Craft beer adventures and experiences… one pint at a time

Posts tagged ‘United States’

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!

 

Half-way There (to Tampa Bay Beer Week) – Sept 7, 2013 – a Rare Beer FESTIVAL!

halfway there

We just couldn’t wait for Tampa Bay Beer Week to get here so we decided to throw a “Halfway There” Rare Beer Festival on September 7th at the Cuban Club (Ybor City) to quench our thirst! Click on the image above for more information!

All of the beers on tap will be specialty kegs, one-offs or event exclusive beers from your favorite breweries.

Tickets available ONLINE at https://tampabaybeerweek.eventbrite.com/

2010 N Avenida Republica De Cuba, Tampa, Florida 33605-3653
 
Join us!!!
 
Carol

 

Summer Brews!

creative loafing Aug 2http://cltampa.com/dailyloaf/archives/2013/08/02/3887302-summer-brews-that-quench-and-cool#.UgHMrG0Xfg0

Gallery

#BBC13 (Beer Bloggers Conference 2013) – Boston, MA – Recap

Boston

The very mention of the city conjures up thoughts of the Boston Bruins (sorry guys, you were sooo close to win the Stanley Cup in 2013!), Red Sox (actually I have to cheer for Tampa Bay Rays!), lobsters, seafood, long summer nights, accents (“I’ll go paak the caa”), festivals, food, and… a burgeoning Craft Beer industry!

Having said this, it is no big surprise that the 4th annual Beer Bloggers Conference (twitter hashtag #BBC13) found its way to Boston this past weekend (July 26-28, 2013) beating out cities such as Asheville, NC (up and coming in the NE!) and other contenders.

And what a weekend it was!

Here’s a slideshow to give you a visual idea…

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Third time’s a Charm!

This was my 3rd (of 4) BBC’s hosted by Zephyr Adventures previous conferences were held in Boulder CO (2010), Portland, OR (2011), Indianapolis (2012) – and it was clear that the growing pains of previous years are gone.  This year’s event was seemingly flawless with great weather in Boston (high 70s) topping it off and over 150 attendees representing bloggers (hobbyists to professionals), brewers (from around the US and including Florida Beer Company,) brewing associations (Cicerone certification, National Brewers Association and others), distributors and retailers.

One of the most glorious things about the Beer Bloggers Conference (there are many!) is that the 150+ attendees check their egos (and their full time professions) at the door as we all come together to collectively share a common passion – CRAFT BEER!

The proof was in the pudding, so to speak, as such industry luminaries as  Jim Koch, founder of Samuel Adams brewerycurrently the largest US-owned, nationally distributed brewery in the US, and Julia Herz of the Brewers Association and CraftBeer.com – co-mingled and talked “shop” with all of us.  The event started Friday afternoon at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel (some attended the “pre” conference excursion in Maine on Thursday night) – with a trade show, followed by a trip to Sam Adams R&D brewery/center in Boston and a night out hosted by Heavy Seas brewing at Stoddard’s bar.  Throughout the weekend, various breweries and distributors hosted / entertained / spoke / poured for us until we had to say our fond goodbyes just after noon on Sunday.

Takeaways / highlights from BBC 13:

In no particular order:

  • Being able to talk “craft beer” with people who are not intimidated to drink non-mass produced malt beverages. We talked flavors, styles, brewing techniques, food pairings, favorites, best local bars, geography, trends, social media – and nothing to do with the stresses of everyday life (minimal talk about problems with kids, jobs, finances…) —  just pure passionate discussions about craft beer!
  • Positive talk all day, all night – about a hobby I love!
  • Upbeat people who came to Boston to share experiences and offer best practices about blogging, writing, monetizing, short cuts, in other words – helping each other to become successful in beer blogging and in life;
  • Sampling new brews, meeting new people, exchanging experiences, discovering new ways to share our passion about craft beer;
  • Learning what works and doesn’t work about blogging technologies, tools, widgets, platforms, all the IT stuff that goes along with writing and publishing;
  • Visiting the breweries, Boston pubs, distributors, and seeing a bit of Boston by bus;
  • Lots of fun photo opportunities (see slideshow above);
  • Meeting other Florida people who are also passionate about the industry;
  • Finding out that my personality + what I already know about craft beer + a personal way of writing = priceless results;
  • Getting inspired to write more, blog more, get out more!

Thank you to all of our sponsors and our great organizers at Zephyr Adventures for their generous support of the conference.  You rock!

– See more at: http://beerbloggersconference.org/#sthash.kF0079O4.dpuf

I can’t wait for BBC14 (site and dates being finalized) – it’s going to be another awesome time with great people!

Happy imbibing!

Carol

Save the date – Creative Loafing Tampa “Beerfest Sept 22, 2012”

Tickets will soon go on sale for the September 22, 2012 Creative Loafing BEERFEST in downtown Tampa, FL at the Tampa Museum of Art.

Here’s a few details:

What: Creative Loafing Beer Fest 2012: The Art of Beer
When: Saturday, September 22; GA: 7 – 10 p.m. VIP: 6 – 7 p.m.
Where: Tampa Museum of Art; 120 West Gasparilla Plaza; Tampa, FL; 33602; (813) 274-8130
How Much: General Admission: $30 adv, $40 door / VIP: $60 adv, $75 door

Let me know if you’re going – and maybe we can chat over a pint or two.

Have a great weekend and please… drink responsibly!

an unOfficial Beer Goddess

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!

Colorado + Fitness + Craft Beer = Priceless!

Can you imagine a more “Zen” place to train your body (and get your palate conditioned!) for the Great American Beer Festival than the trails near Boulder, Colorado?

Zephyr Adventures has teamed up with an impressive array of sponsors/partners including Draft magazine, New Belgium BreweryUntappd, and World Class Beer for a pre-festival “Colorado Hike, Bike, Beer & Brewpubs Tour” October 8-12, 2012 – AND (this is exciting) YOU COULD WIN a free trip (including lodging, most meals, activities, brewery visits, guides, and local transportation!)

Having been to the Beer Bloggers Conference (BBC10) arranged by Zephyr Adventures in Boulder, CO in 2010 (and I am signed up for BBC12 in July 2012 in Indianapolis), I can vouch for the professionalism and high energy of Zephyr events.

I would love to join them on this tour (or any of their others!)  – visit their site at http://www.zephyradventures.com/adventures for  details about this and other innovative events throughout the US (and the world.)

Don’t forget to REGISTER TO WIN today (form at the bottom of the page) by May 31, 2012! Good luck, and I hope that I will see you at the Great American Beer Festival this October 2012 in Denver, CO. Good luck!!!

Colorado + Fitness + Craft Beer = Priceless!

Happy (and 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…

Total Wine St. Petersburg – 2012 Craft Beer Education Nights

I joined friends from the Tampa Bay BeerMug meetup group last evening at a Belgian Beer education night at Total Wine in St. Petersburg (Park Street Retail Center, 4880 Park Street North, St. Petersburg, FL 33709).

The best part of the evening (at least for me) was not the education, but rather the opportunity to taste and sample over 14 Belgian imported Craft Beers and Domestic Belgian-style offerings for a mere $15.USD! (Each retails at about $6.99-$12.99 USD for a 750 ml bottle.)

Chris was our local Beer Expert from Total Wine who led us through a PowerPoint presentation about the various Belgian beer styles, as we sampled a variety of Craft Brews both imported or domestic – all specifically Belgian in style.  Chris was both knowledgeable and approachable as he led an interactive discussion about our observations as we sampled each brew.

This was my first encounter with the Total Wine’s Beer education nights (the St. Petersburg store seems to feature more classes than other stores!) – and I’ll be back.

It was definitely a worthwhile investment – we had a small group (about 15 people of the maximum 30 class size) and Total Wine provided the beers and a selection of cheeses, breads/crackers, and savory meatballs. These proved to be a good way to begin pairing food and tastes with various beer styles.

I’ve included the St. Petersburg Total Wine education classes calendar excerpt and a link and phone number where you can register for classes at the end of this post.  If you live elsewhere, simply visit www.totalwine.com and you can see what beer classes are offered in your area.

Beers we Sampled…

Here are some photos of a few of the Belgian and Belgian-style domestic beers we tasted during the January 19, 2012 evening class. All of these were available for purchase at Total Wine in 750ml bottles on the evening of the event:

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Additional beers that were sampled (but not pictured) included:

Upcoming St. Petersburg Total Wine beer classes (2012 Jan – April):

  • Sat. Jan 21,2012 (3-5PM) – Belgian Classics
  • Thurs. Feb 16,2012 (6:30-8:30PM) – Lagers and Ales beyond Pilsners and Pales
  • Sat. Feb 18,2012 (3-5PM) – Lagers and Ales beyond Pilsners and Pales
  • Thurs. Mar 22, 2012 (6:30-8:30PM) – Introduction to Beer: Get Your Suds On!
  • Sat. Mar 24, 2012 (3-5PM) – Introduction to Beer: Get Your Suds On!
  • Sat. Apr 21, 2012 (3-5PM) – Great Breweries Great Beers

To register for these upcoming Beer Classes, reserve your place by calling Total Wine St Petersburg, FL at 727-544-6018.  Each session is $15. payable the day/evening of class.

Have a great weekend!

A Girl who Likes Brews

7venth Sun Brewing – Dunedin FL – latest addition to Tampa’s Burgeoning Craft Brewing

Last Saturday – January 7, 2012 – 7venth Sun Brewing opened its doors for a grand opening benefit (see previous post announcing the event).  Ample pours and interesting brews were on hand along with entertainment and most of the Who’s-Who in Tampa Bay, FL area’s craft brewing industry.

Here’s a few photos from the event (I loved the Overland IPA!) – and if you happen to be in the Tampa Bay area, drop me a line for directions – or google 7venth Sun Brewing-Dunedin for more information.  At the time of this post – their website was not yet up and functional!

It is going to be interesting (and tasty) to watch and sample 7venth Sun Brewing’s offerings over the coming months. Stay tuned…

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…

7venth Sun Brewery – new for Tampa Bay!

If you are in the Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL area on January 7, 2012 – why not support the launch of our area’s newest microbrewery  AND support a charitable cause as well? 7venth Sun Brewery (website not yet up at http://www.seventhsunbrewing.com as of this posting) is now open in Dunedin FL and hosting a charitable fundraiser / beer tasting event – so why not join the cause?

All the details are in the supporting flyer below – or send me a comment if you need more information and I’ll find out answers to your questions. Hope to see you there!

The Unofficial Beer Goddess (Carol)

 

Remember yourself, your family and the families of others – don’t drink and drive!

Seasonal (Christmas) beers…

I was amazed today at the proliferation of seasonal and Christmas brews I found today in my local beer and wine outlet, Total Wine.  Florida used to be the domain of Anheuser Busch for many years and it is nice to finally have the “doors wide open” so to speak on craft beers from coast to coast.  My personal favorite is Anchor Steam’s holiday ale (reviewed previously).

In talking to the beer specialist at my local store, sales of higher end (750 ml specialty brews) were up sharply from 2009’s winter season.  Belgium imports such as Delirium and others are selling briskly – in fact the demand was depleting the extra cases they ordered for this year’s entire season.

There’s a lot of Christmas sampling I’m going to be doing in the coming weeks and I’ll include a few reviews as I test the draught varieties I find (sorry, I prefer that variety to the bottled ones.)

Meanwhile, in reverence to my Canadian heritage, I present this link to the Bob and Doug McKenzie 12 days of Christmas (the first day of Christmas presents a “Beer”)

Enjoy & happy holidays!

Until the next pint,
An unOfficial beer goddess.

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Cigar City Brewery in Tampa passes first hurdle…

Dec 2, 2010:  Update on Cigar City Brewing…

Thank you to those of you who supported Cigar City Brewing’s petition to keep the Tasting RoomCigar City Brewing open.  Today (Dec 2, 2010) the Tampa City Council tentatively approved a wet-zone which could allow the Brewery /Pub to stay open.

Read more by clicking on this link.

For a little brewery in Tampa FL to have garnered support from both competitors in the area, and having won 3 top honors from Draft magazine in a little over 18 months is remarkable.

If you happen to be in the Tampa Bay area anytime soon, the brewery and tasting room is only about a 5-10 minute drive from the Tampa airport.  Here’s the website (it’s worth a visit to both the website and the real life site):  www.tinyurl/23kzsta/

Until the next pint!

An unOfficial beer goddess.

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New Planet Gluten Free 3R Raspberry Ale

New Planet 3R Raspberry AleNew Planet brewery in Boulder, CO is one of the few North American breweries that feature Gluten Free beers. While there are only two brews currently on their line (22 oz 3R Raspberry and 12 oz Tread Lightly Ale), both are certified Gluten Free and available only in Colorado.  I had the luxury of sampling both brews when New Planet was one of the featured brewers at the Beer Bloggers Conference in Boulder a couple of weeks ago.

The 3R Raspberry Ale is a different experience than many of the Raspberry beers I’ve sampled in the past.  It comes in at 5% ABV and is a light ale that is very, very light on the Raspberry flavor.  Here’s my other observations:

  • Nose: If you close your eyes and smell the freshly poured pint, the aroma is faintly fruity but far from the heavy berry of wheat fruit beers.  It reminded me more of a light amber than anything fruit based.
  • Weight and color: A crystal clean light orange-red with a lightweight sensation on the tongue. There was an almost creamy aftertaste that I couldn’t place, but the main flavor was a refreshing, light fruit infused almost pilsner style – but without the tartness of many of that style.
  • Enjoyment factor: Seemed a little flat and unexciting, but more enjoyable than the overpowering syrupy textures of some fruit beers.  I could easily see drinking a few pints or so of this one chilled almost to ice-state on a hot Colorado summer afternoon.
  • Recommendation: Thumbs up!  I’d give it a hearty 7 out of 10 for enjoyment, versatility, and uniqueness based on the Gluten Free status.

I look forward to future offerings from this craft brewer- and to increased distribution (especially for those who need gluten free!)

Until the next pint,

the unOfficial beer goddess.

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