Craft beer adventures and experiences… one pint at a time

April 7, 1933 was proclaimed by President Roosevelt as the first National Beer Day formally ending prohibition and signaling the beginning of brewing freedom in America.  Today, in Tampa Bay (my home) we lay claim to over 50 local and award-winning craft breweries from mom-and-pop start-ups brewing on a 3 barrel system to monolithic giants brewing millions of barrels a year.

Here’s a short video from WFLA Channel 8’s Daytime segment about National Beer Day:

Channel 8 National Beer day Apr 7 2016According to the Craft Brewers Association, a craft brewery must be small (less than 6 million barrels produced in a year), independent (less than 25% of its ownership lies outside the craft brewing industry) and traditional (in other words the brews rely on barley, hops, yeast and water and exclude malt beverages.)  It’s a great time to be an American – free to consume the beverage of choice, and for me, that means craft beer!

For men and women everywhere, today is a day of celebration… moderately and responsibly – enjoy!

Channel 8 WFLA segment – National Beer Day 2016

Cheers,
Carol

O.M.G. – there’s so much MORE to do during the upcoming Mar 5-13, 2016 #TBBW (Tampa Bay Beer Week)… so this is a post script post with two more additions…

The weekend choices of the larger beer festivals (Ultimate Brewer Fri Mar 4, FBG Fest Mar 5, Brewers Ball Mar 6, – see my post from Mar 1, 2016,) still stand but… having seen pics of other events, I simply MUST add two more events to my wish list of to-do’s:

20160302_191351_HDR (1)Sat Mar 5 – 2pm (and available until stock runs out!) – Launch of the Florida Women in Brewing’s inaugural Barley Berry Jam beer (Blackberry Barleywine) – at various locations throughout the #TTBW area.  Here’s the description of the event:

“Join us at 10+ locations throughout Tampa Bay on Saturday, Mar 5, 2016 at 2pm (and throughout #TBBW until supplies run out!) for the simultaneous launch of the 1st ever Florida Women In Brewing (#FLWIB) beer: “Barley Berry Jam” (Blackberry Barleywine.) Proceeds will benefit local women’s charities. (Specs on the beer follow at the end of this post.)  #FLWIB

Here’s the list of locations where you can purchase Berry Barley Jam on tap in bomber (22 oz) bottles:

Hillsborough County:
Jug & Bottle – 6203 N Florida Ave, Tampa FL 33604
Independent – 5016 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33603
Brew Bus Brewing – (not yet open)
Cigar City Cider and Mead – 1812 N 15th St, Tampa, FL 33605
Cigar City Brew Pub – 15491 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33624
Cigar City Brewing – 3924 W Spruce St, Tampa, FL 33607
Brass Tap Ybor City – 1600 E 7th Ave E-113, Tampa, FL 33605

Pinellas County:
Pair O’ Dice Brewing – 4400 118th Ave N #208, Clearwater, FL 33762
Brewers Tasting Room – 11270 4th St N, St. Petersburg, FL 33716
Lagerhaus Brewery and Grill – East Lake Woodlands, 3438 E Lake Rd S, Palm Harbor, FL 34685
Dunedin House of Beer – 927 Broadway, Dunedin, FL 34698

Manatee County:
Darwin Brewing Company – 803 17th Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34205

In addition, the beer will be available at the Dunedin House of Beer’s 6th Annual Craft Beer Fest – Edgewater Park, Sat Mar 5, 2016 – Edgewater Park – Dunedin FL and for tasting at Hunahpu’s Day, Sat Mar 12, 2016 – Cotanchobee Park, Tampa

Barley Berry Jam specifications:

Beer Name: Barley Berry Jam
Style: American barleywine-style ale
Date Launched: February 2016
Availability: One-off, Tasting Room and Tampa Bay distribution, draught and 22 oz. bottles
ABV: 10.3%
IBU: TBA
Hops/Usage: ADHA 527, an experimental dwarf hop that lends notes of stonefruit
Specialty Ingredients: Kerr blackberry concentrate
Name Origin: The beer is meant to have a blackberry jam-like flavor to compliment the dark fruit character imparted by the malted barley
Awards, notes, etc.: Barley Berry Jam was brewed to support awareness of the Florida Women in Brewing organization, an organization designed to “excite, educate and empower women currently working in or seeking an opportunity for a career in the brewing industry”. CCB has made a donation based on the sales of this beer that will go to fund a scholarship for Florida women in brewing to further their education in their field. The label was designed by Cigar City Catering’s Kim Johnston and Cigar City Cider and Mead’s Jen Sladky.

pair o diceThurs Mar 10 – Out of the Pot’s “Cooking with Beer” dinner at Pair O’ Dice! Tickets are still available and the menu (left) looks amazing!!!  Tickets:  Only $35!

 

 

 

 

Have a safe and awesome weekend!

From humble beginnings and the first #TBBW in 2012, to becoming a 501c6 not-for-profit organization, Tampa Bay Beer Week has emerged as one of the premiere beer weeks in North America involving the Florida Brewers Guild, Best Florida Beer, and scores of breweries, brewpubs, bars and restaurants throughout our multi-county region.

For five years running, #TBBW has featured local breweries (now numbering close to 50 in the region) and some of the finest brews and friendliest people around.  There’s just one small problem… how can anyone who works full-time really get out and enjoy the festivities?

tbbw2016

Some people I know have taken the week off from work, but unless you’re a tourist here on vacation or independently wealthy, this is simply not an option for many of us.  I’ve seen the entire event lineup at www.tampabaybeerweek.com and while there are adventurous types who will turn #TBBW into a marathon tasting event, I’m going to be taking in the weekend events and a select few in between.

I hope you’ll find some great things to do and taste some great local brews here in Tampa Bay.  Thank you for being a part of the vibrant craft beer industry here in Southwest Florida, and for reading this post!  Wishing you a week of enjoyment, new friends, fun times and responsible drinking.  PLEASE arrange to get home safely (Lyft and Uber or a designated driver) – so you can enjoy many more #TBBW to come!

Slainte!
Carol

————— Short list of don’t miss events #TBBW 2016 (Full details at tampabaybeerweek.com/events)———–

fb_img_1456761244639.jpgTHURS Mar 3, 2016 – 6:30-9:30 St Pete Beach, FL – All Tapped Out – A Tasting Extravaganza… (click for tickets) — unlimited tapas and draft beer pairings at Tapz and Tapaz, 348 Corey Avenue St Pete Beach. Tickets $25 adv/$30 door

 

 

Ultimate BrewerFRI Mar 4, 2016 – The Ultimate Brewer – 8-11:30pm at Rapp Brewing Company, 10930 Endeavor Way, Ste C, Seminole, Florida 33777. 14 local breweries debut their special recipe in a blind tasting competition along the lines of the Iron Chef.  Each brewery was given a list of secret ingredients ranging from Oranges and Old Bay Seasoning to Oysters and Hot Sauce to Horseradish to…  Tickets  only $20 advance.

fbg listSAT Mar 5, 2016 – Florida Brewers Guild Craft Beer Craft Beer Festival 2-5 pm (VIP 1-5 pm) -Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park, 601 Old Water St, Tampa.  Featuring brews from around the state (and beyond) in an open air setting in downtown Tampa.  Benefits the non-profit trade association dedicated to advancing the craft brewing industry in Florida.

Tickets $45 GA / $65 VIP.

 

 

 

best-florida-beer-ogSUN Mar 6, 2016 – Best Florida Beer presents Brewers Ball – 12noon-5pm – Water Works Park Tampa, 1710 N Highland Ave, Tampa, Florida 33602. The Brewers Ball festival celebrates the best beers in Florida. The top three beers in each class of beer, mead and cider will be served up for your enjoyment. The Brewers Ball has been held for over 10 years celebrating the breweries, the brewers and the beer they make right here in Florida. Tickets $65. (includes food)

SUN Mar 6, 2016 – 5 pm  – 7th ANNUAL BREWERS’ BALL AFTER PARTY!! (even if you don’t go to the Brewers Ball) –  at Independent Bar & Cafe, 5016 N Florida Ave, Tampa – Special brews on tap for the event, and will also be serving burgers and brats outside to satisfy the hungry folks coming from the beer festival. LIVE MUSIC 6-9 PM BY LAURIS VIDAL! NO COVER!

WED Mar 9, 2016 – Rare and Big Beer Night -7 pm at Rapp Brewing Company,  10930 ENDEAVOUR WAY STE C, Seminole FL. No ticket fee. Come join us as we bring out all of our rare and big beers for your enjoyment! Some have never been available!

THURS Mar 10, 2016 (2nd Annual Mini Festival) Jester King, Jolly Pumpkin one off’s and Cantillon on draft & in bottle. Plus a Blend your own Gueuze class!  7:30 pm, Tickets $35 in advance.  Mr Dunderbak’s Biergarten and Brewery, 14929 Bruce B Downs Blvd, Tampa. Jester king, Jolly Pumpkin & Cantillon will be on draft and in the bottle. Including a wide range of sour, funky beers from Shelton.Blaugies, De Ranke, De La Senne, Drie Fonteinen, Green Bench, Saint Somewhere and more….. European Cheeses and Artisanal bread will be provided to cleanse the palette. Starts at 7:30. Tickets (very limited) call JB @ 813-977-4104

THURS Mar 10, 2016 – Special Hoperations Fundraiser – 7-9pm Hidden Springs Ale Works, 1631 N Franklin St, Tampa. Tickets $15 non-members, (Members: Free)  This is a fun social event to help raise funds for local Tampa homebrew club Special Hoperations. We’ll have taps in the brewery flowing with medal winning homebrew from the #1 homebrew club in Florida along with a 50/50 raffle and some Special Hops shirts floating around.

THURS Mar 10, 2016 – The Wild Beer JAM at the Witch with Green Bench Brewing & more…., 3-11 pm (entertainment after dark) –  The Ale and the Witch, 111 2nd ave NE Downtown St Pete, No cover, beers a-la-carte pricing.Hosting 7 breweries (Green Bench, Almanac, Prairie Artisan Ales, Jolly Pumpkin, Central State, St Somewhere, Jester King) 14 taps, bottles and cans

FRI Mar 11, 2016 – 3rd Annual Brew and BBQ – 5pm, Pair O’ Dice Brewing, 4400 118th Avenue North, Ste 208, Clearwater.  $10-$15.  Back by popular demand, our own Ken Rosenthal will team up with Out Of The Pot to cook up his famous Texas-style brisket. We’ll be pairing Pair O’ Dice brews with lots of competition quality, 18 hour slow smoked brisket served Texas style. That means white bread, pickles, and onions with sauce on the side because this brisket is so good it just doesn’t deserve to be covered up. Sides will include baked beans and creamed corn. BBQ plates will be available for purchase first come first serve while supplies last so you better get here before the meat runs out. #GetAPair  – I’ve missed this one two years in a row because the brisket sells out quickly!  Don’t miss it!

FRI Mar 11, 2016 – 3rd Annual Foeder for Thought Festival, 5pm-midnight, Green Bench Brewing Company
1133 Baum Ave, St Petersburg.  Tickets $60. Foeder for Thought celebrates oak fermentation. This is one of the most unique and intimate festivals during Tampa Bay Beer Week offering beer to sample from across the country.

SAT Mar 12, 2016 – Hunahpu’s Day – sold out months ago.  This specialty festival’s limited tickets and pricing ($200. minimum for festival entrance and 4 bottles of Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout) is a #TBBW staple and sought after festival.  Unless you are an oil baron or financier, you’ll have to find other events to keep you busy today. Worth a mention just because… you can’t get in.

SAT Mar 12, 2016 – Pucker up with Almanac Brewing Company and Cascade Brewing – 6pm, Independent Bar & Cafe, 5016 N Florida Ave, Tampa.  No cover, drink prices vary.    If you love sour beers, you can’t beat this one… We have some amazing sour beers coming from ALMANAC BEER CO. AND CASCADE BREWING BARRELHOUSE!!    DRAFT LIST! (Flights will be available)
Valley of the Heart’s Delight (Sour Blonde with foraged Apricots, Dates, and Mulberries)
Peach de Brettaville (100% Brett Saison with local Peaches)
Farmer’s Reserve Blackberry (Sour Blonde with Blackberries)
Hoppy Sour Mosaic – Sour Blonde dry hopped with Mosaic
Almanac IPA – West Coast IPA with Citra, Simcoe, and Cascade
Cascade Figaro
Cascade Bourbonic Plague
Cascade Vlad the Imp Aler

SUN Mar 13, 2016 – Hunahpu’s Hangover Day at 7th Sun (two locations: 7th Sun Brewing, Dunedin, and new Tampa (parking lot) location 6809 N Nebraska Ave, Tampa) 11am – 5pm.  Buy four beer tickets to get in ($20 total), purchase additional beer tickets at $5 each (beers will range in size from 8 oz to 12 oz). This year for Hangover day, we are christening our new location with a lot party in honor of you. Since we are still in the process of building-out for the new facility, the parking lot will host the event. And because Dunedin is where it’s started and what you made possible, we’re also going to continue the tradition of Dunedin Hangover Day too. (Dunedin location only – extended hours 11am-10pm)

Be safe…

image

Countdown to THIS Thursday- did you buy tickets? Food and craft beer pairing event Thurs, Mar 3, 2016 at Tapz and Tapaz in St Pete Beach.  Only 150 tickets, $25 advance, one night only – unlimited tapas paired with local craft beer! Join us!

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/all-tapped-out-tasting-extravaganza-aka-the-perfect-pairing-prelude-to-tbbw-tickets-22052597914?aff=efbevent

Tell your friends and join us!

What do you get when you cross the experience of award-winning home-brewers with the creativity and passion of young service men and women?  The result is a one-of-a-kind craft beer festival to raise funds for a charity (USO Central Florida) committed to military families on Feb 6, 2016 (6-8pm) at the oldest St Petersburg craft brewery:  Brewers’ Tasting Room!

We Want Brew! Fest

WE WANT BREW! FEST
FEBRUARY 6, 2016   6PM-8PM

is the first ever craft beer festival that connects the Tampa Bay craft brewing scene with the military, laid out in two different sections:  The Tour of Duty and Band of Brewers Competition (see further info below.)  Guests will  to sample (until the kegs run out!) 20+ beers from local home-brew clubs and will vote for their favorite military team’s beer to decide the winner of the first annual Band of Brewers Competition.

BAND OF BREWERS:

Six teams from the Tampa Bay area representing each branch of the military are poised to compete against each other with individually brewed beer. Festival attendees vote for their favorite beer and one branch is declared Band of Brewers Champion.

Teams are composed of by team captains (award-winning home-brewers) and team members representing the air force, army, coast guard, marines, navy, and national guard/reserves.  These teams met during for a “Brew day” during Nov/Dec 2015 to brew their own secret beer recipe.  It is going to be a fun evening of sampling their results and networking with these incredible teams!

THIS JUST IN:
Rick Wolfe, owner of Brewers’ Tasting Room announced that the Winning team from the Band of Brewers will be invited to pour their beer at the BTR tent at Hunahpu’s Day 2016 on March 12, 2016 at Cotanchobee Park in Tampa.  May the best team win!

TOUR OF DUTY:

We have also engaged with local home-brew clubs to brew beers representative of the Coalition Force countries working with the US military around the world. These beers may be a literal interpretation of a beer from the chosen country or highlight a unique food or spice that has become synonymous with that country. This will certainly be a fun, unique and creative section to visit at the festival.

The following home-brew clubs are brewing several specialty beers to feature at the festival:
– Beer Can Island Brewers – Belgium
– Brandon Bootleggers – England
– PUB Guild – Germany
– St Pete Brew Club – Morocco
– Suncoast Barley Mashers – France


We have also invited our local professional breweries to donate gift baskets and other items for a fund-raising raffle!

It’s going to be an evening of camaraderie and gourmet beer tasting.  Coincidentally, Feb 4 is the 75th anniversary of USO serving military families, so the Feb 6 festival is apropos for our fund-raising efforts.

Please join us on Feb 6, from 6-8 pm to raise funds for the USO Central Florida!

**** Update:  If you live out of the area or you can’t make it to the festival, consider buying a “support” ticket (a tax deductible donation -ask for a 501c3 if you’d like to deduct it!) – on the same site for $20 (money goes to USO Central FL!) and you get to choose which team you’d like to support. The team that raises the most money wins a happy hour for 50 friends at Brewers’ Tasting Room.

Tickets (click on this link) are only $20 in advance ($25 at the door)  for unlimited tastings of the Band of Brewers brews and Tour of Duty home-brews!  Come out and support the teams and taste some of the finest brews in the Tampa Bay area.  (After the festival you can stay and purchase pints!)

Here is our link to the TV Channel 8 – WFLA segment that aired on Daytime on Jan 12, 2016:  We Want Brew! Fest

Having just returned from the European Beer Bloggers Conference (#EBBC15) in Belgium at the end of August, 2015, I was excited to be coordinating volunteers for “The Festival” presented by the Shelton Brothers in St Petersburg, FL.

20151017_152145

Now in its 4th year, The Festival brings in specialty craft brews coveted by beer geeks everywhere with a personal presence by some of the world’s finest brewers and brewery representatives for brands imported by the Shelton Brothers. Two of my favorite Belgian breweries,  Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen and Brouwerij Cantillonwere well represented, along with an entire St Petersburg Coliseum full of famous notables from the international, U.S., and local brewing scene.

Sidenote:  If you are purely interested in the array of brews, the brewers, and the breweries involved in the festival (or photos thereof), please visit www.sheltonbrothers.com to see coverage of The 2015 Festival. From my perspective it is  suffice to say that it was one of the most diverse, well-organized, and friendly festivals I’ve ever seen, thanks to the people involved.

After three well-attended sessions this past weekend, I’d like to shout out and give my thanks to a few people who made The Festival so incredible this year.

This post is a tribute…

20151017_231227-1To the thousands of hours invested by Shelton Brothers staff, international brewery reps, and local beer ambassadors whose passion to high quality craft beer made this a once-in-a-lifetime, international event a reality for us in St Petersburg, FL.

Among the locals who stand out are Bob Sylvester, owner and head brewer at St Somewhere Brewing Company in Tarpon Springs, FL and JB Ellis, owner of Mr. Dunderbak’s Craft Biergarten in Tampa whose love of Tampa Bay culminated in The Festival being in St Petersburg this year.  Thank you Bob and JB.

20151017_191436-1Thank you also to Joel and Dan (Shelton Brothers), Jordan DeFrank  and everyone else at Shelton Brothers importers whose efforts brought European, Canadian, Australian, NZ, Japanese and other brewers to The Festival and graced our shores with heaven-sent beverages (or at least they tasted that way!)

Thank you also to my team leads:  Tim Bennett of Armon Events, Robert and Lisa Bandl, and Mike Thompson, head brewer at Brewer’s Tasting Room. I couldn’t have done it without your energy, advice and support.

And, finally, THANK YOU! to my army of close to 300 VolunBEERs, whose enthusiasm, flexibility, courtesy and boundless energy went above and beyond to make this year’s festival the best ever.  Hopefully, this is the start of many Shelton Brothers festivals and other notable brewing events in our area!

Sidenote: VolunBEERs are needed to several more upcoming events – please check out our Facebook Page for Carol’s VolunBEERs or our master sign-up page for opportunities to help out!  (Yes, even if you fly in to VolunBEER, we want you!)

Hopefully, this gallery of photos helps to convey a bit of the spirit, friendliness, personality, diversity and vibrancy of our VolunBEER community.  THANK YOU all for your service!

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p.s., This weekend (Oct 24, 2015) in St Petersburg is Keep St Petersburg Local week with a family-friendly Saturday afternoon event called “In The Dip” – I still need Localicious_IN_THE_DIP_FB_CoverVolunBEERs to pour beer!

 

 

Come out and have fun with us!

I have an affinity for Shakespeare’s quotes and his famous “Rose” quote came to mind as I mused about discussions with homebrewers, bloggers and others over the term “Microbrew(s)” vs “Craft beer.”

“That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet 

Perhaps I’m old school (I’m no longer 30-something,) by still using the term “Microbrews” instead of the new, hip term “Craft Beer” – but isn’t it all beer after all?

I find it interesting that aside from industry insiders, whose passion or profession is craft beer, everyone else I meet in the U.S. or abroad knows about mass-produced beer or microbreweries, but not so much about “craft beer.”

So, despite ongoing quips and comments from industry “insiders”, I’m staying the course and keeping MicrobrewsUSA as my blog name (with due thanks to Shakespeare!)

Here’s a bit of background that I presented last month at the European Beer Bloggers Conference in Brussels (#EBBC5):

terminology craft beer1
terminology craft beer2

To me, changing terminology is an issue in every industry (I wrote a blog post for the software engineering audience last month on this topic: “In a few words: why IT is intimidating”)

So, tell me, what do you think:

Does it matter whether you call your beer microbrewed, craft, specialty, ale, lager, Belgian, or something else, if it all “tastes as sweet”?

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