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Tag Archives: Brewing

Engine 15 expanding, building new brewery and tap room on Myrtle

engine15logoIf you had not already noticed, Jacksonville’s beer scene is absolutely on fire. In just little over five years our river city has gone from just a few beer-centric restaurants and brew pubs to sporting seven full-fledged craft breweries, scores of beer bars and a healthy amount of restaurants that focus on craft beer. And now comes even more proof that the beer scene is alive and kicking here, Luch Scremin co-owner and brewer at Engine 15, the Jacksonville Beach pub, has announced plans to open a production brewery, tap room and outdoor beer garden on Myrtle Ave. near downtown.

According to a Jacksonville Times-Union article Scremin expects to have the brewery operational in 90 days. It will feature a 20 barrel brewhouse that will allow him to brew his five core brands leaving the smaller four barrel brewhouse at the Jacksonville Beach brewery free to create small batch specialty beers.

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Posted by on November 21, 2013 in Craft Beer Brewery

 

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Tampa Bay Brew Bus Brewing going to cans

Beer

Beer (Photo credit: RaeAllen)

Recently, Tampa Bay Brew Bus Brewing separated from their mother company Tampa Bay Brew Bus to better focus and align the two businesses. The beer, brewed at Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing facility, will be canned and distributed throughout Florida.

A release from the brewery president stated:

“Today is the day that we launch Brew Bus Brewing! Formally Tampa Bay Brew Bus Beer, we intend to separate our successful Brew Bus tour program from our craft beer line of cans to allow for further success for both branches of our business.

Our first can release is our Last Stop IPA. This new brand was well received back in August when it was first released in kegs. A recipe by Josh Brengle, lead brewer at Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, FL, this hop bomb is brewed with Magnum, Centennial, Columbus, Amarillo, Simcoe, and Citra hops. Clocking in at 7.2% this highly drinkable, paler IPA lends towards heavy doses of citrus and tropical flavors. Available distribution in cans and kegs with JJ Taylor Florida Distributing and Brown Distributing.

During the next month you will see our other brands being released in cans, including: Rollin Dirty Irish Red Ale, Are Wheat There Yet? American Wheat Ale, and our all-natural blueberry wheat ale called You’re My Boy, Blue.

We will continue to support our local community wherever we have a Brew Bus location. It has always been my mission to further promote the craft beer movement while increasing the economic impact to local breweries, craft beer bars, and brewpubs.

I am excited to release a brand that celebrates the growing craft beer community in Florida.”

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2013 in Beer, Craft Beer Brewery

 

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Reflections on a beer weekend with family

familyAfter a great weekend of beer sometimes it is nice to sit back and reflect on the fun that was had and the memories that were made. Followers of this column have often read that beer is a social beverage. It started over 9,000 years ago as the driving force behind binding our nomadic ancestors in civilized communities and continues to bring people together. Whether it is family, friends, or date night, beer can – and often does – helps people connect.

This week I had the pleasure of conducting my sister and brother-in-law around to several of my favorite beer destination here in Jacksonville.

First, we dined at the always fun and delicious Kickbacks in the King Street Beer District. And, even though the draft list is truncated due to the on-going construction of Guttyworks & Goozelpipes – Kickbacks’ soon-to-open sister restaurant and beer bar, owner Steve Flores manages to keep excellent brews on the menu. I accompanied my perfectly cooked ribeye with garlic-cream sauce with the tasty Ipswich Dark Ale, a satisfyingly hoppy brown ale. Others at the table sampled Tucher Helles Hefe Weizen, a smooth and refreshing brew with delightful fruity notes.

Following Kickbacks we meandered over to Bold City Brewing Company where I sipped on their newest release Big John Miller’s Apricot Wheat. This is a worthy edition to the Bold City lineup and perfect for a warm summer evening sitting al fresco in the parking lot of the brewery. It is a golden hued, cloudy wheat beer with all the notes one expects in a well-crafted wheat – flavorful malts with just the right touch of sweetness and subdued bitterness. The edition of fruit provides a delightfully tart apricot bite that is perfect for drinking with friends and family while catching up.

The next night, Friday, was date night and my girlfriend and I decided a stop at Intuition Ale Works was in order. As most people who know me will tell you, I am not shy about talking of my love for this local gem of a brewery. The consistent quality and friendly servers – who I am proud to call my friends – make this a favorite tap room for nearly all who enter. I enjoyed their distinctive Belgian-style Golden Ale, Duuval first and enjoyed the unique twist given to this stalwart style of beer. But, the star of the night was their popular rye ale Shotgun Shack served on nitro. The addition of nitro lent a smooth creamy character to the beer that I had never experienced before – but, will definitely drink again!

Intuition was followed by Dahlia’s Pour House another King Street Beer District bar that is always adding interesting and difficult-to-get brews to their tap line. My girlfriend is on a bit of a lambic kick lately and went for the Framboise while I went for Dogfish Head’s fruity and hoppy seasonal Aprihop. While we enjoyed our drinks, a follower of the blog and his wife stopped in to chat and enjoy a beer or two. In all it was another very enjoyable evening.

And then on Saturday I had the pleasure of pouring beer at the funky and fun Green Man Gourmet store in Avondale. Pete, an advertiser on the television show I appear on, I Know Jax, and a friend had asked me to pour the new Belgian Trappist ales he is selling and talk to his customers about the brews. Of course I agreed and, as always had a great time pouring. The first brew on the pour list was Westmalle Tripel an elegant, fruity and exceptional ale that is perfect for special occasions or dinners at home. Next in order of lightest in color to darkest was the always delicious Orval that presents itself with a hop-forward character due to the dry-hopping done during fermentation and the slight tang of brett yeast added in secondary fermentation. The third brew that was offered for tasting was Westmalle Dubbel a slightly sweet beer with hints of toffee, dark fruits and chocolate. The final beer poured was the astoundingly luscious Samuel Smith Organic Chocolate Stout. This heavy stout pours thick and rich and is redolent with chocolate balanced with subtle hints of coffee. It just begs to be drunk with desserts like cherry pie, raspberry tart, or even crème brulee.

For dinner I met my sister at Lola’s in the King Street Beer District and had the always amazing La Fin du Monde from Unibroue. This elegant Belgian-style triple is sweet and delightful with a floral bouquet that was a perfect accompaniment to the spicy jerked chicken burrito I ordered for dinner. Lola’s boasts over 50 drought beers and always has a great collection of brews from Unibroue.

The capper to the weekend was the Friends and Family soft opening of Jacksonville’s first World of Beer. The doors were opened to us because my daughter Taylor, aka The Beer Princess, will be working at this location. It was a who’s who of the Jacksonville beer industry with representatives from Champion Brands, Brown Distributing, Micro Man, North Florida Sales, Sierra Nevada, and Highland Brewing. On tap were some fantastic brews such as Petrus, World of Beer’s C’est la Vie brewed exclusively for them by Bavik, and a special firkin from Engine 15.

So, as you can see, the weekend was one full of great beers, great food and great family fun. We enjoyed our time together, chatting about the past as well as the future, and enjoyed good beers along the way. As a social lubricant, one could not ask for a better medium. So, as many archaeologists will tell you, beer brought civilization together, and in the case of my family, is an integral part of our gatherings. I would have it no other way.

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2013 in Beer, Relaxing, Restaurant

 

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Beer gimmicks: the good, the bad, the bizarre

aprihopIn the world of beer, there are many whacky ideas. Just recently the Internet was all atwitter with news that some enterprising soul (pun intended) had decided to start brewing Star Trek themed beers. But, there have been many other odd, misguided and downright bad beer ideas. Some are almost to unbelievable too be true, but be assured, they are.

Not surprisingly the majority of beer gimmicks are brought to you by the mega brewers such as Anhueser-Busch, Miller and Coors. The big dogs always seem to be chasing each other’s tails, each trying to out gimmick the other. Who could forget the Bud Light bottle with a label that features a blank spot for you to write your name with a finger nail or key? As if the beer would last long enough to require a name tag. Or what about the Vortex bottle from Miller Lite? The advertising for this bottle claimed it “lets the great pilsner taste flow right out.” But, does that mean that it flows more quickly than it did before or that it merely comes out of the bottle? The jury is out. And then there is the gimmick that seems to draw the most attention – both positive and negative – the Coors Light Cold-Activated can. This beauty has graphics of mountains that turn blue when the beer is cold. The geniuses in marketing seem to have forgotten that most folks keep their brew in an ice chest or refrigerator meaning that the mountains are blue most of the time.

But, the domestic mega brewer have not cornered the market on beer gimmicks, There are plenty of other breweries that have marketed their brews with gimmicks. Scottish brewing mad scientists Brew Dog have been pushing the envelope of alcohol content in beer for years with soaring ABVs, But oddly, that is not the biggest gimmick. The brewery actually took bottles of their 55% ABV beer called The End of History and stuffed them inside a real squirrel or stoat. PETA members were appalled.

Other breweries are slightly less ambitious with their gimmicks than using stuffed animals as decanters and, to a degree some might call them trends rather than gimmicks. That is for you to decide. But, a gimmick that seems to have gained quite a bit of traction is the notion of barrel-aging beer. At first brewers gravitated mostly towards whisky and scotch barrels to age their beer. This process imparts complex flavors from residual liquors in the barrels and the wood of the barrels themselves. But, of late, brewers have begun taking the barrel-aging craze a step further by employing everything from gin to tequila barrels – not that there is anything wrong with that. Brews that have become legendary because of the barrel-aging include 3 Floyds Dark Lord and Cigar City Hunahphu.

An emerging gimmick – or trend if it makes you feel better – is that of fruit flavored IPAs. Seminal Delaware brewer Dogfish Head has had an apricot flavored IPA on the market for a few years with its Aprihop. Word has it that there is another fruit-flavored IPA coming from Sam Calgione’s off-centered brewery soon. Another brewer that has infused fruit into its IPA is Burnt Hickory Brewing of Kennesaw, Ga. The brewery’s Didjits is brewed with blood oranges and is said to not surprisingly have a bitter citrus flavor.

Gimmicks and beer seem to go hand-in-hand, so we may as well get used to it. That is not to say they are all bad. Who could argue with the genius of ageing beer in liquor barrels or infusing fresh new flavors? But, some truly are outlandish. Then again, if vented, wide-mouth cans help you to enjoy your beer more, who are we to judge?

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2013 in Beer

 

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Funky Buddha to open full production facility in June

funkyEvery now and then a brewery comes along that seems to have built in buzz. These are the breweries that brew beers by their own rules and to please themselves first. Funny thing is, most of the time, those same breweries tend to please the beer-loving public, too. Funky Buddha Brewery of Oakland Park, Fla. is one of those breweries that has attained cult status.

In 2010 the brewery began as The Funky Buddha Lounge and Brewery in Boca Raton, Fla. The hip lounge features 40 loose leaf teas, 40 shisha flavors, small bites, dessert and over 110 craft beers including those brewed on site. The lounge and brewery proved so popular that just three years later head brewer and founder Ryan Sentz is nearing completion on a brand new, full production facility with a monstrous 30 barrel brew house. The behemoth brewhouse makes Funky Buddha the largest production brewery in South Florida with the capacity to pump out nearly 6,000 barrels of beer in its first year and room to brew five times that much in the future.

“We’re extremely excited that this brewery will allow us to share our passion for craft beer with a larger audience,” Sentz said. “We could not have gotten here without the support of the Funky Buddha family and the entire brewing community.”

In addition to the brewery, the new facility will feature over 30 tap lines, live music, brewery tours, growlers to-go, and much more. The tap room is practically a work of art featuring a 70’ bar top lined by tall windows looking into the brewery, and a 15’ tall, live-edged cherry wood back bar built by Asheville Mantle and Slab of North Carolina.

Funky Buddha is known for its offbeat special release beer flavors such as No Crusts Peanut Butter and Jelly Brown Ale and the highly sought after Maple Bacon Coffee Porter. But the brewery is equally known foryear-round brews Hop Gun IPA and Floridian Hefeweizen. Expect to see these in bottles as the new facility settles in and adds a planned bottling line. Distribution for the brews will be handled by Brown Distribution.

 The City of Oakland Park’s new Culinary Arts District, spearheaded by Redevelopment Management Associates of Delray Beach will feature the Funky Buddha as its cornerstone. The district will also feature restaurants, markets, a culinary school, and a hydroponic farm with horticultural classes. The district’s newly renovated walking plaza sits directly in front of the brewery, and will be publicly unveiled along with the Brewery’s Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting on June 1 from 4:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2013 in Craft Beer Brewery

 

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Sour beers a taste worth acquiring

Brettanomyces, also known as "Brett"...

Brettanomyces, also known as “Brett”, is a yeast strain commonly found in red Burgundy wine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Want to see a grown brewmaster shake in his boots? Just bring a vial of Brettanomyces into his brewery and toss it up into the air a few times. Brettanomyces is a strain of yeast that, given the opportunity, will absolutely take over a brewery and infect every surface, fermentation tank, and bottle in the place. In most beers, the organism can produce undesirable sour or acidic off-flavors. But, to a brave few brewers, those off-flavors are a source of complex and often delicious artistry.In Belgium, sour beers are nothing new. For centuries brewers have been crafting brews that are sour, acidic and utterly delightful. One such style that has been gaining ground in the United States is Flanders Red, an aged ale that obtains its sour characteristics from Brettanomyces or lactic acid. An excellent example of this style is Rodenbach.

Another Belgian sour style is Lambic, a spontaneously fermented brew that is aged for a minimum of three years before leaving the brewery. Because the yeast that inoculates this brew is only found in Belgium in and around Brussels, the style cannot be made anywhere else. The brew that results from the combination of wild yeast inoculation, aging, and blending is powerfully sour and yet refreshingly bracing. The brew is often fermented with various fruits to produce sweet and sour combinations such as kreik (cherry), framboise (raspberry), and peche (peach).

But, back to Brettanomyces. Brett, as it is called by many in-the-know beer aficionados, competes with brewer’s yeast, and other microorganisms, in fermenting the wort, giving the beer a distinctive sour taste. The yeast is notoriously difficult to clean and can easily get out of control and colonize a brewery spoiling other beers that are not supposed to taste sour. In fact, the yeast strain is considered a spoilage organism in the wine-making industry that can impart “sweaty saddle leather”, “barnyard”, “burnt plastic” or “band-aid” aromas to wine. But, in beer, the yeast can create aromas one might consider musty, and flavors that are often described as funky.

Brett turns beer sour by eating the sugars that are left in beer by normal brewer’s yeasts. The result is a sour-tasting brew that is something of an acquired taste. Other organisms that bring on the funk in beer include lactobacillus (also found in fermenting yoghurt too) and pediococcus, which  provide sour, tart notes and acetobacter, which gives a beer vinegary component.

The best way to decide if you like these unusual, yet rewarding brews is to seek one out and just give it a try. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy the labors of the little beasties that some might call an infection while others might call a blessing. Just be careful if you do decide to toss around a vial of Brett, you certainly would not want to cause your local brewmaster to ban you from his brewery.

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 www.JaxBeerGuy.com.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2013 in Beer, Beer Education

 

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Healthy beer? You bet!

A Kranz (wreath) of Kölsch beer.

A Kranz (wreath) of Kölsch beer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Generally speaking, beer and health aren’t necessarily equated with one another in most people’s minds; even though there’s lots of recent scientific and medical research that show beer drinking (responsibly) is good for you. Most beer lovers don’t pause to read the nutrition label before cracking the top on a fresh brew. However, there are some beers out there that are better for you than others. Which brews make the top of the list in terms of “healthiness” and why should you care? Let’s take a closer look at your options.

What Makes a Healthy Beer?

Before we delve into which beers are not bad for you and which ones are actually good for your body, it would be a good idea to go over just what makes one beer “healthier” than another. It basically boils down to two things really – calories and alcohol content. Choosing a beer with lower calories is a no brainer for those watching their waistlines of course, but choosing a lower alcohol brew flies in the face of some emerging craft brew trends, specifically the trend of stronger and stronger “novelty” beers.

Then there is the question of special ingredients included in the brew. A wide range of different ingredients can be added to the basic four that make up the average brew, many of which can offer some distinct health advantages. Let’s cover a few of those before we move on:

Wheat: Wheat beers have been shown to provide significant benefits, particularly for runners and other endurance athletes. The benefit here is that wheat seems to offer relief from inflammation in muscle tissues and joints, and can also help to combat problems with the respiratory system. Of course, for those with gluten intolerance problems, wheat beers are off the table.

Fruit: Fruit has been used to flavor beer since time immemorial. Today, a wide range of fruit types can be found in beer, from oranges to strawberries, lemons to raspberries and even more exotic options. However, craft beer brewed with fresh fruit (or high-quality fruit extract) can offer some health benefits, particularly when that fruit is high in vitamin C. For instance, raspberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps to boost the immune system.

Another important fruit here is pomegranate. Called a “superfood,” pomegranate offers some very impressive health benefits, from boosting your immune system to helping with blood pressure problems and more.

Green Tea: Fusing beer with other types of beverages has become more popular recently in the craft brew world. Some brewers are going the route of combining their brews with tea (particularly green tea). This offers a world of health benefits due to the high antioxidant content in green tea. Antioxidants can help fight a wide range of issues, from cancer to the aging process.

Ginger: Ginger has been used as a cure-all for thousands of years. The Chinese, Romans, Greeks and numerous other ancient cultures extolled the virtues of this root. You’ll find ginger included in quite a few new beers on the market. While the FDA might be silent on the health benefits of ginger, it’s hard to argue with a tradition that dates back thousands of years.

Hemp: No, you won’t find beer laced with THC on the market (at least not openly, at any rate). Hemp seeds are used to add flavor to different brews. You’ll also find that they offer some important heart health benefits, too. Studies have shown that hemp seeds can also help to lower high blood pressure in those suffering from hypertension.

Spruce: Spruce is a species of evergreen tree and most people don’t really equate spruce needles with food or drink. However, spruce needles can impart some interesting flavors, but they also offer help for those with joint pain, poor blood circulation in the body and can even help lower stress (or that might just be the alcohol).

Oysters: Eating oysters while drinking a cold beer is nothing new. However, you’ll now find the oysters added directly to the brew. While that might sound like a rather odd combination, it does have its benefits. Most importantly, at least as far as health is concerned, oysters are high in protein and a variety of essential minerals.

Now, that’s a pretty long list of healthy additives, even though some of them might sound a little farfetched. The truth of the matter is that you’ll find craft beers available from breweries around the world that include these healthy ingredients and many others too.

The Healthiest Beers on Offer

So, what are the healthiest beers that you’ll find on offer? Interestingly, Sam Adams Light comes in pretty high on the list (at the top of the list, according to some). The beer doesn’t have any special ingredients, but it is very low in calories, has a modest alcohol content and doesn’t stint on flavor, body or mouth feel.

Surprisingly, Guinness is also among the healthiest beers out there. Again, there is no special ingredient that helps push it ahead of other beers. However, it is very low in calories, and the alcohol content is well below the 5.0 ABV average cited by authorities (the CDC, for example) as the typical alcohol content for beer.

If you’d like to break out of the box and go for some healthier beers that you won’t find sitting on the shelves of most grocery stores (appealing to the hunter in you), then you might consider some of these brews:

  • He’Brew Rejewvenator ’10 (Schmaltz Brewing Co.)
  • Gumballhead (Three Floyds)
  • Good Juju (Left Hand)
  • Black Hemp Black Ale (O’Fallon)
  • Major Tom’s Pomegranate Wheat (Fort Collins Brewery)

Of course, there are numerous other options out there and chances are good that you’ll find a craft brewery or two in your local area serving up healthful, refreshing brews with unique ingredients. Keep an eye out for fresh fruit and all-natural ingredients, but also bear in mind the calorie count and ABV rating for any beer you choose if you’re concerned about the health benefits (or adverse effects).

Poto Cervesia, Dustin Canestorp

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2013 in Beer, Beer Education

 

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