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Riverside Craft Beer Festival returns with new format, plenty of beer

cupsNow in its fourth year, the Riverside Craft Beer Festival presented by the Riverside Rotary Club continues its tradition of raising funds for worthy charitable causes. This year the event will benefit Community PedsCare® a nationally recognized program of Community Hospice which provides comfort, care, and support for children with life-threatening conditions, as well as the charitable causes of the Riverside Rotary Foundation. Last year the event raised nearly $95,000.

The event began several years ago, when Chris Croft, then the president of the Riverside Rotary Club, noted that the golf tournament they had been sponsoring to raise funds was becoming stale. He tossed out the idea of a beer festival and enlisted the help of Ben Davis, a member of the club and owner of Intuition Ale Works. The idea began to grow and the club approached the organizers of the Riverside Arts Market (RAM) about using their space under the Fuller Warren Bridge as a venue for the event. RAM officials liked the idea and agreed to allowing the festival to set up under the bridge.

“In the first year,” Co-Chairperson of the festival Matt McLauchlin explained. “We only had half the space and poured the beer ourselves because the festival was an unknown quantity. Now we have all the local distributors on board.”

Over the years, the format of the festival has changed. In the first few years, guests had to purchase beer tickets. This year, for the first time, the festival is going to a one price format that allows attendees to sample as many beers as they would like for a single price. General admission tickets purchased online before the day of the event are just $36 plus handling charge. If you wait until the day of the event, tickets are $40 at the gate.  VIP tickets are also available for $50, but are only sold online and are extremely limited. VIP tickets allow access to all beers an hour before General Admission guests.

“We are ahead in ticket sales this year,” McLauchlin said. “With the weather looking like it is going to be great. It’s almost like a Chamber of Commerce event. We expect to sell out.”

This year the festival has enlisted the help of all the major beer distributors in the Jacksonville area as well as some smaller distributors and entities. According to McLauchlin, there will be more than 150 beers available to festival guests for sampling. And, as capacity warrants, more may be put on tap.

“We were talking about it the other day,” said Croft, Co-Chairperson of the event. “Our event has grown to the point that is on the radar of distributors when they are planning out their year.”

What that means is that when ordering beers throughout the year, distributors are keeping the Riverside Beer Festival in mind.

“It has become a real thing,” Croft said.

Beer at the event this year ranges from hyper-nano brews from up-and-coming local breweries like Hyperion Brewing Company and Main & Six Brewing Company to imports like Delirium Nocturnum and Straffe Hendrik. For non-beer drinkers, Harris Meadery will be at the event serving their delicious mead along with several craft hard ciders.

“There are a lot of Bourbon Barrel Aged beers this year,” Croft said. “One I am particularly excited about is Boulevard Collaboration No. 6. It’s a collaboration blended beer between Boulevard and Firestone Walker with Boulevard’s Bourbon Barrel Quad and Imperial X Stout mixed with Firestone Walker Stickee Monkee and Velvet Merkin.”

In addition to great beer, the festival will feature music from Grandpa’s Cough Medicine making a return to Jacksonville from their new home in Asheville, N.C. The band’s first set is scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m.

To help with the inevitable beer fest munchies, several of the area’s best food trucks will be on hand serving some of their best dishes.

“I think we are in sort of a golden age of craft beer right now.” McLauchlin said. “I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I think the event has staying power.”

The Riverside Craft Beer Festival takes place Saturday, February 25. The event opens to VIP ticket holders at 3:00 p.m. and General Admission guests at 4:00 p.m. Tickets are $36 plus handling charge online and $40 at the gate for General admission. VIP tickets are only available online and are $50 plus handling charge. Online tickets can be purchased through the event website at www.riversidecraftbeerfestival.com. The event ends at 7:00 p.m.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2017 in Beer, Beer Festival

 

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New Belgium La Folie marks its 20th anniversary

2017_la_folie_22oz_bottleSour beer lovers look forward to the annual release of New Belgium‘s La Folie with puckered lips. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the superbly blended beer. Get all the details about it from the official press release below.

Ft. Collins, Colo. – February 20, 2017 – This year marks New Belgium’s 20th year for making sour beers, which first launched its wood beer program in 1997 with La Folie. The award-winning sour ale’s 2017 version is now available and continues the sour ale tradition thanks to the craftsmanship of New Belgium’s blending team.

Every year, Eric Salazar, New Belgium’s Wood Cellar Manager, and Lauren Salazar, New Belgium’s Sour Beer Blender, coordinate a blending of various foeders (oak barrels) to make La Folie a winning interpretation of a Flanders-style sour brown ale.

“We’ve been blending and experimenting with sour wood beers for two decades and as the name La Folie implies it’s always with a touch of eccentric madness,” said New Belgium Spokesman, Bryan Simpson. “We combine multiple barrels based on continual tasting to create a combination that is just right. Once again, the crew nailed it this year.”

The 2017 La Folie is a sharp, tart sour ale full of green apple, deep cherry, dark chocolate, and tannin-like plum skin notes. It’s 7% ABV and available in both 22-oz. bombers and on draft.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2017 in Beer, Beer Releases

 

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Rogue distributes award-winning 6 Hop IPA

6hopipaRogue Ales has always been an innovator in sustainable brewing practices. For years they have grown their own hops reducing the need to truck them in from commercial growers. Now, the brewing geniuses who brought us Beard Beer have canned an IPA that contains six different, brewery-grown hops. Learn more about Rogue 6 Hops IPA in the official press release below.

INDEPENDENCE, Ore. (Feb. 21, 2017) — In a dedication to Mother Nature, Rogue Ales has canned 6 Hop IPA to take this farm-grown beer back outside.

The six proprietary hop varietials chosen by Brewmaster John Maier to craft 6 Hop IPA were grown on Rogue’s 52-acre hopyard in the heart of the Willamette Valley. Field-guide-style illustrations on the bright green can depict the hops inside. From ground to glass to gold, 6 Hop IPA was awarded a gold medal at the 2016 World Beer Championships.

“It’s like having a piece of the farm in your hand,” said Rogue President Brett Joyce. “The aroma reminds us of the farm during hop harvest and the new cans are perfect for getting outside and wandering among the bines of the hopyard.”

6 Hop IPA’s big, beautiful bite is now available in 12-ounce can six-packs, 22-ounce bottles and on draft worldwide

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2017 in Beer, Beer Releases

 

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Narragansett to distribute shandy just in time for FLorida just in time for summmer

narragansett-dels-shandy-6-packOn a hot Florida summer afternoon there is perhaps nothing more refreshing than an ice-cold sweet and tart shandy. In case you are not familiar with this delicious hot-weather adult treat, take a look at my “I Know Jax” segment or previous blog post on the subject.

This summer, one of the best shandys will be coming to Florida just in time for sipping after a hot afternoon mowing the lawn or lounging in the sun on the beach. Narragansett Beer is expanding distribution of its popular Del’s Shandy to the sunshine state.

Get more details in their press release below:

Narragansett Beer is excited to announce that its popular summer beer Del’s Shandy is now available in Florida. This mash-up between the iconic New England brewer and Del’s Frozen Lemonade gives drinkers a taste of a quintessential New England summer. The beer blend of ‘Gansett’s award-winning Lager with Del’s tart lemon concentrate creates the perfect thirst-quenching brew for when the weather gets hot.

The runaway New England summer hit is the highest rated major lemon shandy in America, according to BeerAdvocate users. Brewed under the supervision of celebrated Brewmaster Sean Larkin, the blend provides an effervescent, citrus blast backed by just enough sweet malt to keep it from becoming too sour.

At 4.7% ABV and 14 IBUs, Del’s Shandy is best served in backyards and on sunny beaches. It’s available in six packs of 16-ounce tallboy cans ($8.99-$9.99 SRP) and 12-packs of 12-ounce cans ($13.99-$15.99 SRP).

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2017 in Beer, Beer Releases

 

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Stone releasing new IPA and returning favorite

jindia_6pack_frontStone Brewing Company is not a brewery that rest on its laurels. It is constantly developing new and exciting brews that consistently blow the collective minds of beer lovers the world over. It is not surprising then that they announced two more releases on February 14, one new and one a returning favorite.

The first, Stone Jindia Double IPA, is a double IPA, instilled with botanicals like ginger, juniper berries, lemon peel and lime peel. The inspiration for the brew comes from ingredients traditionally found in gin.

The returning beer is Stone Pataskala Red X IPA, a red IPA brewed with a unique malt called Red X from Germany-based BESTMALZ.

Read more in the official press release below:

ESCONDIDO, CA (February 14, 2017) – Today, Stone Brewing announces two seasonal additions to its 2017 lineup of offerings with the brand new Stone Jindia Pale Ale, and the return of the much loved Stone Pataskala Red X IPA.

Making its debut as a Stone Imperial Seasonal, Stone Jindia Pale Ale is a double IPA, instilled with ginger, juniper berries, lemon peel and lime peel. The botanicals mix miraculously well with a double dose of the most delectable hops.

Steve Gonzalez, Stone’s Senior Manager of Small Batch Brewing & Innovation, jumped at the chance to create this beer as he had experience in his former job making gin blends. And he absolutely nailed it. The beer has the hop-forward component of a great IPA and also the complexity of aroma and flavors derived from gin botanicals.

“Our co-founder, Greg Koch, came up with the idea of an IPA with gin botanicals after we had done the Stone & Sierra Nevada NxS IPA, which had a portion of the beer aged in gin barrels,” said Jeremy Moynier, Senior Innovation Brewing Manager. “Along with hops, we added ginger, juniper berries, lemon peel and lime peel to create a truly unique beer.”

Returning for a second year, Stone Pataskala Red X IPA, is a red IPA brewed with a unique malt called Red X from Germany-based BESTMALZ. The beer features a backstory as vibrant as its hop bill. This specialty seasonal red IPA was first brewed in September 2015 as a fundraising beer to support music and arts education programs in Pataskala, Ohio, where co-founder Greg Koch grew up.  People loved it, so it was added to the 2016 beer lineup and the name stuck. Rarely used in hoppy beers, the special German malt variety is typically reserved for German amber lagers, Irish red ales and other mildly-hopped beers. But that’s not the Stone way.

“We loved this beer and knew we had to bring it back this year,” said Moynier. “It’s a challenging beer to brew on the big scale with the amount of hops and Red X malt that we use. But I think when you taste it you will know it’s worth the effort! It has a beautiful balance of hops and malt and definitely makes you want to have more than one pint!”

Mosaic, Amarillo and Cascade hops provide this red IPA with an upfront fruity and piney aroma, transcending into stone fruit flavor and pleasingly lingering bitterness. Brewed with late hop additions and generously dry-hopped, the 7.3 % ABV beer is incredibly hop-forward, yet balanced by very unique cereal notes and biscuit undertones from the Red X malt. When all the ingredients are combined, this IPA showcases the signature qualities of classic hoppy Stone beers: citrusy, herbal, balanced just right.

Beginning today, both will be will be available in 12-ounce six-packs to retailers and on draft at restaurants and bars where Stone beer is sold.

STONE JINDIA PALE ALE

QUICK FACTS

Name: Stone Jindia Pale Ale
Stats: 8.7% ABV, 70 IBUs
Availability:  Seasonal 12-ounce bottles in six-packs and draft, available now
Hop Varieties: Magnum, Cascade, Centennial

TASTING NOTES

Appearance: Copper and deep gold.

Aroma: Fresh botanicals combine with a ton of citrus. Fresh fruit, lemon, juniper, ginger, spruce, and slight caramel can be found on the nose.

Taste: Flavors of citrus, berries, juniper, ginger, red fruit and hop resin. The flavor components blend together nicely leading to a hop backbone and a strong finish.

Palate: A complex beer with a strong mid-palate leading up to a smooth, warm finish.

Overall: A truly unique beer combining the attributes from a citrusy IPA, balanced with botanicals reminiscent of gin. The flavor components meld nicely in this big, but well-balanced, beer.

SUGGESTED PAIRINGS

A full-bodied beer with immense balance and a lot going on with the citrus, citrusy hops, spicy ginger and fruity juniper. Tons of pairing potential with this beer. Pair with hearty soups, stew, and salad, just about any type of fish served with a squeeze of lemon or lime, roasted and herbed meats, and fresh or dried red and dark fruits. With the citrus and ginger combo, this beer screams to be paired with sushi.

STONE PATASKALA RED X IPA

QUICK FACTS

Name: Stone Pataskala Red X IPA
Stats: 7.3% ABV, 75 IBUs
Availability:  Seasonal 12-ounce bottles in six-packs and draft, available now
Hop Varieties: Amarillo, Cascade, Mosaic

TASTING NOTES

Appearance: A beautiful beer! It pours deep amber with ruby red highlights and a tan head.

Aroma: A blend of dank, herbal and citrus hop aromas dominate, followed by a nice low-level toasted malt character.

Taste: The hops come across very citrusy, followed by a bit of dankness and stone fruit, then the malt flavors provide a nice balance and layers of complexity.

Palate: Dry and moderately bitter.

Overall: The flavor is mild, not intense like other red malts, but unique and adds a great component to a hoppy beer.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Chips and salsa, grilled cheese crostini, Pho, tomato bisque, Stone World Bistro & Gardens Bruschetta BLT, Kansas City barbecue, margherita pizza, miso ramen, Apple pie, raisin oatmeal cookies.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2017 in Beer, Beer Releases

 

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Florida Craft Beer Day to celebrate state’s local breweries

floridacraftbeerdayFlorida Craft Beer Day is set aside to celebrate the diverse and rich craft beer culture that is flourishing from Key West to Pensacola. And the date chosen, February 15, is of historical significance. The date harkens back to 1896 and Florida’s first locally-owned brewery, Florida Brewing Company or Ybor City.

Organizers of Florida Craft Beer Day encourage all Floridians to drink local today by choosing a beer brewed within the state of Florida. In addition, to spread the word as widely as possible, the hashtag #FLCBD2017 has been created. Use the hashtag on Twitter tweets, Instagram photos and Facebook posts.

Florida Craft Beer Day events are occurring across the state, check the official website for details.  While there are no official events happening in North Florida, First Coast beer lovers can still participate by heading to a local brewery, tap room or restaurant and ordering a Florida beer.

To locate a brewery near you, use the interactive map located at this link:

www.brewmastersclub.club/locations

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2017 in Beer, Beer News

 

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Alpine Beer Company releases new IPA, canned brews for first time

alpine-windows-up-ipaSan Diego, Calif. is home to many highly regarded breweries. Alpine Beer Company is among that elite group. Started in 1999 in the small suburban village of Alpine, Calif. — so named for its resemblance to an 1880 resident’s home town in Austria — in the Cuyamaca Mountain foothills, Alpine Brewing Company focuses on diversity and has garnered a national following thanks to the popularity of their Pure Hoppiness and Exponential Hoppiness IPAs. The brewery has also won two Great American Beer Festival and two World Beer Cup medals.

Going in to the new year, the brewery is adding several new products to their lineup including their first-ever canned offerings as well as a new single IPA called “Windows Up”. Windows Up is available now while the canned beers will be available early summer 2017.

Get all the details in the press release below:

February 14, 2017 – San Diego, CA
Diving into 2017 with broad US distribution, Alpine Beer Company announces three new, year-round beers will be added to their front line. In addition, the brewery is planning four limited-release offerings which will be available exclusively in the Alpine Tasting Room. The releases include two canned offerings – a first for the brand. Twelve-ounce cans of Willy Wheat Ale and Truck Trail Ale (an American Pale) will hit select markets in early summer. In addition, Windows Up IPA already began shipping to retailers nationally in January, and is quickly becoming an Alpine bestseller.

“In addition to offering Alpine beer in cans for the first time, I am especially excited for our newest IPA addition, Windows Up, to hit the market,” says Alpine Head Brewer, Shawn McIlhenney. “It’s got big hop aromatics and a really bold flavor profile with very little bitterness; this beer is a home run.”

About Windows Up IPA

Windows Up is a single IPA made with Mosaic and Citra hops. It pours a hazy straw color and is topped with bright white beer foam. Piney aromas mingle with fruity notes, while hints of citrus fruit and an overall lingering resinous quality lend a touch of complexity to this dank IPA and is 7% ABV.

About Truck Trail Ale

Truck Trail is named for the Anderson Truck Trail in Alpine, CA and is a tribute to rural American back roads where locals go for off-roading and other shenanigans. This American Pale Ale features a balanced blend of Cascade and Centennial hops. It pours a golden yellow with an eggshell colored beer foam and its bold hop-bitterness is perfectly balanced by a mellow, malty sweetness. Dominant notes of fresh pine needles and zesty citrus rind make this a classic example of the style. Truck Trail will be available in 6-packs of 12oz cans and is 5.5% ABV.

About Willy American Wheat Cans

An old-school recipe and beloved Alpine classic, Willy is a light, crisp, and refreshing American Wheat Ale featuring a prominent wheat backbone and Amarillo hops. Its pale-hued liquid contrasts beautifully against the bright, white beer foam. Hints of clean orange zest and lemon rind are balanced by an approachable wheat character, making this a refreshing and flavorful choice for craft beer lovers and newbies alike. Willy will be available in 6-packs of 12oz cans and is 5% ABV.

In addition to the new releases, the Alpine Beer Company portfolio consists of the following full-time, front line beers: Duet IPA, Willy Vanilly American Wheat Ale with Vanilla, Mandarin Nectar Orange Blossom Honey Ale with Orange Zest and Coriander, Hoppy Birthday Pale Ale. They will release their Double IPA, Pure Hoppiness for a limited time in November of 2017. Cult-favorite, Nelson IPA will be available on draft only, with small batches slated to be brewed and released as a “special editions” throughout the year.

McIlhenney is also focused on the production of four limited-edition Alpine beers that will release in the Tasting Room throughout the year, featuring classic Alpine fan-favorites and innovative new brews. The first release slated for March is Exponential Hoppiness Double IPA, followed by Bad Boy Double IPA in the Spring. In the fall, they will release a Bourbon barrel-aged version of the Imperial Porter, “Token” and are also planning to debut a wine barrel-aged fruited sour towards the end of the year.  These in-demand offerings will be available via bottle release events on a first-come, first-served basis.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2017 in Beer, Beer Releases

 

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