Category Archives: Beer Tasting

Jax Beer Week — Day One

jaxBeerWeek2013Pele’s Wood Fire: Bell’s Brewing Co. Beer Dinner

In little over a year, Pele’s Wood Fire has established itself as a true destination restaurant. With over 50 craft beers on tap and many more in bottles, it has also proven itself as a gourmet eatery that is truly plugged in to what its guests are seek. So, it is not a surprise that they are opening this year’s Jax beer Week with an extravagant dinner paired with beers from Bell’s Brewing Co.

The menu, prepared by Chef Micah Windham, features his trademark flair for using organic ingredients with an artisan’s flair.

First Course

Prosciutto basil and tomato sandwich, beer cheese dip paired with Bell’s Amber ale.

Second Course

Arugula shaved fennel salad, spiced candy pecans, grapefruit segments, Oarsman vinaigrette served with Bell’s Oarsman a tart German style beer.

Third Course

Banana leaf wrap trout stuffed, beer bacon risotto, butter sauce paired with Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.

Fourth Course

Brown butter seared gnocchi duck confit, beer duck demi, shaved parmesan reggiano served with Bell’s Best Brown Ale.

Fifth Course

Ravioli with buffalo ragu, fresh tomato, garlic oil, basil, hand-pulled mozzarella paired with Expedition Stout.

Sixth Course

Hanger steak with Tuscan fries and a third coast malt shake, “Steak & Shake.” Paired with Third Coast Old Ale.

Seventh Course

Double Cream Stout infused vanilla pot de crem, beer candied nuts, baked cocoa nib meringue served with Bell’s Double Crème Stout.

The cost for the dinner – if tickets are still available — $75 per person including tax and gratuity.
Reservations must be made by calling 904/232-8545. Only 40 seats available.

Brewer’s Pizza: 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Brewer’s will host a night with Grassroots Natural Market. The guys from Grassroots of Riverside will come out and drink some brews, rub elbows and pour some beers for sampling.

M Shack

All week the burger wizards at the Beach’s M Shack will be featuring beer and burger parings. You could eat there every day, all week and still not have them all! But, from the looks of the menu, you sure will wnat them all.

M Shack daily specials include both beer and food combined:
  • Shipyard Monkey Fist IPA paired with Asian Burger, Sirracha Cole Slaw and Hoisin BBQ sauce & pepper jack cheese $9.95
  • Cigar City Maduro paired with Truffle Portobello Burger with Bacon Smoked Gouda and Sherry Glaze $12.45
  • Sea Dog Blueberry paired with super kale salad, apples, avocados,pecans, raisins, ginger garlic dressing $12.45
  • Narragansett Lager paired with classic combo with all beef Hebrew national hotdog $9
  • Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout paired with The Medurable: cheeseburger topped with foi gras and caramelized onions $24.95
  • Julian Cider paired with the Rooster and the Pig sandwich: marinated chicken breast, smoked ham and an over easy egg. $18.50

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Jax Beer Week is almost upon us

jaxBeerWeek2013Last year the inaugural Jax Beer Week proved that Jacksonville is a town ready for a premier beer event. This year marks the event’s second year and finds a line-up of Tap takeovers, dinners, tastings and beer specials that is sure to please even the pickiest of beer aficionados.

While the list presented below is by no means comprehensive, you can get an idea for what is going on. Friend the Springfield Brew Crew or Jax Beer Guy on Facebook for details on new events as they become available. You can also follow Sprbrewcrew or JaxBeerGuy on Twitter.

Monday, April 1

Pele’s Wood Fire

The ever creative Chef Micah at Pele’s Wood Fire is throwing down a with a sumptuous meal paired with Bell’s Brewery beers. The Dinner features seven courses paired with seven delicious Bell’s beers.

Cost for this spectacular meal is $75 per person including tax and gratuity. Non-refundable deposit of $25 per person is required. For reservations call (904)232-8545. Only 40 seats are available, so reserve early.

Brewer’s Pizza 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Brewer’s will host a night with Grassroots Natural Market. The guys from Grassroots of Riverside will come out and drink some brews, rub elbows and pour some beers for sampling.

Tuesday, April 2

Brewer’s Pizza 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Florida Beer night with special guest Carolyn Graham from Brown Distribution. Brewer’s will be featuring taps from all of their favorite local breweries and others from all over Florida.

Beer Specials

Solids & Stripes, Mellow Mushroom – Fleming Island, and Taps – Fleming Island

Wednesday, April 3

Beer Specials

Aardwolf Brewing Co., Grape & Grain Exchange, The Grotto, Hurricanes, European Street – San Marco, Northstar Substation, Underbelly, Burro Bar, 1904, Burrito Gallery, Fionn MacCools – Landing, Olio

Thursday, April 4

Dahlia’s Pour House

The gang at Dahlia’s will be offering thirsty Jax Beer Week revelers $4 IPAs.

Bold City Brewing Co. 7:00 p.m to 11:00 p.m.

The crew at Bold City are treating their guests to a Florida Tap Takeover featuring spectacular brews from across the great state of Florida. The tap list includes:

Cask & Larder                         Black Ale (Winter Park, FL)

Big Storm Brewery                  Wavemaker Amber Ale (Odessa, FL)

Due South Brewing                  Roasted Cocoa Stout (Boynton Beach, FL)

7venth Sun Brewing                Graffiti Orange (Dunedin, FL)

Tequesta Brewing Company    Terminally Ale and Irish Red Ale (Tequesta, FL)

Cigar City Brewing                  Humidor Series IPA (Tampa, FL)

Pensacola Bay Brewing           Lil’ Napoleon IPA (Pensacola, FL)

Florida Beer Company             Gaspar’s Porter (Melbourne, FL)

Grassroots Natural Market 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Grassroots will host a Jacksonville Beer Tasting featuring Ben Davis owner and brewer at Intuition Ale Works who will bring a special cask brew. Also at the tasting will be a cask brew from Green Room Brewing in Jacksonville Beach.

Beer Specials

Intuition Ale Works, Kickbacks Gastropub, Pele’s Wood Fire, Broudy’s, Beer:30, European Street Riverside, Black Sheep Restaurant, O’Brother’s

Friday, April 5

Green Room Brewing Co. 4:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight

Florida Mega Tap Takeover with over 50 Florida beers. Breweries that will be represented at the event include:

Cigar City Brewing 7venth Sun Due South Brewing Swamp Head Brewing Saint Somewhere Pensacola Bay Brewery Tequesta Brewing Intuition Ale Works Pinglehead Brewing Co. Mile Marker Brewing Engine 15 Brewing Co. Cocoa Beach Brewing Three Palms Brewing Florida Beer Company And more…..

Also 17 Green Room Brewing beers on tap including:

Quetzalcoatl Many versions of the Count And much more

Engine 15 Brewing Co. 12:00 noon to 12:00 midnight

The Engine 15, Engine 15 Tap Takeover. The guys at the Engine have been working hard to make this year’s Jax Beer Week event special. What better way to do that than to take over all their taps with all their own beers – 51 of them to be precise, plus one in a firkin.

Beer Specials

Mellow Mushroom – Southside, Seven Bridges, Total Wine + More, Broudy’s – Ponte Vedra, Monkey’s Uncle, European Street – Jax Beach, Mellow Mushroom – Jax Beach, Lynch’ Irish Pub, The Brick, Royal Palm Village, Island Girl, ABC Liquor, Wine Warehouse, Poe’s

Saturday, April 6

Grand Tasting 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.

The culmination of Jax Beer Week is the Grand Tasting that will take place downtown in conjunction with Community First Saturday in front of the Times-Union Center on the Northbank Riverwalk. The tasting will feature over 30 beers including many from Florida. Also enjoy the Food Truck Skyway Crawl and live music.

Bands and performance times are:

12:30 p.m.       Canary in the Coalmine

1:30 p.m.         RickoLus

2:45 p.m.         Four Families

DJ E. Lee 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., between sets, and 3:30 p.m to 4:30 p.m.


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Grape & Grain Exchange hosting tasting of Highland collaboration brew

grapeandgrainThe bustling area of town known as San Marco has long been a destination for great food and wine. But, a new establishment is adding craft and import beer to the mix. Robert Smith, a self-proclaimed “foodie” who has been in the restaurant business since 1987 has opened a new concept for the Jacksonville area with his Grape and Grain Exchange in San Marco Square.

The shop is a hybrid of a package store and a bar. Patrons can choose a bottle of craft or import beer from the cooler and either take it with them or drink it on premises from a clean class presented by the bartender/cashier. But, do not mistake this for one of those package store/bars that are sprinkled around the area and take on a seedier look, this establishment is high-class all the way. The interior is features clean lines, and subdued decorating. Wooden shelves display the small-batch spirits, fine wines, and craft beers that are available and a bookcase in the back of the store contains recipe books that Smith refers to for more esoteric drink requests.

Soon, that bookcase will also serve as the portal to the first speakeasy in the Jacksonville area since perhaps the days of Prohibition. Smith, ever vigilant of hot trends around the country, wants to take advantage of the craft cocktail bars and speakeasy movement that is sweeping the nation. Combine that with the craft beer craze and Smith thinks he has come up with a winning combination.

Tomorrow night, Friday, January 25, Smith will play host to Highland Brewing Company and 7venth Sun Brewing Company for a special tasting of a collaboration between the two breweries. Called Trailblazer, the brew is a 7.7% ABV Belgian-style porter made with raisins in the boil as well as almonds, cacao, and dried cherries in the fermenter. The tasting is $10 and includes tastes of all of Highland’s year round beers as well as one of the first pours of Trailblazer.

The tasting begins at 6:00 p.m. and does not require a ticket. Grape and Grain Exchange is located at 2000 San Marco Blvd.

Keep up to date on all the beer happenings and news going on in town by joining our newsletter mailing list at the ALL NEW

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Posted by on January 24, 2013 in Beer, Beer Tasting, Pubs


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European Street to give away servings of Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA for free

Every once in a while a brew attains legendary status. Beers such as Westvleteren 12, Three Floyds Dark Lord, and Russian River Pliney the Younger are all legends in their own rights. These beers take the art of brewing to unimaginable heights and, when they make their rare appearances, send beer aficionados into absolute spasms of joy.

So, when I received a private Tweet yesterday from my friend, and the owner of the European Street restaurants locally, that he had a special beer tasting coming up on November 13 my ears perked up. Especially since he said he is going to give the brew away free to 65 lucky ticket-holders.  This, my friends, is big.

What beer will be tapped and served to those lucky few on that Tuesday night in November? None other than the devilishly hard to find Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA. But that is not the end of the story. Not only will European Street on Park be pouring tis legendary brew, they will be pouring it through a Randall full of hops!

Perhaps a bit of back story is needed here. Dogfish Head founder Sam Calgione, set out to create the world’s hoppiest beer and succeeded with 120 Minute IPA.  The brew is boiled for two full hours while being continuously hopped to bring out the bitterness and then dry-hopped daily for a month. Finally, the brew is aged for another month on whole-leaf hops to provide a staggering 120 IBUs. The additional step of running the beer through a Randall (essentially a device that allows the finished beer to run through even more hops) will amp the IBUs up even more to unknown levels. By comparison, the popular macro lagers or the world clock in at about 7 IBUs.

This is a tasting you do not want to miss.

In order to learn more about how you can get one of the 65 available tickets, simply log in to Twitter and follow European Street’s feed at @estreetcafe. More information will be released – a little bit at a time – over the next few weeks.

Keep up to date on all the beer happenings and news going on in town at the ALL NEW

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Posted by on October 26, 2012 in Beer, Beer Styles, Beer Tasting


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Samuel Adams wows at Total Wine Tasting During American Craft Beer Week 2012

My vixen pouring Sam Adams' The Vixen.

My vixen pouring Sam Adams’ The Vixen.

Samuel Adams, born in 1722 in Boston, Ma., was an excellent and very popular politician, a very poor business man, and an unsuccessful brewer. Which begs the question, why did Jim Koch name his brewery after this historic figure? Koch named his brewery Samuel Adams because Adams was a revolutionary – literally, a Boston legend, and mostly because, like Koch, he inherited his brewing legacy from his father.

The Samuel Adams Brewery story begins all the way back in 1870’s with a recipe Koch’s great-great grandfather, Louis Koch, had made at his brewery in St. Louis, Missouri. After more than 100 years, Koch resurrected the brew in 1984 and in 1985 began brewing and marketing Samuel Adams Boston Lager to Boston bars and taverns. The brew gained a foothold and word spread of the flavorful beer being made in Boston.

Koch’s timing could not have been better since in just a few short years he was able to open a small brewery. Within ten years there were many more small breweries around the country, the craft beer revolution was in full swing. Jim Koch and a small group of others had started a new revolution, just as Samuel Adams did more than 200 years before.

During American Craft Beer Week 2012, Total Wine in the St. John’s Town Center hosted a tasting of some of Samuel Adams’ lesser-known, but utterly remarkable brews. Some of the brews are so rare that they had never been tasted in the state of Florida before. Blake Skebe, representative for Samuel Adams introduced each with several interesting notes and obvious enjoyment. Just two years ago, Skebe explained, Samuel Adams produced only 40 varieties of beer – no small feat in and of itself. This year, however, the venerable brewery is on track to produce well over 85 different brews to delight its fans far and wide.

Among the brews sampled were:

Norse Legend, a Sahti-style brew with hints of juniper berry brewed from a recipe gleaned from a barrel of the same style beer found intact in the hold of a sunken Viking ship.

Griffen’s Bow, a huge Blonde Barleywine with complex caramel malts, a hint of vanilla, and pronounced alcohol flavor.

The Vixen, chocolate bock never tasted like this! The aroma and first sip reveals smooth and rich chocolate characteristics from roasted malts and dark cocoa nibs. But, the ending has a spicy kick form the addition of cinnamon and chilies. This brew earns its name.

Perhaps the best brews, though, were from the extremely rare Barrel Room Collection.

New World Tripel Belgian-style ale brewed with Sam Adams’ proprietary yeast, Kosmic Mother Funk. This yeast strain yields a fruity, crisp ale with herbal and spicy notes.

Thirteenth Hour defies categorization. It has the dark richness of a stout, but the funky sour notes of a Belgian-style brew thanks to Kosmic Mother Funk. The aroma teases with hints of coffee and chocolate, the flavor is complex with notes of raisins, cherries, and rum. Aged on oak tuns for up to a year, this is a truly exceptional brew.

Samuel Adams, the historical figure was a strong advocate of independence. He believed that we should live free from tyranny, and in freedom. Samuel Adams the brewery has similar beliefs when it comes to beer; we have the right to freedom from the tyranny of the mega brands and the right to great-tasting beer.


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American Craft Beer Week, Day 4

American Craft Beer Week is half over, but that does not mean that the events are slowing down. There are still plenty of great things to do and beers to taste. Here are the events for today.

Total Wine & More, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Samuel Adams Portfolio Tasting

Total Wine in the St. John’s Town Center is a paradise to craft beer lovers. There you can wander aisle after aisle of craft beers and find something that is truly special. On Thursday you can also try some portfolio selections for Sam Adams that you might be hard pressed to find any other time.

Mellow Mushroom Southside, 4:30 – 6:30 pm
Sierra Nevada Tap Takeover

Another heavyweight of the craft beer world is taking over some of the almost 50 taps the Mushroom in Tinseltown. Expect to find some truly awesome brews like Bigfoot and Kellerweiss along with many others.

The Monkey’s Uncle Tavern, time TBD
Beer Dinner

Details are still being worked out for this event, but you can bet it will awesome. Get your tickets at the Uncle and prepare yourself!


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American Craft Beer Week 2012, Jax Update, Saturday May 12

New information for American Craft Beer Week events keeps coming in and, as promised, the details are available here.


Intuition Ale Works, 6:00 – 11:00 pm
The Party 50 Years in the Making

Tonight is the night for this major blow out – my 50th birthday! Come by Intuition to enjoy the new Son of a Badge Honey Pale Ale brewed specifically for this event. In addition try some of the other new brews recently added like Siren a black lager with a peppery kick brewed by the ladies of Intuition. Also look for Fog Lights a lightly smoked ale that is just right for a warm evening, and the new Hoppy Belgian Blonde that boasts the funky Belgian flavor you expect with a slightly sweet, malty finish.

May 14-20

Brewer’s Pizza, all day
Pinglehead Brewing Specials Brews

Brewer’s will be featuring several special brews on tap all week to commemorate American Craft Beer Week. Included in those special brews is Ambitious Monk aged on Oak Whiskey Chips (this one’s been in the works for months), along with a very special run of Moon Dance, three different Tribal Rite Pepper Porters, Mint Black hOPs, and Strawberry Le Rouge. Hurry in and try these great special brews.

Tuesday May 15

Seven Bridges Grille & Brewery, 5:00 – 10:00 pm
Tapping Party

Seven Bridges will be tapping their new MacGRYEver ale, a deep red ale brewed with rye and Cascade hops. Pints will be $3 all night, with $1 from each sale supporting the American Diabetes Association‘s Tour de Cure. There will also be a pig roast ($5 donation) and live music.

Thursday, May 17

Total Wine and More, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
“Taste the Revolution with Samuel Adams

Boston Beer representative Blake Skebe, will be at Total Wine to guide you through the special selections now available from Samuel Adams. There will approximately 8-12 beers to  sample. Most will be from the company’s recent release of special selections like Cinder Bock, Verloren Gose, and Legend Sahti.

There will also be two beers that you just cannot miss the Sam Adams Barrel Room Collection. Never heard of them? Well because they are extremely limited production and have never been sent to Florida before. These brews are considerably more limited than Sam Adams’ other limited run brew Utopia.

This is a VIP event that requires a ticket and reservation. $20 per person.

Check back here often for more information on American Craft Beer Week events.