Craft beer adventures and experiences… one pint at a time

Posts tagged ‘barley mow’

Everything you wanted to know about FLORIDA BREWERIES… from the Expert Gerard Walen

April was already a busy and notable month for Craft Brewing in the Tampa Bay area – and we’re only 1/2 way through!

We’ve toasted two new brewery openings in Pinellas County just last week (Sea Dog Brewing in Clearwater and St Pete Brewing Company in St Petersburg) – along with celebrating National Beer Day on April 7.

And, after much fanfare and anticipation, the new book FLORIDA BREWERIES, by my friend and author Gerard Walen, was published.

FloridaBreweries_TS Gerard is now on a book signing tour all over Tampa Bay (see details below) and beyond, and I caught up with him last week to ask him a few questions about his book-writing “research” behind FLORIDA BREWERIES:

1. Where are you from and how did you come to call Florida your home?

Tampa, and I believe that answers the second part.

2. You’ve just written THE book about Florida breweries – what inspired you to write it?

On my Road Trips for Beer site, I reviewed a few of the other state brewery guidebooks published by Stackpole Books. Through the writing and research for my Beer in Florida site, I realized that the state’s brewery scene had grown large enough that it deserved a similar guide. I pitched it to an editor, and it was accepted. When I pitched it in spring 2012, there were about 50 breweries in the state.

The book has chapters on 66 (one has closed) and a list of more than 40 that opened past deadline or that are on
their way to opening.

3. What was the best and the worst thing you discovered in your travels about Florida breweries?

Most breweries across the state were not producing enough beer to meet demand in their local areas, not to mention the state. Forget the country. That is also the worst thing, but fortunately new expansions have been completed, and that is starting to change: We’re seeing more regions of the state getting beer shipped in from others.

4. What surprised you (or continues to surprise you) about the industry or people involved?

I think it’s the collaboration aspect among craft brewers, which I knew about already but found it to be universal and mostly consistent. I worked as an assistant business editor at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for a few years, so I had really delved into the mechanics of how businesses operate. I know of no other type of industry where its members are so open and supportive of each other.

5. What should people know about the book and why should they buy it?

I’ve had some folks mention that “Florida Breweries” is “outdated” already because of the breweries that have opened since deadline, but I did try to keep it as current as possible. I was able to make minor updates and add to that list in the back up to a month or so before it went to the printers. But it’s more
than just a list of breweries. Each of the chapters includes what I thought was the most interesting story I heard while visiting and talking with the brewers or owners (yes, I physically visited each of the 66 breweries). Plus there are chapters on such things as Beer in Theme Parks, Other Beer Companies, Beer Fests and Beer Webs, and introductions to each of the four regions – North Florida, Central Florida, Tampa Bay area, and South Florida – with information about the history, things to do, places to eat, and so on. Not to mention a glossary!

6. Anything you’d like to add?

Folks so far who have read it have been very positive. I’ve been told by a few people that they learned new things about the Florida beer community, and most of them are really invested in the industry in one form or another. I feel fortunate to be able to share a little of the knowledge I gained during my
research phase, and I hope it helps spread the word about our state’s great beer across the country and around the world.

A couple of other things:

Gerard walen

Author of FLORIDA BREWERIES Gerard Walen

  • The book is available on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and StackpoleBooks.com, and I think the major bookstores in Florida (that’s just Barnes and Noble, now, right?). There are at least a few breweries who have purchased it for their tasting rooms – Cigar City in Tampa and Copp in Crystal River, for sure. But no matter where you purchase it, I’ll be happy to autograph it for you at any book signing, where I’ll also have copies for sale.
  • The best way to keep up with the signings is on my Amazon Author Page. I’ll also announce them on the Beer in Florida Facebook page, and will also do unscheduled “popup signings” at various craft beer places, which I’ll announce on the Facebook page and Twitter.
  • Drink Local! Drink Florida!

THANK YOU GERARD!  Wishing you continued success and many more research days ahead!

– Carol

 

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Tampa Bay Beer Week – Full Hop Ahead…

Saturday March 3’s Florida Brewers Guild BeerFest event was simply hopping-awesome as brewers from as near as 50 feet away (Tampa Bay Brewing Company) and as far away as Chico, CA (Sierra Nevada) poured and tapped and poured some more beer varietals (is that only a wine word, I hope not anymore!)  I simply have to get out more because even in my world of frequent beer sampling, I had no idea there were so many local brewers in Florida. For a listing of members (brewing companies) of the Florida Brewers Guild, visit their website at www.floridabrewersguild.org.

Here’s a few of the “local” brewers who served up their freshest and finest at the event (a minute sampling of the many brewers!)

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Tampa Bay Beer Week continues until March 10, 2012 with an impressive calendar of free and almost-free events on both sides of Tampa Bay.  Join in the fun and expand your tastes into “real craft beer.”

To safe imbibing,

An unOfficial Beer Goddess

Southern Tier Brewing – this could be Love…

I will be the first to admit that I have not stepped far outside my comfort zone as far as beer trials, but

O – M – G !  I have literally fallen in love…with Southern Tier Brewing‘s
latest offerings available at St. Petersburg area brewhouses…
this could actually become an obsession!

In the past week, I have had the pleasure of sampling (and drinking!) several of Southern Tier’s latest brews including:

Unearthly

a highly hopped Imperial IPA topping out at a robust 9.5 ABV.  Available at the 4th Street site of World of Beer, St Petersburg  Here is what Southern Tier has to say about it.  A bit of a “weird” (to me at least) aftertaste that lingered longer than I like…

UNEARTHLY
  At the Southern Tier Brewing Company, vigorously hopped beer is our standard and inspiration. We continue a commitment to innovation with our most aggressive offering yet. Unearthly is a manifestation of the brewer’s craft; skillfully balancing art and the forces of nature to produce a divine liquid. Delicately pour a taste into a fluted glass. Smell the enchanting aromas of the hops waft forward as your first sip divulges this beer’s fervent soul. To underestimate Unearthly is to trifle with the mysteries of the universe, so please consume wisely.
9.5% abv • 18.0ºL • Imperial India Pale Ale

Gemini

again a highly hopped Imperial IPA slightly less fruity and more down to earth, but still delivering an ABV of 9.0. Also available at the World of Beer pub.  I preferred the floral bouquet (what a “wine-y” term!) of Gemini, and I have to say with my small frame – it packed a punch!  Here’s what Southern Tier says:

GEMINI
High in the winter sky, two parallel stick figures are visible & known as “the twins,” or the constellation Gemini. The astronauts of the 1960s flew as teams of two in a program named after the celestial pairing. At Southern Tier, we have our own fraternal twins, Hoppe & Unearthly. Blended together & placed in this vessel, the mission of our Gemini is to travel high & take passengers on a journey far into the heavens.
9.0% abv • 13.0ºL

Iniquity American Black Ale

Wow – oh – wow!  My hands-down O M G favorite!  Available at Barley Mow on West Bay Drive in Largo, FL.  Here’s the Southern Tier explanation:

Iniquity Imperial Black Ale
The hexagram talisman has been used around the world for centuries to invoke magic and good luck. The six–point star is also the customary symbol of the brewer, representing the essential aspects of purity: water, hops, grain, malt, yeast, and of course, the brewer. Wishes of good fortune often collaborate with the brewer’s creativity to yield dramatic results. We carefully chose the name for this Imperial India Black Ale, Iniquity – a word opposing goodness. Why? This beer is contrary to what one may expect from an IPA; this is an ale as black as night. It is the antithesis of Unearthly. Some may consider it an immoral act to blacken an ale. We suggest they don’t rely on conventional standards. Allow the darkness to consume you. Cheers!
9.0% abv • 56.2ºL

I can be a Loyal Gal… Perhaps

I don’t know what this means yet for my long term loves of Lagunitas, Cigar City, Stone Brewing and Alaskan brewery offerings, but I’m definitely smitten with Southern Tier…  (And to think this love affair started innocently over a pint of their Pumking brew 18 months ago in Tampa.  You just never know where you will meet your ideal-mate!)

If you have the luxury and good fortune of finding one of these seasonal Southern Tier offerings on tap in your area, let me know if you agree with my choice of my new love.

p.s., The Downtown location of World of Beer (St Petersburg) told me tonight that Southern Tier Brewing is having a special evening at their site in March 2012… can’t wait to find out the date !

Sincerely yours,

an unOfficial Beer Goddess…

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