Craft beer adventures and experiences… one pint at a time

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TBBW 2014 – part Deux – Highlights of Events (that I attended…)

2014-03-08 11.06.41To continue along the lines of the Olympic references of my last post about Tampa Bay Beer Week 2014 (Mar 1-9, 2014), we had essentially two opening ceremony events spread across the first weekend with the Florida Brewers Guild (FBG) festival on Saturday March 1, and the Brewers Ball festival on March 2, two separate events providing patrons with samples of award-winning brews from Florida and beyond.

From March 1-9, both sides of the Bay and north and south played host to over 300 craft beer related events, culminating in the final weekend with Hunahpu Day on March 8, and the Hunahpu Hangover/Dunedin final days on March 9.

When all was said and done, thousands of kegs were emptied, thousands of happy patrons made it home safely, hundreds of events ended profitably, and no one died (of alcohol poisoning or violence or any other TBBW related calamity!)

Given that parts of the world can barely make it through a full day without calamities, I’d say we live in luxury when we can celebrate the wonders of craft beer in friendships and sunshine with only a few minor mishaps along the way.

Olympic Style Medals…

I’d love to do a Gold, Silver and Bronze award across all  TBBW events, but gosh, But, gosh, I only made it to a dozen events out of the hundreds scheduled during Tampa Bay Beer Week and they ranged from the huge anchor events on both weekends to small gatherings.

However, the week featured a myriad of different craft beer related experiences – and I invite you to comment on your favorites from both sides of the bay, with a challenge…

How about we (you and I) each rate the events we attended during TBBW Mar 1-9, 2014 and award those of merit with an Olympic medal (or not?) Here’s the options:

  • Gold (stellar – I would definitely go back – something happening and not just beer tasting);
  • Silver (not quite gold medal worthy but still worth attending and fun/good value/other – tastings without entertainment);
  • Bronze (worth mentioning but not too much more than a tasting or release);
  • or None (not deserving of any Olympic standing and would need to be overhauled for me to go again.)

I’ll go first.

DSC_0407Carol’s Olympic Medal Round for #TBBW Events (that I attended) – lots of GOLD and SILVER to award…

I attended a variety of events throughout the week (see the Photos, Photos and more Photos page for picture galleries) and I can truly say that none were a disappointment:

(For a full listing of the TBBW 2014 events, visit www.tampabaybeerweek.com)

Pre- TBBW:

  • Thurs Feb 27, 2014- St Petersburg – St Petersburg Preservation presents “From Cafeterias to Craft Beer” at Green Bench Brewing Company – GOLD medal winner – More than 100 members and prospective members sampled barbecue from The Witches’ Barbeque Den and Green Bench, St Pete Brewing Company, 3 Daughters Brewing and Cycle Brewing beers, then listened to an informative lecture and panel featuring brewers from each brewery.  The official event page (Facebook) features photos (see also the photos page on this blog);

TBBW officially (Mar 1-9):

  • Fri Feb 28, 2014 – Tampa – Pour House pre-TBBW party featuring over 10 taps from 7venth Sun Brewing   and other local breweries (see the photos page for pics) – SILVER medal winner – a great place with great atmosphere.  Only missed out on gold because there was really no EVENT aside from all of us meeting each other.
  • Sat Mar 1, 2014 – Tampa – Florida Brewers Guild Festival – Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park, Tampa – GOLD medal winner – Highlights included the reading of the Tampa Proclamation and tapping of a commemorative firkin by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, and a veritable gourmet assortment of delicious Florida-only brewers (see the photos page for pics) – sizable crowd but not too crowded.  Having the mayor present and so many FL brewers who came from Miami to Pensacola to Jacksonville was a plus.
  • Sun Mar 2, 2014 – Tampa – Best Florida Beer Brewer’s Ball – Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park, TampaGOLD medal winner — Highlights included free pour taps of 81 award winning brews from the Best Florida beer competition featuring both pro-brewers and home brewers judged by the BJCP rules (see the photos page for pics);
  • Mon Mar 3, 2014 – Tampa – Pour House – Beer Bloggers Summit – SILVER medal winner – purely based on the size of the turnout.  Quality of presentation (myself, Sean Nordquist, Gerard Walen, Thomas Barris) and Thomas Barris’ organization of the event were top-notch.  Small gathering but great discussion!
  • Tues Mar 4, 2014 – St Petersburg – 3 Daughters Brewing Fat Tuesday Crawfish Boil -GOLD medal winner – for a mere $30. attendees could dine on all-you-can-eat boiled fresh crawfish, potatoes, sausage, corn and free pours of two 3 Daughters Brews (Summer Blond and the IPA) with a live New Orleans style band.20140304_190156
  • Wed Mar 5, 2014 – Clearwater – Brewers Tasting Room – Florida Beer and All About Beer magazine presents Beer 201 – SILVER medal winner – the styles of beer presented and the educational aspect (beyond basic) was appreciated and BTR always has a great assortment of beers you can’t find anywhere else;
  • Wed Mar 5 2014 – Clearwater – Pair O’ Dice Brewing – Brisket and Brews- GOLD medal winner- while I arrived at Pair O’ Dice after the last morsel of brisket was already devoured, all I heard from participants was how incredibly good the food and the pairing was (and it was free!)  I had a great beer, but I had to take the enthusiastic response from everyone I talked to that this was a winning event.
  • Wed Mar 5 2014 – Seminole – Rapp Brewing – Rare Beer Night – GOLD medal winner  – Greg Rapp pulled out the stops to feature not only his wide variety of local brews, but also a few absolutely rare beers for this specialty night. Again, like the Pair O’ Dice event, the tasting room was packed until late.
  • Thurs Mar 6 2014 – Palm Harbor – Lagerhaus – Bacon, Bacon, Bacon GOLD medal winner – along with tapping a special barrel aged brew and the multiple bacon dishes (bacon cheddar soup, bacon pretzels, bacon wrapped dates and figs to name a few) , the tasting room was packed from mid-afternoon until late.  What can be better than Bacon and Beer?
  • Thurs Mar 6 2014 – Tampa – Southern Brewing and Winemaking – Release of the Moonrakers – SILVER medal winner – special Moonrakers releases and a good gathering
  • Thurs Mar 6 2014 – Tampa – Florida Avenue Brewing – Special Hoperations – SILVER medal winner – homebrewed  samples and special tastings (randall)
  • Fri Mar 7 2014 – St Petersburg – Foeder for Thought – Green Bench Brewing CompanyGOLD medal winner-  essentially a neighborhood street market plus releases on tap and special pourings inside the brewery, the place was packed until closing;
  • Fri Mar 7 2014 – Tampa –Southern Brewing and Winemaking – Best Florida Beer Leftovers Party and the Future of Craft Beer in Florida panel GOLD medal winner – featured entertainment, the craft beer futures panel plus a wide array of the pro-brewers and the homebrewed submissions to the Best Florida Beer competition
  • Sat Mar 8 2014 – Tampa – Cigar City Brewing Hunahpu Day – SILVER medal winner -this would be a hands-down GOLD medal winner if the crowds had been manageable, this was a 3 in one event:  Hunahpu release + bottle sharing (complete with a makeshift attendee organized campground) + beer tasting.  Just one event of the three (any one) would be GOLDEN.
  • Sun Mar 9 2014 – St Petersburg – Flying Pig Taphouse Beer Brunch featuring Lagunitas, New Belgium and Cigar City Brewing – GOLD medal winner – 
  • Sun Mar 9 2014 – Dunedin – Hunahpu Hangover Day – featuring 7venth Sun and Dunedin Brewery GOLD medal winner – special releases in the side garden area of 7venth Sun (it was packed) and in Dunedin Brewery – the sun shone, the brews were innovative, and the air was celebratory.  Grand cooperation!

Your turn – what were your medal events?

I can’t wait for the events in planning for the rest of this year (at a minimum our TBBW Halfway There – Rare Beer Fest scheduled for September 6, 2014) – Tampa Bay Beer Week continues to thrive, grow and spillover into multiple weeks of the year.

It is a great community of vibrant, positive, optimistic Floridians.  Long live Tampa Bay Beer Week!

Happy St Patrick’s Day – be safe!

Carol

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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…

Tampa Bay Brewing Company – on tap in TPA…

This weekend’s Gasparilla International Film Festival (GIFF) in Tampa, FL features some great media events, including the Friday evening screening of the film “You” featuring actress Melora Hardin with a pre-screening party at the Tampa Bay Brewing Company in Ybor City (on the east side of Tampa).  Tampa Bay Brewing Company has been a longtime favorite of mine and is one of the best craft breweries in FL.  I’ve never seen draft beers from Tampa Bay Brewing Company at any other bars in the area so I can only surmise that they keep their microbrews (about 10-15 at any given time) for patrons at their on-site restaurant.

I had the opportunity to sample a few of the brews recently along with their two seasonal brews – one a double red head amber (more like a bitter in many ways) the other a heavy IPA – and settled on their Warthog Heifeweisen which the menu truthfully cast as having a slight after-taste of banana and cloves.  Cloudy and definitely wheaty (no surprise here) and the banana was almost indecipherable unless you already knew about it.

If you happen to be down in FL this weekend (Mar 19-21, 2010) be sure to check out the Gasparilla International Film Festival and the Tampa Bay Brewing Company.  I’m counting on the weather to be balmy and (hopefully) back to the seasonal warmth that we’ve sorely missed this winter!

Say hello if you happen to be in the area!

Bottoms up,

The “unofficial” beer goddess

—————————Copyright 2010, the Unofficial Beer Goddess ——————————————————————-

Green Budweiser… no thanks

St. Paddie's DayWith the impending arrival of St. Paddie’s Day on Wed. March 17, 2010, I’ve seen a lot of “Green Beer” promotions all around town.  Interestingly enough, it always seems to feature the self-appointed King of Beers, Budweiser, one of my least favorite concoctions

However, I think a new tradition for those who don’t love the taste of Guinness (the most Irish beer going as far as I’m concerned) could be to ease into Guinness half-heartedly (so to speak) by having a Guinness-blended concoction this shamrock day!

Here’s a few unofficial non-“Irish” self-sanctioned mixes that I’ve tasted (and some that I’ve not) with my assessment of what I think:

The Unofficial Beer Goddess’ Half Guinness List (Guinness always insists on being on top!)

  • Dark Side of the Moon – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Blue Moon (subtle)
  • Dirty Shock – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Shocktop (WAY better than Budweiser and Anheuser Busch still gets some cash)
  • Dirty Hoe – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Hoegarden (My personal favorite blend due to the Hoegarden, and perfect for gardening)
  • Dirty Wifebeater – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Stella Artois (Not yet done this one)
  • Cherry Truffle Yum – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Lindeman’s Kriek Lambic (Chocolate-like and decadent!)
  • Guinness Diet – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Diet Coke (A future taste)
  • Trojan Horse – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Coke or Pepsi (ditto)
  • All Irish Black and Tan – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Smithwick’s Ale (maybe this Wed)
  • Black Ice – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Smirnoff Ice (not yet)
  • Black Velvet – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Champagne (I may save this for New Year’s)
  • Dirty canoe – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Budweiser (I just don’t drink “canoe” beer so haven’t had this one)
  • Snake Bite – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Cider (my 25-year-old daughter’s favorite!)
  • Guinness Magic – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Magic Hat #9 (I’ve gotta find a place that has both so I can try this one!)
  • Dirty Guinness – 1/2 Guinness on the floor (LOL) – this is usually an end-of-night drink for some!

Let me know what you think – and hey, luck of the Irish to you all this St. Patrick’s Day!

p.s., With no disrespect intended to my Irish friends, here’s a short joke just in time for St.Patrick’s Day:  “An Irishman left a bar. (Hey, it COULD happen!)”

Bottoms up,

The Unofficial Beer Goddess

============Copyright, the Unofficial Beer Goddess, 2010===============================================

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