third in the series has met with a snag. In a surprising email released Monday, May 18, 2015, Intuition owner Ben Davis has issued a recall for the entire release of 2015 Underdark.

In the email, Davis sites that testing results indicate that the batch is infected with lactobacillus, a harmless but destructive type of bacteria that causes sour flavors to develop and is used in beers that are meant to have sour characteristics. Lacto, as it is known in beer circles, is a highly aggressive yeast that can easily run rampant in a brewing environment. The infection, Davis says, was traced back to one of the older bourbon barrels used to age the 2015 batch of Underdark.

The brewery has expressed a concern that, because of the lacto infection, the beer in bottles may continue to ferment causing significant internal pressure on the glass and increasing the chance of the bottle exploding. Davis, recommends that unopened bottles of the beer should be stored in a cool place to minimize the rate of fermentation and that unopened bottles should be transported in a box for safety. It is also recommended that bottle should not be left in a car if it will be left alone in the heat for any length of time.

Unopened bottles should be returned to the Intuition tap room at 720 King Street during its regular business hours of 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m Tuesday through Friday and 1:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Saturdays. A cash refund of $15  or $25 tap room credit will be issued per unopened bottle.

Read the entire email from Intuition owner Ben Davis below.

Intuition Ale Works is announcing a total recall of our 2015 Underdark barrel-aged stout. We have found through testing that the 2015 batch contains lactobacillus that is causing unwanted sour flavors to develop in the beer.

Lactobacillus is commonly used to deliberately sour beers like lambics, Flanders reds and other Belgian styles, and our staff has enjoyed tasting the way this year’s Underdark has developed. We traced it back to one of the older bourbon barrels that we used for the 2015 batch of Underdark.

However, we realize that a sour stout was not the intended style of this year’s Underdark, and it is not what you purchased. We are therefore offering a full refund to anyone who chooses to return their unopened 2015 bottles.

The unopened bottles of 2015 Underdark should be returned to the Intuition Ale Works tap room at 720 King Street. We will issue a $15 cash refund per bottle, or $25 Intuition gift card per bottle that can be used towards purchases in our tap room.

Please bring the Underdark bottles to the tap room in person during opening hours (Tues – Fri 3-11pm; Sat 1-11pm). It is illegal for us to accept shipments of beer and the beer could potentially explode during transit through the postal service. No refunds will be issued for opened bottles of Underdark.

In the meantime, please store bottles of 2015 Underdark in a cool place before returning them. We are concerned that the beer will continue to ferment in the bottle which will cause excessive pressure and the bottles could potentially explode, especially if they are stored in a warm environment. Avoid transporting bottles of 2015 Underdark in your car if it will be left unattended in the heat for an extended period of time. To be extra cautious we recommend storing and transporting bottles in a box.

We have found there to be significant bottle-to-bottle variation in lactobacillus content and your bottle(s) of 2015 Underdark may not have developed sour flavors, especially if they have been stored in a cool environment. Please note, however, that the beer may sour as it ages.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. We have recently hired a Quality Assurance manager to avoid repeat incidents in the future and for us to make the best beer possible going forward.

We understand that many of you traveled to Jacksonville specifically for the release of this year’s Underdark vintage so there is no time limit for returning bottles and receiving a full refund or gift card. We deeply appreciate the trust you put in Intuition Ale Works and we thank you for your support.

Ben Davis
Founder, Intuition Ale Works


Posted by on May 18, 2015 in Intuition Ale Works


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DUI, Part VII: Education

Last year my life was forever changed. I was arrested for DUI as I was driving home from a beer festival. As a long-time beer blogger and advocate of knowing when to say when, this was devastating. Over the next few weeks, I will be telling my story in hopes that my experience will resonate with my readers and deter them from taking any chances when their ability to drive after having a few beers may be impaired.

To read this series from the beginning, click here.

classroomIn the state of Florida, the Florida Department of Highway and Motor Safety (FDHMS) is the ultimate authority of who can and cannot drive. They have the right to revoke or suspend the license of any driver for a variety of reasons. They do not require a decree from a judge to levy these punishments and are completely separate from the judicial process. For a person who is arrested for DUI, the FDHMS is more likely than not apt to suspend the driver’s license until certain requirements are met.

A I sat in the offices of my lawyer, Jason Porter, he explained to me that within the next week or so I would be notified of a hearing that will be held by the FDHMS to review the evidence against me and decide whether my license would be suspended. He told me that I did not need to appear at the hearing, but that he would appear on my behalf. At the hearing the police officers involved in the investigation leading to my arrest would be called to testify and that he would have the opportunity to question them. The information gained during this hearing and questioning would help my defense in the court case, but no matter what the outcome of the court case I would be bound by any suspension levied by the FDHMS.

True to my lawyer’s guidance, a few days later a letter appeared in my mail box informing me of the date and location of my FDHMS hearing. I passed the information on to my lawyer and waited to hear from him on the day of the hearing.

Time ticked by slowly that day. As I tried to concentrate on my work my eyes kept sneaking a peek at the clock in the lower right corner of my computer screen. The hearing was scheduled for 9:00 a.m. and the clock seemed to have slowed, grudgingly giving up each minute like a miser tentatively paying a menial worker. When the clock crept past 11:30 a.m. I felt I had aged a year. When the phone finally rang at a few minutes past noon, I gingerly answered it and braced for the news.

“Well,” my lawyer began, immediately causing my heart to sink. “We were not able to keep them from suspending your license. But, it is not the end of the world. You can still get a hardship license.”

A hardship license allows a driver to drive to and from work, school, the doctor, the grocery store or church. It does not allow the holder to drive anywhere for pleasures such as a movie, a friend’s house or, heaven forbid a bar. But, in order to obtain this restricted license, a driver must complete a number of tasks. For a first offense such as mine, those tasks include: completion of DUI school and making an application to the department for hearing for possible hardship reinstatement. But, before a driver is allowed to take the DUI class, they must first go to the Northeast Florida Safety Council (NFSC), pay a fee and complete a Driver Risk Inventory questionnaire designed to determine if the driver is likely to repeat the behavior that got their license suspended in the first place.

I made an appointment to meet with the NFSC and arrived on the date and at the time designated. The man behind the glass partition had the demeanor and expression of many government workers – he would get to me when he was good and ready and not a moment before. I sat at the window – a chair was thoughtfully supplied – as he shuffled papers for what must have been ten minutes and then typed a few characters into his computer. After nearly 20 minutes of silence he finally shoved a sheaf of papers through the slot at the bottom of the divider and told me to sign at the marked spots. I was then told the cost, including the Driver Risk Inventory, is $260.

The class is a two-day, all-weekend affair and the rules are beyond strict. If you are late, you will be denied admission and will have to reschedule your class at an additional cost of $40. If at any time during the class the instructor does not think you are participating, you can be dismissed and you must retake the class at, you guessed it, an additional cost. During the class, you will be subjected to an outrageous amount of data regarding driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  While the information is good, the manner in which it is delivered – think the monotone teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – makes it nearly impossible to stay awake.

None-the-less, there are important points emphasized in the course. For instance, according to government data, during the core hours of 10:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m., more than 65% of speeders are DUI. That is an astounding number! Another statistic states that more than 50% of all DUI arrests occur during those same core hours. And perhaps the most startling statistic is that there are more than 16,000 deaths attributed to DUI annually.

DUIs come with great cost not only to you personally in the form fees, fines and lost time, they also cost our society as a whole. According to the information presented during the class, the cost of alcohol abuse topped $379 billion in 2008. Some of the costs included in that number include:

  • $162 billion to lost productivity
  • $18 billion in healthcare costs
  • $16 billion in alcohol treatment
  • $17 billion in increased insurance costs
  • $29 billion in costs associated with crimes committed while under the influence of alcohol
  • $23 billion in adverse medical problems associated with alcohol abuse

The overall effect of the class is to bring into sharp focus the true cost of impaired driving in the United States. As a deterrent to repeated offence, it seems to be an effective tool. As an exciting way to spend a weekend, it fails miserably and rightly so.

After the class is completed, all students must report to the NFSC for a risk assessment. This meeting I meant to determine an offender’s likelihood to re-offend. The Driver Risk Inventory that was administered on the first visit to the NFSC is used as a comparison against a long list of questions the evaluator asks. In my case, the evaluator admitted to me that he was an ex-offender himself who had three DUIs on his record. As a way to turn himself around he decided to take a position evaluating others who have made the same mistake he did. He allowed that that did not necessarily make him the most arbitrary of evaluators.

The questions were vague and required me to try to recall my drinking habits over the past 30 years. They included such questions as: Have you ever blacked out from drinking? Have you ever had a hangover? Have you ever driven while under the influence without getting caught? Have you ever experienced “lost time” while drinking? The aim of the question is to check for risks associated with repeat offenders. The result of answering these questions more often than not is that the offender will be referred to outside counselling for treatment of alcohol abuse before my hardship license would be granted.

In my case, I answered truthfully. As a young man in college I belonged to a fraternity. As a part of Greek life, there were many parties where drinking heavily was encouraged. Most took place either at our Fraternity House or within a short walk of the house. Driving was not involved. But, that did not matter. Because I answered affirmatively to having blacked out while drinking, I was immediately labeled a high risk for repeated offence – never mind that that blackout had occurred more than 30 years ago.

I was referred out to a “program” run by the Salvation Army, given a phone number of the program leader and told to make contact and attend my first meeting within two weeks. I made call after call to the leader without response. Finally, nearly two weeks after my first attempt to contact him, the leader called me back and informed me of the time commitment and costs associated with the program.

Before he would sign-off on me, I would be required to purchase a program manual for $95 and attend a minimum of 12 two-hour meetings on Saturday mornings. Each meeting also had a cost of $35. The entire program was to cost me 24 hours of my time and over $500. I balked at the cost and contacted NFSC to inquire whether I could go to one-on-one counselling with a provider covered by my health insurance. Grudgingly, they agreed and I made my first appointment.

At the first meeting, the approved counsellor went through a preliminary assessment of my personality style and risk factors. To my great relief, he was not of the opinion that I was a risk – in fact, he was of the opinion that I was a very low risk and that we would only need a few sessions to satisfy the state’s requirements. Of course, before I could be released from the counselling requirement, he would have to submit a report and there were fees associated with that, big fees.

All during this process my lawyer was working on my case. Over the course of months hearings were set, postponed, rescheduled and postponed again. There were issues with getting all the witnesses – the police officers – to court on the same day. After months of delays, a date was finally set for trial and I was called in for a meeting at my lawyer’s office.

At the meeting we reviewed the video taken by the officer during my sobriety tests and discussed strategy. Gary Schumard, the lawyer who would represent me at the trial, presented his plan of putting me on the stand as the final witness of the case. This, he said, would show the jury that I had nothing to hide and allow my natural, good-natured charm to shine. He emphasized that we would not back down from telling the truth and that he was going to call in to question the extended amount of time – over three hours — it took for the police to get me to the breathalyzer even though we were less than two blocks away from it during the entire police investigation.

The days leading up to the trial were tense. While I was confident in my innocence and Mr. Shumard’s ability to represent me, I was still nervous because the outcome of a trial can never truly be predicted. On the Monday before the trial date, I was to appear in court with my lawyer for jury selection.

Sitting in the courtroom, my back to the judge, I watched as the jury pool entered and sat in the long pews of the gallery. I watched as my name and the charges against me were read and observed several of the gathered potential jurors shot disapproving glances my way. Several showed open disgust, others merely shook their head and one showed signs of recognition.

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Posted by on May 8, 2015 in Beer


Kitchen on San Marco combines great beer with great food

Kitchen on San Marco FrontThe area of San Marco Boulevard between the I-95 overpass and Laverne Street used to be a wasteland of boring, vaguely industrial-looking buildings with little in the way of charm or appeal. But, slowly over the past 15 years or so, the area has become alive with restaurants, businesses and attractions. One of the newest is the new eatery, Kitchen on San Marco.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a pre-opening media dinner at Kitchen on San Marco restaurant. As a beer journalist, I was naturally interested in what they had to offer as far as craft beer and was pleasantly surprised to see that they are serious about their offerings. The beer list is heavy with local and regional brews — as it should be — and features a nitro line dedicated to Cigar City’s nitro release program. Current beer offerings are listed on the large black chalkboard-painted wall on the left side of the dining room.

But, the beer list was not the only attraction of Kitchen. The food was spectacular from the charcuterie plate of delicious cheeses and meats to the decadent deserts that afford the perfect ending to an evening out. On our visit the menu was still under development but we did get to try several of the restaurant’s signature dishes.

For me the Pimento Cheese appetizer was a hit served with French Pantry sourdough, while my wife opted for the interesting Pickled Florida Shrimp. I found the pimento cheese tasty and delightful with a pleasing texture contrasted with the crusty sourdough bread. The shrimp however was a little to pickled for my taste and was a bit overpowering.

The next course consisted of soups and salads; I tried the Salt Roasted Beet Salad with Whipped Goat Cheese and Seasonal Vinaigrette and my wife tasted the Florida Baby Greens Salad with Shaved Radish, Soft Boiled Egg, Crouton and Buttermilk Herb Dressing. Both salads were excellent and refreshing with just enough dressing to enhance the fresh flavors of the vegetables.

When our entrees arrived I was treated to a perfectly cooked Steak Frites that consisted of hanger steak and house fries. The steak was tender and juicy while the fries were reminiscent of those I had on a trip to Belgium — crisp on the outside and tender in the middle. My wife had the Pork Belly as her main course and was very pleased with the choice — after all, it is pork belly.

As the meal wound down, we sipped are final brews (Terrapin’s decadent Liquid Bliss for the missus and Barley Mow’s outstanding Unkindness Black Lager for me) and relaxed while waiting for our desserts. It gave us few moments to look around the dining room and take in the decor. As already noted, the left side of the dinning room is dominated by a black board wall with listings of beer, wine, flights and daily specials. The center of the room is taken over by a handsome and inviting bar surrounded by elevated booths. The right side of the room is more intimate with individual tables perfect for first dates and conversations. But, perhaps the crowning jewel of the room is the open show kitchen at the back. All gleaming stainless steel and chrome, the kitchen is a hive of buzzing activity and can easily entertain if conversation lags.

All-in-all, our dinner Kitchen on San Marco was a very pleasant experience and one we will definitely repeat frequently. As a training ground for chefs in training at Culinard, the Culinary Institute of Virginia College in Jacksonville, Kitchen should serve to launch many aspiring food superstar careers.

Now, just in time for Mother’s Day, Kitchen has announced its new brunch menu. Read the official press release below for all the details.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – April 28, 2015– Kitchen on San Marco is pleased to announce it will begin serving Sunday brunch in time for Mother’s Day. Starting Sunday, May 10 the menu features: a fresh farm soup, grilled oysters, fried green tomatoes with a seasonal crab salad, an asparagus herb salad with seared scallops, corned beef hash, tomato pie with cornmeal crust and arugula salad and hanger steak frites. Traditional menu items offered include a whipped Greek yogurt parfait, fresh farm market quiche, French toast with local peach jam, shrimp and grits and a ham and red eye gravy biscuit.

“We are excited to announce that Kitchen on San Marco will now be offering Sunday brunch,” says Eve Markowicz, general manager. “The brunch items and hours should draw in a new crowd and keep our existing crowd coming back for more. It also provides the perfect outing for celebrating Mother’s Day.”

Guests can enjoy Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Jacksonville’s historic San Marco district in the heart of downtown Jacksonville. Kitchen on San Marco is located at 1402 San Marco Blvd. The full brunch menu is available on Kitchen on San Marco’s website.

“We want to present our customers with a delectable brunch option for Mothers’ Day,” says Ryan Randolph, executive chef. “We have worked hard to incorporate fresh, local ingredients to create a delicious and unique brunch menu including traditional favorites and a few surprising entrees.”

Kitchen on San Marco’s menu consists of a wide variety of fresh, contemporary gastropub food and will change seasonally to focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients and regional cuisine. Buying from local producers allows the chefs to offer fresh, bright flavors of the region while providing healthy, high-quality food at an affordable price. A wide variety of craft beers, carefully curated specialty cocktails and a friendly wine list are also offered.

Kitchen on San Marco supports Culinard, the Culinary Institute of Virginia College in Jacksonville, where a team of professional staff and chefs provide a learning lab environment for culinary and pastry art students. For more information about Kitchen on San Marco, visit or call 904.396.2344.

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Posted by on May 1, 2015 in Beer


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Homebrewing a rewarding labor of love

The May 2015 edition of BUZZ Magazine features an edited version of this article in my regular Brew Time column on Page 49. But, since that column was so space restricted, I decided to publish the article in its entirety here. I hope you enjoy both the abridged version in BUZZ and this full version. Be sure to pick up a copy of BUZZ monthly to read my columns that explore the historic aspects of the world’s third favorite beverage (behind tea and water).

Checking_WortHomebrewers are passionate about their hobby. Get in to a conversation with one of them and you will likely get an earful of terms like attenuation, specific gravity and Saccharomyces. Within the community of homebrewers it is not at all unlikely to hear that they spend entire weekends sweating over boiling pots of wort and adding hops to their latest attempt at cloning Pliney the Younger (a mythical and extremely rare beer that every serious beer lover aches to taste).

Until 1979 it was illegal to brew beer at home. President Jimmy Carter, whose infamous brother Billy lent his name to a short-lived beer brand, put an end to the Prohibition-era ban on homebrewing when he signed a bill in February of that year. The new law set limits on how much beer could be brewed at home (100 gallons per year) and how old one had to be to brew it (21-years-old). In the last 30 or so years, homebrewers have come a long way to advance the methods used to create tasty beers. Some have been so successful that they have gone on to found their own breweries and brew pubs. To those enterprising souls, the art of homebrewing was a labor of love that led to a new career in the ever-expanding craft beer industry.

Homebrewing is about two things: ingredients and process. Knowledge of both is critical to creating a drinkable and enjoyable brew.


Water – Tap water is fine, but if you live in an area that has distinctly hard water, you may want to opt to purchase bottled spring water. Since beer is more than 95-percent water, whatever your source, it will affect the finished product.

Malt – The most common malt used to brew beer is barley malt. Malt is any grain that has been allowed to germinate, but not sprout. Malting changes the chemical composition of the grain to convert its sugars and make them more palatable to yeast. This in turn facilitates brewing. Malts provide sweetness to beer that offsets the bitter flavors provided by hops.

Hops – These cones are the flowers of the hops vine. Hops are used to impart bitter flavors to beer and offset the rich sweetness provided by malt. Depending on the type of beer being brewed varying amounts of hops are used. IPAs are generously hopped for a bitter wallop of flavor while Belgian styles generally use a less substantial application.

Yeast – Before the mid-1800s, no one really knew how the alcohol in beer occurred. But, after Louis Pasteur studied the little beasties, it was understood that the single-celled organisms digest the sugars provided by malts and excrete alcohol and carbon-dioxide. In brewing there are two main types of yeast; lager yeast that ferments at cooler temperatures and ale yeast that ferments at warmer temperatures.

BoilTypes of Home Brewing

In homebrewing, there are three primary methods to create a batch of tasty suds: extract, partial mash and all-grain. The best place to start is with extract and then, as your skill grows move on to partial mash and all-grain.

Extract Brewing – This method, as the name implies, uses canned malt extract rather than the actual grains. Because the extract is simply added to boiling water and hops are added, this is generally considered the easiest way to homebrew.

Partial Mash Brewing – This method incorporates using malt extracts with some actual grain. Because of the addition of loose malt, this method requires more skill and is an excellent intermediary step to mastering the art of homebrewing.

All-Grain Brewing – This is the method that craft breweries use and requires the most skill to master. Grains are steeped in water at a specific temperature range and for a designated amount of time to achieve the desired results.

The Brewing Process

The brewing process itself consists of several distinct steps each building on the one before to reach the ultimate goal of a refreshing adult beverage.

Step 1: Sanitation – Beer is extremely susceptible to contamination therefore, to reduce the chance of rogue bacteria from imparting off flavors, all equipment must be sparkling clean. The best way to achieve this is with a commercial sanitizing agent, but a partial bleach solution will work, too.

Step 2: Mashing –During this process malt extract or actual malted grains are added to hot water to convert complex sugars to simple sugars. To achieve the best results, the water often must be held at a specific temperature range. The liquid that results from this stage is called wort.

Step 3: Boiling – In the boil, hops are added to impart bitterness and balance the maltiness of the wort. Depending on the style of beer you are making, you may need just one hop addition or, for hoppier styles, you may have a hops schedule that has hope additions occurring over a period of time.

Step 4: Cooling – One of the biggest mistakes made by new brewers is adding the yeast too soon. Yeast is very delicate and requires a certain environment to survive, if the wort is too warm the yeast will perish. Many brewers will put their wort in an ice bath to cool it rapidly. Ideally ale yeast should never be added to wort that is warmer than 75-degrees. Once cooled, the wort is transferred to a primary fermentation vessel.

Step 5: Pitching – When yeast is added to the cooled wort it is referred to as pitching the yeast. Yeast may come in either dry or liquid forms. Dry yeast should be rehydrated with warm water before pitching while liquid yeast can be added as is.

Step 6: Fermentation – Once the yeast and wort are combined, the process of fermentation begins. Most brewers use a device called an airlock to monitor fermentation; as long as bubbles continue to rise through the airlock, the beer is fermenting. After a week or two the bubbles begin to slow and secondary fermentation can begin if desrired. During this second process, additional sugars and flavorings may be added to create unique characteristics in the finished beer.

Step 7: Bottling – Finally, after all fermentation is complete, beer is transferred from fermentation vessels to bottles or kegs. Often a small amount of sugar is added at this stage so that when the bottles are capped fermentation will start again and carbonate the beer.

Step 8: Enjoy – After several weeks of bottle conditioning, your beer will be ready to drink. Put a few in your fridge, invite some friends over and reap the rewards of your labors!

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Posted by on May 1, 2015 in Beer Education


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Founders Brewing Company honored with beer dinner at Whole Foods Jacksonville

foundersOne of the best known breweries in the world – indeed, a brewery that has two beers on the top 10 best beers list as ranked by in 2013 – is not named what you think it is. If you guessed Founders Brewing Company, you are both right and wrong.  Early beer bottle labels featured a historic black-and-white photo of four local brewers sitting on a large wooden beer barrel. The word “Founders” appeared above the photo. This was homage to the original brewers and breweries of Grand Rapids, Mich. located on Monroe Street, formerly known as Canal Street. Thus, Founders Brewing Company is actually named Canal Street Brewing Company. The brewery does business as Founders due to a misunderstanding of that original label.

But, there is no misunderstanding of the reverence beer-overs have for the Michigan brewery. And, to pay their own respect, Whole Foods on San Jose Boulevard in Jacksonville will host a beer dinner featuring the iconic brewery’s beers.

Founders began life in 1996 as the John Pannell Brewing Company by Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers. The name referred to the first brewer to open a brewery in Grand Rapids. That original brewery opened in 1836 and was operated by Pannell until 1849 when it was sold to German brewer Christopher Kusterer who later consolidated with six other local brewers to form the Grand Rapids Brewing Company.

But, Founders made its mark on the beer world with two iconic and highly-sought brews; Kentucky Breakfast Stout and Canadian Breakfast Stout. The two stouts sit atop many beer-aficionados’ bucket lists and currently reside towards the top of nearly every “Best Beer” list in existence.  In a 2013 poll, listed Founders as the, overall, 3rd best brewery in the world.

Because of the brewery’s stratospheric reputation, Whole Foods, Jacksonville has prepared an exceptional dinner menu featuring pairings with the iconic brews Founders is famous for. The event takes place Thursday, May 14 starting at 7:00 p.m. Below is a peek at the outstanding menu.

First Course:
All Day IPA paired with a Cheese and Charcuterie Plate

Second Course:
Rubaeus Raspberry Ale paired alongside a Beet, Orange and Raspberry Salad with Rubaeus/Ginger Vinaigrette

Third Course:
Red’s Rye IPA alongside Spring Crab Cakes with Citrusy Aioli and Fresh Herbs Fines

Fourth Course:
“Dirty Bastard” Scotch Ale – paired with Beer Braised Short Ribs and Roasted Vegetable Orzo

Fifth Course:
Founders Special Release, paired with a Chocolate Soufflé and Founder’s Porter Reduction

Tickets for the event are $40 and can be purchased at the link below.

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Posted by on April 30, 2015 in Beer Dinner


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Ommegang beer dinner coming to BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse

ommegang dinnerIn the early 1800s, the countryside surrounding Cooperstown, NY became a major source of hops for brewers throughout North America. While German and English hops were still in demand, hops grown in central New York were considered the best in the country and the equal of those grown anywhere in the world. It is on the grounds of a former New York hop farm that Ommegang Brewery decided to build nearly 200 years later. BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse will celebrate Ommegang’s outstanding brews with beer dinners at both Jacksonville locations on Monday, May 11, 2015.

In 1997, Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield, owners of the successful Vanberg & DeWulf beer importing company, along with three family owned breweries in Belgium including Duvel Morrtgat founded Ommeegang on 136 acres site in the Susqehanna River Valley just outside of Cooperstown. The facility, which resembles a traditional Belgian farmhouse, was purpose-built to brew the company’s signature Belgian-style ales in an authentic setting.

In 2003, the brewery was sold and folded in to the portfolio of Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat, the world-famous brewers of Duvel Golden Ale. Under the expert guidance of Duvel, the Ommegagng Brewery has grown by leaps and bounds. By early 2005, production could not meet demand so production capacity was increased by 40 percent over the next year.

Today Ommegang is a respected brewery that produces beers that are consistently rated at the top of beer listings. By way of example, the brewery’s Three Philosophers Quadrupel Ale garners a near perfect 99 out of 100 points on The score is even more remarkable since one of the world’s most famous Quads, Westvleteran VII an Abbey-made brew, scores just one point more on the same site.

For beer-lovers who would like to try several of Ommegang’s brews paired with a delicious meals, BJ’s offers and excellent opportunity. The beer list and menu reads like a dream and is sure to drive the dinner to be a sell-out. The evening consists of eight Ommegang brews paired with four courses.

Course 1:

Ommegang Hennepin Farmhouse Saison paired with Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Palate Cleanser:

Ommegang Hop House Pale Ale

Course 2:

Nit Wit® paired with NEW The Spicy Pig Tavern-Cut Pizza

Palate Cleanser:

Ommegang Gnomegang Blonde Ale

Course 3:

Game of Thrones Valor Morghulis paired with Baby Back Pork Ribs and White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

Palate Cleanser:

Ommegang Abbey Dubbel Ale

Course 4:

Ommegang Rare Vos Amber Ale paired with Salted Caramel Pizookie®

After Dinner Beer:

Ommegang Three Philosophers Quadruple Ale

Tickets are available at the link below and are discounted to $35 for guests that pre-register. Day-of-event tickets are $40.

BJ’s is located at: 4907 Gate Parkway and 15022 Max Leggett Parkway in Jacksonville.

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Posted by on April 29, 2015 in Beer Dinner


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ROK Drinks looking to acquire second Bavarian brewery

ABK_SLIDEROK Drinks, a subsidiary of ROK Stars PLC plans to acquire a second Bavarian brewery due to a forecast of high demand for German-style beers. In a press release out today, the widely diversified company states that the, “…heritage of Bavarian beer is vital in the successful marketing of our beer.”

The company’s first German brewery acquisition was of Aktien Brauerei of Kaufbeuren a 700-year-old brewery. Renamed ABK by ROK Drinks, the brewery pioneered the use of only the finest ingredients to include only the finest barley and hops as well as the purest local waters nearly 200 years before Duke William IV enacted the declaration in 1516 known as The German Beer Purity Law or “Reinheitsgebot”.

Learn more about ROK Drinks and ABK Bavarian Beer at the following links:

Read the entire press release below.

LOS ANGELES, April 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — ROK Drinks, the beverages division of ROK Stars PLC, has today announced that, following successful export sales of its ABK Bavarian Beer into key markets around the world including China, the US, Singapore, France, Italy and Spain, that it will begin its search to acquire a second Bavarian brewery to meet the forecast capacity of future export orders.

Commenting, Jonathan Kendrick, Chairman of ROK Stars said, “It’s very exciting that since we acquired the majority interest in the historic 700 year old Aktienbrauerei Kaufbeuren brewery in 2013 and re-branded it as ‘ABK Beer – Since 1308′ we’ve already achieved repeat-order export sales in many of our target key markets, against huge competition in the heritage and craft beer market from the major brewery groups. We now believe the time is right to add a second Bavarian brewery to our production portfolio to meet future demand.”

ROK Stars PLC was co-founded by John Paul DeJoria, known as ‘America’s favorite entrepreneur,’ and Jonathan Kendrick. John Paul DeJoria is best known as the co-founder of Paul Mitchell, the largest privately held hair care business in North America, as well as being co-founder of Patron tequila, the world’s Number 1 premium tequila brand.

“The communicable narrative of the heritage of Bavarian beer is vital in the successful marketing of our beer in the most important markets. It’s something beer fans can really buy into and now we’re looking to add further volume and capacity to meet future forecast demands, while increasing beer production efficiencies across the board,” added Kendrick.

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Posted by on April 29, 2015 in Beer News


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