Civil Society’s 2nd Anniversary Block Party

Civil Society's 2nd Anniversary

Civil Society’s 2nd Anniversary Block Party

The Civil Society Brewing Company jumped into the South Florida craft beer scene running at full speed in November 2015. It’s now two years later and nothing is slowing these boys down. Hell, just this past January, as Civil was beginning year two, they were listed as #5 on the Best New Brewers in the World list by RateBeer. Not to be outdone Thrillist.com listed Civil on The Best New Breweries in America list this past March (2017).

Civil Society's 2nd Anniversary

So what did Civil Society do to celebrate their first two years of extraordinary success? Well, they threw a party, of course. They invited their friends from near and far, closed down the street, and had a block party. Tickets came in three different variations. General admission was $60.00 and included Civil Society’s 2nd Anniversary badass tasting glass and unlimited samples. General admission + tickets were $80.00 and included the above plus a 4-pack of Civil Society’s ‘2nd Anniversary DIPA’. Finally, for the extra thirsty in the crowd, Civil released 200 VIP tickets for $175.00 a piece. Included in that price were the tasting glass, unlimited pours, and a mixed case of three 4-packs of the ‘2nd Anniversary DIPA’ and three 4-packs of Fresh Pulp. The DIPA was brewed using Summer, Citra, Hallertau Blanc, Mosaic, Lemondrop and Mosaic Lupulin Pellets while ‘Fresh Pulp’ was a mix of both ‘Fresh’ and ‘Pulp’ thrown together in fermentation. What more could you possibly want?

Civil Society's 2nd Anniversary

The line began to form a bit before 11:00 a.m. for the 12:00 p.m. start of Civil Society’s 2nd Anniversary. After taking a few pics of the line winding down the sidewalk, back up, and down a side street I jumped in line and received my general admission bracelet.

Civil Society's 2nd Anniversary Civil Society's 2nd Anniversary

Once the line started moving we were filtered in through the brewery, passed all of the merch, to get our ticket scanned and a choice between different color combination glasses.

Civil Society's 2nd Anniversary

After that, it was time for the fun to start! First up was the absolutely deliciously dank and juicy Double Dry Hopped Mylar Bags DIPA from Other Half Brewing. Not a bad way to start the day! A quick jaunt across the street brought me to the Angry Chair Brewing tent to try ‘Sloth Love Coffee’, which is their ‘Rocky Road Imperial Stout’ with coffee, and the ‘Rum BA Imperial Awakening Imperial Stout’. I’ve never had an Angry Chair Stout I didn’t absolutely love and these were no different. Next up was the Superstition Meadery and their choice between an adjunct heavy mead and a blueberry cider. ‘Devour the Sun’ was a mead made in collaboration with Horus Aged Ales which included Mostra Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, cacao nibs, toasted coconut, macadamia nuts, and marshmallow. The chocolate from the cacao nibs came through more than anything else for me. The ‘Blueberry Spaceship Box’ cider is made with Blueberry juice and currently holds the top spot as best cider on both Untappd and Ratebeer. I enjoyed both of Superstitions offerings, but the cider took top billing for me.

Civil Society's 2nd Anniversary

The Answer Brewpub and their two offerings were next on the list. The ‘Phantom Limb Pain Imperial Stout’ was brewed with almonds, chocolate, coffee, and toasted coconut. They also brought ‘Mind Games’, a DIPA, which is triple dry-hopped with Mosaic, El Dorado, and Galaxy hops. Both beers were quite good, but the imperial stout was a step above for me. Unseen Creatures Brewing and Blending brought ‘DDH in the Clouds’ and ‘Michele’. The ‘DDH in the Clouds’ Pale Ale was brewed with Citra, Simcoe, and Cascade hops and dry-hopped with even more Simcoe and Citra. ‘Michele’ is a mixed fermentation Farmhouse Ale refermented with cherries. Both offerings were good, but I especially enjoyed the tart cherry from ‘Michele’. Unseen Creatures are tentatively scheduled to open their doors in early 2018 in North Miami and specialize in Farmhouse inspired Wild Ales.

Civil Society's 2nd Anniversary

Southern Grist Brewing was next on the list with one of the most talked about beers of the day. They took their ‘Vanillionaire Imperial Sweet Stout’ and added coconut to it specifically for the anniversary. ‘Coconut Vanillionaire’ was one of the first beers mentioned as a favorite by just about everyone except me. There was something I just didn’t like about it. Maybe an overabundance of vanilla? Who knows? They also brought ‘Evan’s Emergency’ which is their New England IPA with the addition of mango. Interestingly enough Evan from Civil Society is apparently deathly allergic to mangoes hence the name. I’m always a fan of mango in a beer so I really enjoyed ‘Evan’s Emergency’. Bottle Logic was up next with their bourbon barrel aged strong ale ‘Stronger Than Fiction’. It was dangerously smooth for being 13% abv and was one of my favorite beers of the day.

Civil Society's 2nd Anniversary

Cigar City’s ‘Decoherence’ imperial stout was being poured from the bottle and is drinking absolutely fantastic right now! It’s a combination of a bourbon barrel aged porter and a brandy barrel aged imperial stout, which is then aged on both coffee and coconut. Commence drooling now! The Equilibrium Brewery was one I had never tried before. Their ‘Casey Passionfruit’ Farmhouse Ale was being poured and I was lucky enough to get a taste from the last available bottle. Boy, was I happy I did! It was a funky sour and lightly sweet passion fruit bomb that I could’ve drank all day. Equilibrium also brought a DIPA brewed with Citra and Galaxy hops called ‘dHop 5’. Think creamy tropical fruit bomb.

Civil Society's 2nd Anniversary

The Finback Brewery has been in town for festivals twice in 2017 and my only complaint is that they don’t come down more often. They brought their ‘High Contrast’ Imperial Coffee Porter and their ‘Neon Prophecy’ IPA, which is a collaboration with the Burlington Beer Company. It’s brewed with honey, bee pollen, and royal jelly and then dry-hopped with Vic Secret, Ahtanum, Citra, and Mosaic hops. In typical Finback style, both beers were tasty as hell!

Civil Society's 2nd Anniversary

Vermont’s own Foam Brewers brought down two DIPA’s. Experimental Jet Set and Galaxie 500 were both fantastic. Now I see why everyone is trading for their cans. The Cloudwater Brew Co. traveled across the pond from Manchester, England to share their wares. I tried their ‘Black Forest’ Imperial Stout, a collaboration with a brewery in Norway called Lervig Aktiebryggeri, which is brewed with sour cherry juice, sweet cherry juice, and Tonka beans. Interestingly enough Tonka beans are illegal to sell in the United States and have to be smuggled in from South America so the finest eateries in the U.S. can use them in their dishes. They give off aromas of vanilla, cherry, almonds, and a spiciness that resembles cinnamon. The beer itself was very lightly tart cherry with chocolate, cinnamon and a bit of coffee. It was one of the more interesting stouts of the day in my opinion. Cerebral Brewing out of Denver brought bottles of ‘Barrel Aged Work From Home’. It’s a decadent Imperial Breakfast Porter with Vermont maple syrup, Columbian coffee, and aged for 12 months in Woodford Reserve Barrels. Think chocolate, syrup, coffee, and a kick of bourbon.

Civil Society's 2nd Anniversary

The Charles Towne Fermentory brought ‘La Vida Gose with Apricots and Peaches’. A delicious gose with the perfect meld of tart and salty with a bright, fresh burst of apricot and peaches. Very well done! Oh and thanks for the t-shirt guys! Horus Aged Ales brought a 16.8% monster of a Russian Imperial Stout brewed specifically for Civil Society’s 2nd Anniversary. ‘Civil Predator’ is a collaboration with the Wren House Brewing Company, which used chocolate, honey, and marshmallow in the brew. A beer that big and chewy shouldn’t be able to hide the alcohol so well but hide the alcohol it did. The Kent Falls Brewing Company was my last brewery of the day. They were pouring their ‘Hawaiian Brunch’ Pale Ale and ‘Walking Away in Slow Motion as the Car Explodes Behind You’ Imperial Gose. The ‘Hawaiian Brunch’ was brewed with pineapple, hibiscus, and dry-hopped with Galaxy and Michigan Copper hops. It poured a deliciously creamy pink and had an almost fruit punch taste to it followed quickly by the hibiscus and finished off with bitter pineapple. Definitely an interesting beer. The Gose not only won the prize for the longest name of the day but was also pretty damn tasty! It was brewed with mangoes, lime zest, and dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin hops. The tart lime and sweet mango went together very well. It was a great way to finish off a day of drinking. After some small talk and a few pictures, I made my way home to recoup.

Civil Society's 2nd Anniversary

Overall Civil Society pulled off another fantastic anniversary party. I only heard two complaints from folks the entire day. The first was that there should be water stations on both sides of the event and not just one in the center that seemed to be empty any time I was nearby. I don’t think it was anyone’s fault. I just think with that many people more than one station is a must. The other complaint which I heard often the day of and the days following was that some of the visiting breweries ran out of beer in the first couple of hours or in J. Wakefield’s case in the first hour. By about the three-hour mark a majority of the brewers were done for the day.

Civil Society's 2nd Anniversary

Of course, the number one complaint was that if you schedule a festival to run until 5:00 pm then there should be beer flowing until then. Keep in mind Civil continued to pour inside the brewery. I think the main culprit was the glasses that Civil used. Don’t get me wrong, the glasses with their multiple color schemes were great but, they were able to hold eight ounces without a problem. Now there’s a two-ounce indicator on each glass, but a lot of folks (brewers and volunteers alike) disregarded the two-ounce pour. Personally, brewers running out of beer wasn’t a huge deal to me. I tried a whole hell of a lot of amazing beer some of which I probably would have missed if the more widely known breweries hadn’t run out. That’s one of the great things about brewery events like this. Brewers are brought in from all over, a majority of which don’t have a foothold in Florida.

Civil Society's 2nd Anniversary

In closing, two years in Civil are showing no signs of slowing down. If the boys aren’t in town brewing some kick-ass hoppy concoction for the next Saturday can release, then they are off collaborating with another brewery. Hopefully, that collaboration is with someone new that we will see in town for the 3rd-anniversary block party. Congratulations on two years, Civil! I’m really looking forward to watching the brewery continue to grow right before my eyes.

Civil Society's 2nd Anniversary

(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

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

Palm Beach County’s Damn Good Beer Bus

Damn Good Beer Bus

My buddy’s wife asked me if my wife and I wanted to go on the new local beer bus to celebrate his birthday. My initial thought was a new beer bus? How have I not heard about this? I confirmed that we would be there out of love for my buddy more than anything, honestly. After checking out the website, I saw the name of the bus was the Damn Good Beer Bus (DGBB). What a great name! Here’s how it works. You head over to the website and pick which day (Fri., Sat., or Sun.) works best for you and/or your party. The days also correspond with different areas of the county. The northern trip has stops at three of the following breweries: Civil Society Brewing Co., Twisted Trunk Brewing, Tequesta Brewing Co., Dixie Grill & Brewery, or Accomplice Brewery and Ciderworks. The central trip stops at three of the following: Accomplice Brewery & Ciderworks, Dixie Bar and Brewery, Due South Brewing, Copperpoint Brewing Co., Devour Brewing Co., and NOBO Brewing Co. The southern trip stops at three of the following: Due South Brewing, Copperpoint Brewing Co., Devour Brewing Co., NOBO Brewing Co., Saltwater Brewery, and Barrel of Monks Brewing.

Damn Good Beer Bus

Once you have picked your trip you then make your payment of $68.90 (taxes included) and BOOM you’re done. The central trip includes lunch at the Dixie Bar & Brewery so the price reflects that with an added $14.00. Believe me the food at Dixie is worth it! At first glance, the price may seem a little steep, but it includes a flight of beer at each of the three separate breweries, a brewery tour at each brewery, a tasting between brewery stops provided by the DGBB, water and snacks, and of course transportation. It’s a fun way to check out what Palm Beach County has to offer without worrying about driving from brewery to brewery. Plus it’s a great way to spend four hours with your buddies or make new friends with other craft beer lovers. Private tours are also available and that information can be found here or by calling 561.906.7212. While you aren’t able to bring alcohol from home onto the bus, you are able to buy whatever the brewery has to offer and store it in the cooler located on the back of the bus. 

Damn Good Beer Bus

Our trip was set for the third Friday that the bus had actually been operating. There really wasn’t any indication that they were so new to the scene because everything went extremely smooth. Since our party rented out the entire bus the option was given to be picked up in Jupiter. Otherwise, the meeting spot would have been at the Accomplice Brewery and Ciderworks near downtown West Palm Beach. The bus arrived around 6:30 as we were opening a beer or two to help get the party started.

Damn Good Beer Bus

A quick round of introductions with Jonathan and Ralph, our DGBB guides, were made. Waivers were distributed for us to sign while nametags were filled out for everyone. Once the boring stuff was finished we headed out to the bus for a quick group shot before loading up. The bus had been decorated with a birthday theme, which I thought was a nice touch. After a few words from Jonathan, we were on our way to our first stop, which happened to be the Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach. It had been quite a while since I had made it down to Saltwater so I was pretty stoked since I am a fan of them. About 10 minutes into the drive, Jonathan handed out cups and brought out a crowler of the Copperpoint Brewing Companies ‘Blood Orange Wit’. It was a nice introduction to the beer that was coming.

Damn Good Beer Bus

We pulled up to Saltwater and headed inside to find an area set aside for us with plenty of seating for our group. That was a huge plus because the tap room was packed. Almost instantly flights of beer were brought out for each rider. The flights are prechosen simply because it would take forever on a busy Friday night to get and receive the orders for twenty people. Each flight consisted of ‘Screamin’ Reels IPA’, ‘Locale Golden Ale’, ‘Sea Cow Milk Stout’, and the ‘Black Current Strong Ale’ which comes in at 11% abv.

Damn Good Beer Bus

I also tried a few other offerings including ‘Imperial Raspberry Reef’, ‘Habanero Screamin’ Reels’, and Coconut Screamin’ Reels’. I am continually impressed every time I get a chance to stop into Saltwater. After a few minutes, those who wanted to were taken back behind the scenes for a tour of the brewery. After about 45 minutes at the brewery, it was time to head to our next stop, which was Barrel of Monks Brewing in Boca Raton. On the drive south Jonathan opened a crowler of Civil Society’s ‘Blondes Make Me Hoppy’. We pulled up into the Barrel of Monks parking lot and quickly headed inside to our designated seating. Flights quickly started coming out and consisted of their Saison, Wit, Amber, and Tripel. I’ve always been a big fan of their Tripel and this time was no different. I also tried their ‘Irish Cream Koffee Tartan Monk’, which is their Scotch Ale infused with Irish Cream coffee. It was an interesting treatment, to say the least. After a bit, we headed into the brewery for our tour.

Damn Good Beer Bus

A rundown of brewing and production was given before moving into the cellar where a bottle of ‘Happy Accident’ was opened for us to try. ‘Happy Accident’ is their ‘Three Fates Tripel’, which picked up wild yeast from the Florida air, giving it a drier funky flavor profile that was definitely a crowd pleaser. The tour lasted about 15 minutes.

Damn Good Beer Bus

After our time was up we piled back onto the bus and headed for Due South Brewing. While on the road Jonathan opened cans of Twisted Trunk Brewing’s ‘IPGA IPA’. We arrived at Due South and gingerly stumbled into the brewery. By no means was anyone smashed, but we were all definitely feeling the beer. Once gathered around our designated area the flights began to appear. They consisted of the ‘Caramel Cream Ale’, ‘Legendairy Milk Stout’, ‘Hopicana Orange Rye IPA’, and ‘Category 5 DIPA’. There wasn’t a tour offered, but we did have access to management who eagerly answered all questions asked. Once back on the bus we were again offered lite snacks and bottles of water for the drive back up to Jupiter.

Damn Good Beer Bus

I can see another bus being added in the future with more breweries set to open before the end of 2017. Since our trip, I’ve been following the pictures posted on DGBB’s Instagram account and they seem to continually have a packed bus. All in all, I think the Damn Good Beer Bus will be a huge success in Palm Beach County.

Damn Good Beer Bus

In closing, if you’re looking for something different to do on the weekend or looking for a safe and reliable way to get to and from the breweries the Damn Good Beer Bus is most certainly your answer. It’s hard not to have a great time when you’re receiving VIP treatment at the breweries, brewery tours, tasting great beers, surrounded by like-minded people, fantastic tour guides, and an overall kick ass experience.

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!
Biscayne Bay Brewing Company

Biscayne Bay Brewing Company

Florida Craft Brewery: Biscayne Bay Brewing Company

Established: The Biscayne Bay Brewing Company has been brewing on-site since 2012 and distributing to South Florida since 2014. The taproom Biscayne Bay Brewing Companyofficially opened its doors on August 16th, 2016.

Location: 8000 NW 25th Street #500, Miami, FL

Known For: Biscayne Bay Brewing’s most popular offerings are their ‘Biscayne Bay Saison’ and ‘Miami Pale Ale’. The Saison was a nice attempt at the style. Unfortunately, the Pale Ale wasn’t available during my visit.

Current Beer Menu: I drove down to Biscayne Bay Brewing for a couple of reasons. First, when I was checking out their website, I saw that they listed having three barrel aged beers on tap. I thought, man this is going to be a great spot because no one has three BA beers on at once. Those beers were ‘El Roble’, a Scotch Ale aged for four months in Stranahan Whiskey barrels, ‘La Salida’, a blend of the ‘Miami Pale Ale’ and ‘Double Nine Double IPA’ aged in Breckenridge Bourbon barrels for 6 months, and ‘Buenas Noches’, their Imperial Stout aged for three months in Stranahan Whiskey barrels. Needless to say, I was looking forward to arriving and trying two of my favorite styles (Imperial Stout and Scotch Ale) and the added bonus of a barrel aged IPA. Secondly, while googling them, I discovered a Groupon for two flights, which you can find here. What could be better, right? When I sat down at the bar to put in my order I was told that not one, not two, but all three of the BA beers weren’t available. Talk about being completely let down. The lesson learned here is to never trust that whoever is in charge of the brewery website is keeping it up to date. Making a phone call should always be in order. I’ve definitely learned my lesson the hard way.

Biscayne Bay Brewing CompanyNow to what was actually available on the menu. First up, was the ‘Kaptain’s Kölsch’ an easy drinker, which is, of course, typical of the Kölsch style. Next up was the ‘Biscayne Bay Saison’. At 6.9% abv, this was a beer at the higher end of the style spectrum, but the alcohol was well hidden. It was good, but not a beer I would go back for seconds on. The ‘McDaddy Scotch Ale’ was pleasant. It was a tad sweeter than I typically look for in the style, but I enjoyed it all the same. I would have really enjoyed seeing where the Stranahan Whiskey barrels would have taken ‘McDaddy’. From the ‘Double Nine (double) IPA’ you will get grapefruit in both the aroma and on the backend when you finally get the hop bite. It was definitely very malt forward, though which I always find odd when it comes to an IPA or DIPA. Interestingly enough my favorite beer of the day was a Dunkelweizen named ‘Wendyweizen’. It was probably the best Dunkel I have had for some time. ‘La Colada’ was the last beer in my flight. It’s an English style Porter brewed with Cuban coffee. I did get a slight roastiness from the coffee but found the beer to be very light with not much body to it. If you’re going to brew with Cuban coffee the beer should pretty much jump up and bite you. ‘McDaddy’ and ‘La Colada’ were also on Nitro, but I didn’t try either one. The guest tap list, unfortunately, overpowered anything Biscayne Bay brewed in-house. With beers like Dogfish Head ‘Olde School’, Civil Society ‘Fresh’, Lagunitas ‘Brown Shugga’, Lagunitas ‘High West-ified Coffee Imperial Stout’, and M.I.A. Brew Company’s Tourist Trappe Tripel and Ultra Mix DIPA the taproom felt more like a craft beer bar than a brewery. I get the feeling Biscayne is targeting the Miami crowd who are virgins in the craft beer scene, which is why their beers seem to be a bit more on the tame side. In saying that, my opinion might have been a bit different had I been able to try one of their barrel aged offerings.Biscayne Bay Brewing Company

On a side note, they also offer three different craft cocktails. The first was a mix between ‘La Colada’ and Lindemans ‘Framboise’ called Black Forest Cake. The second was ‘La Colada’ mixed with ‘Angry Orchard Apple Cider’ called Black Velvet. Lastly, the Saison Shandy was a mix between the ‘Biscayne Bay Saison’ and ‘Angry Orchard Apple Cider’.

Price Range: When not using the Groupon a flight of four 4oz pours of their core beers will run you $8.00. Biscayne Bay’s beer ranges in price from $5.00 to $8.00 while the guest taps are between $7.00 and $10.00. The craft cocktails range in price between $6.50 and $7.00. Growlers are also available. Prefilled a 32oz and 64oz growler glass will run you $6.00 and $8.00. The fill for the 32oz is $8.00 for the core beers and $13.00 for the DIPA while a 64oz growler costs $13.00 for the core beers and $24.00 for the DIPA.

Wine Menu: Both red and white wines are available in 6oz pours for $8.00.

Food Menu/Food Trucks: Biscayne Bay invites food trucks for special events, but on normal days they offer a limited menu of items like Guacamole and chips, large pretzels, sliders, nachos, and a fancy grilled cheese. Brunch is offered both Saturday and Sunday, between the hours of 12:00 and 3:00.

Biscayne Bay Brewing CompanyAmbiance: When walking into Biscayne Bay Brewing, one of the first things you see is their emblem neatly emblazoned in silver on the wall. The 3,400 sqft taproom is very nicely put together in a nautical theme with tunes from the 90’s playing overhead. The bar is 60 feet long and inviting with the tap list rotating on a screen in front of you. There is a large chalkboard for patrons to inscribe their alcohol infused ramblings or possibly even their ‘Port of Call’. In one corner you will find arcade games while in another a domino table and Giant Jenga. There are also three tv’s for your sporting pleasure. All in all the taproom is a welcoming place to have a beer with friends.

Bar Seating: The bar holds 28 seats, six tables of varying shapes and sizes, and two separate leather seating areas. The tables use barrels as legs, which is certainly a nice touch.Biscayne Bay Brewing Company

Staff: I was greeted by Albert or Tico as he is lovingly referred to by his coworkers. After preparing my flight and after the last of the lunch crowd left Albert took me to the Brewhouse and the temperature controlled barrel room to snap a few pics. He told me a bit about the beer and the brewery and enticed my senses with a whiff of what ‘El Roble’ was releasing from the barrel. Bar Manager and Supervisor, Nick, spent a good hour or so talking about everything craft beer with myself and another patron. Including everything from where he first made his discovery of craft to his beloved Florida cellar. Biscayne Bay Brewing couldn’t ask for a better couple of guys as the face of their taproom.

Biscayne Bay Brewing CompanyBrewing System: Biscayne Bay’s Brewhouse consists of five 30 bbl fermenters (three of which can also be used as brite tanks), one 15 bbl fermenter, and one 30 bbl brite tank.

Merch: Both men’s and women’s shirts and hats are $25.00 apiece.

Membership offered: The Sons of Neptune Growler Society entitles you to a limited edition 64oz steel growler, a taproom only pub glass to use at home, an official Sons of Neptune t-shirt, which looks pretty darn cool, one growler fill per month of any core beer, 10% off all purchases in the taproom, and first access to and reservation of any new limited release beer and bottle release. All of this can be yours for the pretty decent price of $125.00 a year.

Best days or time of year to go: Tuesday and Wednesday Biscayne Bay Brewing Companyafternoon and night would be your best option if you aren’t looking for a crowded venue. Thursday night is busy for karaoke and Friday night by 8:30 is packed. I arrived at 2:00 on Friday and headed home at 4:30. The crowd was minuscule at this time and just starting to arrive as I was leaving. Be forewarned though you do not want to be on Miami’s roads heading out-of-town around 4:30.

Regular Hours: Tuesday – Thursday: 3:00pm – 11:00pm, Friday – Saturday: 12:00pm – 1:00am, & Sunday: 12:00pm – 10:00pm

Happy Hour: Happy hour allows for 50% off all core beers and is available throughout the week from 3:00pm to 7:00pm.

Biscayne Bay Brewing CompanyFun Facts:

The ‘Double Nine DIPA’ is named after the double nine domino chips. It is the biggest and boldest move one can make when playing Dominoes.

Co-owner, Jose Mallea, first found his love for craft beer in Washington D.C. while working in the political arena. He later brought his new-found love for craft beer home to Miami with a dream of opening a brewery.

-The original location was going to be near Biscayne Bay, hence the name, but it did not have the available space needed for the eventual expansion. With the logo already in place, it made more sense to keep the name when the City of Doral became home.

-‘Since MDXIII’ is part of Biscayne Bay Brewing’s logo. The Roman numerals translate to the year 1513, which is when Ponce de Leon discovered Biscayne Bay.

Overall Rating (1-5): The Taproom was immaculate, attractively designed, and quite welcoming. Both Albert and Nick couldn’t have been nicer guys to interact with. Going in I had high hopes. Unfortunately, none of the core offerings really stood out (other than the ‘Wendyweizen’) and a few of them fell flat for me. I’m rating Biscayne Bay Brewing Company a 3.75.Biscayne Bay Brewing Company

What was missing: I really would have liked a chance to try the Imperial Stout since it seems to be the highest rated of their base beers. Not to beat a dead horse, but having the BA beers listed on the website and not having them available on tap also hurt. Each of them had a relatively higher rating than what was offered. Of course, one man’s rating of four is another man’s rating of three.

In closing, if you’re in the Miami area and new to craft beer gather your friends and give the Biscayne Brewing Company a shot. I think they make a great gateway brewery. I will definitely be revisiting them down the line to see how they have moved forward and to finally get my hands on the BA beers I missed out on.

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

Cheers!

The 2017 Jupiter Craft Brewers Festival

January is one of my favorite times of the year for a few reasons. The holiday madness is over, the Christmas decorations are down (hopefully), and the Jupiter Craft Brewers Festival is back once again. The Jupiter Craft Brewers Festival is held at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, FL. Roger Dean is the Spring Training home of both the St. Louis Cardinals and Florida Marlins and the festival is held on the outskirts of the stadium itself. This year there were 85 breweries, cideries, and meaderies on hand to help tickle your taste buds. I arrived around 11:30 and quickly headed over to the cash line because in typical fashion I procrastinated just long enough and missed the chance to buy a ticket online. The festival, which is in its 11th year, releases 1,500 tickets online and 1,200 tickets in person at the gate. As luck would have it, I got a call after waiting for a grueling 5 minutes in line, which was just long enough to have my ID checked and bracelet received. The call was from my buddies who had located a ticket while they waited in the pre-purchase line. For those planning to attend in the future, buy your ticket online. It saves you the hassle of watching everyone else visit tent after tent while you’re still waiting to pay your $35.00 entry fee. After joining my friends in the pre-purchase line and exchanging cash for a ticket, I was handed a cup from my buddy and told to dig into the bottles that were already popped. The first beer, of four, that I sampled in our mini beer share was the 2016 version of Wicked Weed Brewing’s ‘Angel of Darkness’. I always forget how damn good that beer is! The next offering was ‘JDawg Porter’ brewed with pecan and vanilla from Fat Point Brewing in Punta Gorda, FL. It wasn’t a bad beer, but it was overshadowed by the other three we sampled. Next was an Imperial Stout with coffee that was brewed in a collaboration between Trillium and Evil Twin Brewing called ‘Dusk Trill Dawn’. If you can get your hands on this beer, you should! It was fantastic! Funky Buddha Breweries ‘Last Buffalo in the Park’ was the final beer poured just a few minutes before the gates were opened. That was my first opportunity to try the Buffalo and it did not disappoint.

2017 Jupiter Craft Brewers Festival

I always tell my wife I’m a champion in the art of multi-tasking and I proved that by finishing my beer while getting my ticket scanned AND explaining to the volunteer at the gate that we were indeed allowed to bring backpacks into the festival. I guess I was pretty convincing because that’s all it took for her to let us through. I mean, where am I supposed to put all of the festival schwag that I collect throughout the day without a bag? Once through the ticketing portion, we gathered in the stadium concourse like cattle ready to begin our afternoon grazing session. A salivating mass waiting in anticipation of the brews that lay ahead.

2017 Jupiter Craft Beer Festival

A few minutes pass and the countdown to 1:00 pm begins. The gates are opened and it’s Black Friday at the neighborhood box store all over again with people heading in different directions to gain their first taste of the beautiful nectar that we so affectionately call craft beer. My first stop was Proof Brewing. I’m a big fan of pretty much everything I have tried from them, plus the only time they are available in South Florida is at a festival. They brought ‘Tropical Uprising Ipa’, a Belgian Strong Ale called ‘Peach Tea Litany of Angels’, and their ‘Coffee Creatures in the Dark’ Milk Stout. All three were certainly worth the wait in line, but I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t bring one of their Berliner Weisse down this time since it’s one of the samples I look forward to every year.

2017 Jupiter Craft Beer Festival

Next, I hit Copperpoint Brewing for their B. Rabbit Espresso Cream Stout and the Walking Tree Brewery for their ‘Limey Sailor’ Berliner Weisse and ‘Duke Sniders’ Imperial Stout. At that point, one of my buddies got my attention and said I needed to head over to the Finback Brewery tent because they were pouring an amazing black Gose. Finback Brewery is out of Queens, NY and has become friends with Civil Society Brewing so they were not only in town for the festival, but also to brew a chocolate IPA with the Civil boys. Back to the Gose. ‘The Sun is Too Bright Black Gose’ aged in red wine barrels was absolutely mind-blowing. The red wine wasn’t overpowering and everything seemed to meld together so very well. They were also pouring their Double IPA ‘MK Ultra’ which was delicious. I noticed a few cold cans behind the table and asked for a pour. I was delighted to receive a taste of ‘Red Shift’, which is a sour brewed with cranberries and the Japanese fruit Yuzu.

2017 Jupiter Craft Beer Festival
Source: The Japanese Yuzu fruit.

Tampa Bay Brewing had their golden ale named ‘Quat’, which is brewed with Kumquat and is very citrus forward. I stopped at Coppertail Brewing to try their ‘Guava Pastelitos’ Berliner Weisse and was once again blown away by it. Brewzzi was next on the list. Matt Manthe, who will be opening Odd Breed Wild Ales early this year, was representing Brewzzi with a barrel aged sour Porter called ‘Adjunct Fever’. It was brewed with cherry vanilla and cacao nibs. I was already eager for his brewery to open, but this beer just added to that excitement. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with for his new brewery.

2017 Jupiter Craft Beer Festival

I tried a Serrano Pepper Amber Ale called ‘Son of Sea Biscuit’ from Barley Mow Brewing, which was very well done. Just enough heat to keep you interested, but not enough to set your face on fire. I also tried their ‘Maven Chocolate Milk Stout’, which was a nice calming beer to follow the peppers. Devour Brewing brought a Mango Tea IPA and their Blizzard of Darkness Milk Stout aged on toasted coconut and Madagascar vanilla beans amongst others. I had tried both beers before and rated them a tick higher this time than I had the first time. Chip is definitely stepping up his game.

2017 Jupiter Craft Beer Festival

The Native Brewing Company brought a Scotch Ale aged in rye whiskey barrels called ‘Beam Me Up Scotchy’ that was marvelous. The Scotch Ale is a favorite style of mine, so I tend to be a tad picky and this one did not disappoint. The Brooklyn Brewery was only pouring from bottles, but I did stop to try their newest addition, the ‘Bel Air Sour’, which is a nice crisp dry-hopped sour. I happened upon the 26 Degree Brewing tent at the just right moment because they were having a timed release of their ‘Bourbon Barrel aged Scotch Ness Monster’. Talk about the beer gods being on my side! It was what Scotch Ales and bourbon barrel aging were meant to be. I really need to make it down to Pompano Beach to review these guys.

2017 Jupiter Craft Beer Festival

I stopped into the Civil Society Brewing tent for a bit to try their mouth-watering Double IPA, ‘Seventh Wonder’, and hang out for a bit. The craft beer community is filled with some really fantastic people and the folks at Civil run at the top of that list for me. After a bit, I headed to the Orchid Island Brewery tent where head brewer and co-owners Alden and Valerie Bing were pouring ‘Je Ne Sais Quoi Saison’ and a Berliner Weisse called ‘Beachside’. For the Berliner, you had the option to add one of two house-made syrups using either locally farmed Honeybell oranges or locally farmed key limes. All three were absolutely amazing! I shot the breeze with Alden for a while until we were joined by Civil Society’s Evan Miller for a bit of craft beer shenanigans. It was the perfect way to end yet another successful Jupiter Craft Brewers Festival. Once the festival started to shut down at 5:00 pm I visited with a few friends before walking over to Civil Society to close out the day.

2017 Jupiter Craft Beer Festival
Source: Orchid Island Brewery. Evan Taylor (left) of Civil Society & Alden Bing (right) of Orchid Island.

If you haven’t been to this festival yet, I would highly suggest planning for it next year. It makes for a really entertaining day between all the beers and the continuous live music flowing through the crowd. Just make sure to have a plan for getting home after this drinking session as you probably won’t want to drive. If you’re coming from out-of-town there is a hotel within walking distance. If possible, try to get your hands on tickets to the exclusive event the night before, which is called the Field of Beers. Tickets are $100 apiece and there are only 300 available. Fifteen teams of brewers and Palm Beach area chefs are paired up for a beer and food pairing unlike any other. It was named the USA Today Readers’ Choice 4th best craft beer festival in the nation in 2016. Plus in all seriousness, there isn’t a better part of the country to be in during this time of year. It’s hard to beat a sunny 70-degree day in late January while sipping on some of the finest craft brews.

I’m already looking forward to next year.

Cheers