5th Annual Florida Tap Invitational

As you may know, I’m on a quest to review every brewery in Florida. Unfortunately, a large portion of the Sunshine State isn’t exactly conducive for a day trip to check out a few breweries. Tallahassee, for example, has five breweries but is a five-hour and forty-five-minute drive for me. So when one of my favorite Florida breweries invited me up for the 5th Annual Florida Tap Invitational held in our state capital of Tallahassee, I was ecstatic! The Proof Brewing Company started the craft beer craze in Tallahassee when they opened their doors in 2012. A year later, the husband and wife team of Byron and Angela Burroughs came up with the brilliant idea to have a festival based solely around Florida breweries. Now that’s a great idea, but to push the envelope a bit further, each brewery in attendance is required to bring at least two beers that are either one-offs or don’t go into distribution. Basically, each brewery is bringing only the good stuff. I’m talking 45 breweries, two cideries, and 102 delicious alcoholic beverages.

Florida Tap Invitational

Tickets for this year’s festival, which was held on September 29th and 30th, fell into two levels. General admission tickets were $55 and included a food and beer pairing the night before the festival, entrance into the Florida Tap Invitational at 1:00pm, and unlimited samples at the festival. VIP Tickets were $100 and included everything above plus entrance into the festival an hour earlier, a 750ml bottle of ‘Royal Blood Line’ Imperial Stout (released to VIP ticket holders only), a plate of food at the festival, and a chance to try the ‘Coffee & Vanilla aged Royal Bloodline’. Either way, you look at it, both options are pretty amazing.

Florida Tap Invitational

My trip to Florida’s Panhandle started around 9:45 Thursday morning after dropping my son off at school. Thankfully I didn’t face a single issue and arrived at my hotel in Tallahassee at 3:00pm. After checking in to the hotel I headed over to the GrassLands Brewing Co. They were the first of five brewery reviews I had scheduled while I was in town for the festival. I spent the next three hours trying the beer, touring the facility and talking with Gabe Grass who owns the brewery with his wife Saralynn. Three hours are typically longer than I spend reviewing a brewery, but the folks of Grasslands made for great conversation. I headed back to the hotel grabbing food from Whataburger on the way before calling it a night.

Florida Tap Invitational

Friday morning I hit Denny’s before heading over to the Proof Brewing Company. I arrived at Proof around 12:15 to find a friend from Instagram already sitting at the bar. Lisa and I talked a bit about the upcoming festivities before I got to work on my review. Overall I could not have been more impressed with the beer and the facility. I asked around for Smitty who was my contact at the brewery and who had extended the invitation to me. After a quick hello, he headed back to business. All of the brewers and brewery reps were showing up for a pre-festival get-together and Smitty was running around preparing for the festival.

Florida Tap Invitational

Through the grapevine, I learned that the Ology Brewing Company was having a couple special releases. I wasn’t scheduled to pay them a visit until Sunday, but I mean come on. Special releases! I arrived at Ology around 3:30 to find another Instagram buddy holding down the fort. Bryan was in town for the festival with his brother from Panama City. I also met Matt who was there representing the Tallahassee Beer Society (@TLHBeerSociety on Twitter and Instagram). The TLH Beer Society knows anything and about the Tallahassee beer scene and they took it upon themselves to show me around town. If you’re ever heading to Tally they are absolutely the ones to talk to about what’s happening in town. The first of the special releases was a 5% marshmallow milk stout called ‘Quantum Mallow’. I’m picky when it comes to milk stouts, but I enjoyed Quantum Mallow and its hint of marshmallow. The next special release was a 4% abv Berliner Weisse called ‘Straw-Barb Wall’ that was brewed with strawberries and rhubarb. Like everywhere else in Florida the fruited Berliner Weisse is pretty popular in Tallahassee and the ‘Straw-Barb Wall’ was a good example of one.

Florida Tap Invitational

After a bit more small talk it was time to head over to the Lake Tribe Brewing Company. The brewery taproom is only open six and a half hours a week. That’s it! They focus on distribution more than serving in-house. Lake Tribe was definitely the smallest brewery in Tallahassee, but that doesn’t stop them from producing delicious beer. They brew a fantastic DIPA and seem to have their barrel aged sour game down pat. Lake Tribe is also where I met the founder of the TLH Beer Society, Danny. We had talked a bit about the Tallahassee beer scene before my trip up so it was nice to meet him.

Florida Tap Invitational

From there I followed Danny over to the Madison Social and Township, where the food and beer pairing was being held. On arrival, we were issued our cups and tickets for food and activities. On top of the beer and food pairings, the tickets were also used for the carnival-like beer games. After trying a sample of Proof’s gold-winning ‘Soci-Ale’ it was time for some food.

Florida Tap Invitational

The first pairing was a Chicken Pastor with Peach and Pineapple salsa paired with the Proof Madison ‘Soci-Ale’.

Florida Tap Invitational

Next up were jalapeno blackberry Buffalo wings paired with Proofs ‘Mango Wit’. After the wings came a Pork Belly Slider on a steamed bun with pickled veggies and hoisin glaze paired with Proof‘s ‘EightFive-O Pale Ale’.

Florida Tap Invitational

Last but not least were meatballs paired with Proof’s ‘Lager’. All of the food was delicious and the beers paired with them were spot on. After a few hours, I called it quits and headed back to the hotel for the night.

Florida Tap Invitational

Saturday morning, after another stop at Denny’s, I hopped a ride from Lyft and arrived at Proof at about 11:45 to get in the VIP line. After ID’s and wristbands were exchanged, tickets were scanned, and we were in the gates at noon with mini snifter in hand. My first stop was the Proof tent to try out the ‘Coffee Vanilla Royal Blood Line’ Imperial Stout. Coming in at 12% this bad boy had VIP written all over it. Coffee and vanilla for days!

Florida Tap Invitational

I spent the next 45 minutes or so at the Proof tent trying everything they had to offer. A number of which were absolutely delicious variants of their 4.5% ‘Evil Kiss Berliner Weisse’. The ‘Blood Orange Hibiscus’, ‘Blue Raspberry’, ‘Kiwi Wild Strawberry’ on cask, ‘Black Currant Aronia’, and ‘Key Lime’ were each better than the last.

Florida Tap Invitational

My favorite of the bunch was the Black Currant Aronia of which I had a couple of pours. It was almost chewy and reminded me a bit of a puree. The 6.4% ‘Peach Mango Coconut Tropical Uprising’ N.E. Style IPA was peach forward with a mango backing and just a hint of coconut. The 8% ‘Oaked Creatures in the Dark’ on Cask was a nice addition to the already tasty base version of Creatures.

Florida Tap Invitational

The last beer I tried from the Proof tent was the ‘Red Wine BA Litany of Angels’ aged on Cherries. It was a 9% Belgian Strong Ale with a hint of cherries and a lovely red wine backing. I’m always a sucker for a beer aged in wine barrels. In between just about every beer, I downed a snifter of water. Proof smartly placed kegs of water throughout the festival grounds. I really didn’t see anyone staggering during the fest, so the water certainly seemed to do its job.

Florida Tap Invitational

The Hidden Springs Ale Works table was my next stop for their ‘Brawndo, The Thirst Mutilator’ Gatorade Gose. If water isn’t your thing, this Key Lime Gose brewed with electrolytes will certainly help to hydrate you.

Florida Tap Invitational

JDub’s Brewing Co. was up next and it didn’t matter if I wanted to try their offerings or not because their Sales Rep Jorge is absolutely the most enthusiastic person I’ve ever met. There is no way to not get sucked into what he’s selling. The 11.1% ‘Siesta Key Rum Barrel Aged Imperial Stout’ he was hawking was damn good. A lot of times rum BA stouts taste ‘off’ to me, but this one had everything going right for it. It was like a sweet chocolatey rum ball. A quick slide to the right brought me to the J. Wakefield Brewing table. Alex and company were serving their fruit punch Berliner ‘Haterade’ and a lemon and lime Berliner called ‘Troll So Hard’. I had tried both before and just like in the past, they both hit their flavor profiles on point. I told myself I wouldn’t try anything I had already had before, but it’s hard to pass up a stout or Berliner from Wakefield. Even though I was scheduled to pay the Deep Brewing Company a visit the day after the festival I still wanted to see what they were all about. Owner and Head Brewer Ryan LaPete was manning the table next to a deep water dive helmet which had been turned into a tap beer dispenser.

Florida Tap Invitational

He was pouring his 10.2% Belgian Tripel, ‘Holy Spear It’ and ‘Sea Dragon Dragonfruit Gose’. The Gose was spot on with a delicious sweet tart mix of Passionfruit and Dragon fruit with a salty dry finish. The Tripel, on the other hand, seemed to be missing something for me. It just didn’t have that alcoholic spicy bite that I’ve come to love from the style. In saying that, I did enjoy it more the next day at the brewery, but it was still missing that special character for me. I have a feeling my palate had taken a wrecking from all of the Berliners I had tried to that point because I heard a number of times how much people really enjoyed the beer.

Florida Tap Invitational

Calusa Brewing was up next with their ‘Imperial Barrel Aged Dissonance Breakfast Brown’. Dissonance comes in at a very healthy 11.5% and gives off flavors of bourbon, vanilla, sweet chocolate, cinnamon, and coffee. It’s really a fantastic imperial breakfast brown ale that I need to find a bottle of somewhere. One thing you can always count on when it comes to Angry Chair Brewing is their ‘A’ game. The taps were manned by co-founder Ryan Dowdle, who brought along his 11% ‘Rocky Road Imperial Stout’ and 4% ‘Apricot Berliner Weisse’. Angry Chair, like Wakefield, is another one that stops traffic when it comes to Stouts and Berliners. Rocky Road is a sweet, chewy orgy of marshmallows, vanilla, and chocolate with a nutty finish. I love Apricots and the ‘Apricot Berliner Weisse’ did not let me down. There was an enjoyable amount of apricot with just enough tartness to even everything out.

Florida Tap Invitational

Arkane Aleworks was up next and I believe this was my first time trying anything from them. If their ‘Gimme Swelter Berliner Weisse’ is any indication of what they have to offer, I want more, please. It was slightly tart with juicy mango up front and a slight Habanero bite on the backend. I love when a beer has just the right amount of heat.

Florida Tap Invitational

My sleeper beer of the day came from the Swamp Head Brewery. They brought Peat Dunwoody’s Somoa Cookie Wee Heavy to the festival. The Scotch Ale is a favorite style of mine, so I was excited to see that a brewery actually brought one. This wasn’t just any Scotch Ale either. Swamp Head took their base beer, which is already aged in 20 y/o bourbon barrels, and threw in chocolate and coconut. Oh My God was this beer delicious! It tasted like the cookie, but with the malty bourbon sweetness of the base. From what I understand, this is brewed only in small batches. ‘Pete Dunwoody’s Samoa Cookie’ needs to be bottled and when that happens, I’ll be driving up to Gainesville for the release!

Florida Tap Invitational

The Saltwater Brewery and Head Brewer Dustin Jeffers brought ‘Hazelnut Coffee Mayday’ and ‘Swags Spa Day’. Spa Day was a 3.7% Golden Ale brewed with cucumber and mint. Think of the cucumber water you’ve had at the spa and throw in mint and you get the idea. The cucumber and mint played off each other quite well. ‘Hazelnut Coffee Mayday’ comes in at 9% and is a hazelnut coffee drinkers dream come true. This beer punches you in the face with hazelnut and coffee and yes, that’s a good thing!

Florida Tap Invitational

The Red Cypress Brewery brought a 7% Saison called Wild Ones: Foeder #1. It’s oak aged and fermented with Brettanomyces for a year. You get a nice earth and oaky funk with a slight tart.

Florida Tap Invitational

Oyster City Brewing was up next with their bourbon barrel aged Brown Ale, ‘Midnight at the Oasis’. There’s a smooth bourbon bite with roasty malts, coffee, and vanilla. It was an easy drinker at 11%.

Florida Tap Invitational

Odd Breed Wild Ales co-founders Matt Manthe and Daniel Naumko brought their ‘Prickly Pear Farmhouse Ale’ and ‘Viognier Barrel Aged Wild Gold’. The Prickly Pear is 6% and aged in French oak barrels before being refermented with Prickly Pears. There is some serious barnyard funk with a slight fruity tartness at the end. I wanted a bit more of the fruit to match up with the funk though. The Viognier is aged with their house wild yeast and souring bacteria for 11 months in Viognier wine barrels sourced out of California. The result is easily the sourest beer of the day. Oaky goodness bursting with flavors of tropical fruit and citrus. Odd Breed is scheduled to open later this year in Pompano Beach. They will be exclusively brewing fermented and oak aged ales. Currently, they still have openings in their bottle club. If you’re a fan of sours this is the club for you!

Florida Tap Invitational

One of four founders and Head Brewer, John Denny, was on hand to pour for the First Magnitude Brewing Co. John was pouring a ‘Vanilla Black Rye Ale’ and a ‘Passionfruit Sour Pale Ale’ with Mosaic hops. The ‘Vanilla Black’ was the perfect mix of chocolate, vanilla, roasty malts, and a spicy rye kick. I love what rye does to a beer when it’s used correctly. The ‘Passionfruit Sour’ played well with the fruitiness from the Mosaic hops with just enough of a sour character. I really loved First Magnitude when I reviewed them last year and I certainly enjoyed both of these offerings as well. If you haven’t checked out Gainesville’s craft beer scene, you’re definitely missing out!

Florida Tap Invitational

The Tampa Bay Brewing Company’s ‘Navin’s Sorrow’ was my last beer of the festival. At 12% Navin’s is a bourbon barrel aged split between an Imperial Stout and a Barleywine with raspberries and salted caramel added. Both the raspberries and caramel came through with a chewy roasty dark cocoa. It was a delicious way to end the 5th Annual Florida Tap Invitational.

Florida Tap Invitational

While finishing my last beer, a couple of waters, and a BBQ pork sandwich with mac and cheese (part of VIP ticket) I hung out in Proof’s taproom watching the Seminoles squeak out a win. I was supposed to join Bryan and a few others for a bottle share later that night, but I was still up in the air on whether I was going or not. I was scheduled to review Ology Brewing at noon on Sunday before heading over to Deep Brewing for their review. After the game was over I ordered a Lyft and headed back to the hotel. It didn’t take long to decide that I was going to grab Chick-fil-A for dinner and call it a night.

Florida Tap Invitational

I woke up Sunday morning and checked out of the hotel. I headed over to Denny’s once again for breakfast. What can I say? I’m easy. After eating and catching about an hour of my Miami Dolphins crapping it up in London, I headed over to the Ology Brewing Co. Being that it was noon on a Sunday, there were only a few other people at the brewery, which made knocking out my review pretty easy. It also helped to have the primary owner and Head Brewer, Nick Walker, on hand. I finished up in an hour and a half, which is record time for me to complete a review. Nick asked if I wanted to try the apricot and peach sour that is currently in barrels. That was an offer I could not refuse. Forty pounds of each fruit went into the beer. Forty pounds! It was delicious and luckily for you folks in Tally, Nick says it will be his first bottle release. Do not miss that release! Trust me.

Florida Tap Invitational

I finished up my flight and headed over to the Deep Brewing Company to review my 5th and final brewery on the trip. I knew that Deep was releasing ‘Holy Spear It’ for their first ever bottle release so I wasn’t surprised to see a line along the building when I pulled up. Come to find out the line wasn’t for the bottle release but for the Tally Mac Shack (@TallyMacShack on Instagram and Twitter) food truck grand opening. There were people who had been literally standing in line for two hours to get a taste. Unfortunately for a large portion of them, the Tally Mac Shack ran out of food. They literally went through 60 pounds of cheese!

Florida Tap Invitational

I found a spot at the bar, ordered my first flight and reintroduced myself to Owner and Head Brewer, Ryan LaPete. Oh, and did I mention that Deep was also having a Tap Invitational hangover party as well? Needless to say, the taproom was pretty much packed. After an hour or so, the crowd thinned out enough for Ryan to take some time out, from doing literally everything, to show me around the brewery. Dreading the fact that I had a five-hour drive ahead of me, I took my time sampling Ryan’s wares. For only being open a little over a year his beers were quite enjoyable.

Florida Tap Invitational

Around 6:30 or so I figured it was time to start thinking about heading home. I asked the gentlemen behind the bar (Clayton, Jesse, and Will) for a good place to catch a bite to eat before heading out-of-town and after commiserating for a few minutes they came up with the Grub Burger Bar.

Florida Tap Invitational

I headed over and had a pretty darn good burger and fries. By 8:30 I was on the road heading home. I took my time and hit a couple of thunderstorms on the way so I didn’t arrive till almost 2:30 in the morning. This was the longest I had been away from my wife and son so I was quite happy to be home and in my own bed again.

Florida Tap Invitational

Overall, I really enjoyed the Florida Tap Invitational. One of the great things about it being held in the panhandle of Florida is with no cities in the general vicinity, you don’t get a lot of people who travel to Tallahassee for the festival. With only about 800 people in attendance, I didn’t have to wait in a line longer than two minutes. The festival set up was spread out enough to where the event didn’t feel crowded at all. One of the many things I loved about the festival is that breweries either send brewery representatives, who know what they are talking about or the brewers/owners themselves. Part of the reason for this is Proof not only purchases the first two kegs a brewery brings, but they also purchase the hotel rooms for each breweries hotel stay. You can feel that everyone who is pouring wants to be there as part of the event. The one thing that stuck out above all else for me, regarding the festival, is that Florida has the Berliner (Florida) Weisse game on lock! If I had to dig up one complaint about the festival it would be that 31 of the 102 beers were either IPA’s or Pale Ales. That is quite a hefty chunk. There were plenty of beer styles to go around even if there wasn’t a single Barleywine in the bunch and only three Porters. But I digress. I really have to commend the Proof Brewing Company for putting on an A+ festival!

Florida Tap Invitational

Tallahassee has turned itself into a nice little craft beer town which I just love to see. I can’t wait to experience how the craft atmosphere changes by the time I head back up next year. I’ll see you then!

Cheers!

 

Here are a few crowd shots:

Florida Tap Invitational Florida Tap Invitational Florida Tap Invitational Florida Tap Invitational Florida Tap Invitational Florida Tap Invitational Florida Tap Invitational Florida Tap Invitational Florida Tap Invitational Florida Tap Invitational Florida Tap Invitational Florida Tap Invitational Florida Tap Invitational

PGA National Resort & Spa Craft Beer Bash

I was invited to the 3rd annual PGA National Resort & Spa Craft Beer Bash on Saturday, August 19th. Technically it’s the 6th annual, but the first three years were a combination of craft beer and burgers. I had the pleasure of attending one of those in the past, so I had an idea of what to expect this time around. The festival started at 1:00pm and continued until 4:00pm at which time festivalgoers were invited to an after-party at the iBar. Live entertainment was provided during the Bash by Sweet Justice and DJ/Electric Violinist Timothee Lovelock of Lovelock Music Group. Both acts played simultaneously in two different areas. Both had completely different vibes, but seemed to be enjoyed by all, myself included. There were a number of vendors hawking all sorts of craft beer related and unrelated swag and of course a number of food vendors as well. Tickets were $39.00 in advance and $49.00 at the door. For those looking to make a weekend out of it, there were room packages available. A single occupancy room, including ticket, started at $149.00 while double occupancy, with two tickets, started at $179.00. That’s certainly something to think about for next year.

PGA National Resort & Spa Craft Beer Bash

A portion of the proceeds from this year’s festival went to Bluewater Babes Fish for a Cure, an all-female fishing tournament. The money raised by Bluewater Babes goes to local breast and ovarian cancer patients in financial need. The tournament is held October 6th and 7th out of Jupiter and boat registrations are still open. Since 2009, they have donated over $465,000 to long-standing local charities such as Cancer Alliance for Help and Hope, H.O.W. – Hearing the Ovarian Cancer Whisper and the Kristin Hoke Breast Health Program at Jupiter Medical Center.

PGA National Resort & Spa Craft Beer Bash

I arrived at the PGA National Resort & Spa Craft Beer Bash around 12:45pm to find parking to be a little tight. This was no surprise since I had been there before and the event page warned to arrive early, specifically due to parking. Valet was available for $15 if you didn’t want to fight for a spot. After a bit of wandering, I found the entrance to the Bash. A quick check in with my ticket and I was ready to see what the festival had to offer. The 50 or so breweries were split between two large rooms with the seven cideries and one meadery in a smaller room. My game plan was to only try the beer I hadn’t had before. My first stop was the Knee Deep Brewing table to try ‘Tanilla’ a 6.3% abv vanilla porter brewed with Tahitian vanilla beans. It was a pretty average offering with chocolate, vanilla and a slight coffee bite coming through.

PGA National Resort & Spa Craft Beer Bash

Next up was ‘ReDANKulous’ a 9.5% abv imperial red IPA with Chinook, Mosaic and Simcoe hops from Founders Brewing. Typically Founders IPA’s are spot on but this beer was extremely malt forward. Having tried so many IPA’s from Founders I have to chalk this up to the distributor pouring an old bottle. ‘Passion Pit’ from Saltwater Brewery was the first beer poured via tap rather than a bottle. At 3.7% abv, this Golden Ale is perfect for summer with a very enjoyable bite from the passion fruit.

PGA National Resort & Spa Craft Beer BashUp next was ‘Lucille’ (The Walking Dead) from the Terrapin Beer Co. Lucille is a 9.4% abv Imperial Stout brewed with Blackstrap molasses and vanilla, then aged on Hickory, Maple, and White Ash wood. It was a little smokier than I care for but the molasses vanilla and maple came out nicely. It’s not a beer I would personally go back to though.

PGA National Resort & Spa Craft Beer Bash

The Tomoka Brewing Co. and their ‘Oceanside White IPA’ were up next. Oceanside has a wheat base which cuts the hops down a touch, but both citrus and pine still came through well. Definitely an easy drinker! I took a break from beer for a few minutes in order to try a couple of things in the cider/mead room. That is where I found the biggest offering of the day. B. Nektar’s ‘Cherry Chipotle’ comes in at a hefty 14% abv with tart cherry up front, followed by honey and finishing off with a nice spicy heat from the chipotle which didn’t overpower the mead at all.

PGA National Resort & Spa Craft Beer Bash

It really played nicely off of the cherries. I chatted with the folks from Accomplice Brewery and Ciderworks for a bit while trying their coffee cider, which was an interesting treat. Back to where the beer was flowing, I tried ‘Fruitlands’ from Modern Times, which is a 4.8% abv Gose brewed with guava and passionfruit. The salty, tart tropical fruit blend was a nice change of pace from everything else I had already tried. Copperpoint Brewing’s ‘Blood Orange Wit’ was another perfect example of a perfect summer beer. The orange came through pleasantly without overpowering the wheat base of the beer. One of the unannounced timed releases was Devour Brewing’s ‘Axman Brown Ale’. It’s 5.5% abv and aged on Bali coffee, Vietnamese cinnamon sticks, and Vermont maple syrup. The coffee and cinnamon come to the forefront with the maple syrup coming through on the back-end. Owner/Headbrewer Chip loves to play with adjuncts and thankfully he really knows what he’s doing.

This was one of the best beers of the day. Finally, my favorite beer of the day came from the LauderAle Brewery. ‘La Niña’ is a 5.2% abv Blonde Ale brewed with what had to be loads of mango and a decent helping of Habanero peppers. Each sip was juicy mango with a really enjoyable Habanero kick. This was the first beer I’ve had from LauderAle. I hope it leads to a great review once I make it down to check out the brewery.

PGA National Resort & Spa Craft Beer Bash
Photography by: Dawn’s Photography

If you ever see Coastal Karma Brewing at an event make sure to stop in for a taste. Homebrewer Charles Chase is doing a number of tasty things in the name of beer. He brought four beers to the festival and my two favorites were his ‘Karma Hoptra IPA’ and ‘Ménage a Trois Saison’. ‘Karma Hoptra’ was an absolutely delicious 7.5% abv IPA with bursts of juicy citrus. The ‘Ménage a Trois Saison’ was an interesting take on the Saison. At 6.7% abv, the Saison is brewed with coriander, ginger, and apricot. Surprisingly or not, they go together splendidly. Coastal Karma Brewing is hoping to eventually call the Northwood Village section of northern West Palm Beach home.

PGA National Resort & Spa Craft Beer Bash
Photography by: Dawn’s Photography

At the end of the festival, the People’s Choice Awards were given out for the best craft brewery and cidery. Festivalgoers placed votes throughout the day. The award for the best cidery went to the Accomplice Brewery and Ciderworks for the 2nd year in a row. The award for the best brewery went to (are you ready for this?) Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling. Yep, the brewery that makes the god-awful ‘Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale’ bested every other brewery according to the folks in attendance. I don’t know, maybe I need to revisit it? Who knows maybe, they’ve improved the recipe?

PGA National Resort & Spa Craft Beer Bash

Next, the winners of the PGA National Resort & Spa Craft Beer Bash Homebrew Competition were announced. The homebrews entered were reviewed by four judges certified by the BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program). Unfortunately, the homebrews were only available to the judges. The prize for first place was estimated at $1,100 and consisted of a two-night stay at the legendary PGA National Resort & Spa including a golf twosome and dinner for two at Ironwood Steak & Seafood. Last but not least the winner takes home the King of Homebrews Trophy. Second place takes home a glass beer mug engraved trophy plus dinner for two at Ironwood Steak & Seafood. Finally, third place takes home a glass beer mug engraved trophy and a $50 iBar Gift Certificate. First place went to Jorge Quintana for his ‘Coconut Coma’ American Porter which uses all natural toasted coconut added after fermentation. Second place went to Fidel Navarrete for his ‘Citra Hopped Up’ Belgian IPA. Third place also went to Jorge Quintana for his ‘Maui Gold American Pale Ale’. Jorge added pineapple after fermentation to the ‘Maui Gold’. He has been Homebrewing for seven years and hopes to one day open Cayo Hueso Brewing. This wasn’t Coconut Coma’s first time tasting gold. Jorge also took first at the Funky Buddha Lounge and Brewery, Homebrew Competition Back in July. Part of that win had him going back to the Lounge in mid-August to brew ‘Coconut Coma’ on their system for release in-house.

PGA National Resort & Spa Craft Beer Bash

The Craft Beer Bash is a great festival to attend if you aren’t looking to tick a bunch of different beers off your Untappd wants list. Grab your drinking buddies, put your drinking caps on, and go to town. The large majority of beers are poured directly from the bottle by distributors or in some cases employees of Total Wine. That was the only real problem I had with this festival. Thankfully though there were a number of local breweries that not only sent kegs but also brewery reps who knew their beer. Part of the fun of a festival is talking to the brewery representatives about the beer and the brewery. If I was to make a suggestion it would be to get away from the bottle pours and focus on kegs or at the very least have people pouring who are familiar with the brewery and beer they are representing. All in all, I had a great time and look forward to attending the PGA National Resort & Spa Craft Beer Bash next year!

Cheers!

PGA National Resort & Spa Craft Beer Bash

(Pre) PGA National Resort & Spa: Craft Beer Bash

Craft Beer Bash

I’m already looking forward to this weekend and it’s not even Wednesday yet. Saturday, August 19th the PGA National Resort and Spa is hosting their third annual Craft Beer Bash. With 150 different craft beer and ciders available you won’t find a variety like this anywhere else this weekend. Oh, and did I mention it’s an indoor festival? That’s right! The Craft Beer Bash is air-conditioned! I love craft beer, but trying to enjoy a craft beer festival when it’s 95+ degrees outside is damn near exhausting. If the alcohol doesn’t get you, the sun sure will.

Craft Beer Bash

A portion of the proceeds will help benefit Bluewater Babes Fish for a Cure, an all-female fishing tournament. The money raised goes to local breast and ovarian cancer patients in financial need. Boat registrations for the tournament being held October 6th and 7th are still open. Since 2009, they have donated over $465,000 to long-standing local charities such as Cancer Alliance for Help and Hope, H.O.W. – Hearing the Ovarian Cancer Whisper and the Kristin Hoke Breast Health Program at Jupiter Medical Center.

Craft Beer Bash

The festival starts at 1:00 pm and continues until 4:00 pm at which time the party will continue at the iBar. Live entertainment will be provided by Sweet Justice and DJ/Electric Violinist Timothee Lovelock of Lovelock Music Group. There will be a number of time release tappings, a cider area, and a vendor village with specialty retail goods and food concessions (for purchase).  Festival attendees will be able to vote for their favorite beers and ciders in a ‘People’s Choice Awards’. There will also be a Homebrewers competition. The winner will receive an estimated $1,200.00 prize package. Tickets are $39.00 in advance and $49.00 at the door. There will only be 200 tickets available the day of. For tickets and homebrew competition info visit Eventbrite. Room packages are also available. A single occupancy room including ticket starts at $149.00 while double occupancy with two tickets starts at $179.00. To reserve your Beer Bash room package, call 855-896-4762.

Craft Beer Bash

I’m looking forward to another weekend built around craft beer. Come join me at this year’s Craft Beer Bash! I hope to see you there, but if you can’t make it look for my review next week!

Craft Beer Bash

*All pictures provided by the PGA National Resort and Spa.

Brewery List

Accomplice Brewery & Ciderworks

Ace Cider

Altech Lexington Brewing

B. Nektar Meadery

Ballast Point Brewing

Barrel of Monks Brewing

Bell’s Brewery

Blue Point Brewing

Boulevard Brewing

Breckenridge Brewery

Broski Ciderworks

Choufe / Duvel Moortgat

Cigar City Brewing

Civil Society Brewing

Clown Shoes

Coastal Karma Brewing

Copperpoint Brewing

DESTIHL Brewery

Devour Brewing

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Due South Brewing

Founders Brewing

Funky Buddha Brewery

Goose Island Beer Co.

Green Bench Brewing

Hollywood Beach Brewing

Islamorada Beer Co.

JDubs Brewing

Knee Deep Brewing

Kona Brewing

Krombacher Gruppe

LauderAle

Left Hand Brewing

Magic Hat Brewing

M.I.A. Beer Co.

Naragansett Brewing

The Native Brewing

Oskar Blues Brewery

Pair O’ Dice Brewing

Abro Bryggeri (Cider)

Sailfish Brewing

Saltwater Brewery

Spoetzl Brewery

Original Sin Cider

Southern Tier Brewing

Steiglbrauerei zu Salzburg

Tampa Bay Brewing

Tequesta Brewing

Terrapin Beer Co.

Tomoka Brewing

Twisted Trunk Brewing

Uinta Brewing

Victory Brewing

Wolffer Estate Vineyard

Woodchuck Cidery

Wynwood Brewing

Virginia’s Ocelot Brewing Company

Ocelot Brewing Company

Virginia Craft Brewery: Ocelot Brewing Company

Established: Grand Opening May 23rd, 2015

Location: 23600 Overland Drive #180, Dulles, VA 20166

Known For: The Ocelot Brewing Company is known for their highly rated IPA’s and Stouts. Amongst the crowd of IPA’s one stands out more than the others. The ‘Talking Backwards’ Triple IPA is released once a year in February. It is brewed with CTZ, Simcoe, Mosaic, and Citra hops and comes in at a hefty 10.8% abv. ‘Here Kitty Kitty’, a Russian Imperial Stout, is currently their highest rated stout that isn’t barrel aged. It was first brewed in collaboration with J. Wakefield Brewing, down in Miami, where I originally had a chance to try it. Luckily, Batch 2 was on tap for my visit to Ocelot and it was just as delicious as I had remembered.

Ocelot Brewing Company

Current Beer Menu: I ordered a flight of six beers the first of which was called the ‘Setting Sun’. An IPA coming in at 5.9% abv brewed with Amarillo hops. There was a lot of citrus, especially grapefruit, on the nose. While drinking, the grapefruit came through even more as it warmed. I enjoyed it, but I enjoyed the next IPA even more. ‘Street Lights’ is 6.7% abv and reminded me of an orange Creamsicle. The aroma was fantastic with sweet notes of citrus and peach. The taste was sweet with an almost creamy orange backed by a slight hoppy bitterness. ‘Honey’ Pie is 7.5% abv Saison brewed with honey. The scent brought herbal notes with a bit of sweetness from the honey. As I was drinking the honey came through well, but not enough to overpower the slight funk of the Saison. ‘My Heart’s Delight’, a smoky Red Ale, came in at 5% abv. The fragrance had a light smokiness with a bit of biscuit and citrus. Upon tasting the smoke and a hoppy bitterness play off of each other pleasantly followed by an enjoyable malt background. The smoke came out more as the beer warmed while the smoky bitterness lingered on the tongue. I’m not always the biggest fan of smoke in my beer because it can easily take over, but this one was done very well. ‘Electric Boots’ is a 5.3% abv fruit beer with black currants. The smell was ‘fantastic with berries on top of berries. It’s almost like a black currant and berry puree with a light tart. While I was working on the flight I had ordered a 4oz pour of both ‘Here Kitty Kitty’ and ‘Megaton Maple’. I slowly tasted both as they warmed. ‘Here Kitty Kitty’ is a 12% abv Russian Imperial Stout with notes of coffee, vanilla, and dark chocolate on the nose. The taste was much of the same combined with a sweetness that isn’t typically found in the style. I really enjoyed both the Ocelot and Wakefield brewed batches of this beer. ‘Megaton Maple’ is a 5.2% abv stout brewed with, you guessed it, maple. The aroma had a light smokiness with a bit of biscuit and citrus. The taste was much of the same combined with a sweetness that isn’t typically found in the style. The scent was almost entirely maple with just a bit of coffee coming through. Upon tasting the maple jumps out to the forefront, followed by coffee and brown sugar. Like smoke, maple can take over a beer as well, but once again this beer was done wonderfully and that wasn’t the case. Limited amounts of their IPA’s are bottled and available for purchase. Also, anytime a barrel aged beer is bottled it will also be available in the tasting room.

Ocelot Brewing Company

Price Range: A 4oz pour is $2.00 for everything outside of the big beers. A 4oz pour of ‘Here Kitty Kitty’ for example was $4.00. A 10oz pour will run you between $4.00 and $8.00. A 16oz pour is $6.00 and of course, doesn’t include the heavy hitters. Both 32oz and 64oz glass growlers are available for sale. The fill for a 32oz growler starts at $10.00 while the 64oz starts at $18.00. If you happen to be bringing in your own growler make sure it isn’t of the small neck flip top variety.

Wine Menu: Wine is not available.

Food Menu/Food Trucks: Rotating food trucks are available on site Thursday through Sunday. Outside food can also be brought in. Food can also be delivered using one of the many menus behind the bar.

Ambiance: Like a lot of breweries the Ocelot Brewing Company is tucked away in an industrial park. Walking into the rather large red brick building I found myself taking in multiple pieces of the song lyric inspired mural on the wall. After claiming a seat at the bar and ordering a flight I turned around to see The Barrel Wall. Clever to say the least. The brewery had a nice overall feel to it. The industrial background of the brewing system and masonry of The Barrel Wall paired well against the mural and bar.

Ocelot Brewing Company

Ocelot Brewing Company

Bar Seating: There are ten seats at the bar, three large tables with seating for eight, and numerous smaller settings for small parties. Outside there are two picnic tables on a canopy covered porch.

Ocelot Brewing Company

Staff: Jared was a bevy of information. He was more than happy to answer any and all questions brought to his attention by me or any of the other patrons. If he didn’t know the answer, the bar manager, Jess was quick on the recall. I happened to be visiting on the 4th of July so the bar was hopping, but you wouldn’t know that with how attentive the staff was to everyone. The staff can really make or break a brewery experience and Ocelot seems to only employ the best.

Ocelot Brewing Company

Brewing System: Ocelot brews on a three vessel system made up of a Mash/Lauter Tun combo, a Kettle, and a Whirlpool. The system is 15bbls in size and they currently have seven 30bbl fermenters.

Ocelot Brewing Company Ocelot Brewing Company

Merch: Hats were out of stock on the day I was on site, but they are typically available. T-shirts are $20.00, brewery logo tin tackers are $15.00, glasses range from $6.00 to $7.00, and stickers are a dollar a piece. When purchasing a glass you can have the glass filled for about half of the typical price. Glass growlers are $5.00 for the 32oz and $6.00 for the 64oz.

Ocelot Brewing Company

Membership offered: When asking about a membership/bottle club I received a positive response. It seems to be so secretive that no details could be given. That’s what happens when you don’t know the secret handshake.

Best days or time of year to go: It was a welcomed surprise to learn the brewery is open every day of the week. If you want to miss the hordes, focus on the hours before the rush hour crowd are released from their work related shackles.

Regular Hours: Monday – Friday: 1:00pm – 10:00pm, Saturday: 11:00am – 10:00pm, and Sunday: 11:00am – 6:00pm

Happy Hour: I mean really with prices this low every hour is Happy Hour!

Fun Facts: 

-Being a music intensive brewery it’s no surprise to learn all of Ocelot’s beer names are song lyrics from various artists. The only exception to this would be certain collaborations.

-The names of their favorite frontmen in music grace the brewing tanks.

Ocelot Brewing Company

-Ocelot’s logo is a guitar pick.

-100% of the beers Ocelot produces are gluten reduced.

-The name Ocelot comes not from the wild cat of the same name, but from a song title by the jam band, Phish.

-The wood in both the tables and base of the bar come from a 150 y/o house that was being torn down in Washington D.C. The bar top itself is Pine. It was purchased in Maryland from the Community Forklift. A reclaimed and surplus building materials thrift store.

Ocelot Brewing Company

Overall Rating (1-5): I really enjoyed Ocelot and look forward to visiting again the next time I’m in town to visit my sister. I am rating Ocelot a 4.5 out of 5.

What was missing: The beer available on tap covered a nice range of styles that were all presented quite well. The staff was attentive to not only my needs, but everyone around me and the brewery itself had a very welcoming feel. In saying all of that I can’t put my finger on a particular negative issue.

Ocelot Brewing Company

In closing, Virginia, like my home state of Florida has a very healthy craft beer scene and Ocelot seems to be making a name for themselves. On my next trip, I’ll have to check out a few of their neighbors and see how everyone stacks up.

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

Cheers!

Ocelot Brewing Company

 

Celebrate National IPA Day with a Rusty Pale

National IPA Day

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate National IPA Day today, I may just have what you seek. Two Southern beverage companies are celebrating National IPA Day with a libation that combines Coppertail Brewing Company’s Free Dive IPA, and Coopers’ Craft Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Now I’m not typically one to mix my craft beer with anything but more craft beer so when Punch Media came a callin’ with the ingredient list to the ‘Rusty Pale’, I was a little skeptical. Unlike a lot of my compatriots, I haven’t yet delved into the world of bourbon. To help open that door Punch Media sent a care package containing a bottle of Coopers’ Craft, a glass, and a bottle of Free Dive.

National IPA Day

After figuring out exactly what a ‘part’ and a ‘dash’ signify on the ingredient list (thank you Google), I was ready to make my first craft beer cocktail. I’m sure you can do this in whatever order you choose, but this seemed to be the correct way for me to proceed. A dash (works out to be about a fifth of a teaspoon) of Hell Fire Habanero Shrub or any vinegar based hot sauce. I used Boyd Barrels Ed Humptress Hot Sauce, which includes 3 Floyd’s Brewing’s Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout on the ingredient list. Not only that, but the hot sauce itself is aged for three months in bourbon barrels. Talk about a match made in craft beer heaven! Next up was a quarter part of lemon juice and a quarter ounce of Demerara Syrup (half a tablespoon of Simple Syrup). Now for the really important ingredients. Two parts Coopers’ Craft Bourbon and five parts Free Dive IPA. In this case, based on the glass used, one part equaled one-quarter of a cup. After everything else was added, there was enough room for the entire IPA. To finish off your craft beer cocktail garnish with a lemon wedge.

Rusty Pale

  • 5 parts Coppertail Brewing Company’s Free Dive IPA
  • 2 parts Coopers’ Craft Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • ¼ part Lemon Juice
  • ¼ oz. Demerara Syrup (I used Simple Syrup)
  • Dash of Hell Fire Habanero Shrub or a Vinegar Based Hot Sauce
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

National IPA Day

The aroma of this new concoction reminds me of a Lemon Drop candy. Sweet, almost-candy, lemon is first with a bit of spice from either the hot sauce or the bourbon and just a bit of the bourbon itself comes through. My first taste was a complete surprise. I was afraid the bourbon would overpower the beer, but that just wasn’t the case. The fresh lemon juice enhanced the citrus notes from the IPA. The bit of hot sauce added to the spicy bite from the bourbon. This is a really well-crafted drink that I compare to a bourbon barrel aged IPA. I’m happy to say I have the ingredients to make myself quite a few more of these bad boys in the near future.

In closing, any craft beer aficionado is sure to love the Rusty Pale. The complexity of this well-crafted cocktail is something to appreciate. I’m genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed my first craft beer cocktail. Give it a taste and let me know what you think.

Happy National IPA Day!

Cheers!

 

About Coopers’ Craft Bourbon

Coopers’ Craft is a celebration of Brown-Forman’s more than 70 years of expertise raising its own barrels at Brown-Forman Cooperage. Drawing inspiration from the craft of raising barrels and the importance of wood in bourbon-making, Coopers’ Craft uses a unique charcoal finishing process. Coopers’ Craft is a product of Brown-Forman Corporation, a premier producer, and marketer of fine quality beverage alcohol brands, including Jack Daniels, Woodford Reserve, Tequila Herradura, Korbel, Finlandia, Chambord and Sonoma-Cutrer. Coopers’ Craft comes in at 41.1% abv and is currently available in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee.

About Coppertail Brewing Co.

Coppertail Brewing Co. is an independently owned production brewery and tasting room in the Ybor neighborhood of Tampa, FL. It was founded on the desire to bring more quality, Florida-brewed beer to the thirsty masses. They craft flavorful beer for the Florida lifestyle. Coppertail Brewing Co. believes in time-honored, old-world production techniques. They use natural carbonation, whole leaf hops, and don’t filter the beer. It takes longer to make beer this way, but sometimes amazing things come to those who wait. Florida inspired. Florida brewed.

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