South Florida’s Inaugural FemAle BrewFest

FemAle BrewFest

South Florida’s Inaugural FemAle Brewfest took place at Fat Village Arts District in Fort Lauderdale over the Memorial Day weekend. The festival was the brainchild of Fem Collective CEO Frances Antonio-Martineau. The Fem Collective is a South Florida women’s advocacy group supporting the missions, issues, and ambitions of women. A portion of the proceeds went to the Pink Boots Society, which inspires and encourages women within the beer industry to advance their careers through education. It was the first beer festival of its kind focusing on women in the craft beer industry. More specifically on breweries owned or operated by a woman or employing a female brewer or quality control head. Along with the beer, cider, and meads the festival also featured female music acts, industry associated vendors, and a number of South Florida’s top female chefs. Tickets started at $10.00 for designated drivers and went up to $40.00 for VIP.

FemAle BrewFest
And it begins.

The festival was scheduled to run between 1:00 and 5:00 pm. I arrived at 12:30 to get the lay of the land before the foamy liquid began to flow. Thankfully, the festival was held inside a warehouse space because it was a sweltering hot South Florida day. Air-conditioning was pumped into the space dropping the temp to acceptable levels. I did hear at least one person complain that it was a bit hot too which I was quick to remind them that we could be outside. After making my rounds and taking a few pics I stopped by the Islamorada Beer Company table to see what they were pouring and to say “hi” to head brewer, Stephanie Harper, and Director of Sales and Marketing, Jose Herrera. Stephanie was pouring ‘Sandbar Sunday’, ‘Channel Marker IPA’, and ‘Key Hoppin’ IPA’. ‘Key Hoppin’ was a bit hoppier than she typically brews.

FemAle BrewFest
Jose and Stephanie of Islamorada Brewing.

After some small talk, it was one o’clock and time to drink some beer. My first stop was to Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing out of California who had traveled the furthest distance to be at the BrewFest. They were pouring crowlers of three of their brews. ‘Madame Grey’, a milk stout, brewed with Earl Grey tea was quite good. The aroma and taste of tea went very well with the lactose. Their Juice Box IPA was brewed using El Dorada and Azacca hops specifically for the festival. The Oathkeeper IPA was brewed on International Women’s Day with one pound of lavender and local organic strawberries. I can’t recall ever having an IPA brewed with lavender before. Together with the strawberries, it was one of the most interesting IPA’s I’ve ever tried.

FemAle BrewFest

Progressive Distribution provided and poured the VIP beers. Since they were just to the left of Santa Cruz they were my next stop. They were pouring Jester King’s ‘Le Petit Prince Farmhouse Table Beer’ as well as ‘Double Negative’ Imperial Stout and ‘Blackberry Orange Pop’ Berliner Weisse from Grimm Artisanal Ales. Both beers from Grimm were fantastic and two of my favorites of the day.

FemAle BrewFest FemAle BrewFest

Next, I paid a visit to the Accomplice Brewery and Ciderworks table. They were pouring ‘Simple Apple’ (base cider), ‘Piñas Envy Pineapple’ (fan favorite), and their 8% heavy hitter ‘Cidewinder Cinnamon’ (apple pie). Accomplice is only about 15 minutes from my house, but I haven’t stopped in yet. My focus has always been on craft beer, not ciders. Having the opportunity to try to enjoy a few of their ciders as well as talking to co-founders, Felonice Merriman and Matt Stetson, has me curious to stop in and see what else they have to offer.

FemAle BrewFest

General Manager and Assistant Brewer, Maria Cabré, and newly promoted Account Representative, Alex Reyes, represented J. Wakefield Brewing. They were pouring ‘El Jefe Hefeweizen’, ‘Hop 4 Teacher IIPA’, and ‘Part Time Lager’. ‘Part Time Lager’ was brewed in collaboration with Jack’s Abby. At 9% it’s quite possibly the biggest lager I’ve ever tried. I have to say it was pretty damn delicious. The Black Cauldron Brewery and Taproom out of Orlando was up next. Co-owner and head brewer Jeanna Malines was pouring ‘Ancient Rites Belgian Blonde’, ‘Black Rose Immortal Stout’, and ‘Bleed Purple Blackberry Saison’. I enjoyed both the blonde and Saison, but wasn’t the biggest fan of the stout. I have yet to review the Orlando area so it was good to get a taste of what they have to offer.

FemAle BrewFest

Next, I hit Ballast Point to tick (check off) a couple of beers I had yet to try. Both the ‘Bonito Blonde Ale’ and the ‘Sea Rose Tart Cherry Wheat Ale’ were bottle pours. I enjoyed the ‘Sea Rose’ from its wheat malt beginning to its slightly tart pomegranate and cherry backing. The Big Storm Brewing Co. has tap rooms in both Clearwater and Odessa, Florida. Brewer Megan Michael and Director of Sales Kym Poon were pouring the ‘Helicity Pilsner’, ‘Wavemaker Amber Ale’, ‘Tropic Pressure Florida Ale’, and ‘Surfline Gulfcoast Lager’ from cans. I had never had the opportunity to try Big Storm before. Their offerings were impressive! I’m looking forward to visiting the brewery and trying a few things that aren’t in cans.

FemAle BrewFest

Lisa Siegel, part owner of the Craft Beer Cartel and Riverside Market was pouring ‘954 Pale Ale’ and ‘Honey Love Cream Ale’. Both beers are brewed by New River Brewing. which will be opening later this year in Fort Lauderdale.

FemAle BrewFest

The M.I.A. Beer Co. was next up and pouring their ‘Neon White IPA’ and ‘Tourist Trappe Belgian Trippel’. They are a brewery that I will be reviewing in the near future.

FemAle BrewFest

Lastly, I tried a refreshingly tart lime agave mead called ‘Tuco Style Freakout’ from the B. Nectar Meadery. After a day of beer, it was an interesting change of pace.

FemAle BrewFest

I think there are a few changes that should be looked at for next year’s festival. It’s generally frowned upon when brewers pour their wares from cans or bottles. As a lover of craft beer, pouring from kegs is one of the things that draws me to a festival. You will always sell tickets to beer festivals, but if you want the festival to really take off, kegs are definitely the way to go. Also, breweries should bring more than just their core beers. Again, if you want the craft beer community to support and look forward to your festival there needs to be the pull of something that isn’t readily available to the masses. Lastly, something that was missing and is a mainstay at festivals was the pour bucket. If I’m served a beer that I don’t like the first thing I want to do is toss it and move on to the next offering. Without a pour bucket, you’re forcing festival goers to either finish the beer or find a garbage can to pour it into.

FemAle BrewFest
Miami based DJ La Trice Perry
FemAle BrewFest
The Amsterdam-based band, Hypergoods

Overall I really enjoyed the festival. As a first time event, the FemAle BrewFest was really put together well and even though it was a tad warm in the festival space, the fact that it was inside was a serious plus. I spent half of my time talking with the different brewery representatives. The rest was spent trying beers I hadn’t tasted before. With a few tweaks, I can really see this festival growing from year to year. The concept of celebrating women in craft beer is something that has been desperately needed in the industry. The few people I talked to about the festival from outside of the state seemed rather intrigued. I’m expecting a much larger showing next year and for quite a few more breweries to attend from outside of Florida. This is one of those if you build it, they will come projects. Kudos to all the amazing women who contributed to this year’s FemAle BrewFest and made it a huge success. I look forward to drinking with you again soon.

FemAle BrewFest
From one Craft Daddy to another.

Vendors

FemAle BrewFest FemAle BrewFest FemAle BrewFest FemAle BrewFest FemAle BrewFest FemAle BrewFest

Father’s Day: Craft Beer Lovers Gift Guide

Father's Day: Craft Beer Lovers Gift Guide

It’s time once again to celebrate Dads. To help with that, I have put together my Craft Beer Lovers Gift Guide. Father’s Day changed for me a little over two and a half years ago when my son was born. After a bit of a scare and an emergency C-section, I got to hold my son for the first time skin-to-skin. That was the moment my heart grew twice its size! I told my baby boy all about what he meant to me and the things he had to look forward to. That moment in time meant the world to me and brings tears to my eyes as I reminisce on it. Today as I look at an almost three-year-old, I wonder where the time has gone. Another blink and I’ll be teaching him to drive. I cherish the time I have with my son and sincerely hope our relationship only grows stronger as the years go by. I had no clue I could ever love as much as I love him.

My hope is that all you Craft Daddy’s have a great Father’s Day and to help with that, here, in no particular order, are 20 craft beer related items that are sure to please any craft beer fan.

*This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

1 – Beer of the Month Club

The Beer of the Month Club is the top of the line when it comes to beer clubs. I have been a member of the Rare Beer Club in the past, which is their most exclusive club. Not only are you getting your hands on 750ml bottles that aren’t available to you, but you also have the choice of switching to a previously released beer if you don’t care for the style being released that month.

Father's Day: Craft Beer Lovers Gift Guide

2 – Beer Cap Maps

The Beer Cap Map is the perfect item to spruce up your man cave. You can choose your state and even your country. The pictures look cool on the website, but you’ll be blown away by how badass they look in person. The attention to detail for each map is second to none.

3 – Best Appliance Skins

If you are anything like me, your beer fridge is boring and in need of a makeover. Best Appliance Skins offer magnetic covers for your fridge that give it a whole new life without damaging it. My beer fridge was the last thing in my man cave to need a touch of style and the magnetic skin from Best Appliance Skins did just that!

Father's Day: Craft Beer Lovers Gift Guide

4 – Glassware

If Dad appreciates fine glassware while sipping on his craft beer then it doesn’t get much better than Spiegelau. They are German engineered with high-quality crystal to help enhance the flavor and aroma of the beer.

Spiegelau Craft Beer Glasses Tasting Kit – (Set of 3)

Spiegelau Beer Connoisseur Assorted Gift Set – (Set of 4)

5 – Custom Pint Glass

Even the craft beer aficionado still falls back on old faithful. The pint glass is a perfect go to when you don’t want to break out the fine crystal. My wife had a set of pint glasses personalized for me a few years back and they are still my go-to for everyday drinking.

Dad Established Personalized Pint Glass
Father's Day: Craft Beer Lovers Gift Guide

Daddy Medicine Pint Glass

Father's Day: Craft Beer Lovers Gift Guide

6 – Craft Beer Mug 

I love this mug and purchased one for myself. It lets everyone at the office know your love for craft beer and makes a great conversation piece.

Father's Day: Craft Beer Lovers Gift Guide

7 – Craft Beer Sign

Every man cave needs a beer sign or two. If you’re feeling crafty these signs can be made at home, but sometimes it’s just easier to make the purchase.

Father's Day: Craft Beer Lovers Gift Guide

8 – Grill Master Apron

Let everyone at the barbecue know who the real Craft Daddy is.

Father's Day: Craft Beer Lovers Gift Guide

9 – Bottle Opener/Cap holder

Here’s another piece for the man cave motif. Personalized with the year the man in your life became known as Dad!

Father's Day: Craft Beer Lovers Gift Guide

10 – Personalized Bottle Opener

This is one of those gifts that will always make Dad smile when he looks down at his keys.

Father's Day: Craft Beer Lovers Gift Guide

11 – Dad’s Brew House Rustic Craft Beer Carrier with Bottle Opener

Dad will arrive at the party in style carrying this rustic craft beer carrier.

12 – Custom Craft Beer Growlers

What better way to show off his love for craft beer than a personalized growler.

Personalized Craft Beer Growler

Father's Day: Craft Beer Lovers Gift Guide

Dad Craft Beer Growler

Father's Day: Craft Beer Lovers Gift Guide

13 – Craft Beer T-shirts

There are some really funny craft beer shirts out there. Here are a few specifically for Daddy.

Brew Dad T-shirt

Father's Day: Craft Beer Lovers Gift Guide

Bring Dad a Beer T-shirt

Building My Dad Bod One Beer A Time

Pint and Half Pint T-shirt
Father's Day: Craft Beer Lovers Gift Guide

14 – Socks

If you’re going to get Dad socks, at least get him craft beer socks!

Craft Beer Socks

Father's Day: Craft Beer Lovers Gift Guide

Hoppy Socks

Father's Day: Craft Beer Lovers Gift Guide

Fine Fit Socks
Father's Day: Craft Beer Lovers Gift Guide

15 – YOpener Bottle Opener

I have yet to purchase a YOpener for myself, but I have seen them in action a number of times. They are one of the coolest bottle openers available. They are handmade from used bourbon and wine barrels. The YOpener preserves the bottle cap so you can add it to your Beer Cap Map and has a serrated edge to help with dispatching the wax from your next whale.

Father's Day: Craft Beer Lovers Gift Guide

16 – Chattanooga Brewing Scenic City Stout AF Black Cherry Shea Butter Soap

My wife got me a bar of this craft beer soap from Southside Soap Studio and boy does it smell deee-licious!

Father's Day: Craft Beer Lovers Gift Guide

17 – EdgeStar Full Size Kegerator and Keg Beer Cooler

If your Dad likes to have a keg of craft beer on hand then get him a Kegerator. This one comes highly rated and would be perfect for the man cave. I typically drink a variety of bottled craft beers so a Kegerator isn’t #1 on my list, but it would still be a nice addition to my man cave especially when entertaining.

18 – Beer Savers Silicone Rubber Bottle Cap (6 Pack)

If your Dad is like me he doesn’t always finish his 22oz or 750ml bottles of beer. These Beer Savers make putting the beer back in the fridge for later a real possibility.

19 – Craft Beer Books

Whether Dad is a newbie to craft beer, a homebrewer, loves to cook with beer, or is just looking for a good read there are books about craft beer that cover the spectrum.

The Beer Bible

The Complete Beer Course: Boot Camp for Beer Geeks: From Novice to Expert in Twelve Tasting Classes

How To Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Great Beer Every Time

The Craft Beer Bites Cookbook

Goodnight Brew: A Parody for Beer People

B Is for Beer

20 – Beer Wars

This is a great documentary about the craft beer industry and the ongoing fight breweries face against the beer giants. It’s a must watch for any craft beer fan!

I hope you found these craft beer gift ideas helpful! To check out, even more, ideas go to www.beerbelliedtravelers.com for their Father’s Day Gift Guide. They are a great husband and wife duo who write about all things craft beer, travel, and adventure! Give them a follow and tell them Craft Daddy sent you. I even helped them with a few ideas on their Father’s Day Gift Guide.

To all the Fathers, Fathers-To-Be, Grandfathers, and Great-Grandfathers, I wish you a very Happy Father’s Day! We have the greatest job in the world! Cheers to you!

~ Craft Daddy

A Craft Beer Lovers Gift Basket

Craft Beer Lovers Gift Basket

A Craft Beer Lovers Gift Basket

Make this craft beer lovers gift basket for the craft beer enthusiast in your life. People always ask me what I want for my birthday and/or holidays and my answer is always craft beer. This gift basket contains a number of items that any craft beer lover would like to receive.

My wife created a basket filled with all sorts of beer goodies as an Easter gift for me in our first year of dating. Included in the basket were a six-pack of Yuengling, four personalized pint glasses, bar napkins, and a few different types of salty snacks. At the time I was just getting into the whole craft beer scene and my go to beer was still Yuengling’s Lager so I was ecstatic with the gift. Not only was I floored by the basket, but I couldn’t keep my eyes off of the sexy Easter Bunny that handed it to me either. (wink, wink) I’m a lucky guy!

The pint glasses were seriously bad-ass! Pretty much anytime I post a pic of a beer in one of the glasses I get a comment asking where I got them from.

Craft Beer Lovers Gift Basket

Looking back, I think it would make a great Father’s Day gift for the craft beer loving man in your life. Of course, this gift could crossover to just about any holiday and definitely isn’t targeting a male only audience. I decided to recreate the basket to the best of my ability for you. Included in the basket are the pint glasses, a four pack of craft beer from my personal stash, and a few snacks I enjoy when putting back a beer or two. I focused more on saltier items since I’m not big on sweets.

*This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

Here’s what I used for the craft beer lovers gift basket:

Craft Beer Lovers Gift Basket

If your significant other, friend, parent, or grandparent loves craft beer this gift is sure to please. After all, to a craft beer drinker, there isn’t much better than getting beer and beer accessories as a gift. The basket can be customized based on the individual’s preferences or by adding festive treats for the holidays.

Craft Beer Lovers Gift Basket

If you happen to put a basket together for someone please let me know how it turns out. I would love to hear from you!

Cheers!

~ Craft Daddy

Carnival Vista’s RedFrog Brewery Premiers New Beer

Carnival Vista RedFrog Pub and Brewery

If a cruise is in your future and you love craft beer then the Carnival Vista is a great ship to call home for a week. As Carnival’s largest ship to date, it has everything you could possibly want, including a pedal-powered Skyride, the first IMAX Theater on a cruise ship, and its very own brewery. The Vista’s sister ship, the Horizon, is set to sail in 2018 and will also have a brewery on board. The RedFrog Pub & Brewery is the first brewery on a North American-based cruise ship and Master Brewer Colin Presby is the man in charge.

Carnival Vista RedFrog Pub and Brewery

Colin began homebrewing in 2006 before beginning his career in beer with Weyerbacher Brewing as a cellarman. He then took a brewing position at Stoudts Brewing before accepting the head brewer’s job at the Golden Avalanche Brewing Co. He recently hired on Ronald as an assistant brewer from his home state of Pennsylvania.

Carnival Vista RedFrog Pub and Brewery
Ronald and Colin

Colin had five beers on tap during my visit. One of those, the ‘ThirstyFrog Red’, is brewed off the ship by Anheuser-Busch specifically for Carnival. The profile suggestions for the other four were made by the Concrete Beach Brewery while recipe specifics and the implementation were done by Colin.

Carnival Vista RedFrog Pub and Brewery

The ‘ThirstyFrog Caribbean Wheat’ is an unfiltered Hefeweizen with light notes of clove and oranges. The ’ThirstyFrog Port Hoppin’ IPA’ is brewed with Warrior, Citra, and Simcoe hops that impart hints of tropical fruits. The ‘ThirstyFrog American Pale Ale’ is brewed with Centennial and Cascade hops and has a balanced malt and hop profile. The fourth brew is the ‘FriskyFrog Java Stout’ with gentle notes of coffee and chocolate.

Carnival Vista RedFrog Pub and Brewery

Colin refers to his beers as full flavored, but accessible. He brews them with the novice craft drinker in mind. Typically, Colin brews 3 days a week using a 3 bbl (barrel) Joh. Albrecht Brautechnik dual vessel glass Brewhouse. Across the hall sits a room containing eight 6 bbl fermenters as well as the brewery’s cold storage.

Carnival Vista RedFrog Pub and Brewery
Photo used courtesy of the Beer Apostle.

To help celebrate American Craft Beer Week Colin brewed his ‘Miami Guava Wheat’ using 84 pounds of pink guava producing 100 gallons of tropical goodness. Carnival invited South Florida media and beer industry folks to the first ever tapping of the cask. Vista Hotel Director, Pierre Camilleri, had the honors of tapping the cask and did so flawlessly.

Carnival Vista RedFrog Pub and Brewery

Carnival Vista RedFrog Pub and Brewery

Carnival Vista RedFrog Pub and Brewery

Also on hand for the festivities was the ship’s, Captain Andrea Catalani. The beer was an aromatic explosion of guava on the nose and thirst quenching deliciousness. It was easily my favorite beer of the day.

Carnival Vista RedFrog Pub and Brewery

“I was drawing inspiration for this beer from the sort of tastes of Miami. We wanted something that spoke to our homeport. I’ve been really inspired by the Cuban pastries, the pastelitos, and the guava in that,” Colin said.

Carnival Vista RedFrog Pub and Brewery

While on board a pint will run you $5.75, but Carnival has gone a step further and also sells growlers for $34.95. The 64oz stainless steel flip top growler comes from Brewsuit.com and is appropriately named the SS Growler. Purchasing the growler filled is $48.95 and a refill is $16.95. If you’re in a hurry to get back to the pool there are also self-service stations where you can get a 14oz pour for $4.00.

Carnival Vista RedFrog Pub and Brewery

The pub is designed with Key West in mind and it certainly does have an island feel to it. There is plenty of seating and the folks handling the bar were as customer friendly as humanly possible. If sitting at the bar and listening to live music doesn’t do it for you there are also two foosball tables and two shuffleboard tables. You can also play Cornhole just outside of the brewery.

Carnival Vista RedFrog Pub and Brewery Carnival Vista RedFrog Pub and Brewery Carnival Vista RedFrog Pub and Brewery Carnival Vista RedFrog Pub and Brewery

In closing, I would certainly look at the Carnival Vista for my next cruise. The brewery and the state of the art amenities would make for a wonderful vacation. So the next time the family brings up going on vacation show them everything that the Carnival Vista has to offer. There is literally something for everyone.

Carnival Vista RedFrog Pub and Brewery
Saint Nicholas, the Patron Saint of Brewers.