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

J. Wakefield Brewing

Florida Craft Brewery: J. Wakefield Brewing

Established: Grand opening February 28th, 2015

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

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

J. Wakefield Brewing

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

J. Wakefield Brewing

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

J. Wakefield Brewing

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

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

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

J. Wakefield Brewing

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

J. Wakefield Brewing

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

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

J. Wakefield Brewing

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

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

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

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

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

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

J. Wakefield Brewing

J. Wakefield Brewing

J. Wakefield Brewing

Fun Facts:

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

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

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

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

J. Wakefield Brewing

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

J. Wakefield Brewing

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

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

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

Cheers!

J. Wakefield Brewing

Civil Society Brewing

Civil Society Brewing Releases Bottles for the First Time!

When you’re rated #5 out of all the newly opened breweries in the world by ratebeer.com people expect big things from you. Saturday’s (2-25-17) multiple 750 ml bottle and 16oz can release fell easily within those guidelines. This was the first time the Civil Society Brewing Co. released anything other than an extremely hopped up can.

Civil Society Brewing
Beer or bust!
Civil Society Brewing
Arriving at 8:30 rewarded these folks the first spot in line.

I arrived a half hour before the 11:00 am release armed with only my camera and inquisitive thirst. I claimed the 60th spot in line and started making my rounds taking pictures and sampling a few beers that were offered up. I stumbled into pours of 2014 ‘Bourbon County Coffee’, Other Half Brewing’s ‘Double Dry Hopped Broccoli’, and Oskar Blues ‘Rum BA Death by Coconut’. It was certainly not a bad way to start a bottle release. At 11:00 on the dot with about 85 people in line, the doors were opened, ID’S were checked, and folks started to head for the beer. Once acquired, a quick walk around the bar could score you any number of Civil Society’s liquid goodness, including, of course, the four releases.

Civil Society Brewing
Patiently waiting.
Civil Society Brewing
In need of a 2nd bottle? Bring grandma along or as she’s affectionately known, the Grandmule.

My favorite of the day was ‘BA King Gary Goes Bananas’. It’s a 10% abv bourbon barrel aged Imperial Milk Stout reminiscent of bananas foster and coffee. I really enjoyed how the barrel character came through giving a big ol’ hug to King Gary. The other bottle release was ‘Bella’s Revenge’, a 9% abv Imperial Stout brewed with barrel aged Maple Syrup from Single Barrel Cellar based out of Wakefield, Massachusetts, and coffee from Mostra Coffee out of San Diego, California. The first of the two IPA’s released, called ‘Snacktime’, was a 6.5% abv chocolate IPA hopped with Amarillo, Columbus, and Mosaic and brewed in collaboration with the Finback Brewery of Queens, NY. To be honest, I was expecting a bit more chocolate than what appeared on the backend. In saying that, the beer itself was a solid IPA. The second can released, ‘Can’t Touch This’, was 7.2% abv IPA brewed in collaboration with the Southern Grist Brewing Co. out of Nashville, Tennessee.  It was brewed with flaked maize and seriously hopped with Vic Secret, Galaxy, Motueka, and Simcoe Lupulin Powder. The beer was deliciously hazy with citrus and pineapple coming through.

Civil Society Brewing
Now, this is a flight!
Civil Society Brewing
Settling in.

To put it simply Civil Society Brewing has the release game down to an art. I have been to a number of their releases now and have yet seen or heard of anyone complaining about the process. The bottles were gone by about 1:00 and cans of ‘Can’t Touch This’ lasted until Sunday morning. A few cans ‘Snacktime’ are currently still available. With a count of only around 155 bottles of each and Civil’s growing popularity, the bottles that end up on the trade market should do well on returns as these beers are definitely a thirst quenching prize!

Cheers!

Civil Society Brewing
The list!
Coppertail Brewing Company

The Coppertail Brewing Company

Florida Craft Brewery: Coppertail Brewing Company 

Established: August 20th, 2014Coppertail Brewing Company

Location: 2601 East 2nd Avenue, Tampa, Florida 33605

Known For: The Coppertail Brewing Company tends to brew their beers on the drier side. They brew a lot of, and some of the finer, Berliner Weiss in the state. They also focus on darker beers like porters and stouts more often than other styles. In 2015 they brewed a Dunkel (German style dark lager), which was the official beer for Tamp Bay’s Oktoberfest. It was a great representation of the style!

Current Beer Menu: My first flight consisted of Coppertail’s four core beers, which are all bottled. First up was an American style Trippel called ‘Unholy’. It was easily the hoppiest Trippel I’ve ever tried and I loved it. The ‘Free Dive’ IPA was filled with dank hops giving a lovely pine and citrus aroma. Following the hop parade was ‘Wheat Stroke’, a hoppy wheat ale meant for the hot and humid Florida summer. The 4th core beer was ‘Night Swim’, a porter boasting dark chocolate and roasted coffee. It was a nice way to end the hop fest I had just sampled. The ‘Passion Fruit HRIS’ is a Belgian style rice beer with the addition of passion fruit. This beer was all about the passion fruit for me. It came through marvelously. Hris is an Old English surname that means brushwood, which eventually became Rice over time. ‘Allusion’ was yet another deliciously hopped beer. It’s an unfiltered Pale Ale with both Amarillo and Victoria Secret hops. The only Berliner Weiss on tap was brewed with Kumquats and named ‘Quats Up’. Coppertail Brewing CompanyThe Kumquats came through effectively finishing with a very light tartness. ‘La Chasse’ is a generously hoppy Farmhouse Ale. The hops actually almost overpowered the feel of the Saison, but I was still a big fan of it. ‘Double Barrel Unholy’ takes the base Trippel and ages it separately in both rum and white wine barrels. The two are then blended together to form a blasphemous blessing for your taste buds. The white wine and rum went together surprisingly well. ‘Sometimes You Don’t’ is a Porter brewed with coconut, cacoa nibs, and vanilla. This was a Mounds liquefied into a flight glass. It was my favorite of the day alongside the ‘DB Unholy’. ‘Silver Bar’ is a hoppy Pilsner. Pilsners are definitely not a go-to for me, but this one stepped up its game. I thoroughly enjoyed it! ‘Seasonal Relief’ is a Baltic Porter brewed with both Elderberries and Goji Berries. Both berries are known anti-inflammatories so this beer must be good for you. I enjoyed the hint of berries that came through. ‘Captain Jack’s Stone Crab Stout’ is brewed with three hundred pounds of Key West caught Stone Crab claws, which are added to the brewing process in the last 15 minutes. Those few minutes are just long enough to add a bit of a salty brine to the brew. Coppertail hosts a Stone Crab dinner using part of the day’s catch that didn’t go into the brew. The Shift Manager, Jeff, mentioned the claws were absolutely delicious after being removed from the beer. That’s a beer pairing I would love to have been privy to.

Price Range: Flights are offered in four 4oz glasses. The large majority of offerings are $2.00 per, but a limited release such as the ‘Double Barrel Unholy’ will run you $3.00. A 12oz pour will range between $4.00 and $7.00. A 16oz pour available for the bulk of Coppertail’s offerings will run you $5.00. Growlers in both 32oz and 64oz are available. The growler pre-pour will cost you $4.00 and $6.00 respectably. On my visit, the pour for a 32oz ranged between $7.00 and $8.00 while a 64oz was between $13.00 and $15.00. Six packs of ‘Free Dive’ ($11.00), ‘Unholy’ ($11.00), ‘Night Swim’ ($9.00) and ‘Wheat Stroke’ ($9.00) are available along with 750ml bottles of both ‘Seasonal Relief’ ($12.00) and ‘Captain Jacks’ ($13.00). The rotation on 750ml bottles changes as their seasonal bottle offerings change.Coppertail Brewing Company

Wine Menu: Wine is only offered during private events in the upstairs loft/event space.

Food Menu/Food Trucks: Coppertail allows patrons to bring food from home or food to be delivered. They also have food trucks Tuesday through Friday from 5:00 – 10:00pm as well as Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 – 5:00pm. Coppertail has also partnered with local favorite Stein & Vine to open their second location within a 1,000 sqft space in the brewery to be called S&V Kitchen at Coppertail. The opening is tentatively scheduled for Spring 2017.

Ambiance: When pulling into the parking lot a hulking two-story 34,000 sqft building gazes back at you. There is outdoor seating on both the ground and second floors (private events only) and a mural containing two of their beer labels. Coppertail Brewing CompanyA welcoming feeling washes over you when you walk inside. I’m not sure if it’s the red brick or the natural light that was pouring in through the windows, but the warm feeling is certainly there. I’ve always loved when the time is taken to refurbish a building while still keeping the history intact. There are a number of pieces of art on the walls that were created by the same artist who designs the bottle labels. The old-time style pieces help to bring the building to life. It has certainly become one of my favorite taprooms.

Bar Seating: The bar area held 18 seats while the main floor consisted of 15 tables of various styles and seating as well as a very comfy looking L-shaped leather couch.

Staff: The Shift Manager, Jeff, handled the bartending duties while I was in-house. He has been with Coppertail for two and a half years. He was a pleasure to chat with and definitely knew what he was talking about when it came to the brewery. Bartender/Tour Guide, James, gave me a quick tour of the brewery, which gave me a chance to snap a few pictures.Coppertail Brewing Company

Brewing System: Coppertail brews on a four vessel 50 bbl Brewhouse, which was fabricated by the German company Rolec. It consists of two 50 bbl fermenters, four 100 bbl fermenters, one 50 bbl brite tank, and one 100 bbl brite tank.

Merch: Men’s and women’s t-shirts are available for between $20.00 and $22.00. Hats range between $20.00 and $25.00. They also offer a number of other products from beer soap to beanies. All of which can be seen here.

Membership offered: Nothing is offered at this time.

Coppertail Brewing CompanyBest days or time of year to go: If you’re looking for a quieter experience earlier in the week before the work crowd begins to file in for the evening should be your plan of attack.

Regular Hours: Monday – Thursday: 12:00pm – 11:00pm, Friday – Saturday: 12:00pm – 12:00am, & Sunday: 12:00pm – 7:00pm

Happy Hour: Happy hour is not offered, but for those in the biz, both Sunday and Monday nights will garner you a 20% off discount.

Coppertail Brewing CompanyFun Facts:

-President, Kent Bailey, credits his then five-year-old daughter Sophia for coming up with the Coppertail name. In conversation one evening she had mentioned a Coppertail sea monster that lived in Tampa Bay. The name stuck in his head and the rest is history.

-Head Brewer, Casey Hughes, worked with the now shuttered Key West Brewing on their bottling line while working his way up to a brewing position before the age of 21. He then moved to New Jersey to take the head brewing position at the Flying Fish Brewery where he won a number of Great American Beer Festival (GABF) medals. Eventually, the sunshine and Coppertail’s head brewer position lured him back to the great state of Florida where he belongs.

-Coppertail’s building was once home to Hellman’s Mayonnaise, an olive cannery, and a refrigeration repair shop.

The confessional located in the taproom is a play on ‘Unholy’, a seriously hopped up Trippel that would make a Trappist monk lose sleep. It’s so sacrilegious you’ll need to confess your sins after drinking one.

Coppertail Brewing CompanyOverall Rating (1-5): I have been looking forward to visiting Coppertail for a long time. Everything I tried from them before my visit from a bar or beer festival was spot on and I’m happy to say they did not let me down. The beer, staff, and atmosphere of the taproom were delightful. I’m happily rating them a 4.75.

What was missing: Coppertail had the majority of beer styles on tap with literally something for everyone. If I had to get nitpicky though they didn’t have a Barleywine or a Scotch Ale available, which are two of my favorite styles. Of course in saying that I’m just being greedy. It’s not my fault, though. It’s the ‘Unholy Trippel’!

In closing, with so many breweries to choose from in Tampa and the surrounding areas, the Coppertail Brewing Company certainly stands out. It will be hard not to stop by when I’m in town for another brewery review.

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

Cheers!

Walking Tree Brewery

Walking Tree Brewery, Craft Daddy Blog

Florida Craft Brewery: Walking Tree Brewery

Established: June 23rd, 2016Walking Tree Brewery, Craft Daddy Blog

Location: 3209 Dodger Road, Vero Beach, FL 32960

Known For: Walking Tree Brewery’s most popular offering is a 6.4% abv American Wheat called ‘Sandy Feet’ that has a bit of a hop bite to it. The ‘Babycakes Oatmeal Stout’ is their oldest recipe. Unfortunately, it wasn’t on tap on my visit, but I was able to try it directly from the bright tank. At only 5.4% abv it won’t knock you down, but the roasted barley and chocolate will have you coming back for more.

Walking Tree Brewery, Craft Daddy BlogCurrent Beer Menu: On top of what I mentioned above, there were eleven other brewed in-house beers on tap along with the ‘Original Cider’ from Crispin for the non-beer drinkers. ‘Straw Hat Blonde’ was crisp and clean with a slightly bready undertone. ‘Daily Chores Table Saison’ had a bit of citrus on the nose and was nicely done. The White Walking Tree IPA uses Simcoe, Cascade, and CTZ hops. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t my favorite IPA. The ‘I Got A Guy Hoppy Pale Ale’ is filled with Mosaic hops and is very easy drinking. It’s one of those beers you can sit back and drink a few of while lounging on the beach. ‘St. Mulway’s Offering’ is an 8% abv scotch ale with a sweet malt backbone served on Nitro that I really enjoyed. The ‘Prop Root English Pale Ale’ had a nice earthy aroma and the typical bready flavor that you would expect from an English style beer, but with an added hoppy bitterness. The ‘Barnacled Manatee English Barleywine’ was sweet with notes of toffee, caramel, and a slight hop bite. I was also able to try a taste of the Barleywine that was being aged in Pinot Noir barrels. Even though it wasn’t quite ready for release the flavors were playing off of each other beautifully. ‘Single Girlfriend’ is Walking Tree’s take on a Radler. The grapefruit was there, but I was hoping for just a bit more. The ‘Brackish Brown Ale’ was good but fell more to the bottom of my list for the day. ‘Candyman’, a Belgian Tripel, was a nicely done sweet treat with a bite of the 9.5% abv coming through. The ‘Breconshire Imperial Porter’ had a roasted almost burnt coffee flavor with a bit of chocolate thrown into the mix. Breconshire was also resting in both bourbon and Pinot Noir barrels. For one of my final beers of the day I was brought a taster of Li Bai, a barrel aged sour with Loquat fruit, which was actually brewed before the brewery opened their doors. It was a great indicator of what is to come from this brewery when it comes to brewing sours.

Price Range: A flight of five 4oz pours will cost you $8.00, but there is a upcharge of $2.00 each if you order a beer of 9% abv or higher. The Walking Tree Brewery, Craft Daddy Blogmajority of their beers cost $5.00 or $6.00, but the higher abv’s will run you $7.00 for the typically smaller pour of 10oz. Growlers are available in both 32oz ($7.00) and 64oz ($9.00) sizes. Filling a 32oz growler will cost between $8.00 and $12.00 and a 64oz will cost between $14.00 and $18.00 depending on the beer.

Wine Menu: Both red and white wine is available for $8.00 per glass.

Food Menu/Food Trucks: Chips and light snacks are available from the bar. You can also have food delivered from the neighborhood eateries. Food trucks are typically available Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and also during special events.

Ambiance: One of the first things you notice walking into the brewery are the beautiful rafters that are exposed throughout the 24,000 sqft open air warehouse style building. A number of large industrial fans whirl overhead, which will certainly help keep the heat at bay during the summer months. Next, you’ll be hard pressed not to want to shimmy up to the 50 foot ‘L’ shaped Laurel Oak bar and plop down in front of the 16 taps that are handsomely encased in four pieces of Rosewood. The space as a whole is quite large and welcoming. The tap room and brewery are only separated by a bar top, which was once in Duke Snider’s (Brooklyn/L.A. Dodgers great) Bar. The happenings at the brewery are there for all to see, which is always nice. For those who would rather not just sit and chat over their beers, there are games such as corn hole, giant Jenga, and darts to keep you busy.Walking Tree Brewery, Craft Daddy Blog

Bar Seating: There are fifteen seats at the bar and eleven tables split between both high tops and picnic tables.

Staff: Tasting Room Manager, Eric, was tending bar when I walked in and sat down. He was deep into conversation with a local patron but quickly tended to my needs. He knew the beers well and seemed genuinely happy to be working at such a fine establishment. Operations Manager and occasional brewer, Danny Rey, joined Eric behind the bar for a bit as the rush hour crowd began to file in. He showed me around the brewery and answered all of my questions in stride. CEO, Alan Dritenbas, who handles both the barrel and sour programs, spent some time talking about their beers and their involvement in Civil Society Brewing’s upcoming 1st Anniversary block party. He also eagerly offered a taste of the aforementioned BA ‘Li Bai’ and the BA ‘Barnacled Manatee’. Unfortunately, President and Head Brewer, Mike Malone, wasn’t onsite during my visit.

Brewing System: Walking Tree brews on a 20 bbl (barrel) system that was fabricated in St. Petersburg, FL by BrewFab, LLC. The system also Walking Tree Brewery, Craft Daddy Blogcontains a 20 bbl mash loader, 40 bbl whirlpool, two 20 bbl bright tanks, two twenty bbl fermenters, and three 40 bbl fermenters.

Merch: Men’s and women’s t-shirts are available for $20.00, fishing shirts for $30.00, and brewers work shirts for $40.00. Glassware is also available and ranges in price from $3.00 to $10.00.

Membership offered: There is currently no membership available, but there is the possibility of a bottle club in the future.

Best days or time of year to go: If you’re looking for the time to experience Walking Tree with the least amount of people possible, both Monday and Tuesday starting at 3:00 pm would be the time to arrive.

Walking Tree Brewery, Craft Daddy BlogRegular Hours: Monday – Thursday: 3:00pm – 10:00pm, Friday: 3:00pm – 12:00 am, Saturday: 12:00pm – 12:00am, & Sunday: 12:00pm – 8:00pm

Happy Hour: Monday – Thursday: 5:00pm – 7:00pm. $1.00 off draft beer and wine.

Fun Facts:

-The building was constructed in 1945 by the U.S. Navy as an aviation supply warehouse during WWII.

-The roof trusses, rafters, beams, and also the benches are all made from Dade County Pine and are a part of the original construction. Dade County Pine is no longer available due to South Florida being overrun by man. The wood is known for its almost concrete like strength. The older the piece of wood, the stronger it becomes due to the resin build up within the wood.

-Walking Tree signed on with J.J. Taylor and is currently distributed to restaurants and bars from Sebastian to Stuart, FL.

-The brewery volunteers its time to the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) to help lay oyster beds in the Indian River, which in turn helps to Walking Tree Brewery, Craft Daddy Blogenrich habitat and improve water quality.

Overall Rating (1-5): I am rating the Walking Tree Brewery a 4.25. I loved the building and the history behind it. The staff was top-notch. Plus, for only being open five months (at the time of my visit in November), I was impressed with their lineup of beers.

What was missing: Just about every style of beer was on tap, including all of my favorites so I am hard pressed to come up with anything that was missing.

In closing, Walking Tree Brewing is certainly a stop that should be on your list if you’re in the area with the family or just in town on business.

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

Cheers!

Walking Tree Brewery, Craft Daddy Blog

Florida Craft Brewery Review: Sailfish Brewing Co.

Sailfish Brewing Co.

Florida Craft Brewery: Sailfish Brewing Company

Established: April 4th, 2013 Florida Craft Brewery Review: Sailfish Brewing Co.

Location: 407 N. 2nd Street, Fort Pierce, FL 34950

Known For: The head brewer, Al Beltran, has a background as a chef and it shows in his creations. He uses that background to help mold different flavors together in his beers. One example of this is the Lionfish Pale Ale (my favorite offering of the day), which is brewed with jalapeno, cilantro, and lime.

Florida Craft Brewery Review: Sailfish Brewing Co.Current Beer Menu: On top of the Lionfish Pale Ale there were seven other offerings from Sailfish and two guest taps available. After the Lionfish Pale Ale, my other two favorites were the Mutton Snapper Belgian which had a nice hop profile and the Sunrise City IPA, which is brewed with Florida Orange Blossom Honey and Florida Oranges. The remaining five offerings were Mullet Run Mild (English Mild Ale), Belgian Pale Ale (Session), Turbo Mutton Snapper Belgian (added plantains, star, anise, and turbinado sugar), Schooly Red (amber), and Sesión de Lupolo (session IPA). The guest taps consisted of Beach Blonde from 3 Daughters Brewing and Llama Mama Milk Stout from Darwin Brewing. Kombucha, craft soda and hop water are also available. You can see the semi-current tap list here.

Price Range: Flights consist of four 4oz pours for $7.00. Everything on the menu was available for either $5.00 or $6.00 and the menu typicallyFlorida Craft Brewery Review: Sailfish Brewing Co. doesn’t go any higher than $7.00. Both 32oz and 64oz growlers are available. A 32oz growler is $13.00 and the refill will run you $8.00. The 64oz growler is $26.00 and the refill will run you $16.00.

Wine Menu: Both red and white wines are available at $6.00 to $7.00 a glass for those looking to change it up a bit or who are accompanying their craft beer loving partner.

Food Menu: Sailfish allows you to bring food from home or for it to be delivered by one of the local eateries. They also offer locally harvested Mahi Mahi (Dolphin) fish dip, crackers, and hot sauce from Long Street Fish Company for $12.00. Food Trucks are also available on weekend evenings.

Florida Craft Brewery Review: Sailfish Brewing Co.Ambiance: When I first laid eyes on Sailfish Brewing I wondered to myself how they fit a taproom and brewery into the two small buildings in front of me. When you walk in the door you find the bar to your left with additional seating up a stair or two to your right. You can definitely feel that you’re walking into a house that has been around a long time. The bar is L-shaped and the bar top looks to be made of copper. Paintings of ocean life adorn the walls, which are the color of the deep blue sea. Music from the likes of Slightly Stoopid, Bob Marley, Sublime, and Iration played overhead. Kids of both the two and four-legged variety are welcome at Sailfish which is always a plus. This may have been the smallest tap room I have ever been in.Florida Craft Brewery Review: Sailfish Brewing Co.

Bar Seating: There are seven available seats at the bar and fourteen more spread around the space. Two leather chairs close out the available seating inside the taproom. The beer garden has a number of chairs and tables on the deck and picnic tables spread throughout the large outdoor space.

Staff: Caitlin was the bartender the day I visited. She is the tap room manager and has been with Sailfish since the day they opened their doors. She’s a homebrewer and seemed to really know the ins and outs of each beer. It was a pleasure spending a couple of hours talking to her about beer and the brewery.

Florida Craft Brewery Review: Sailfish Brewing Co.Merch: Men and women’s t-shirts are $20, hats are $30, glasses are $8.00, a growler koozie will run you $10, a regular koozie can be had for $3.00, stickers are $2.00, and a Dri-Fit t-shirt will run you $30.00.

Membership offered: Sailfish has a yearly membership called the Mug Club. Between the months of October and November, fifty memberships are put up for sale at $50.00 apiece. Current members have the first right of refusal. The membership gets you 20oz pours instead of 16oz, the special club only kegs, the ability to growler a beer when others can’t, $1.00 off of all beers on Friday, and a beer mug for you to personalize.

Best days or time of year to go: You’ll have a better chance getting a bar seat during the summer when the snowbirds have gone home. I visitedFlorida Craft Brewery Review: Sailfish Brewing Co. on a Friday and there seemed to be a steady stream of people starting around 3:00pm.

Regular Hours: Tuesday – Thursday: 4:00pm – 11:00pm, Friday: 2:00pm – 11:00pm, Saturday: 12:00pm – 11:00pm, and Sunday: 12:00pm – 6:00pm

Happy Hour: Only Mug Club members get the benefit of a happy hour.

Florida Craft Brewery Review: Sailfish Brewing Co.Fun Fact:

-The taproom is in a house that is the third oldest house in Fort Pierce. How old may you ask? 200 years old!

-The property was originally a pineapple plantation.

-The pink Eucalyptus tree on the property is said to be the oldest in the United States.

-Sailfish opened their doors brewing on 1½ barrel system and currently brews on a 3 barrel system.

-A 17,000 sqft space was purchased a few blocks south of the current taproom. It now holds a twenty barrel system. The first beer was brewed using the new system on June 23, 2016.Florida Craft Brewery Review: Sailfish Brewing Co.

-Their imperial stout, Goliath #10, is resting in Heaven Hills bourbon barrels for release sometime later this year.

Overall Rating (1-5): I’m giving Sailfish Brewing a 4.25. They do everything well with a couple of standouts. The tap room is small and welcoming and having someone as knowledgeable behind the bar as Caitlin is an absolute plus.

What was missing: My usual gripe has risen once again. Unfortunately, they had nothing dark Florida Craft Brewery Review: Sailfish Brewing Co.on tap outside of the guest tap. Stouts and porters are not just for the winter months! I’m starting to think I’m the odd man out when it comes to thinking this way.

In closing, Sailfish is certainly worth checking out if you’re in the area. I for one would like to go back and try their barrel aged imperial stout when it’s released. See you there!

Did I leave anything out or is there something else you would like to know about the Sailfish Brewing Company? Please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below.

Cheers!

 

florida craft beer, craft beer, pompano beach, bangin' banjo, craft daddy

Bangin’ Banjo Brewing Co.

Florida Craft Brewery: Bangin’ Banjo Brewing Company

Established: July 22, 2015 florida craft beer, craft beer, pompano beach, bangin' banjo, craft daddy

Location: 3200 NW 23rd Avenue #500, Pompano Beach, FL 33069

Known For: The Cypress Creek Cream Ale and Hop of the Muffin IPA are the two most popular beers on the tap room menu. Both beers target the general drinking public by trying to pull in the non-craft beer drinkers with something a little different to tempt their palates.

florida craft beer, craft beer, pompano beach, bangin' banjo, craft daddyCurrent Beer Menu: With eleven beers on tap ranging in styles from the Gosegetter Gose to their namesake The Bangin’ Banjo Black IPA, Bangin’ is sure to have something that will quench your thirst. The Gose, brewed with coriander and Florida orange zest, was my favorite of their offerings followed closely behind by Jodi’s Bananas Pale Ale, which is brewed with real bananas. I would have loved to drink Jodi’s alongside a nice hefty piece of banana bread. Sascha’s Belgian Wheat Ale, The Bangin’ Banjo Black IPA, and the Hop of the Muffin IPA were decent offerings while the remaining beers on the tap list were just okay.

Price Range: A flight consists of either four ($6.00), five ($7.00), orflorida craft beer, craft beer, pompano beach, bangin' banjo, craft daddy six ($8.00) 4oz pours. Pints and 12oz pours are available ranging in price from $6.00 to $9.00 depending on which beer you choose. Growlers in both the 32oz and 64oz sizes are available and range in price from $8.00 to $32.00. If you happen to leave your growler at home the new glass will cost you either $5.00 for the 32oz or $8.00 for the 64oz.

Wine Menu: Bangin’ offers wine for those of you not looking for a pint. You can choose between one red and three white wines. Pricing per glass will run you either $7.00 or $8.00.

florida craft beer, craft beer, pompano beach, bangin' banjo, craft daddyFood Menu: Delivery menus are available behind the bar for the area’s eateries. Food trucks are available out front on the weekdays starting between 4:00 and 5:00pm. On the weekends, they are available starting anywhere from 12:00 to 4:00pm.

Bar Seating: The bar can seat ten comfortably. The rest of the seating consists of eleven four-seat high tops, four picnic tables, and two tables that each seat four.

Staff: I was lucky enough that one of the owners, Adam Feingold, was available to show me around andflorida craft beer, craft beer, pompano beach, bangin' banjo, craft daddy answer any questions I had. Adam started homebrewing with his childhood friend and co-founder Matthew Giani while they were attending the University of Florida. Today, Adam runs the business side of things while Matthew handles the brewing. Felix Pons was behind the bar and happens to be the Marketing Director of Descarga Brewing Company, which is slated to open in Hallandale Beach towards the end of 2017.

Ambiance: When I walked into Bangin’ Banjo I got the feeling that I may have just walked into a brewery in the Deep South of the good ol’ U.S. of A. The walls are painted dark brown and moss-green while portions are covered in wood from reclaimed pallets. Light bulbs in mason jars hanging from the ceiling give the taproom that extra little pop. You can tell that Adam and Matthew tried and accomplished bringing the feel of North-Central Florida back with them from the University of Florida.

florida craft beer, craft beer, pompano beach, bangin' banjo, craft daddyMerch: T-shirts for men and women are available for $20.00. Glasses range from $4.00 to $5.00 and consist of a 4oz sampler glass, 13oz snifter, 16oz snifter, and a 16oz glass shaped like a beer can.

Membership offered: Bangin’ offers a VIP program for $100 per year. That single Benjamin gets you 10% of your check daily, 20% of your entire check on Mondays (which is VIP Night), you get to drink free on your birthday, first right of refusal for all bottle releases, and a t-shirt depicting a banjo picking Florida Panther. A pretty good deal if you ask me.

Best days or time of year to go: As with just about any drinking establishment in South Florida if you want to be able to relax at the bar without being elbow to elbow with other patrons then you have to arrive before 4:00pm on the weekdays. Saturdays are typically busy while Sunday can be either or.

Regular Hours: Monday – Thursday: 4:00pm – 10:00pm, Friday: 2:00pm – 12:00am, Saturday: 12:00pm – 12:00am, and Sunday: 12:00pm – 8:00pm

Happy Hour: Monday – Friday: Open – 6:00pm. Happy hour will get you $1.00 of all drafts.BB4

Fun Facts:

The bar and beer tap housing are made out of Black Walnut from Upstate New York.

-The bottles that line the taproom were consumed prior to the brewery being opened. Not one new bottle has been added since.

-The name Bangin’ Banjo came from Matt and Adam’s homebrewing days at the University of Florida. A friend of theirs, who played the banjo in a band, had a birthday coming up so they brewed a black IPA for the occasion and called it Bangin’ Banjo. The beer is still brewed today and obviously, the name stuck.

florida craft beer, craft beer, pompano beach, bangin' banjo, craft daddy-The Hop of the Muffin IPA got its name from an episode of Seinfeld.

Overall Rating (1-5): The taproom had a very relaxing feel and the staff was on point. The beers were across the rating board for me with a couple standouts shining through. I would like to visit again in a year or so, but for now, I am rating Bangin’ Bango a 3.75.

What was missing: For me the majority of the beer just didn’t have that extra something going for it.

In closing, if you are someone who is just starting to dip your toes into the craft beer pool then Bangin’ Banjo is a place for you to check out. The IPA’s won’t beat up your palate and their Gose is a fantastic representation of the style. Their motto is ‘any day beer for everyday people’ after all and they do just that.florida craft beer, craft beer, pompano beach, bangin' banjo, craft daddy

Did I leave anything out or is there something else you would like to know about the Bangin’ Banjo Brewing Company? Please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below.

Cheers!