Craft beer adventures and experiences… one pint at a time

Posts tagged ‘microbrew’

Join in on the National Craft Beer Hoard…

*** Update on Mar 18., 2020…

I hope this update finds you healthy and calm and in reasonable spirits today…  our craft beverage and hospitality industry is being hit hard with the virus as it invades our communities in North America (and closer to home for me, in Florida…)

Since I posted the National Craft Beer Hoard, here’s what I picked up in St Petersburg, FL… (I’ll make updates whenever I purchase to-go beer…)

From left to right:

As of today (Mar 18, 2020), small breweries in FL are still allowed to fill and sell growlers/crowlers/package beer for home consumption.

The FL governor announced yesterday that all bars and nightclubs (any establishment for which alcohol sales are at least 50% of sales) are closed for 30 days as of 5pm EDT.

Be safe and responsible, and please, please, please keep in touch with each other (especially if you feel anxious or own or depressed!) – we’re all going to get through this together.  Slainte to your health!  -Carol  ****

—- ORIGINAL POST MAR 16, 2020 —-

Good day Craft Beer drinkers of America!

(I know it’s been a few months since I last posted… but life in the Florida brewing scene has been busy. For more, see my p.p.s. at the end for what I’ve been up to…)

This post is a CALL TO ACTION!  In light of the growing pandemic and related closings of public venues/ bars/restaurants, etc. I feel compelled to ask you to hoard something more than toilet paper and hand sanitizer and keep your local craft brewing industry afloat.

How can you do that?  You can participate in the National Craft Beer Hoard (okay, we can start local and see if it catches on…)

The National Craft Beer Hoard – Part 1:  Stock up on Local Packaged Craft Beer!

Show support for your local brewery by ordering (online or by phone) packaged craft beer and pick it up to go (or in Georgia and other states where it is legal, have it delivered) – and drink it at home.  (This also applies to local wineries, distilleries, cideries, bottle shops, etc! Many operate on low profit margins!)

Craft beer and craft beverages are ideal for in-home drinking while you’re well or taking care of a loved one or cocooning or in quarantine – stock up on craft beer supplies (canned or bottled) from your LOCAL brewery today!  I’m willing to bet they’ll appreciate it.

(And please post pics of your stash as a comment!)

Tampa Bay Brewing Craft Beer

The National Craft Beer Hoard – Part 2:  Hoard a Month or a Year’s Supply of Brewery/Tasting Room/Bar/Restaurant Gift Certificates!

Pay it forward – literally, by buying up supplies of gift certificates from your local brewery/distillery/winery/cidery, restaurant or bar.  It’s easier than ever to help out your favorite pub, tasting room, brewery or restaurant by buying gift certificates (you can give them away as gifts, use them when the business re-opens, or use them for future purchases of to-go packaged craft beer when your supply runs low!)

Why do we need a National Craft Beer Hoard?

One of the hardest hit with the government mandated closures will be our workers and owners of small craft breweries, bars, tasting rooms, retail outlets, event planners and others who are in some way part of our multi-billion dollar industry who are forced (or voluntarily decided out of kindness to patrons’ health) to shut down public access.

Cash flows are going to be an issue to keep these small businesses running – and we all are in this together.

Spend a couple more dollars on craft beer by buying local (even $5 more for a 6 pack of craft beer over the national mass produced international chain beers will help!)  And, I can guarantee your local business will NOT run out of gift certificates !

Stay safe, drink responsibly, and please be kind to each other.  Our community is small, vibrant, and is part of our future!  Let’s drink to your health and the health of our industry!

Cheers,

Carol

P.s., Don’t forget to post pics of your craft beer “hoarding!”

P.p.s., For anyone who is curious about what I’ve been up to in FL Craft Beer… In the past few years, I’ve started speaking about craft beer (globally) including Craft Beverage 101 tasting/education sessions at the annual National Association for Catering and Events (NACE) Experience conferences (2016/ 2017/ 2019) and the international Beer Marketing and Tourism Conference (2020) among others.  In the summer of 2019, I started the LLC called Curated Craft Experiences with a business partner!

I’m also teaching On-Premise TIPS (Training for Intervention Procedures) – a 4 hour safe alcohol serving workshop for bartenders, breweries and bars. (I’m proud to say I have a 100% pass rate with students – contact me for info!), and I did part-time high volume bartending for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Pittsburgh Pirates (until spring training ended last week), and if you’re ever in FL and want to volunBEER at a brewfest, you might be interested to know about my group of 500+ Tampa Bay area volunBEERs  – on Facebook, check out our page “Carol’s VolunBEERs.”  Slainte!

 

 

“Craft Beer: it’s not alcoholism, it’s a hobby” – HopCloth.com

This quote is so apt for this weekend!!!

How better to motivate me to quote more, write more, observe more, and share more on this blog than to attend a Beer Bloggers Conference?

I’m in Asheville this weekend with 100+ other writers/bloggers/community leaders from all over the U.S. doing just that. This is my 5th bloggers conference (I’ve only missed one since it started in 2010) and it’s a homecoming of sorts reconnecting with peers from almost every state who share my passion. #bbc15

Craft Beer is an amazing hobby that brings together passionate, optimistic, inspiring people with regular jobs, but who share the love of the world’s oldest purified beverage.

We gather annually in a vibrant city where craft beer is thriving (past cities include Boulder, Portland, Boston, Indianapolis, San Diego, and now Asheville,) and spend an agenda planned weekend of brewery visits, lectures, networking socials, and sharing.

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Here in Asheville, our day 1 included visits to Oskar Blues brewing and Sierra Nevada, where we hobnobbed with brewery dignitaries -‘thank you to both breweries and to all of our conference sponsors and organizers.

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I’m inspired to start trying new things with this hobby and I need your input (please and thank you)…

What would YOU like to see on this blog? Local brewery reviews/visits or events and photos or videos of places I visit or something different?

Here’s your incentive… I’ll pick a commenter at random and award s/he with some craft beer swag… So, go!

Ale and the Witch’s All Local Brewfest a Winner

local 662

“Wow, oh wow!”

That was the anthem resonating about the brews on tap for the inaugural Ale and the Witch’s All Local brewfest Saturday night at Local 662 in downtown St Petersburg.  Specialty collaborations and rare bottles were on hand from many of the 25+ local St Petersburg/Tampa area breweries – some never to be seen again.  Brett Andress, owner of The Ale and The Witch in St Petersburg put together a stellar line-up of brews and entertainment (The Applebutter Express) in an art nouveau space.

As often goes when I’m multi-tasking (coordinating volunteers, taking photos, networking and whatever else,) I don’t remember the specialty one-off brews I sampled.  But, I didn’t taste anything I didn’t like or want more of (which is rare.)

Nonetheless, between the Chocolate Peanut Butter offering from Sea Dog and the Green Bench Oude Bruin and the collaboration between Pair O’ Dice and Green Bench and the Cigar City specialty bottles, I was left with good taste, better times, and happy thoughts.

If you attended, please comment on your favorite brew!

Enjoy the photo montage below and until next time… be safe!

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

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!

 

Tampa Bay Beer Week 2013 – March 2-10! Join us!

TampaBayBeerWeek.com

Craft Beer Sightings in Western Canada – part one

What is a vacation without a microbrewery tour along the way?  Click on the Daily Loaf image above for my article (Part one of the multi-part article) about Western Canadian craft beer!

Safe imbibing!

An unOfficial Beer Goddess (on Tour in Alberta this week!)

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.

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

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.

Pumpkin is not just for Pie Anymore!

2010 hails as the year for the most pumpkin flavored beers ever!  No less than 20 of the squash infused brews exist in the US and Canada alone this year… and I, for one, can’t wait to sample them all!

I’ve read a number of recent blogs featuring pumpkin beer samplings and reviews – and last weekend sparked a flurry of activity.

oktoberfestPersonally, I spent the weekend volunteering for the American Heart Association and then I poured beer for several hours at the 1st annual St. Petersburg Oktoberfest craft beer night. On of the favorites: Brooklyn Brewery’s Post Road Pumpkin Ale was an early sellout!

My personal favorite pumpkin beers are always on tap and I always find it amazing how different is texture and flavor of  the same brew when it is on draught instead of in the bottle.  Last evening I had the privilege of finding my favorite pumpkin beer, Shipyard Brewery’s Pumpkinhead, on tap in Hyde Park in Tampa, FL.  What a smooth concoction – with hints of nutmeg aftertaste.  The bottled version just doesn’t measure up to the smoothness of the just poured out of the keg version!

I prefer the Pumpkin flavored beers to the Oktoberfest labeled beers – simply because I like the infused pumpkin flavors and I love pumpkin pie.  (Now to get the whipped cream into the mix may take a brewing miracle!)

In respect for the seasoned brew bloggers who had a head start in sampling this season’s bounty of pumpkin beers, I present a sampling of their posts here: (click on the image to go to the blog)

Beer Info – Pumpkin beer ratings

 

Drink Craft Beer – Pumpkin beer Taste-off

Saveur.com article:
Brewing Autumnal Magic in Pumpkin Beers

Beer Blitz– Pumpkin Beer Page

 

 

Beer Advocate – Pumpkin Beer Page

 

Lautering Pumpkin beer post – Pumpkin Beer Posting

 

 

Catholic Drinkie
– A female perspective on Pumpkin Beers

What is YOUR Favorite Pumpkin Beer?


Happy autumn and happy imbibing!

– The Unofficial Beer Goddess
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