Civil Society’s 2nd Anniversary Block Party
The Civil Society Brewing Company jumped into the South Florida craft beer scene running at full speed in November 2015. It’s now two years later and nothing is slowing these boys down. Hell, just this past January, as Civil was beginning year two, they were listed as #5 on the Best New Brewers in the World list by RateBeer. Not to be outdone Thrillist.com listed Civil on The Best New Breweries in America list this past March (2017).
So what did Civil Society do to celebrate their first two years of extraordinary success? Well, they threw a party, of course. They invited their friends from near and far, closed down the street, and had a block party. Tickets came in three different variations. General admission was $60.00 and included Civil Society’s 2nd Anniversary badass tasting glass and unlimited samples. General admission + tickets were $80.00 and included the above plus a 4-pack of Civil Society’s ‘2nd Anniversary DIPA’. Finally, for the extra thirsty in the crowd, Civil released 200 VIP tickets for $175.00 a piece. Included in that price were the tasting glass, unlimited pours, and a mixed case of three 4-packs of the ‘2nd Anniversary DIPA’ and three 4-packs of Fresh Pulp. The DIPA was brewed using Summer, Citra, Hallertau Blanc, Mosaic, Lemondrop and Mosaic Lupulin Pellets while ‘Fresh Pulp’ was a mix of both ‘Fresh’ and ‘Pulp’ thrown together in fermentation. What more could you possibly want?
The line began to form a bit before 11:00 a.m. for the 12:00 p.m. start of Civil Society’s 2nd Anniversary. After taking a few pics of the line winding down the sidewalk, back up, and down a side street I jumped in line and received my general admission bracelet.
Once the line started moving we were filtered in through the brewery, passed all of the merch, to get our ticket scanned and a choice between different color combination glasses.
After that, it was time for the fun to start! First up was the absolutely deliciously dank and juicy Double Dry Hopped Mylar Bags DIPA from Other Half Brewing. Not a bad way to start the day! A quick jaunt across the street brought me to the Angry Chair Brewing tent to try ‘Sloth Love Coffee’, which is their ‘Rocky Road Imperial Stout’ with coffee, and the ‘Rum BA Imperial Awakening Imperial Stout’. I’ve never had an Angry Chair Stout I didn’t absolutely love and these were no different. Next up was the Superstition Meadery and their choice between an adjunct heavy mead and a blueberry cider. ‘Devour the Sun’ was a mead made in collaboration with Horus Aged Ales which included Mostra Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, cacao nibs, toasted coconut, macadamia nuts, and marshmallow. The chocolate from the cacao nibs came through more than anything else for me. The ‘Blueberry Spaceship Box’ cider is made with Blueberry juice and currently holds the top spot as best cider on both Untappd and Ratebeer. I enjoyed both of Superstitions offerings, but the cider took top billing for me.
The Answer Brewpub and their two offerings were next on the list. The ‘Phantom Limb Pain Imperial Stout’ was brewed with almonds, chocolate, coffee, and toasted coconut. They also brought ‘Mind Games’, a DIPA, which is triple dry-hopped with Mosaic, El Dorado, and Galaxy hops. Both beers were quite good, but the imperial stout was a step above for me. Unseen Creatures Brewing and Blending brought ‘DDH in the Clouds’ and ‘Michele’. The ‘DDH in the Clouds’ Pale Ale was brewed with Citra, Simcoe, and Cascade hops and dry-hopped with even more Simcoe and Citra. ‘Michele’ is a mixed fermentation Farmhouse Ale refermented with cherries. Both offerings were good, but I especially enjoyed the tart cherry from ‘Michele’. Unseen Creatures are tentatively scheduled to open their doors in early 2018 in North Miami and specialize in Farmhouse inspired Wild Ales.
Southern Grist Brewing was next on the list with one of the most talked about beers of the day. They took their ‘Vanillionaire Imperial Sweet Stout’ and added coconut to it specifically for the anniversary. ‘Coconut Vanillionaire’ was one of the first beers mentioned as a favorite by just about everyone except me. There was something I just didn’t like about it. Maybe an overabundance of vanilla? Who knows? They also brought ‘Evan’s Emergency’ which is their New England IPA with the addition of mango. Interestingly enough Evan from Civil Society is apparently deathly allergic to mangoes hence the name. I’m always a fan of mango in a beer so I really enjoyed ‘Evan’s Emergency’. Bottle Logic was up next with their bourbon barrel aged strong ale ‘Stronger Than Fiction’. It was dangerously smooth for being 13% abv and was one of my favorite beers of the day.
Cigar City’s ‘Decoherence’ imperial stout was being poured from the bottle and is drinking absolutely fantastic right now! It’s a combination of a bourbon barrel aged porter and a brandy barrel aged imperial stout, which is then aged on both coffee and coconut. Commence drooling now! The Equilibrium Brewery was one I had never tried before. Their ‘Casey Passionfruit’ Farmhouse Ale was being poured and I was lucky enough to get a taste from the last available bottle. Boy, was I happy I did! It was a funky sour and lightly sweet passion fruit bomb that I could’ve drank all day. Equilibrium also brought a DIPA brewed with Citra and Galaxy hops called ‘dHop 5’. Think creamy tropical fruit bomb.
The Finback Brewery has been in town for festivals twice in 2017 and my only complaint is that they don’t come down more often. They brought their ‘High Contrast’ Imperial Coffee Porter and their ‘Neon Prophecy’ IPA, which is a collaboration with the Burlington Beer Company. It’s brewed with honey, bee pollen, and royal jelly and then dry-hopped with Vic Secret, Ahtanum, Citra, and Mosaic hops. In typical Finback style, both beers were tasty as hell!
Vermont’s own Foam Brewers brought down two DIPA’s. Experimental Jet Set and Galaxie 500 were both fantastic. Now I see why everyone is trading for their cans. The Cloudwater Brew Co. traveled across the pond from Manchester, England to share their wares. I tried their ‘Black Forest’ Imperial Stout, a collaboration with a brewery in Norway called Lervig Aktiebryggeri, which is brewed with sour cherry juice, sweet cherry juice, and Tonka beans. Interestingly enough Tonka beans are illegal to sell in the United States and have to be smuggled in from South America so the finest eateries in the U.S. can use them in their dishes. They give off aromas of vanilla, cherry, almonds, and a spiciness that resembles cinnamon. The beer itself was very lightly tart cherry with chocolate, cinnamon and a bit of coffee. It was one of the more interesting stouts of the day in my opinion. Cerebral Brewing out of Denver brought bottles of ‘Barrel Aged Work From Home’. It’s a decadent Imperial Breakfast Porter with Vermont maple syrup, Columbian coffee, and aged for 12 months in Woodford Reserve Barrels. Think chocolate, syrup, coffee, and a kick of bourbon.
The Charles Towne Fermentory brought ‘La Vida Gose with Apricots and Peaches’. A delicious gose with the perfect meld of tart and salty with a bright, fresh burst of apricot and peaches. Very well done! Oh and thanks for the t-shirt guys! Horus Aged Ales brought a 16.8% monster of a Russian Imperial Stout brewed specifically for Civil Society’s 2nd Anniversary. ‘Civil Predator’ is a collaboration with the Wren House Brewing Company, which used chocolate, honey, and marshmallow in the brew. A beer that big and chewy shouldn’t be able to hide the alcohol so well but hide the alcohol it did. The Kent Falls Brewing Company was my last brewery of the day. They were pouring their ‘Hawaiian Brunch’ Pale Ale and ‘Walking Away in Slow Motion as the Car Explodes Behind You’ Imperial Gose. The ‘Hawaiian Brunch’ was brewed with pineapple, hibiscus, and dry-hopped with Galaxy and Michigan Copper hops. It poured a deliciously creamy pink and had an almost fruit punch taste to it followed quickly by the hibiscus and finished off with bitter pineapple. Definitely an interesting beer. The Gose not only won the prize for the longest name of the day but was also pretty damn tasty! It was brewed with mangoes, lime zest, and dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin hops. The tart lime and sweet mango went together very well. It was a great way to finish off a day of drinking. After some small talk and a few pictures, I made my way home to recoup.
Overall Civil Society pulled off another fantastic anniversary party. I only heard two complaints from folks the entire day. The first was that there should be water stations on both sides of the event and not just one in the center that seemed to be empty any time I was nearby. I don’t think it was anyone’s fault. I just think with that many people more than one station is a must. The other complaint which I heard often the day of and the days following was that some of the visiting breweries ran out of beer in the first couple of hours or in J. Wakefield’s case in the first hour. By about the three-hour mark a majority of the brewers were done for the day.
Of course, the number one complaint was that if you schedule a festival to run until 5:00 pm then there should be beer flowing until then. Keep in mind Civil continued to pour inside the brewery. I think the main culprit was the glasses that Civil used. Don’t get me wrong, the glasses with their multiple color schemes were great but, they were able to hold eight ounces without a problem. Now there’s a two-ounce indicator on each glass, but a lot of folks (brewers and volunteers alike) disregarded the two-ounce pour. Personally, brewers running out of beer wasn’t a huge deal to me. I tried a whole hell of a lot of amazing beer some of which I probably would have missed if the more widely known breweries hadn’t run out. That’s one of the great things about brewery events like this. Brewers are brought in from all over, a majority of which don’t have a foothold in Florida.
In closing, two years in Civil are showing no signs of slowing down. If the boys aren’t in town brewing some kick-ass hoppy concoction for the next Saturday can release, then they are off collaborating with another brewery. Hopefully, that collaboration is with someone new that we will see in town for the 3rd-anniversary block party. Congratulations on two years, Civil! I’m really looking forward to watching the brewery continue to grow right before my eyes.