Craft beer adventures and experiences… one pint at a time

Posts tagged ‘Ale’

“The Festival” 2015 Florida – Thank you to all VolunBEERs!

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.

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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!

Halfway There Delivered and then Some…

The first organized event since Tampa Bay Beer Week (TBBW) formally incorporated as a not-for-profit was held September 7, 2013 at the Cuban Club in Ybor City:  Halfway There – A Rare Beer Festival.  Over 500 attendees tasted and over 40 breweries, homebrew clubs, distributors and others poured tastings of truly rare beer:  beers that were “one-off” kegs (specially brewed for the event), brews unavailable in Florida, and award-winning home-brew club offerings.  Taps turned on for VIPs promptly at 5pm, with wind down/last pour at 9pm.  In between the beer and conversations flowed, and new friendships were formed over what I call “liquid art.”

Here’s a gallery of photos from the event: (Photos credit Tom Scherberger)

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And… if the initial feedback and social media postings are any indication, we (the TBBW board) hit the ball out of the park. With brews and brewer tents spread throughout the indoor cantina area and the outdoor patio, festival goers could easily mingle and mix with the brewers themselves and heartily sampled brews that will never come together in the same place again, including specialty collaboration beers between brewers at the event.  From stouts to porters to Berliner Weiss’s to IPAs to strong ales – the Halfway There (halfway to Tampa Bay Beer week in March 2014!) – catered to every palate and a myriad of beer styles.

With an upswing of 15+ production breweries in the Tampa Bay area alone with several poised to come on stream in the coming weeks, Tampa Bay is quickly becoming a craft beer destination to be reckoned with, and the variety of offerings is impressive.  When you take a look at the awards amassed by the veterans (Tampa Bay Brewing Company, Dunedin Brewing, and others) along with the newcomers (Rapp Brewing, Barley Mow Brewing Co., St. Somewhere and others) – it is not hard to see why Tampa Bay is emerging as a craft brewing leader in Florida.

With this inaugural event, Halfway There proved that the TBBW board can bring great festivals and new events to the Tampa Bay area, and if you listen to festival attendees, they are ready to drink up more of the same.  If you missed this one, stick around and watch for more of TBBW offerings in the months ahead, culminating in the week long Tampa Bay Beer Week March 1-9, 2014.

p.s., After posting this original post,  the Halfway There Rare Beer Festival was voted the Best Inaugural Beer Fest by Tampa Bay’s Creative Loafing press and Tampa Bay Beer Week 2013 was voted the Best Beer Geek Invasion.

p.p.s. Carol Dekkers is a director on the Tampa Bay Beer Week board of Directors and the Chapter Chair of the new Barley’s Angels chapter:  Tampa Bay Growler Girls (see Facebook.)  Imbibe safely!

 

Cajun Cafe (St Petersburg, FL) does Beerfests up Right!

 

It’s American Craft Beer Week May 14-20, 2012 (inclusive!)

Don’t miss out on the happenings all over the country for the American Craft Beer Week!

Visit craftbeer.com for more details and be safe!

Is beer still beer when fruit is involved?

http://cltampa.com/dailyloaf/archives/2012/05/04/fruit-infused-beer-tasting-notes#.T6TCJMXkqHE

What do you think?  Can fruit beer be a good option at any time?

To safe imbibing,

An unOfficial beer goddess.

Banana Bread Beer – Weird or Worthy?

While I’ve seen and heard about the “Banana Bread Beer”, I had never actually tried it before tonight… Imported from England (where Bitters are standard and beer is served “tepid”), I was a bit wary of it – but at happy hour prices, I thought it worth a try.

Made by Wells & Young Brewing and imported by Belukus Marketing, the Banana Bread Ale (ABV 5.2%) is definitively Banana Flavored, but not overwhelmingly so that it requires “cutting” (diluting) with a lesser beer.

I enjoyed the ale on its own, and made the mistake of ordering food (spicy, no less!) without thinking about how poorly any potential flavors might blend with this sweet ale.

*** Note to self:  never, ever order anything besides banana bread to pair with this ale!

If you find yourself out and about in a tropical paradise (like the beach-side resort where I sampled this brew), it is worth a try – it is remarkably banana-ish, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to try it again. (My second try of the night was Avery Brewing‘s White Rascal Ale – a welcome respite for the spicy shrimp dish I ordered!)

Wishing you happy tastings!

The unOfficial Beer Goddess.

Sushi and Craft Beer – A Great Combination!

There is so much potential to match and mingle craft beer with food to please and surprise the palate, and the other evening having done just that, I wanted to share the results with you!

One wouldn’t normally think of beer with Sushi, but move over Saki

I started off with a couple of notable craft beers:

together with a couple of Sushi rolls from my local Sushi specialty take-out counter:

  • Crunchy roll – with chili sauce enveloping rice, shrimp, eel, carrots, cucumber and spices, cooked to a crunchy finish
  • Dragon roll – with fresh tuna, avocado, rice and pesto-like sauce

Celebration Ale perfect with Spicy Shrimp…

At first thought, it seemed like an unlikely pairing, but the more robust winter taste of the Celebration Ale aptly complimented the spiciness of the Crunchy roll with the chili sauce.  The mahogany woody essence of the Celebration Ale added a hearty richness to the shrimp and zesty chili flavors.

Celebration Ale fared far better than trying to combine the hoppiness of the Hoptical Illusion with chili flavor, but read on…

Hoptical Illusion enriches the Ahi Tuna

The more muted and less flavorful (but still delicious!) tuna and avocado flavors lent themselves well to the hoppy Hoptical Illusion, which was a nice surprise.  (The Celebration Ale overpowered the Dragon Roll to the extent that the sushi ended up tasting bland…)  Whatever was the sauce on the top of the Dragon Roll mixed and swirled well over the tongue with the Hoptical Illusion providing a light and flavorful burst for the unexpecting palate. A good combination indeed!
What is YOUR experience? 

Please let me know what Sushi and Craft Beer pairings you’ve tried and want to try again and again?  I’ll feature them in this blog and credit you!

Happy and safe imbibing my friends!

Sincerely,

The Unofficial Beer Goddess…

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