Islamorada Beer Company – South Location

Islamorada Beer Company

Florida Craft Brewery: Islamorada Beer Company – South Location

Established: October 31st, 2014

Location: 82229 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, Florida 32026

Known For: Located 82 miles north of Key West, the Islamorada Beer Company is known for their easy drinking fun in the sun beers. Whether it’s a day on the water, a day at the beach, or a day doing yard work, their beers are designed with the hot summer days of Florida in mind. Islamorada has taken the flag for session beers and run with it. If the outdoors is your playground, you are their target.

Islamorada Beer Company

Current Beer Menu: My family and I were down in the Keys for a wedding so it was a perfect opportunity to hit one of the two breweries located on Islamorada. Having reviewed the location in Fort Pierce already, I skipped their core beers to focus on what I hadn’t tried yet. Islamorada had eleven of their own beers on tap during my visit. Since I had already tried ‘Sandbar Sunday’, ‘Islamorada Ale’, ‘No Tan Lines’, and ‘Channel Marker’ during my visit to their Fort Pierce production facility and tap room I focused on the remaining seven. My first beer of the day was a coconut key lime Blonde named ‘No Wake Zone’. I got the slightest bit of both coconut and key lime. It certainly has a lot of potential. In talking to the head brewer, Stephanie, I learned that she was in the process of working on the recipe so it could be upscaled at the production facility. The coconut used is roasted in-house.

Islamorada Beer Company

The northern facility has purchased an oven to do the same. Next up was a Cascade dry-hopped mango infused Blonde called the ‘Last Flight Out’. I got a lot of mango on the nose with a just enough mango on the tongue followed by a lite hop bite. ‘Treasure Coast’ is a Vienna Lager that is sweeter than what’s normally typical for the style. That sweetness added a little something extra to a style I don’t normally care for. Their Traditional Lager, Wyland, was next. This is the beer that will act as a gateway to all things craft for the patron who stops in asking for a Budweiser. The Queen Conch Raspberry (Tart) Ale opens up as it warms bringing forth a nice dose of raspberry puree. I only got the slightest hint of tartness from the raspberries. I guess tart is listed on the menu so it doesn’t come as a surprise to someone who may not have a familiarity with all of the different nuances of craft beer. My favorite beer of the day was a vanilla coffee Stout called ‘Buzz on Charters’. I got a lot of coffee on the nose with just the slightest backing of vanilla. The taste was completely vice versa for me. The vanilla took over giving the coffee a backseat. At 6.7% abv it’s one of the bigger beers they brew. My last beer of the day was a Blonde Ale named ‘Go Fish’. It was nice, crisp and quite enjoyable.

Islamorada Beer Company

Price Range: A flight will get you four 4oz beers for $8.00. Each additional pour is $2.00. A pint will run you $6.00 across the board. Growlers in both 32oz and 64oz are offered as well. The 32oz growler glass will run you $8.00 and the fill of the growler will also cost you $8.00. The 64oz glass will run $14 and the fill will also run you $15.00.

Wine Menu: A number of styles are offered by the glass for $6.00, but come on now you aren’t there for the wine.

Food Menu/Food Trucks: Food trucks aren’t a legal form of food distribution in Islamorada just yet. Thankfully though you can have food delivered or try one of their prepackaged items. Fish dip for $7.00, hummus for $3.50, and Boar’s Head meat/cheese for $5.50.

Islamorada Beer Company

Ambiance: The Florida Keys are one of those places I visit just to get away from everything. You can feel the weight of the world slowly fall away as you cross the Miami-Dade-Monroe County line. It’s hard to miss The Islamorada Beer Co. with its brightly colored exterior. You are greeted by an explosion of neon yellow and turquoise as you walk through the front door. Some might think its gaudy, but in the Keys, it fits in perfectly with the tropical feel. Overhead you’ll hear music from bands like Sublime and Dispatch, adding to that relaxing feeling that has already taken a hold of you. Nothing, but good vibes flow through those doors. If chilling at the bar isn’t your thing Giant Jenga, a Foosball table, Giant Connect Four, and a number of board games are available to pass the time.

Islamorada Beer Company Islamorada Beer Company Islamorada Beer Company Islamorada Beer Company

Bar Seating: The bar is split into two sections and holds a total of twelve seats. There are seven tables holding four seats each, a picnic-style table, and additional seating out back.

Staff: Luckily head brewer Stephanie Harper was not only on site during my visit, but also single-handedly running the bar. Stephanie moved down to the Keys from Delaware five years ago to become a scuba instructor. The brewery became her go-to spot and she eventually started bartending while helping to brew on the side. One and a half years ago ownership sat Steph down and asked her to take over the head brewer’s position. With no formal training, she learns on the job and reads everything she can get her hands on regarding the subject. The rest, as they say, is history. Steph was a pleasure to talk to while handling the rest of the patrons. I don’t think she could be more personable if she tried. The Islamorada Beer Co. is lucky to have her. They are currently looking for additional bar help. The only prerequisites are having a bit of experience, the ability to show up on time, and arriving mostly sober. It’s a Keys thing!

Brewing System: Islamorada South brews on a two-barrel system.

Islamorada Beer Company Islamorada Beer Company

Merch: Wow, does Islamorada have merch! They devote a decent sized section in the tap room to all of the merch they offer. They offer everything from koozies, bottle openers, stickers, glasses, tumblers, bar signs, t-shirts, fishing shirts, hats, and even calendars. If you want something they most likely offer it. You can view everything they have to offer here.

Islamorada Beer Company

Membership offered: At this time nothing is offered.

Best days or time of year to go: During the week before the end of the work day is you best time to get a seat at the bar.

Regular Hours: Monday – Saturday: 12:00pm – 9:00pm and Sunday 12:00pm – 6:00pm

Happy Hour: Buy one get one pints are available Monday through Friday from 5:00 to 7:00.

Islamorada Beer Company

Fun Facts:

-Islamorada is the number one top-selling craft beer throughout the Florida Keys.

-Before opening the production brewery in Fort Pierce the Islamorada Beer Co. contract brewed at the Beltway Brewing Co. in Virginia, the Olde Saratoga Brewing Co. in New York, back to the Beltway Brewing Co., and finally to the Thomas Creek Brewery in South Carolina.

-The boat pictured below can be found in the tasting room. It is the first boat part owner Chris Trentine owned.

Islamorada Beer Company

-There were only three beers available during the grand opening. Realizing they needed another offering the partners began mixing the beers only to discover that the ‘Sandbar Sunday Wheat Ale’ and the ‘Islamorada Ale’ go very well together. The wine rep. who was on site at the time suggested calling the concoction ‘No Tan Lines’ and it stuck.

-The ‘Wyland Traditional Lager’ was named after artist Robert Wyland, who is best known as simply, Wyland. He helped brew the inaugural batch. He is a renowned marine life artist known for his Whaling Walls.

Islamorada Beer Company

Overall Rating (1-5): If you’re looking for an easy drinking session brew to take out on your fishing trip Islamorada is the beer for you. Their beers are built around the sun and fun life of the Florida Keys. I am rating the Islamorada Beer Co. a 3.75 out of 5.

What was missing: Being a fan of bigger meatier beers it’s always a letdown when a brewery doesn’t have one available. Of course in saying that the heat and humidity of the Florida Keys aren’t exactly the place you want the high abv beers. As much as I love big stouts, porters, and barleywines they aren’t my go-to styles when I’m sitting on the beach fishing.

Islamorada Beer Company

In closing, going into the review I knew Islamorada primarily focused on session brews with the oddball higher abv thrown in around the holidays. I look forward to the next trip we take down to the Keys knowing there’s a friendly spot to stop, grab a pint, and shoot the shit.

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

Easy DIY Teepee for Toddlers

Easy DIY Teepee for Toddlers

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

When my wife said she wanted to get our son a teepee for his room I thought it was a great idea. I remember as a kid always wanting to build a fort. Couch cushions, chairs, sheets, and any other household item that would give makeshift cover for my imaginary world to open up. Having a space to call my own, even at such a young age, seemed important. He would love it! Yep. I thought a teepee was a great idea until I saw the price tag! Are you kidding me? A hundred dollars for a piece of canvas and some sticks? I think those were my exact words to my wife too. She just rolled her eyes and said she thought it would be great for our son and didn’t know why I was being difficult. I quickly responded well, heck I could make a teepee for a lot less than $100! “Oh yeah?” she said. And that was the moment I realized what I had gotten myself into. Off to the home improvement store we went!

So here it is, my step-by-step guide to making your own no-sew teepee for less than $34.00. That’s right! I actually got it right this time and kind of proved the wife wrong. Or did I prove her, right? I think she got what she wanted either way and I’m a proud Daddy for being able to pull through on this.

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

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

What you’ll need:

  • Canvas Drop Cloth 5 ft. 9 in. x 8 ft. 9 in. 10 oz.
  • 4 Pieces of 11/16″ Quarter Round Molding – found at any home improvement store
  • Rope or Twine – I used cotton cooking twine we already had
  • Safety Pins

Optional:

This project was relatively easy once I figured out the placement of the quarter round and how I wanted to drape the drop cloth. After cutting down the eight-foot quarter round pieces to about six feet I made a square with the quarter round and figured out the height where I wanted to secure it with the twine.

It helps to have an extra pair of hands for this part. Wrap the twine multiple times around and under the quarter round until secure. Cut the end of the twine and fasten with a knot at the back.

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

Unfold the drop cloth and drape around the teepee frame until you are happy with the placement. Fasten the drop cloth at the top of the teepee with safety pins until secure. I used two heavy-duty safety pins.

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

That’s it! Teepee complete.

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

As an added touch you can decorate the teepee with white lights. I grouped a string of white lights together with twist ties and hung them inside the teepee to look like a chandelier.

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

This also acts as a reading light. I pulled the plug end of the lights through the top of the teepee and down the back side out of view to an outlet.

To make the inside area comfier, we added a new dog bed as a floor pillow and covered it with a blanket.

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

The blanket was actually the comforter to my son’s crib set that we never used. At least now it serves a purpose and it fits in with the rest of his room decor.

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

I also added some throw pillows that my wife found at Target, another blanket and a stuffed octopus he already had.

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

The best part about doing any project is the reveal when you get to see the reaction. It’s even better when it’s your kid! We told my son we were working on a surprise for him while he spent the whole day at his grandma’s. When he came home and we told him to come see what Daddy made for him the look of amazement on his face was priceless! His first words were “Whoah! That’s so cool! Look at my teepee Daddy!”

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

Easy DIY Teepee for Toddlers

He loved it! I consider this project a “win”!

If you’re not convinced and would rather buy a teepee, here are some cool options.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Have you tried a DIY teepee for your child? Please share below. I’d love to hear from you!

Cheers,

Craft Daddy

J. Wakefield Brewing

Florida Craft Brewery: J. Wakefield Brewing

Established: Grand opening February 28th, 2015

Location: 120 Northwest 24th St, Miami, FL 33127

Known For: J. Wakefield Brewing is best known for theirDFPF’ (Dragon Fruit Passion Fruit) Florida Weisse Sour Ale. It is currently the #2 ranked Berliner Weissbier in the world on beeradvocate.com. First place on that list is held by Wakefield’s own ‘Miami Madness’, which is a Berliner brewed with Guava, Mango, and Passionfruit. On ratebeer.com ‘DFPF’ holds the top spot while Miami Madness is in the second spot.

J. Wakefield Brewing

Current Beer Menu: While I wasn’t lucky enough to attend Wakefield’s 2nd Anniversary party known as Wakefest I did visit the brewery the following week. As luck would have it a few of the festival beers were still available in the taproom. One of those was a Double IPA called ‘Mango Feber’. It was brewed using mango and Mosaic hops and Amarillo hops by the Swedish brewer Brewski. I got a very earthy undertone mixed with hoppy mango. Also from Brewski was a Berliner Weisse called ‘Beet Me With Passion, Honey!’ It was definitely the most interesting beer of the day. You wouldn’t think the combination of passion fruit, honey, and beets would necessarily work together, but surprisingly they did. The beets were there, but they weren’t at all overpowering. It was a really enjoyable beer. Another holdover was Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers ‘Blood Orange Sour Time’. A Wheat Lager aged in white wine barrels with Brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and pediococcus. I really loved how the orange played off of the wine barrel with the added funky sour from the brett, lacto, and pedio. ‘Manatees at the Power Plant’ was next up. It was a collaboration brewed with 3 Stars Brewing Company out of Washington DC. The Berliner Weisse used Jamaican Ugli fruit and guava in the brew. This was the tartest beer of the day with a whole lot of citrus from the Ugli fruit up front and a relatively sweet finish from the guava.

J. Wakefield Brewing

The next collaboration on the board, ‘Brush’, was developed with the Swedish brewery Omnipollo. Together they brewed an Imperial Stout using marshmallows, vanilla beans, cocoa nibs, hazelnut coffee, and ancho chilis. Now I had been drinking really good beer up to this point and ‘Brush’ blew me out of the water with how good it was. I ended up having a second 4oz pour before leaving. It was everything a big stout should be. Rich, dark, and heavy. The different flavors played off of each other so well, I wish I had more of it. Next up was ‘Pi’, a Strong Ale, brewed with key limes, vanilla, and aged in bourbon barrels. This was a collaboration with Bottle Logic Brewing that pretty much came down to key lime pie in a bottle with a shot of bourbon. This was one of those beers that you either love or hate. I happened to be on the side of really loving the beer. The bourbon was a little heavy, but in time that will mellow out. I’m looking forward to seeing what six months of aging will do to the bottle I bought. The ‘UJP’ English Smoked Porter is one of Wakefield’s core beers and one I have always really liked. It’s a chocolatey lightly smoked treat in a glass. The ‘Frank White’ NE Pineapple IPA was the last collaboration on the board and was brewed exclusively for the 18th Street Bottle Shoppe in St Petersburg, FL. I got sweet pineapple up front with a tangy pineapple bite towards the end. My last beer of the day was ‘Midnight Mystery’ Imperial Stout from the Devour Brewing Co. in Boynton Beach, FL. They are a small operation, but really turn out some tasty brews.

J. Wakefield Brewing

Price Range: Flights of the core beers are $8.00 for four 4oz pours while the specialty flights will run you $12.00. 16oz pours of the core beers are $5.00 and 13oz pours of the specialty beers will run you between $7.00 and $10.00. 32oz growlers are available and during my visit ranged between $10.00 and $15.00. You may also luck out and find 4-packs of 16oz cans or 750ml bottles available in the to go fridge. During my visit I purchased a few bottles of ‘Pi’ for $25.00 a pop and a few bottles of ‘Golden Ticket’ an Imperial Stout brewed specifically for Wakefest for $20.00 apiece.

Wine Menu: Wine is not offered, but cider and craft sodas are available.

Food Menu/Food Trucks:  Food trucks are available Friday and Saturday starting at 6:00 pm and all day Sunday.

J. Wakefield Brewing

Ambiance: If you grew up loving Star Wars and comic books (like I did) then this is the brewery for you. Before walking into the taproom there is a mural of Darth Vader’s helmet on the wall. When walking inside you quickly discover that the taproom isn’t very large. I imagine on Friday and Saturday nights it gets pretty packed in there. The wall on one side of the space is covered in graffiti murals of different scenes from the Star Wars Trilogy. The wall running parallel has a floor to ceiling mural of a fire-breathing dragon painted in more of the fashion of the Far East than in the medieval style. Comic book and Star Wars figurines from Jonathan Wakefield’s own collection adorn the tap area of the bar. The room itself is well-lit by a combination of the natural sunlight pouring in through the windows and the chandeliers overhead. Music from the likes of 2Pac, Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre, and other artists (from when hip-hop was actually worth listening to) played overhead. For what the taproom lacks in size it makes up for in character.

J. Wakefield Brewing

Bar Seating: There are ten seats at the bar, six tables with two chairs apiece, seating along the windows, a large family style table with 12 seats, and seating outside.

Staff: During my visit, I had the pleasure of meeting both Samantha and Andrew. Samantha holds the title of Manager on Duty and has been with Wakefield since day one. Andrew had only been with Wakefield for two months after a stint at the Yard House. Both handled the bar and patrons very well. Even the ones who were just stopping in for bottles on their way to the airport who didn’t quite grasp how things worked. Samantha and Andrew made the Wakefield experience that much better.

J. Wakefield Brewing

Brewing System: J. Wakefield has a 15 barrel Brewhouse consisting of five 15 bbl fermenters, a 30 bbl and 45 bbl fermenter, two 15 bbl brite tanks, and a 45 bbl brite tank.

Merch: T-shirts for $20.00, Polo’s for $30.00, work shirts for $35, and sweatshirts for 45.00. Glasses are also available for $7.00.

Membership offered: No membership is available and there is nothing planned for the future.

Best days or time of year to go: If you’re looking for the smallest crowd possible your safest bet is between 2:00 and 4:00 pm Monday through Thursday.

Regular Hours: Monday: 2:00pm – 8:00pm, Tuesday – Thursday: 2:00pm – 11:00pm, Friday: 12:00pm – 1:00am, Saturday: 12:00pm – 1:00am, and Sunday: 12:00pm – 8:00pm

Happy Hour: Monday through Friday between 5:00 and 7:00 pm receive a dollar off from the majority of the beers.

J. Wakefield Brewing

J. Wakefield Brewing

J. Wakefield Brewing

Fun Facts:

-Every May 4th the brewery celebrates Star Wars Day or as I’ve known it to be called, May the Fourth Be With You. In 2016 The original Trilogy was shown and limited edition t-shirts were available. Patrons were also encouraged to dress the part.

-J. Wakefield Brewing is looking to build a production only brewery in Western Miami-Dade County. The plan is for it to be the largest brewery south of Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing, and twice as large as Oakland Park’s Funky Buddha Brewery. Under the plan, the capacity would be increased to 45,000 – 50,000 barrels a year.

-Jonathan Wakefield raised $112,000, during a crowd-funded campaign, to help raise money to build his brewery.

-Christmas Day of 2005 John’s wife, Natalie, gave him a $50.00 Mr. Beer Homebrew Kit. She unknowingly helped change the future of craft beer in South Florida. We owe it all to her! Thanks, Natalie!

J. Wakefield Brewing

Overall Rating (1-5): This is an easy one. I’m rating J. Wakefield Brewing a 5 out of 5. The brewery, with all of its graffiti and murals, is an interesting place to visit. The staff was about as perfect as they could be when it came to making sure the patrons were taken care of. Last but not least the beer was spot on. After a bump or two, in the beginning, Wakefield has pretty much produced nothing but winners.

J. Wakefield Brewing

What was missing: I guess if I can’t think of anything that’s a good thing right?

In closing, J. Wakefield Brewing is one of those breweries that you have to stop in and experience. I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t be disappointed by your visit.

Is there something else you would like to know about J. Wakefield Brewing? Please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below.

Cheers!

J. Wakefield Brewing