Tag Archives: Alcohol by volume

Terrapin releases collaboration with Swiss BFM

Sitting around a table at Kickback’s in the King Street Beer District talking about beer is not an unusual occurrence for me. I can often be found prowling the establishments along that storied street from Lola’s to Bold City Brewing, looking for good beer and great conversation. But, last Friday, Oct. 26, it was the guests at the table and the reason for the gathering that made all the difference.

Surrounded by several beer bloggers, John Cochran and Brian “Spike” Buckowski, owners of Terrapin Beer Co., spoke about their newest release; Jérôme and Spike’s 2011 Barley Ryne. The brew, a collaboration with Swiss brewery BFM, is a hearty barleywine made with about 20% rye malt. The gathering was put together by Team Hopheads to introduce the new brew to the Jacksonville market.

John and Spike met as brewers at an Atlanta microbrewery and quickly began to piece together a plan for a new brewery in Athens, Ga. Terrapin had humble beginnings as a contract brewer, but in 2002 released the first beer of their own. That beer, Terrapin Rye Pale Ale went on to win a gold medal at that year’s Great American Beer Festival in Colo. Since then the brewery has won many medals at beer competitions world-wide. Along with the accolades, the brewery has grown from producing just 162 barrels of beer in 2002 to an expected 24,000 in 2012.

The inspiration of Jérôme and Spike’s came from a chance meeting of Jérôme Rebetez, brewer at Swiss brewery Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM). Jérôme was in Athens visiting and decided to tour the Terrapin brewery. He and Spike quickly became friends and started talking about doing a collaboration brew. A style and recipe was hammered out through email and the result was Jérôme and Spike’s 2011 Barley Ryne.

The brew is unique in that it was brewed at both breweries using the same ingredients except for one; the yeast.  Each brewery used their own strains and the brews came out very different. The U.S. version is a smooth, rich, and warm brew that was aged in American oak bourbon barrels for 11 months. It has enticing notes of dark fruits, oak, and alcohol on the nose that carry through to the flavor with hints of caramel and vanilla. The Swiss version tracks closer to a Flanders sour than a barleywine with aromas of red wine, brown sugar, and rum. The flavor reveals a complex brew that hints of caramel and toffee among tart cherries and grapes.

For those interested in the particulars of the brew, it was made with the following ingredients:

Malt: 2-Row, Rye, Munich, Carapils, CaraAroma, Caramunich III, Melanoidin

Hops: Bravo, Columbus, U.S. Golding, Amarillo

And, of course, each brewery’s yeast.

The finished product weighs in at 10.03% ABV.

Look for Jérôme and Spike’s 2011 Barley Ryne at your local beer seller now. But, hurry as it is in very limited supply.

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

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 30, 2012 in Beer, Beer News, Beer Styles


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

European Street taps new Lagunitas brew

Beer drinking and storytelling are two activities that go hand-in-hand. Barstools are full of storytellers that spin fantastic yarns over cold brews on a daily basis. But, a beer new to the Jacksonville area and now tapped at the Park St., San Marco, and Jacksonville Beach locations of European Street has the story to tell this time. And Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Co. has quite a story to tell.

The label on the bottle of the beer hints that the story is not one that sits well with Tony Magee, the owner and brewmaster at Lagunitas. In tiny type on the edge of the label his diatribe says, “From the first day of the first congress at the moment of the passage of the first law, we became weaker.

The extra-large B. Franklin said it well that you can tell the strength of a society by the paucity of the pages in its book of laws – Tax laws, civil law, criminal law, Statutes and Bills. Laws that make large and small criminals of us all.”

The label refers to the 2005 investigation and subsequent shut-down of the brewery for 20 days the next January that resulted from complaints of parties on breweries premises. The parties were said to include food, beer, loud music, and – perhaps most damning – marijuana usage.  The investigation took place over two-months with investigators going to the weekly parties undercover to see for themselves what was going on.

According to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control public information officer John Carr, officers attended parties over an eight-week period to determine whether partygoers were dealing in drugs. During a St. Patrick’s Day party at the brewery the officers revealed their investigation by showing their badges and arresting one employee and patron.

Punishment came to the brewery in the form of a 20-day shut-down in January of 2006, which Magee used to install a planned new bottling line.

Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale is called “especially bitter ale” to commemorate the bust and shut-down of the brewery. Later Magee, not none for his quiet demeanor, said, “This beer, I wanted it to be a knuckle sandwich. It’s big, it’s bitter and it’s angry. It’s unrepentant, and it’s unforgiving.”

And Magee, is right in those characterizations. The brew weighs in with 10.1% ABV and 74 IBUs. Popular beer rating website Beer Advocate gives the brew an 89 out of 100 points. One reviewer on the site left comments referring to the beer as, “Barleywine-like strength with well-kilned grains and citrus hops.” Another said, “Interesting. Both the hops and toasted malt appear upfront, then the bitterness hits on the finish.”

But, drinker beware, a few pints of this brew could lead to a few of your own stories. Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale is available until supplies are exhausted at European Street.


Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Beer, Pubs, Restaurant


Tags: , , , , ,

Green Room Brewery the New Big Kahuna at Jax Beach

Green Room Brewery the New Big Kahuna at Jax Beach

The tap room at Green Room Brewing in Jacksonville Beach has been open for a little while now selection of beers from other Florida breweries like Cigar City in Tampa, Swamp Head in Gainesville, Tequesta near Jupiter, and local brewers Intuition and Bold City. But this past Saturday that all changed with the grand opening of festivities that included the tapping of four great beers brewed entirely on premises by head brewer Eric Luman.

Contrary to its name, the tap room of this brewery is not green at all. Rather it is cheery blue with surfer influences including several surf boards hanging on the walls. It seems green room is a surfer phrase that means the perfect spot inside the curl of a wave. The vibe is laid back and comfortable with high top as well as regular tables and plenty of seats at the white corrugated metal and dark grey concrete bar. The wall behind the tap handles is made of the same white corrugated metal as the bar with series of black boards above the tap handles detailing the available brews with beer name, brewery, style of beer, and ABV.

Among the beers available on Saturday were Intuition Ale Works’ I-10 IPA, Cigar City’s Jai Alai, Swamp Head Wild Night, and Tequesta Gnarly Barley. But the real stars on Saturday were the brand new brews from the Green Room itself.

On tap at the grand opening were four quality brews; Helles Yeah, Clean Ocean Brown Ale, Shaka Oatmeal Stout, and Head High IPA. Of these four the two permanent beers are Helles Yeah and Head High, the other two are part of a rotating seasonal program. Coming up soon according to the black board in the brewery is a White Belgian Ale that is sure to be a pleaser.

Now that the tap room and beers are introduced, a little more information about the beers being produced at Green Room is necessary.

Helles Yeah (pronounced HELLS YEAH!) is not only fun to say, but it is also a fun beer to drink. An Amercanized version of a classic Munich Helles beer, this brew is a refresher perfect for the hot summer days so typical at Jacksonville Beach. Helles is the German word for light, but do not let that fool you, this sparkling golden brew is full flavored with smooth, sweet malts and a slightly bitter hoppiness at the end. At just 4.6% ABV, you can drink several while telling surf stories with your friends without worrying about the wiping out on your next set.

Head High IPA is the other permanent brew currently available at Green Room. This approachable IPA packs plenty of hoppy grapefruit bitterness into each sip, but also tempers the hoppy kick with a balancing malty sweetness. This is an IPA that experienced hop heads will find extremely sessionable, while newcomers to the hop party will enjoy the beer as a gateway to hoppier drafts in the future.

Next up is Clean Ocean Brown Ale. For those who enjoy nutty, malty, sweet brown ales with a hint of hopped bitterness; this is the brew for you. When this deep amber to brown beverage is placed in front of you, the first thing you should do is sniff the loose head swirling at the top of your glass. You will be rewarded with the aromas of sweet malts, mild hops, and delicate nuts. When you take your first sip a wave of smooth caramel malts washes over you followed by a pleasant, mild bitterness that recedes into a rewarding sweetness.

The last ale available on Saturday was the pitch black Shaka Oatmeal Stout. The shaka sign is more commonly known in Florida as the “hang loose” sign. It is used, especially in surfer circles as a universal greeting, a long distance high-five, and an all-around symbol of good will. All of which are appropriate to the smooth stout that bears the symbol’s name. Tiny, creamy bubbles crown the top of this ebon liquid that smells of roasted malts, rich coffee, and mild hops. A sip sends good vibrations washing over you like a well-loved Beach Boys tune revealing rich mouth feel and coffee flavors.

The folks out at The Green Room have truly gotten off to a great start. If the number of people packed into the tap room at the Grand Opening is any indication, this is going to be a favorite spot of area beer connoisseurs as well as traveling beer imbibers who come to visit the First Coasts beaches. The surf is up, head on out to the beach for a few perfect sets!

Until next time,

Long Live the Brewers!


Marc Wisdom

1 Comment

Posted by on August 15, 2011 in Beer, Local Brewery


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Even More Down Underer

Even More Down Underer

Aussie Beer Part 3

For the sake of you, the readers, I have been very busy sacrificing myself, both time and effort, to try every Australian beer I can find.

Let me tell you the American dollar exchange rate is really low. The lowest it’s ever been on all my trips down here. It is right at $1.00 US equals $1.00 Australian. That may sound good to you. Let me explain why it’s bad. In the US an average 6 pack of premium beer is approximately $6.00. With an even 1 for 1 exchange it makes the calculating and money conversion easier. A typical 6 pack of local Australian beer is $18.00. That’s either US dollars or Australian dollars. An average pint of beer in a bar or restaurant is $7.00, which is closer to average and doesn’t quite have as much of a kick in the groin as buying a 6 pack at a discount bottle shop.

Whilst perusing the local bottle shop trying to recover from sticker shock. I found a local beer that was a bit cheaper ($13.00) than the others. Its unique name, Blue Tongue beer, caught my eye. This is a very light lager with a really clean crisp taste, and followed delightful soft citrus. But, it still maintains that slight import aftertaste that I seek out to diferentiate it from the tasteless white American lagers. A beer you could drink all night and easily quaffed at the coldest of temperatures.

My next beer I discovered while on a dinner trip over to St. Kilda’s. St. Kilda’s is a small beach front town about 10 miles outside of Melbourne along Phillips Bay, perfect for sitting at a beach front café and enjoying a pint of the amber life. I arrived at the Stokehouse Restaurant for a good seafood dinner. I saw a new beer I haven’t heard of; The Chief, 6.3% ABV, slightly darker amber, with a really sweet and slightly yeasty finish. Brewed by 2 Brothers brewery in Moorabbin Bayside, approximately 20 miles south east of Melbourne along the coast of Phillips Bay. This is a smooth Marzen, real good slight caramel in the middle and real sweet finish. I turned it toward a few of my mates and they all loved it as well.


Leave a comment

Posted by on January 24, 2011 in Beer, Beer Tasting, Drunken Traveler


Tags: , , , , , , ,

A Tale of Two Beers

Imperial stout (Wiibroe porter)

Image via Wikipedia

North Florida is in the grip of old man winter, which basically means we are going to have a couple of really cold days followed by a week of mild days. Winters here can be confusing to the new arrival. Just about the time you pull out your winter coats, crank up the heat, and stock up on firewood the weather changes and everyone is wearing shorts and flip-flops again. Yes, north Florida is a magical place when it comes to winter weather. But, the schizophrenic weather we Jacksonvillians endure does not mean that we can?t enjoy some good traditional winter beer. And by that I mean stouts and porters. Sure, the beer aficionados out there will argue that there are many other winter brews to choose from and that stouts and porters are quaffable year-round. And they would be correct. But, since this is my column and I want to write about stouts and porters, that is that. Sit back gentle reader and let me take you on a little journey to the world of David Copperfield (the character, not the magician) and the Georgian and Victorian periods of England.

Stouts and porters originated in approximately the same era and their roots can be traced back to similar brewers. Indeed the two dark beers can be traced to have originated only 50 years apart. Both are English and, though there are differences between the two in modern brewing, the two terms were used somewhat interchangeably in early England.

Mention of stout beers can be found as early as 1677; the original meaning of the word stout was “proud’ or “brave” (which begs the question; shouldn’t that movie with Mel Gibson about the Scottish fighters be called “Stoutheart?” Just asking.). It was later that the word took on the meaning of strong and was attached to beer. A stout beer, therefore, meant it was a strong beer, typically over 7% or 8% ABV. The term became synonymous with the strongest – or stoutest – porters. In general stout is a dark beer made using roasted malt or barley, hops, water, and yeast.

It wasn’t until the early 1700s that mention of porters could be found. Porter was originally an attempt to capture the flavor of a popular pub blend known as “three threads.” This potent blend was a favorite of the baggage porters at Victoria Station who often made a meal of the rich brew. This combination of brews consisted of equal parts ale, beer, and twopenny the strongest style of beer produced at the time. The mixture became known as porter in recognition of the above mentioned baggage handlers around 1730 after a brewer named Harwood brewed a single beer called Entire that recreated the “three threads” flavor.

All London Porters were matured in barrels for six to eighteen months before they were racked into smaller casks for distribution to pubs. Thus, porters became known as an aged beer while a stout beer could be a young, strong porter. In modern porter production it is not unusual for the beer to be aged in used bourbon barrels, which impart the smoky flavor of the liqueur to the beer.

Early London Porters were strong by today’s standards, but soon became less strong due to taxation on higher alcohol beers. The popularity of the beers forced brewers to produce these beers in a wide variety of strengths. Brewers began to produce Single Stout Porters, Double Stout Porters (such as Guinness), Triple Stout Porters, and Imperial Stout Porters.

There are a number of types of stouts and porters for the dark beer lover to choose from. Below is a short list of the major categories.

Dry Stout – Very dark, almost black, in color. These beers often have a toast or coffee flavor.

Imperial Stout – Is a strong, dark beer originally brewed in England for export to Catherine the II of Russia. The beer had a higher alcohol content to keep it from freezing during shipment.

Baltic Porter – Big and bold, this style is often brewed with lager yeast and is full of coffee and dark fruit flavors. Some brewers also make a smoked version with flavors ranging from coffee made over a campfire to bacon – yes, really.

Milk Stout – Brewed with lactose, a sugar derived from milk and not digestible and therefore unfermentable, milk stouts are often sweet, heavy in body, and high in calories.

Oatmeal Stout – Just as it sounds, this beer is brewed with oats which can impart a bitter or astringent flavor.

Chocolate Stout – These stouts use darker, more aromatic malts roasted until they are the color of chocolate. Some brewers add actual chocolate as well.

Coffee Stout – As the name indicates, these beers have a pronounced coffee flavor derived from the darkest roasted malts.

Oyster Stout – Yes, they actually brew beer with oysters thrown in the fermentation tank. Not for everyone, but it is out there.

Ok, Mr. Peabody says we have to head back to the Way-Back Machine and return to the modern day. Because I have you, my faithful reader’s best interest at heart, I asked a few beer experts to give me their take on these dark pints of heaven.

Ben Davis is owner and brew master at Intuition Ale Works on King Street in the Riverside area. His King Street Stout is a wonderful blend of roasty caramel and milk chocolate flavors. He brews his beer with brown sugar, which dries the beer out and compliments these flavors as it lightens the body increasing the drinkability. Since it seems to be one of the most popular beers in his tap room – it doesn’t last long when they tap it — it goes without saying; it’s darn good!

Other than his own beers, Ben recommends, Allagash’s Black, which is a Belgian style stout. It is a very drinkable style and I think the King Street Stout and it have a lot in common.” Other recommendations from Ben include: Ten Fidy from Oskar Blues and Old Rasputin from North Coast.

Steve Rushe, owner of local beer blog Beer Junto (, calls stouts one of his favorite styles of beer. His recommendations for a cold night are: Pike XXXXX Extra Stout, Laughing Dog’s The Dogfather, and Great Divide’s Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti. Generally Steve tries to end a tasting session with a stout. He also points out that, though stouts are considered winter beers by many, you can drink and enjoy them year-round.

So, let’s recap: stouts and porters are very similar. They both come from the same era and area of England. There are a number of delicious styles and you can drink them year round. What more do you need to know? Now, go out to your local pub, watering hole, or retailer and find yourself a great porter or stout to warm your innards during the frigid winter months here in Florida. But, if the weather should change, no worries these beers are quaffable anytime of the year.

Until next time, long live the brewers!


Leave a comment

Posted by on January 20, 2011 in Beer, Beer Styles, Beer Tasting


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,