Raffle for a Swamp Head Brewery Trucker Hat

Swamp Head Brewery Trucker Hat RaffleUse the link below to subscribe to the Craft Daddy Blog mailing list for two entries into the raffle, follow @craftdaddyblog on twitter for one entry, ‘tweet’ the prewritten message to your followers on Twitter for one entry, ‘like’ the Craft Daddy Blog Facebook page for one entry, and follow Craft Daddy Blog on Pinterest for a final chance at winning the hat you see in the picture below. The raffle will run until 12:00 A.M. EST on August 3rd. No purchase necessary.

*Even if you have entered past raffles you can still enter into this and any future giveaways. You do not have to unsubscribe, unlike, etc. Just follow the links below.

After entering the raffle you can check out my review of Swamp Head Brewery here.
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Florida Craft Brewery: Swamp Head Brewery

Swamp Head Brewery

Florida Craft Brewery: Swamp Head Brewery Florida Craft Brewery: Swamp Head Brewery

Established: The doors originally opened in January of 2008. Swamp Head began brewing out of a rented warehouse space in an industrial park. In February 2015 they opened ‘The Wetlands’ on seven acres of property. One of those acres has been set aside as a conservation area that will be left untouched.

Location: 3650 SW 42nd Ave, Gainesville, FL 32608

Florida Craft Brewery: Swamp Head BreweryKnown For: Swamp Head was the first brewery to take up residence in North Central Florida. Since then they have been joined by the Copp Brewery in Crystal River, Infinite Ale Works in Ocala, and the First Magnitude Brewing Co. in Gainesville. Swamp Head’s Big Nose IPA is their most popular beer in both the tasting room and through their distribution network. They pride themselves on being ‘Inherently Floridian’. Not only do they source as many ingredients locally as possible, such as honey, oranges, blackberries, lemongrass, blueberries, key limes, and sweet potatoes, but they also are highly conservation minded. The spent grains from the brewing process are given to local farmers to feed livestock. A portion of the sale of the Eternal Blonde Ale goes to the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute, which helps to protect the natural springs of Florida. Together with Solar Impact, a solar-energy equipment supplier, Swamp Head sponsors and hosts an annual Tree Fest. For each beer sold five Longleaf Pine seedlings will be planted by the Alachua County Trust in the Little Orange Creek Longleaf Pine habitat. During the first year (2015) of Tree Fest money for 20,543 seedlings was raised. Tree Fest this year, which is hosted around Earth Day and Arbor Day, raised enough money for an estimated 40,000 seedlings. To top it off Swamp Head opened their new brewery with the distinction as Florida’s first solar-powered brewery.

Current Beer Menu: Swamp Head is another brewery that likes to show off their beers, which is always nice to see. They have 28 of their own beers Florida Craft Brewery: Swamp Head Breweryon tap and one Kombucha from Wellspring in Gainesville. I started off with a flight of their core beers. The Wild Night Honey Cream Ale definitely leans towards a lager and I think would be a good gateway for those not familiar with craft beer. The Cottonmouth Belgian Style Witbier was refreshing and would be a great session brew for the steaming hot Florida summers. The Stump Knocker American Pale Ale is brewed with Columbus, Centennial, Amarillo hops and starts with bready and caramel malts upfront and finishes with bitter citrus hops. The Midnight Oil Coffee Oatmeal Stout was a nice surprise for me. When it comes to an oatmeal stout I can usually take it or leave it, but this may have been the best version of the style I’ve had to date. The coffee notes in this beer were delicious. The last beer of the flight was the Big Nose IPA, which is brewed with Centennial, Cascade, and Columbus hops and spring water from the Okefenokee Swamp. It is a tasty IPA with a resin hop finish. Up next was Catherine’s Passion, a Russian Imperial Stout, which exudes roasted malts and bitter cocoa and coffee through both smell and taste. Homebrew Grown is an English Brown Ale brewed with vanilla coffee that won the American Homebrewers Competition held at the brewery. It was sweet vanilla coffee goodness. My last beer of the day was Darkwater, a Black IPA, brewed with Northern Brewer, Columbus, Amarillo, Centennial, Cascade, and Simcoe hops. It was a roasted malt, citrus, and piney treat. An up to date tap and can/bottle to go list can be found here.

Florida Craft Brewery: Swamp Head BreweryPrice Range: A flight of five 5oz pours of their year-round beers can be had for $6.00. Depending on the beer a pint or snifter is available for between $5.00 and $6.00. If you’re looking for something ‘to go’ and you didn’t bring a growler you can purchase the 32oz and 64oz glass for $4.00 and $6.00. The cost to fill the 32oz growler depends on the beer and will run you between $7.00 and $15.00 while a 64oz growler fill is between $12.00 and $17.00. Six packs sell for either $10.00 or $11.00 depending on your choice. Bottles of the 750ml variety sell for either $10 or $15.

Wine Menu: Wine is not served.

Food Menu/Food Trucks: Food is not served at the brewery, but food trucks are available onFlorida Craft Brewery: Swamp Head Brewery Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday starting between the hours of 4:00pm and 5:00pm. A list of the upcoming food trucks can be found here.

Ambiance: ‘The Wetlands’ is nestled up against a conservation area, which is a fitting location for the brewery and the old Florida feel that they seem to strive for. When you walk through the doors adorned with a cypress tree your first thought may be how bright and roomie the tasting room seems to be. Windows reaching from floor to ceiling overlook the pond and surrounding conservation area to your left. To the right, you find the bar which features reclaimed Cypress and Longleaf Pine wood as the bar top. A number of areas on the wall and the tables throughout the tasting room are also decorated with the aforementioned wood. It adds a certain rustic feel to an otherwise modern interior.

Florida Craft Brewery: Swamp Head BreweryBar Seating: A mixture of seating from the bar to the assortment of tables provides seating for at least 65 craft beer loving souls. There is also seating available outside for the days when you won’t absolutely melt due to the North Central Florida heat or for watching the sunset.

Staff: Dustin, the bar manager, and Shani, the relatively new hire, were my guides into the Swamp. Both were easy to talk to and sounded interested in talking about the brewery. After a bit, Dustin walked me through the production area showing off his knowledge of everything Swamp Head along the way. It’s always nice to talk to someone who obviously loves their job.

Brewing System: Swamp Head brews on a four vessel 30 barrel system that was manufacturedFlorida Craft Brewery: Swamp Head Brewery in Oregon. They are accompanied by a 30 barrel, 60 barrel, and four 120 barrel fermentation tanks. Every piece of brewery equipment brought into the facility in the future will be American made. The brewery can produce 18,000 barrels of beer per year with room to expand to 50,000 barrels in the future.

Merch: T-shirts for $20.00, fishing shirts between $40.00 and $55.00, HydroFlask growlers for $35.00 and $60.00 for the 32oz and 64oz, a Tervis Tumblr for $24.00, a hat or beanie for $20.00, and a onesie for $15 are all available. You can also find key chains, stickers, car decals, koozies, signs, and a Frisbee as well. All of these items can be seen here.

Membership offered: Nothing is offered and there are no plans for one in the immediate future.

Florida Craft Brewery: Swamp Head BreweryBest days or time of year to go:  
Early afternoon on Friday is a prime time to go if you want to escape the crowd. Brewery tours are available Tuesdays at 5:30, 6:30, and 7:30. They are also available on Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, and 5:00. The tour is $5.00, limited to 15 people, and you receive a souvenir glass plus one pour of a year round beer. Both children and dogs are allowed at the brewery.

Regular Hours: Tuesday – Thursday: 4:00pm – 10:00pm, Friday – Saturday: 1:00pm – 11:00pm, and Sunday: 1:00pm -8:00pm

Happy Hour: There in no happy hour.

Fun Facts:Florida Craft Brewery: Swamp Head Brewery

-Distributes to all counties in Florida except Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade. Sorry, South Florida.

-The bar top, tables, and trim were made from reclaimed Cypress and Longleaf Pine logs. The logs were harvested from Florida rivers after being underwater for 125 years, which creates a rich patina due to the low oxygen environment.

-Swamp Head had a bat house placed on their property that can house between 300 – 400 Mexican free-tailed bats. One bat can eat up to 3000 insects per night. Think flying mosquito exterminators.

Florida Craft Brewery: Swamp Head Brewery-The first night The Wetlands was opened for business a bad storm knocked out power, forcing employees to serve beer for two hours by candlelight.

Overall Rating (1-5): I’m rating Swamp Head a 4.5. The beers I tried were above average to very good. The bartenders were not only personable but very knowledgeable and the facility and grounds it sits on were beautiful. Definitely, a place I will visit again when in Gainesville.

What was missing: I don’t have a single complaint about Swamp Head. They had a stout on tap and the new facility was immaculate. My only real complaint is that their website moves at a snail’s pace.

In closing, if you’re in town on business or dropping your kid off at the University of Florida make sure to stop into Swamp Head for a pint. You’ll be happy you did.

Is there something else you would like to know about Swamp Head Brewery? Please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below.


Florida Craft Brewery Review of First Magnitude Brewing Company

First Magnitude Brewing Co.

Florida Craft Brewery: First Magnitude Brewing Company Florida Craft Brewery Review: First Magnitude Brewing Company

Established: August 23rd, 2014

Location: 1220 SE Veitch Street Gainesville, FL 32601

Known For: The 72 Pale Ale is the most widely distributed and most popular offering at the brewery. I saw this first hand while sitting at the bar. The Drift is the only canned English-style Mild Ale in Florida. Not only is it very good but to my surprise it was ordered over and over again. I would not have figured the style to be as popular as it seems to be. First Magnitude (FM) isn’t only known locally for their beer. They also are very involved in the conservation of the local springs. 1% of profits from the sale of Wakulla Hefeweizen cans goes to the Springs Initiative Grant Program, which distributes funds where needed. FM also sponsors a yearly 7.2K Springs Run that helps raise money for and brings attention to springs conservation through the Springs Eternal Project. If you aren’t quite sure what a spring is you can check out this page for more information.

Florida Craft Brewery Review: First Magnitude Brewing CompanyCurrent Beer Menu: The beer menu was extensive, containing fifteen of their own beers plus five guest taps from breweries around the state such as MIA Brewing, Green Bench, Funky Buddha, Swamp Head, and Royal Manor Meadery. I was able to sample 9 from the tap list and one from the tank. The Vega Blonde Ale was a decent take on the style. Warrior and Cascade hops are used to make it hoppier than what is typical for the style. The 72 is a hop forward Pale Ale that is dry hopped with Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook hops. The Drift English-style Mild Ale is not a beer I typically appreciate, but after trying it, I can certainly see why FM is canning it since I found it to be very enjoyable. Ursa is a Centennial hopped IPA with a floral aroma and citrus flavors of orange peel and grapefruit. I’m not usually a fan of a beer on nitro because I think it tends to knock the taste down a bit, but the Chocolate Milk Stout was delicious. I can only imagine how good it is when not on nitro. The Franco-American Saison uses French Saison yeast and Amarillo hops. I enjoyed it as a break from the hoppy and darker brews. Invasive Species is FM’s Foreign Extra Stout. An easy drinker for the stout lover. FM’s British Strong Ale was the perfect balance between sweet molasses and bitter hops. This was easily my 3rd favorite offering after the next two beers. The Minnow Imperial Stout was a thick, oily mix of coffee and chocolate with raisins and prunes on the back-end. I really enjoyed it. Finally, I had the opportunity to try their Robust Porter, Nightfall, which had just come out of a Four Roses barrel where it was spending time with a raspberry puree. The not yet final product was drinking very well with the raspberries only slightly overpowering the bourbon, which was peeking through. This beer may be one of their first to be released in a 750ml bottle. Their current tap list is kept on the right side of their webpageFlorida Craft Brewery Review: First Magnitude Brewing Company

Price Range: A flight of four 6oz pours will run you between $8.00 and $12.00 depending on which beers you choose. 6oz pours of all of their beers are available for between $2.00 and $4.00. 10oz pours are available on a select few for between $5.00 to $8.00. A 16oz pour will run you between $4.50 and $7.00. 32oz, 64oz, and one-gallon growlers are available from $7.00 to $30.00. You can purchase the growler glass for $4.00 for the 32oz and $7.00 for the 64oz.

Florida Craft Brewery Review: First Magnitude Brewing CompanyWine Menu: There is no wine menu at this time.

Food Menu/Food Trucks: A rotating list of food trucks is available every day starting at 4:00pm.

Ambiance: The tasting room has a very warm feel to it. The mix of blues for the wall colors made for a very relaxing backdrop. Leaving the ceiling wide open to show the pine roof truss made for a nice touch as well. The bar is adorned with a very nice wood paneling. The bar top, tap backsplash, and some of the artwork on the walls may look like cut stone, but in actuality are plywood with copper flakes and different accents that give it a really earthy look. Add the sweet sounds of early Outkast, Dr. Dre, etc. and you have a great space to have a beer or three. Florida Craft Brewery Review: First Magnitude Brewing Company

Bar Seating: Interestingly enough, just like the three breweries I visited in Georgia there were no bar stools at the bar. The reason for this is it allows a more natural flow of people to the bar. There are five high tops, three low tops, and two picnic tables that all seat six apiece. Just outside of the tap room, there are nine picnic tables positioned so you can see the brewery in action. The beer garden provides ten more picnic tables and plenty of room for your little ones to run around, but please leave your four-legged kids at home as dogs are not allowed.

Florida Craft Brewery Review: First Magnitude Brewing CompanyStaff: I was greeted by Simon and Steve, who handle the bar duties. One of which is updating the Pokémon GO coordinates every half hour. Both were very informative. Simon took some time out to show me around the facility. They certainly have plenty of room to grow within their current building. I also had the pleasure of meeting Meg The Losen (President) and John Denny (Head Brewer) who with their spouses make up the ownership of First Magnitude Brewing. It’s always nice when ownership takes a few minutes out of their day to chat. Before they jumped into the ever emerging craft beer scene, John spent 13 years as Associate Director of the University of Florida Honors Program while Meg spent 12 years as Vice President of Marketing and Strategy for Info Tech, Inc. John has over 19 years of homebrewing experience and shares his knowledge as head brewer. The main brewer Eric Dreyer was also readily available to chat in between his Florida Craft Brewery Review: First Magnitude Brewing Companybrewing duties. Eric is a homebrewer of almost ten years and has won over 35 medals spanning 15 categories. In his former life, Eric managed the UF Sensory Lab.

Brewing System: First Magnitude brews on a fifteen barrel system and also uses a one and a half barrel system for their pilot batch program. The latter is used for more experimental brewing. If the final product isn’t to the brewers liking dumping the contents is nowhere near as costly as brewing on the full system.

Merch: An assortment of both men and women’s t-shirts are sold for $20.00. Hoodies for $35.00, long sleeve shirts for $25.00, and tank tops for $15.00 are also available. Regular and trucker hats are available for $20.00. You can even pick up a kid t-shirt or baby onesie for $10.00.

Florida Craft Brewery Review: First Magnitude Brewing CompanyMembership offered: There is no membership offered and nothing planned for the immediate future.

Best days or time of year to go: Interestingly enough Wednesday is one of their busiest days. There are a number of groups that use the tasting room as a meeting spot including the local homebrew club. Anytime a Gator football game is on, you can expect for the brewery to be busy as well. Friday, before the work crowd comes in, may be your best bet if you’re looking to have a beer and talk shop with one of the bartenders. Brewery tours are available at 3:00pm and 5:00pm every Saturday. Every Sunday from 1:00 – 2:00pm yoga is provided at the brewery before the doors opened to the tasting room.Florida Craft Brewery Review: First Magnitude Brewing Company

Regular Hours: Tuesday – Thursday: 4:00 – 9:00pm, Friday: 2:00 – 10:00pm, Saturday: 2:00 – 10:00pm, and Sunday 2:00 – 9:00pm

Happy Hour: There is no happy hour available.

Fun Fact:

-The 72 Pale Ale is named for the constant temperature of the First Magnitude Springs.

-The Wakulla Hefeweizen is named after the Wakulla Springs.

Florida Craft Brewery Review: First Magnitude Brewing Company-The First Magnitude name comes from two things. The First Magnitude Springs found in North Central Florida are the strongest of the springs. 100 cubic feet of water come up from the springs per second. When you look up into the sky the brightest star you can see with the naked eye is called the First Magnitude star. Both of these were brought together in the creation of their logo.

-The Vega Blonde Ale was formally known as the Siren Blonde Ale. FM is about to begin canning Vega and the name needed to be changed because there is already a beer known as Siren on the market.

-The current distribution network covers Tallahassee, Jacksonville, St Augustine, and Orlando.Florida Craft Brewery Review: First Magnitude Brewing Company

-FM has won three medals in the Florida Beer Championships. A gold for their Smoked Dunkelweizen and a silver for the Drift English-style Mild Ale and Karst Belgian Pale Ale.

-One of the previous owners of their current building was a fiberglass manufacturer who produced all of the dinosaurs for the Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios.

-August 20th, 2016 is First Magnitude’s two-year anniversary party. Check their Facebook page for updates on the event.

Overall Rating (1-5): From the atmosphere to the people running the show, First Magnitude was a great place to visit! Now you throw some really good beer into that mix and you get a rating of 4.5.

Florida Craft Brewery Review: First Magnitude Brewing CompanyWhat was missing: Not only does First Magnitude keep a nice assortment of styles on tap, but they also had two stouts on and as you know that’s always a plus in my book especially when they are done right. The one thing I would say was missing was either a Gose or Berliner Weisse.

In closing, Gainesville isn’t just known for one fully operating brewery anymore. I see big things coming for First Magnitude and I’m looking forward to the day they expand their distribution network to South Florida. Until then I’ll just have to visit Gainesville more often.

Is there something else you would like to know about the First Magnitude Brewing Company? Please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below.


Easy fireworks painting for kids

Easy Fireworks Painting for Kids

Here’s a fun 4th of July activity to do with your kids this weekend. My toddler loves to paint, color, and draw (outside the lines, of course!) as most kids do. I wanted to find something creative to do with him for the 4th of July and thought something to do with fireworks would be perfect. I found this great idea from ‘Learning 4 Kids’ and couldn’t wait to give it a try.

Growing up I had the best time celebrating the 4th of July with my Dad and Papa mostly because of one thing. Fireworks! Yes, this is the holiday to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence but it is also to celebrate our freedom to blow stuff up! Right? Or maybe that’s just me.

My Dad and Papa lived next door to each other and I remember them throwing firecrackers and shooting bottle rockets over the fence at each other, screaming and laughing hysterically. Granted this was back in the good ol’ days when you played outside until it was dark, drank water from the hose and rode your bike all over town. Nowadays my Dad and Papa probably would have the cops called on them and been arrested for disorderly conduct. To me, fireworks always make me think of those fun, family times together and bring a smile to my face. I can’t wait to share the joys of watching (and eventually lighting) fireworks with my son one day. Although I have promised my wife to be much more careful than my Dad and Papa were back in the day.

This was such a fun art project in preparation for the 4th of July holiday weekend with my (almost) 2-year-old.

*This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.

All you need to get started is:


  • Cut the toilet paper or paper towel tubes down to the center in strips a little less than ¼” wide.

Easy fireworks painting for kids

  • Repeat on all paper tubes you are using.

Easy fireworks painting for kids

  • Pour each paint color onto a paper plate for easy application. We used red, white, and blue.

Easy fireworks painting for kids

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  • Gently “stamp” your paper tube in the paint until all strips are covered.

Easy fireworks painting for kids

  • Stamp the tube onto your construction paper in multiple areas to create the firework. This was my son’s favorite step and he got really carried away with it! Just to be on the safe side we used an old white sheet to cover the table, which as you can see below was a great idea. Even with him on my lap, it was near impossible to control his every move.

Easy fireworks painting for kidsEasy fireworks painting for kids

  • Change colors/tubes & stamp again until you’ve reached the desired effect.

Easy fireworks painting for kids

This couldn’t have been an easier project and the outcome turned out to be pretty cool.

Easy fireworks painting for kids

After we created the firework masterpieces, I tried to explain to my son that we would see lots of fireworks over the weekend. I told him they would make loud “kaboom” sounds and have so many pretty colors, just like his paintings. He was so happy about the idea, but still confused at the same time so I showed him a few videos on YouTube. His face lit up when he saw the fireworks bursting along to music in the videos. He would look wide-eyed at the video & then point to his paintings while shouting “Fah-wurk! Fah-wurk!”. Hopefully, this will be a nice introduction to this holiday’s loud spectacle. Last year he was too small to understand or even be afraid of the explosive sounds. This year I’m hoping he enjoys the beauty and excitement of the fireworks like I did as a young boy and still do to this day.

Easy fireworks painting for kids

Have you tried something like this with your kids? What was the outcome? Please share in the comments below.