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Rare Fernetic to make a First Coast appearance

Fernetbottle-4Forbidden Root Brewing Company beers have been available in Jacksonville for a while now, but the brewery’s unique Fernet-Branca inspired beer, Fernetic, has not made it south from Chicago – until now. In a press release, the brewery has announced that a limited amount – three kegs total – of the collaborative brew will hit Florida in three separate special tapings.

Fernet-Branca is an Italian digestif that is made from 27 herbs and spices such as rhubarb root, saffron, and wormwood among others. Forbidden Root deconstructed the beloved herbal bitter herbal spirit – also known as an amaro — and then reconstructed it into a limited-edition beer that hints of coffee and peppermint on the nose, offers complex flavors and a soft roastiness in its dark-colored finish.

First created in 1845 using a secret blend of 27 flowers, herbs, roots, and plants thought to have beneficial properties, Fernet-Branca is widely considered to be the quintessential digestif from Italy. Supporters of the 39% ABV potent potable swear that is has the ability to alleviate fatigue, relieve food bloat and cure hangovers.

Inspiration for the beer brewed by Forbidden Root came when the Count Eduardo Branca – a sixth generation member of the digestif’s founding family – visited the Forbidden Roots brewery and struck up a conversation with head brewer and operations manager, BJ Pichman. After a number of samples, the idea of a collaboration was floated out and Branca jumped at it.

For details on how you can get a taste of this unique and extremely rare collaboration, read the official press release below.

Chicago, IL—(June 8, 2017)—Fernetic, a collaboration between Chicago’s Forbidden Root Brewery and Fernet-Branca, will see limited distribution throughout the state of Florida. This highly sought after craft beer is Fernet-Branca’s first foray into craft beer. With help from the Branca family, the Forbidden Root team deconstructed the beloved Italian digestif and reconstructed the legendary family recipe into an unforgettable craft beer for Amaro and beer lovers alike.

At 8.4%, Fernetic is an exotic, spicy and complex beer from quality ingredients such as rhubarb root, saffron, and wormwood, among the selected botanics of the 27 herbs and spices found in Fernet-Branca. With hints of coffee and peppermint on the nose, Fernetic offers complex flavors and a soft roastiness in its dark-colored finish. Bitter notes build to a spicy, creamy middle and dry woody finish.

“I am extremely proud of Fernetic, a craft beer inspired by my family’s Fernet-Branca recipe that dates back to 1845,” says Edoardo Branca, the sixth generation Branca family member now managing the Fratelli Branca business in the U.S. “Our goal was to find a way to translate the Fernet-Branca experience into beer and Forbidden Root was the natural partner to make this happen. Amaro and craft beer fans alike will now get to experience something that has never been done before – the first collaboration of this kind for both Fernet-Branca and Forbidden Root.”

“Collaborations are always an opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and build off someone else’s creative energy,” says Forbidden Root head brewer BJ Pichman. “With Fernet-Branca, we were working with a nearly 175 year-old recipe, a body of very distinct flavors and a bitterness factor that is not usually present in beers. Our team really enjoyed the creative challenge of working to make a delicious, uncommon beer while keeping true to the flavors and history of the Fernet-Branca recipe.”

Fernetic will be launched at the Ice Plant Bar in St. Augustine, FL on June 21. A cocktail competition will run from 3-5 p.m. preceding the 5 p.m. Fernetic tapping. The event will give attendees an opportunity to taste the unique collaboration brew, meet Fernet-Branca and Forbidden Root representatives, and enjoy Fernet-inspired cocktails.

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2017 in Beer, Beer Releases

 

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RateBeer sells minority stake to AB/InBev subsidiary, reactions mixed

ratebeerIn a climate that can only be described as “highly-volatile,” Anheuser-Busch/InBev has made yet another acquisition. But, this time it is not a craft brewery that the beer giant has purchased. This time a division of AB/InBev known as ZX Ventures has taken a minority interest in one of craft beers most venerable institutions: RateBeer.com. The sale took place in October of 2016 and was announced to the public and RateBeer users Friday, June 2, 2017.

For those unfamiliar with RateBeer.com, it is a website were craft beer lovers can document and rate beers they have tasted. Since the site first went online in May of 2000, millions of beer reviews have been posted on what the owners call the, “premier resource for consumer-driven beer ratings.”

ZX Ventures is a “global disruptive growth group, incubator, and venture capital team,” as described by the company’s website. The goal of the company is to gather consumer data to better anticipate their future needs. This goal is accomplished by mining data from various sources including RateBeer and other sources from all over the world.

The question that is on many people’s minds now is whether RateBeer can fulfill the mission it espouses on its website: “Our mission is to provide unbiased, consumer-driven information about beer and breweries and to enhance the image and worldwide appreciation of beer.” According to RateBeer owner, Joe Tucker, they can.

“ZX Ventures,” Tucker said in an announcement about the sale. “Has the utmost respect for the integrity of the data and the unbiased service we offer to the entire community and industry.”

Tucker goes on to explain that the integrity of RateBeer’s computational methods and reliance on crowd-sourced reviews, “Obviously won’t and cannot change.” He says that RateBeer has a large and loud membership and a data transparency initiative to ensure data will not be manipulated in AB/InBev’s favor.

But, at least one craft beer brewer, Dogfish Head Brewing Company’s Sam Calgione, isn’t buying it and has already spoken out regarding RateBeer’s move.

“We believe,” Calgione said via Dogfish Head’s blog. “This is a direct violation of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics and a blatant conflict of interest.”

Later in the same blog post, Calgione asks Anheuser-Busch and RateBeer to remove all data relating to Dogfish Head from the website.

“It just doesn’t seem right,” explained Calgione. “For a brewer of any kind to be in a position to potentially manipulate what consumers are hearing and saying about beers, how they are rated and which ones are receiving extra publicity on what might appear to be a legitimate, 100 percent user-generated platform. It is our opinion that this initiative and others are ethically dubious and that the lack of transparency is troubling.”

Calgione fully understands the power that a company like Ab/InBev can wield. In 2011, he had a popular craft beer show called “Brew Masters” that aired on the Discovery Channel. After a short, but successful run of the show that focused on Calgione and his brewery, the series was cancelled. The reason for the cancellation has been widely reported as AB/InBev threatening to pull all advertising on the channel and its affiliated channels if the show continued.

In a Facebook post, the owners of Moonlight Meadery and Hidden Moon Brewing quote ZX spokesperson, Samantha Ross: “It’s really insight. It’s insights into consumer trends. It’s a better understanding of the beer consumer, and the beer markets globally. That’s really going to help us kind of keep our finger on the pulse.”

The Meadery/Brewery’s post then goes on to compare this statement to wartime intelligence gathering.

Among the users of RateBeer, reaction is mixed. Many are condemning the sale, while other congratulate Tucker on working to further the future of the site. Most are conflicted and worry that the site they have loved contributing to for 17 years is now partially owned by a subsidiary of the company they have come to think of as the enemy.

“I do have concerns over impartiality,” RateBeer user The_Osprey posted on RateBeer’s forums. “But, I think the site deserves the recognition and investment and joet (owner Joe Tucker) deserves to put his feet up a bit. I hope the site stays true to what has made it a success so far.”

If, as Tucker has promised, ZX is only interested in the data it can cull from RateBeer, then there is very little for users, brewers and others to be concerned regarding the unbiased nature of reviews on the site. But, as stated in the opening of this article, the craft beer community is in a state of volatility, it feels as if it is under constant attack from market forces exerted by big beer to quash smaller craft producers. The reactions from industry insiders like Dogfish Head and Hidden Moon may be overly harsh, but in this day and age, that is the nature of the game.

Time will tell if RateBeer remains the unbiased source of beer information it has been in the past. This sale inject controversy into an area of craft beer culture that, though accustomed to controversy, should remain pure for the sake of integrity.

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2017 in Beer, Beer News

 

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Red Cypress Brewery coming to Jacksonville

Orlando’s Red Cypress Brewery is making the trek from the land of the mouse to the First Coast. The brewery is known for brewing with locally-sourced ingredients, such as local honey and Florida orange peel and branding their beers as homages to the eccentricities of the Sunshine state, like Devil’s Chair IPA. In addition, the brewery has two oak foeders and is looking to grow their sour and barrel-aged program.

Get more details in the press release below along with launch week events:

Winter Springs, Florida – Red Cypress Brewery has announced expanded distribution plans, partnering with Cavalier Distributing as their distributor for Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam, and St. John’s counties.

Beginning the week of June 12, Cavalier will distribute draught and package versions of Red Cypress’ flagship beers including Deep Roots Amber Ale, Devil’s Chair IPA, and Spook Hill Pale Ale, as well as Death Roll Milk Stout Nitro, in draught only, and seasonal and limited releases as they are available.

Launch Events:

Wednesday, June 14 –Jacksonville Beach

Engine 15 Brewing Co.
1500 Beach Blvd. #217
4:00 p.m.

Zeta Brewing
131 1st Avenue N.
7:00 p.m.

 Thursday, June 15 – Jacksonville

Alewife Bottleshop and Tasting Room
1035 Park Street
5:00 p.m.

Dahlia’s Pour House
2695 Post Street
7:00 p.m.

 Friday, June 16 – St. Augustine

Broudy’s Liquors Cobblestone
516 West Geoffrey Street
4:30 p.m.

Brewz |n| Dawgz
1974 US-1
7:00 p.m.

Hornski’s Vinyl Lounge
106 Anastasia Blvd.
9:00 p.m.

Saturday, June 17 – Jacksonville

Bottlenose Brewing
9700 Deer Lake Ct. #1
2:00 p.m.

 

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2017 in Beer, Beer Releases

 

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6 tips you must know to score GABF tickets

GABFmedia_02To 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  five months to the 2017 festival, this year’s event takes place October 5-7, will need a plan for attending this event. Tickets go on sale to the general public August 2 at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time through Ticketmaster.

Last year, tickets to the GABF 2016 sold out in just one hour and seven minutes. 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 10:00 a.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 Ticketmaster 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.
  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 Ticketmaster 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 June 1, 2017 in Beer, Beer Festival, Travel

 

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3 new Bold City brews you must try at downtown tap room

bold_City_DTWhen I talked to Brian Miller, co-owner of Jacksonville’s first craft brewery, Bold City Brewing Company a few months ago about the just-opened downtown brewery and tap room, he told me that his vision was to rotate his brewers through the smaller brewery and let them exercise their creativity. This weekend we will get to reap the fruits of Jeremy Baker’s, one of the Bold City brewers, labors.

Beginning at 11:00 a.m. Friday, May 26, Baker’s first brew — The George and the Dragon Oatmeal Stout — will be on tap. Then at 2:00 p.m., The Jam ESB will become available and finally, at 5:00 p.m., The Pryed of Frank and Stein Rye IPA will flow.

Inspiration for the new brews lean heavily towards Baker’s British roots. The name for his stout is drawn from visits to family in England as he grew up.

“The legal drinking age is lower there,”  Baker said in an email from Bold City. “So the first time I could legitimately drink a beer at a bar was just down the hill from my Grandparent’s house. The pub was named The George and the Dragon and George.

The combination of that early drinking experience and the fact that his grandfather’s name is George provided the inspiration for his rich, chocolate forward oatmeal stout. IN keeping with the U.K. theme of the beer, Baker utilized British Phoenix hops in this 5% ABV work of art.

For his 5.5% ABV The Jam ESB, Baker again turned to his British heritage by trying to create a traditional Engish-style pale ale. In this brew he balanced English two-row, mild malts and a touch of crystal/caramel malts with a variety English of hops.

“My goal with this one was to emulate what you would get if you were in an English pub and asked for a pint of bitter,” Baker explained. “This is one of the first styles of beer I fell in love with as a young man.”

The Pryed of Frank and Stein, Baker’s third beer to be released is an English-style IPA brewed with rye that clocks in at 7% ABV and has an American twist — he aggressively hopped the brew with a combination of spicy and earthy hops from the U.S. and Europe. Perhaps most interesting is the highlighted use of experimental hop, HBC 682 said to have a mild and pleasant aroma with herbal, floral and spicy characteristics. In addition, both English and American pale malts were sourced along with distinctive rye malt.

“The ingredients came from all over,” Baker said. “To create a Frankenstein of a beer.”

With Jazz Fest and the opening of Daily’s Place downtown this weekend, you may want to get to Bold City early to stake out a place and try all three of these new additions to the Bold City line up.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2017 in Beer, Beer Releases

 

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Sam Adams invites you to Pour One Forward this Memorial Day

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Source: American Dream U

This Memorial Day weekend take a break from the beach, barbecues and gatherings to reflect on the sacrifices made by our nation’s military and first responders. To make it easier to show your appreciation for these amazing people, Sam Adams and American Dream U are sponsoring a campaign called Pour One Forward to help educate military members and their families as well as help military members find jobs and grow small businesses.

Pout One Forward is a program that allows you to purchase a Sam Adams Boston Lager for a military member this weekend. The concept is simple, the next time you are at a participating bar or restaurant that serves Boston Lager (use this handy map to find one) tell your server that you want to buy a Boston Lager for a military member. You will be given a voucher to fill out in the shape of a pint glass. Then, just leave the voucher with the server and they will give it to an active or veteran military member so they can enjoy a free beer on you.

In addition to providing free pints to service members, Pour One Forward provides a $.50 donation to American Dream U for each 12-pack of Boston Lager sold by participating retail stores. You can also text POURONE to 24587 and make a donation. Sam Adams will match all donations up to $10,000

The Pour One Forward campaign runs through July 5, 2017.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2017 in Beer, Beer News

 

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Hyperion opens to huge crowds, outstanding neighborhood support

IMG_8417 (1)Last week something wonderful happened in my neighborhood; with the opening of our first neighborhood craft brewery, hope and pride swelled to overflowing.

For longer than I have lived in the district, Main Street has been a source of frustration in its inability to attract consumers from other areas of the city. Uptown Kitchen made inroads, but it alone was not enough to provide the spark Main Street needed to truly start on the road to recovery.

Then, a few months ago, when Hyperion Brewing Company announced that it would be setting up shop in the Springfield National Historic District, the neighborhood lit up. The combination of Hyperion, the soon-to-open Crispy’s restaurant and bar and another brewery — Main & Six Brewing Company — seems to have reawakened interest in the long neglected heart of Springfield.

From the beginning, Hyperion’s mission was to open in an emerging neighborhood. The goal was to help in the renaissance of the area and to become a draw to bring more people into the area and bring vibrancy. After a long search, several false starts, and a bit of a rezoning fight with the city of Jacksonville, a location on Main Street in the Springfield National Historic District was chosen.

In a press release issued by Hyperion May 22, co-owner and CEO Alexandra McKeown estimated that more than 100 eager patrons attended the ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening Friday, May  19. When I arrived I talked with numerous neighbors and others who were all excited for the new opportunities the brewery would bring to Main Street.

“All of us at Hyperion Brewing Company are overwhelmed by and so thankful for the support we received from the Jacksonville community, and especially our Springfield neighbors, at our Grand Opening and first weekend open for business,” McKeown said. “We look forward to adding more brews to our selection in the coming months and offering our customers a great experience at [our] historic Springfield’s first brewery.”

The new brewery will serve a variety of beer styles, traditional and innovative, on a 32-gallon 1-barrel system, ensuring plenty of variety for patrons to sample. The opening of Hyperion marks the first true nano brewery in Jacksonville with the aim of creating a large variety of beers while avoiding — at least initially — brewing “core beers” that are always on tap. The larger selection of beers provides patrons with a constantly changing selection that is meant to expose them to many different styles of beer.

Over the course of the weekend, Hyperion estimates that they served more than 900 patrons. I personally visited several times to find the taproom full of excited, laughing patrons eager to support the new business. Many expressed their enthusiasm for the direction and tone set by Hyperion.

Based on the response, it is easy to see that Hyperion touched a nerve within the historic district. And, if one can predict the response other new Main Street businesses like Common Grounds coffee shop, Block Skate Shop, Crispies and the forthcoming Main & Six Brewing company can expect from the outpouring of enthusiasm heaped on Hyperion, Springfield is about to become the next great entertainment and shopping district in Jacksonville.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2017 in Beer, brewery

 

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