Beer Delivery? There’s an App for That.

drizlyIt’s happened to all of us. You’re all set to throw a rockin’ backyard party when you realize you forgot beer. You’re scrambling to get the yard ready and the guests will be arriving any minute. You don’t have time for a beer run. That’s when the plethora of new beer and alcohol delivery services can really save the day.

National players like Drizly, Minibar and Instacart let buyers order brews online or through an app and have purchases delivered a short time later. Even brewery giant Heineken is jumping in the fray.

Drizly got its start when then-college students Nick Rellas and Justin Robinson asked the age-old question: “Why can’t I get beer delivered?” The answer, they found after an all-night Google search, was that it was legal—except no one actually did it. A light bulb went off in their heads: Drizly was born. That was 2012; six years on, the company services more than 70 markets in the U.S. and Canada, including Jacksonville. Drizly partners with local liquor stores to deliver the brew, charging consumers a fee.

A year after Drizly’s launch, rival service Minibar hit the streets. Founders Lindsey Andrews and Lara Crystal launched in New York City where nearly everything is delivered, except alcohol. Identifying a potential opportunity, the two developed an app and went to market. Unlike Drizly, Minibar does not charge consumers; instead, it collects a small percentage of the sale from its retail partners. Minibar also offers bartender-booking service in a few markets.

Instacart is better known locally for its grocery shopping and delivery service through Publix supermarkets, but it’s also pleased to deliver alcohol if the need—or desire—arises.

The services work like most other online delivery services. Download an app, put in a credit card number and address and start shopping. Once you have what you want in your cart, pay and wait for delivery.

All these services require someone at least 21 years old to be present to accept delivery. For most, the delivery person will ask for a valid state ID and require the consumer to sign for the beer. (Drizly actually scans the ID with a proprietary in-app tool to check its validity.) If no one there is 21 or older to accept delivery, the items are returned to the service’s retail partner and a hefty cancellation fee is levied on the customer’s credit card.

Why have alcohol delivery services come to the forefront now? For the retailer, it’s a way to get product out the door without customers actually going to the store. And, with more than 75 million millennials now old enough to drink, the ease of using an app to buy and get delivery of booze as effortlessly as ordering an Uber is very attractive.

So the next time you find the ol’ beer fridge emptying out, consider getting a few six-packs delivered. Oh, and put some clothes on before the delivery person rings the bell.

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Posted by on July 20, 2018 in Beer


6 Essential Tips for Scoring Great American Beer Festival Tickets

To many beer-lovers, the Great American Beer Festival is the end-all, be-all of beer festivals. It is the epitome of what a beer festival should be and beer nirvana all rolled into one massive event. It is also a very difficult ticket to purchase and, once a ticket is procured, an even more difficult event to navigate.

With just  two months until the 2018 festival, this year’s event takes place September 20-22, you’re going to need a plan for attending. Tickets go on sale to the general public August 1 at 12:00 noon Eastern Time through AXS.

Last year, tickets to the GABF 2017 sold out in mere hours. That means you have to put some serious effort into getting your entry media. Fortunately, there are several ways you can give yourself an advantage over the unwashed masses.

  1. Mark your calendar and take time off.
    Since tickets go on sale on a Wednesday morning, if you work regular hours, you might want to take the morning off. You’ll know by 1:00 p.m. if you have tickets or not, so if you want to work the afternoon, just take a half day. Or, if you want to celebrate (or, heaven forbid, commiserate), take the whole day off and have a few beers in the afternoon.
  2. Check your account.
    A few days prior to the sale date, log in to AXS and make sure all of your information is up-to-date. Keep in mind, that if you do get through and get a chance to purchase tickets, you will only have a few minutes to complete your transaction. Nothing is more depressing than getting through and finding out that the credit card you have on file is expired.
  3. Get membership benefits.
    Consider joining the American Homebrewers Association. Members of the AHA can purchase GABF tickets a day before tickets go on sale to the general public. This is a huge advantage and practically assures you to score tickets. And, with membership to the AHA costing as little as $38 a year, it is a good investment. Not to mention you will get a whole host of benefits including six issues of Zymurgy, the Association’s magazine, discounts and, of course, early access to GABF tickets.

    IMPORTANT: If you decide to join the AHA to score tickets to GABF, be sure to do so before Wednesday, July 18, 2018 11:59 pm MT.

  4. Log in early.
    The interweb is going to be packed on the day of GABF ticket sales and this often means lag. By connecting early you increase your chance of getting through and avoiding long lag times that could cause your browser to crash. Plan on being online at least 45 minutes or more ahead of sale time.
  5. Enlist your friends.
    The Beatles famously said that they, “Get by with a little help from my friends.” Getting tickets for GABF is just the situation you want to put this phrase to work. Since each person that gets through can purchase up to four tickets, get your friends to help with the chase. If you have four friends that want to go, get all of them on their computers trying like mad. If just one of your cabal gets through and succeeds in acquiring tickets, your mission is accomplished.Pro Tip: Be sure all of your friends have AXS accounts and make sure they log in to check their status a few days prior to the sale date.
  6. Refresh as if you life depended on it.
    If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. This is particularly true in this instance. You are battling thousands of other hopeful attendees for the few coveted GABF tickets that exist. If you get an error, just keep refreshing. With luck, you will hit refresh at the precise moment an Internet connection opens and your GABF dreams will come true.

If, after doing all of the above, you still do not manage to grab tickets, there are secondary markets. Sure, you’ll pay more for the tickets, but if you really want to go, that may be your only outlet. Just stay away from Craigslist and any other unverified ticket agency. You do not want to be the guy that shows up at the door with a counterfeit ticket and be denied admission.

Watch for more articles on how to get the most out of your GABF experience.

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Posted by on July 13, 2018 in Beer, Beer Festival


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British Innovation

curiouser0418Brewers are always looking for new ways to tantalize your taste buds. It seems like every few days, there’s a new style that mashes up several traditional styles. These machinations have inspired brews like white IPA, a cross between Belgian witbier and American IPA, and farmhouse IPA, a blend of farmhouse ale with IPA. Now two British breweries have created new twists on beer.

Newcomer Curious Brewery, just a short train ride from London in Ashford in Kent, is owned by Chapel Down, one of England’s premier winemakers. While the main production brewery and restaurant complex are still under construction, the brewery is producing several beers with its own take on traditional brewing.

Perhaps the most interesting is the Curiouser & Curiouser series of limited-edition beers. The series enlists the help of brewers from around Britain, all with a nod to the winemaker. The first in line, Curiouser & Curiouser Chapter 1, is Bacchus sour ale blended with wild-fermented chardonnay. You read that right: They’re mixing beer and wine to make a hybrid.

The wine-beer admix is produced in collaboration with The Wild Beer Co., about 30 miles west of Stonehenge. Brewers there worked closely with winemakers at Chapel Down by barrel-aging the beer with chardonnay and Bacchus wine yeast. The result? A complex sour beer with aromas of citrus, nuts and vanilla.

The literarily astute have surely already recognized the name Curiouser & Curiouser; it was taken from and inspired by Lewis Carroll’s most famous book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The packaging even includes the inscription: “Drink Me: Every adventure requires a first sip!” Subsequent brews in the series will be titled and themed to chapters in Carroll’s book.

Another British brewer is tackling the weighty topic of food waste. Toast Ale is produced in association with Wold Top Brewery and uses the ends of loaves of bread to brew delicious beer. The creator, food waste campaigner Tristram Stuart, got the idea after visiting a brewery in Belgium that was doing the same. He teamed with English sandwich-making companies to obtain the unused heels of the loaves.

The innovative idea is a partial solution to a food waste issue involving some 24 million slices of bread thrown away each year in England alone. The bread replaces one-third of the grain used in the mash process. The resulting beer is said to have a slightly sweet caramel flavor, but it’s still very similar to other beers.

Using bread in brewing is nothing new. More than 4,000 years ago, Babylonians used bread as a fermentable for beer. Wold Top modernized the practice for the 21st century.

Last year, Stuart brought his Toast Ale recipe to New York City and, with help from Chelsea Craft Brewing Company in the Bronx, produced the ale. It was served at Tribeca Film Festival in conjunction with the premiere of Anthony Bourdain’s documentary Wasted! The Story of Food Waste. To support his mission, Stuart has vowed to donate 100 percent of his profits from the beer to his foundation Feedback.

Those are just two recent innovations in the brewing industry; I, for one, can’t wait to taste the next big idea.

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Posted by on July 13, 2018 in Beer


Main & Six Brewing Company Wins Gold

mainandsixIn less than a year since opening, Dennis Espinoza co-founder and brewmaster at Main & Six Brewing Company in the Historic Springfield neighborhood of Jacksonville, Fla. has garnered a gold medal at one of craft beer’s most prestigious competitions — the U.S. Open Beer Championships. The brewery’s American Brown Ale, Handsworth Brown Ale took the honors.

“This competition is significant because it accepts entries from breweries around the world and allows national winning homebrews to compete,” said Dow Scoggins, director of the U.S. Open Beer Championships in a press release. “Also, two college breweries took home medals at the U.S. Open. Niagara College won 2 golds and American Harvest Brewpub at Schoolcraft College brought home a gold and silver medal.”

Judges in the Open are only told the style of beer they will be tasting and scoring. They were not told what beers they taste. This year there were beers entered in 117 categories.

Main & Six beat out, Meddlesome Brewing Company of Tennessee that earned a silver medal and fellow Florida brewer West Palm Brewery that earned a bronze medal in the category.



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Posted by on July 13, 2018 in Beer


Drinking without the Gluten


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For many of us, drinking beer is a simple pleasure that’s easily—and frequently—enjoyed. But what if you had a disease that kept you from that delight? What if your body actively revolted from just one locally brewed beer? Sadly, there are many who have this very problem. They suffer from wheat allergies, gluten-intolerance or, worst of all, celiac disease.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that prevents a person’s system from digesting gluten—a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Since most beer includes one or more of these grains, celiac sufferers should not drink regular, gluten-laden beer. If they do, they risk torment from a host of issues ranging from migraine to intestinal damage.

Though many think of celiac disease as a modern affliction, mentions of it are in texts dating to First Century A.D. Greek physician Aretaeus of Cappadocia wrote of patients with “the coeliac affection.” One modern theory says that before agriculture was practiced, man was a hunter/gatherer who ate mostly fruit, nuts and, occasionally, meat. As Neolithic man began learning how to grow and cultivate plants, grains in the form of bread (and beer) became part of his diet. Some people grew sick consuming them; 8,000 years later, Aretaeus identified these individuals as coeliacs.

What can a beer-loving person—with a gluten intolerance, allergy or celiac disease—do? Fortunately, brewers are producing gluten-reduced or gluten-free beers without sacrificing great taste.

One such brewery is Omission Brewing Company of Portland, Oregon. Since 2010, Omission has been putting its product through a special process to remove gluten, making them safer for those with gluten sensitivities. The process introduces an enzyme that breaks down gluten protein chains, resulting in a brew with fewer than 20 parts per million, a level considered safe for celiacs by the Food & Drug Administration.

“Omission started out as a passion project after my wife was diagnosed with celiac disease,” said Omission Brewmaster Joe Casey in a press release. “I remember the day she took her first—and second!—taste of Omission and, ever since then, Omission has been winning consumers over for its great taste.”

Indeed, Omission has won multiple awards for its four gluten-reduced beers at the Great American Beer Festival and other prestigious contests. Omission brews light golden ale, pale ale, IPA and lager.

Stone Brewing Company and Dogfish Head Brewery, among others, have dabbled in creating gluten-removed and even truly gluten-free beers. In addition, products such as hard cider and mead (but not braggot) are gluten-free.

It’s important to note that the method used to produce gluten-reduced beer is somewhat controversial in that it does not remove gluten. Instead, it breaks gluten down in smaller pieces that—theoretically—shouldn’t affect those with sensitivities. Though true for some afflicted with celiac disease, it’s not true for all. The best course? Make your own decision about drinking these beers, possibly after diligent research.

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Posted by on July 6, 2018 in Beer


Traditionally Speaking

Adirondack-Bottling-WorksSince the first days of beer’s long and glorious history, there have been customs and traditions surrounding its consumption. Beer has been the center of religious rituals, the main libation consumed when an opponent lands a ping-pong ball in your cup, and a feature of a lot of interesting practices in between.

The poem Epic of Gilgamesh offers an account of how beer has been a part of religious tradition since the dawn of civilization. The tale is one of the first-known stories of how society and beer entwine with religion. In it, the hero, wild man Enkidu, lives among the animals until a priestess is sent to lie with him. For seven days and six nights they do the wild thing; afterwards the priestess feeds him bread and gives him beer to drink. After he eats and has his fill of beer, the priestess declares him civilized, saying, “Thou art wise, Enkidu, like unto a god!” The story is essentially an allegory for how beer and good lovin’ tamed wild man and ushered in civilization.

In another ancient story—Homer’s The Iliad—Hector’s mother starts a tradition by telling her son, “Pour a libation to Zeus.” Over the years this turned into the custom of toasting and pouring a beer or other drink out to honor those who cannot be there, whether they be merely absent or have passed on.

On the subject of toasting, don’t expect a Hungarian to clink glasses. The custom was abolished after they lost the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 to the Austrians who were said to touch glasses to celebrate their victory. Subsequently, the Hungarian people swore not to clink glasses for 150 years. Though that deadline has passed, it’s still considered impolite.

Germans have a tradition of drinking beer from a large glass boot; shouts of “Das boot!” are common at many drinking halls and bier gartens. Legend has it that a Prussian general promised to drink beer from his boot if his soldiers were successful in battle. When the troops won handily, the general called upon a glass blower to craft a boot to celebrate.

South of the equator in Peru, beer drinking is a participatory social event. Peruvians friends gather in a circle around a table with a shot glass on it. The first person in the circle shouts to buy a bottle of beer then fills the shot glass. They pass the bottle to the next person in the circle, drink their shot and pour any remaining froth on the ground, then put the shot glass back on the table. The ritual continues until the bottle is empty.

For hearty drinkers, the Czech Republic’s custom of refilling your glass whenever it’s empty will certainly test your limits. Bartenders at Czech bars will continue to fill your glass until you either fall over drunk or place a coaster on top of it.

Drinking customs and traditions are woven into the very fabric of civilization. These are just a small sampling of how beer is enjoyed around the world. Why not start your own tradition next time you enjoy a cold one?

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Posted by on June 29, 2018 in Beer


Wicked Barley partners with Florida juice company

unnamedIn a press release posted Thursday, June 28, Florida juice purveyor Natalie’s Orchard Island Juice has announced its partnership with Jacksonville local brewery, Wicked Barley. The company’s juices are used in several Wicked Barley beers. FOr full details read the full press release below.

Fort Pierce, FL – June 28, 2018:  Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company announced today that Jacksonville, Florida-based Wicked Barley Brewing Company has chosen Natalie’s for its renowned high-quality citrus in crafting select Wicked Barley craft beers this summer. Wicked Barley prides itself on using local, fresh ingredients in its handcrafted brews – making Natalie’s a natural choice for the homegrown partnership between two Florida companies.

 The new craft beers incorporating Natalie’s clean label juices are:

  • Natalie’s Blood Orange IPA: A refreshing summertime beer, brewed with fresh Natalie’s Blood Orange Juice and zest from fresh blood oranges and lemons. The crushable 6.5% IPA is a celebration of all things Florida and can be enjoyed on tap during the summer months at both Wicked Barley’s bar and Keg & Coin, Jacksonville’s video game bar.
  • School in the Summertime: A refreshing summertime lemon shandy made from tropical American wheat, brewed with lemon drop hops, and mixed with Natalie’s Natural Lemonadeduring the pour.

“We’re really excited to have discovered Natalie’s Juices,” said Wicked Barley co-owner and brewmaster, Philip Maple. “Their juices bring the exact, true, citrus notes we were looking for when crafting our special ales for summer. The lemon shandy has been so popular with our customers, we’ve had to return to production for additional brewing time!”

 “Our minimally processed, minimal ingredient juices let the fruit do the talking,” said Natalie Sexton, VP of marketing and namesake of Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company. “And it’s that authentic citrus taste that makes our award-winning juices enjoyable on their own, in cocktail recipes, and in this case, as part of a wonderfully refreshing Wicked Barley summer ale. We love this collaboration and the opportunity to introduce craft beer lovers to our family of distinct, squeezed fresh juices.”

Natalie’s Blood Orange IPA and School in the Summertime Lemonade Shandy will be available on tap throughout the summer at the Wicked Barley Brewing Company, 4100 Baymeadows Road, Jacksonville, Florida.

 For the brewery’s two-year anniversary, Wicked Barley is having an all-day celebration featuring a Natalie’s shandy bar on July 28th from 11am-11pm. Attendees can pick their favorite Natalie’s juice to mix with their beer. The event will also feature live music, food, swag and of course, cold Wicked Barley brews!

 About Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company

Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company is a woman-owned and family-operated business that has been committed to producing only the highest quality, authentically fresh juices for the past 30 years.  All of Natalie’s juices are squeezed fresh in small batches using hand-picked fruits and vegetables from Florida Farmers or American growers. The juices are distributed in 32 states across the U.S. and over 41 different countries worldwide.

About Wicked Barley Brewing Company

Founded in 2014, Wicked Barley Brewing Company is an award-winning waterfront craft brewpub in Jacksonville, Florida. Wicked Barley offers a large selection of beers ciders and meads brewed on premise. With 20 taps to start, there is a large assortment of Wicked Barley brews to choose from, as well as a few rotating guest taps that showcases some of the best craft breweries from around the state and country.

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Posted by on June 28, 2018 in Beer