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Monday, June 30, 2014

Spaced Out on Florida's Space Coast: Brews and Beach (Episode 1)

Got a Little "Bugnutty" on Merritt Island

Not like I really need a reason or excuse for a "Beertrip," but, I thought it would be a cool little getaway thing to do on the last weekend in June. The criteria: there must be craft beer and beaches; also, for this short trip, somewhere not too far from the St. Augustine homebase. Actually, heading out to points south from here is pretty much a snap courtesy of I-95. Well, I already knew about three breweries in the Space Coast:  Bugnutty Brewing, Cocoa Beach Brewing and Intracoastal Brewing, so this Mission Control set the destination and reserved an oceanview room at the Hilton Melbourne Beach on A1A (Florida resident rate, by the way). T-minus and counting.  

This trip would also be a chance to meet up with some fellow beer-lovers from Melbourne whom I had met while working with Mile Marker Brewing. (Actually, I poured their last growlers of Mile Marker beer a few weeks ago when they visited the tap room). The craft beer community is comprised of a great bunch of beer-loving sorts, many of whom (like me) like to travel to various places in the quest for new and interesting beers as well as fun places to drink 'em and talk beer. I've met so many people in the tap room and at beer fests, who travel via plane, train or automobile (maybe some other ways) in search of great craft brew.  

First Brew Stop:  Bugnutty Brewing Company (it's called "Episode 1" for a reason)


I should take up surfing
Y'know when you set out on a trip, there are usually billboards that you see, and you think "I'd like to check that out one day." Well, I pass this billboard for Ron Jon Surf Shop almost daily right here in St. Augustine.  Yeah, you guessed it:  this beach bum just had to make that stop.  Not that the store itself has anything to do with beer, but if you love anything beach, it's worth a stop.  You could get lost in the place, and the outside has a bunch of cool artwork, sculptures, and things that make for good tourist photo ops. And, it's open 24 hours in case you get the urge to buy a tanktop, swimsuit or flip flops at 3am.

Anyway, back to the beer.  The surf shop was a diversion until around 4:30pm or so, and then it was time to backtrack just a bit back to Merritt Island to destination Bugnutty Brewing.  Driving over the causeways is entertainment in itself, as I saw three dolphins skimming the surface.  

Bugnutty Brewing Company is located at the end of a strip mall on SR3, aka Courtenay Pkwy. It has a nice welcoming storefront space.  A good-size wraparound bar and tables and chairs make up the tap room, with a separate area for darts.  The small brewhouse is visible through a window. Several TVs are up over the bar.  Our bartender, Chris, was pretty knowledgeable about the beer, and it was fun talking beer with him.  For such a small brewhouse (two barrel system), this place sure pumps out the beer variety.  Apparently, they are looking to expand the brewhouse in the near future.



Just look at all those different Bugnutty beers on tap. They had some guest taps, too.  Ok, the best way to do this was to get a flight of four, so I got the Camel Toad Pils, Sticky Foot Pale Ale, Red Falcon IPA, and Mike's Milf Stout.  Each of these was quite good.  





Pils, Pale Ale, Red IPA, Stout
Damn, all gone!
The Pils had body for this style, and even though it was light, you knew you were drinking a "real" beer.  That Pale Ale has a very good balance and just enough hop character.  The Red Falcon IPA is one of the best things I've ever tasted.  My Untappd checkin put it a little differently, but you get the point.  It's one you definitely need to try. And, you gotta love a stout that has a sense of humor (or at least the brewers do by naming it like this).  For those of you who might be offended by the name (first of all, get over it), they say to think of it this way:  Malts I Like to Ferment.  Yeah, sure, but either way, this is one helluva of a stout: a little sweet, with easy coffee tones, a really good drinkability, and easy mouthfeel.  Brought that one back in a quart growler. 


 I love black IPAs, so I had to get a full pint of the Black Falcon IPA, which is made with a blend of the "C" hops.  That was one awesome taste bud treat.  The hops were just right.  I also tried the Flakey Blonde, which is a Belgian style ale, with coriander and orange. The coriander isn't my thing, but it's a nice lighter-type beer, good for the climate.


Take one or two back with ya
Well, I ended up staying here too long and didn't get to the second brewery on this night. (But, that's another story for Episode 2).  It was tough to leave this place.  There were so many beers, all of which were so good.   The staff was real nice -- Chris even gave a tour of the brewhouse. The brewers have a sense of humor; apparently, at least a couple of them are engineering geeks, too. So, yeah, I got a little "bugnutty" over here, and had a great time doing it.  And, by the way, the printed beer menu and the website even give you the definitions of what that means, but I like definition 2: being in a state of overwhelming emotion, especially rapturous delight.  Yeah, guys, I did get "bugnutty" over these brews.  A huge "thumbs-up" on this one!  I will definitely be back, and soon!

The brewery and tap room is located at 715 N. Courtenay Pkwy, Merritt Island FL.  Visit its website, and/or its Facebook and Twitter pages.  And, expect to get "bugnutty" over these beers.



So, after this, it was a stop to a brewpub to get some food, and, a major storm that knocked out power in the hotel upon checkin, which created all kinds of havoc.  Then, on to Day 2 of Spaced Out on the Space Coast......