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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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Bell’s Brewery Slams the Hops Into it’s Brews

It gets cold in Michigan during the winter months, so cold that the average winter temperature there is only 30 degrees. The coldest temperature on record there was recorded on February 9, 1934 when the mercury dropped to an astoundingly cold 51 degrees below zero. Add to that the over 58 inches of snow they get annually and one might wonder why anyone would want to live there much less brew beer. But, brew beer there they do!

Bell’s Brewery began its life back in 1983 when Larry Bell opened a home brewing store called Kalamazoo Brewing Company. Soon after opening – 1985 to be exact – the store he began brewing his own beers and selling them to customers. In those early days the brews were made utilizing a 15 gallon soup pot and fermented in open fermenters covered only with plastic wrap. In the first year of production the budding brewery managed to turn out only 135 barrels of brew, but change was coming and along with came capacity. In 1989 the operation had grown to over 500 barrels a year with no end in sight to their expansion.

With an eye to brewing flavorful, unfiltered beers, Bell and his merry band of helpers grew their portfolio to over 20 different quality craft beers not including small-batch brews for their on-site pub. The company strives to make thoughtful, creative, and artistic beers as well as an authentic experience to their customers through unique ales and beers.

In 2005, Bell changed the name of the Kalamazoo Brewing Company Bell’s Brewery, Inc., reflecting the name by which most people refer to the brewery. Today, the brewery owns two separate facilities, the original Kalamazoo facility and the new plant in Comstock Township that sports state-of-the-art brewing equipment. The original building still houses brewing equipment as well as an attached pub – Bell’s Eccentric Café – and a store that still supplies home brewers and sells Bell’s apparel.

In-the-know beer enthusiasts know that Bell’s has a tradition of introducing outstanding seasonal brews. This practice of releasing beers only during optimal seasons ensures the beers are perfect for enjoying right away. Moreover, savvy beer snobs know that this time of year is when the much sought Hopslam is released. This week several, local watering holes such as Pele’s Wood Fire, Kickback’s, and Brewer’s Pizza have put this delicious double IPA on tap to much fanfare and the delight of beer drinkers in Jacksonville. Tuesday night, Pele’s went all out with representatives from Team Hopheads passing out Bell’s pint glasses with a Hopslam purchase, a special spicy pizza concocted specifically for the event, and Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, the outstanding local bluegrass phenomenon playing to an adoring crowd. But, Hopslam is not limited to just taps, it is also available in six-packs at local stores if you can find it. And if you can, prepare for sticker-shock. This potent (10% ABV) brew retails for $20 a six-pack.

Some may be asking if Hopslam is worth the necessary search and high price, the answer is a resounding yes! The Bell’s version of a double IPA begins with a complex hopping schedule of six different hops and a huge dry-hop addition of Simcoe hops for the perfect aromas of citrus, grapefruit, and pine along with a pleasing and stand-out bitterness. To balance the impressive bitterness of the hops, the brewers add a healthy amount of honey and just enough to the malt bill to balance the brew with sweetness.

Hopslam pours clear copper in color and is redolent with the aromas of piney hops, sweet caramels, pineapple, and citrusy grapefruit. When you finish admiring the smell of this great beer and finally take a sip your taste buds will be assaulted by the huge hoppy nature of this brew – but, in a very good way. Intense pine and grapefruit flavors give way to honey sweetness and maltiness. Your mind will tell you to savor every sip, but your instincts will be to drink it much more quickly so you can get another. Even with the extreme hop profile, this brew is extremely drinkable so be sure to watch out, that 10% ABV will sneak up on you fast.

Lest you think that Hopslam is the only noteworthy brew from this brewery, I would also like to discuss some of their other outstanding brews. Another exceptional seasonal brew is Oberon Wheat Ale fermented with Bell’s own house yeast strain. Available to most of the country only during the warmer months of the year, Bell’s makes this brew available in Florida year-round. This brew is smooth and delicious, perfect for a hot summer afternoon of sipping from a hammock.

Two Hearted Ale is another intensely-hopped beer that is expertly balanced by a great malt backbone. This brew is hopped exclusively with Centennial hops from the Pacific Northwest in both the brew kettle and fermentation tanks. The result is a smooth, citrusy IPA in the best American tradition.

There are many more beers from this brewery to discover like Third Coast Ale, Kalamazoo Stout, and Amber Ale. You really cannot go wrong with any of their products.

Cold winters in Michigan give way to mild summers and the brewers of Bell’s revels in the change of seasons by surprising its followers with yearly additions of their highly demanded beers. All that can be said is; keep them coming, we will drink all you send!

Until next time,

Long Live the Brewers!

Cheers!

Marc Wisdom

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Beer, Craft Beer Brewery, Team Hopheads

 

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Fat Tuesday & Highland Games Beer Events

It is another busy and fun week in the craft beer world here in Jacksonville. It seems like our sleepy little town is getting more and more excited about good beer and good fun that goes along with it. So, without any further fanfare here are some of the things happening around town this week:

Tonight, February 21

Pele’s Wood Fire

You have all read my review of the wonderful Pele’s Wood Fire restaurant in Riverside/Avondale. These guys have truly awesome food and a phenomenal beer selection. Tonight that beer selection gets kicked-up a notch in honor of Fat Tuesday: they will be tapping a keg of Bell’s Brewing Hopslam! If you have not had the opportunity to try a pint of this delicious and big IPA you owe it to yourself to swing by and try one. To sweeten the deal and get the party atmosphere really hopping, Grandpa’s Cough Syrup will be playing at 7:00 PM as well. This is a not-to-be-missed event that will be spoken about for quite a while!

Copeland’s

What could be more appropriate for the end of Mardi Gras than to host an Abita event at Copeland’s near Tinseltown? Nothing in my book! If it isn’t already Abita beer should be the official beer of New Orleans – party central for all things Mardi Gras. Be sure to try such Abita favorites as, Turbo Dog, Andygator, Purple Haze, and Jockomo IPA.

Brewer’s Pizza

If you cannot make it to Riverside – or cannot get a reservation – do not fret. The guys at Brewer’s Pizza are also tapping Bell’s Hopslam tonight for your hop-loving pleasure.

Wednesday, February 22

Engine 15

Engine 15 at the beach has a Pint Night planned with Blue Point Brewery starting at 4:00 PM. Swing by and sample such great brews as Hoptical Illusion, Rastfa Rye Pale Ale, Old Howling Bastard, and Sour Cherry Russian Imperial Stout.

Thursday, February 23 through Sunday, February 26

In celebration of the Northeast Florida Highland Games to be held Saturday at the Clay County Fairgrounds in Green Cove Springs, Highland Brewery is sponsoring four great pub crawls aboard the Big Red Bus, a double-decker party bus. The details from the Highland Brewing website are below:

ATTENTION DIE HARD CRAWLERS:

The Double Decker English Bus is coming to town for more Pub Crawls! This time we will have 3 nights & 1 afternoon of official fun. For the price of $25 riders can enjoy being chauffeured around town while they take in great beer and some of the areas great bars & pubs!

Thursday, Feb. 23 will be our traditional St. Augustine crawl and we will once again partner up with Ghost Augustine ghost tours for ghost tales and brews on our “Haunted Crawl”. Unlike last year, St. Augustine fans may join up with Jacksonville riders for the crawl in progress at a reduced rate ($15)! Friday and Saturday,

Feb. 24 & 25 we will have our traditional Riverside/Southside and Beaches runs. This year the bus is sponsored by Highland Brewing.

Sunday afternoon (Feb. 26) will be our craft beer lovers crawl as we enjoy some of the great beers produced by Highland.

Another change this year is our new ticket sales location and loading and unloading venue, Southside’s very own Tilted Kilt near Tinseltown. We encourage all of you to bring friends and come early to buy tickets and enjoy the Tilted Kilt’s great food and hospitality!

The plan this year is for a few new stops and new surprises. Anyone who’s been on the bus knows there are always stories to be had and a good time with good food, music and Adult beverages!

Some remaining tickets will be available on site the days of the crawls at Tilted Kilt, but why wait! Seating is limited so get your tickets now online at http://www.partybuscharters.com or call 704-399-9393.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Beer, Events, Pubs, Restaurant, Team Hopheads

 

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