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Friday, August 28, 2015

A Happy First for First Magnitude Brewing

It was more than a one-day party!
Well, I can't believe it's been a year already!  First Magnitude Brewing Company celebrated its First Anniversary last Saturday, August 22, and I had this one marked on the calendar for a while.  It's a pretty easy drive from North Florida to Gainesville, and it wasn't too tough of a decision to make this trip.  After all, they're some pretty cool people over there, the brewery and tap room provide a fun environment, and I knew that they were putting together an awesome tap list to complement their very tasty core beers (Siren Blonde Ale, 72 Pale Ale, Drift English Mild Ale, Ursa IPA).

Back in April, I made the drive to Gainesville for my third annual visit to Hogtown Craft Beer Fest (see blog post here).  Being that First Magnitude was the new brewery kid in Gainesville, there was no doubt that I would also include a stop there. I was really glad I did -- check out my initial blog post here



First Magnitude Brewing is located on Veitch St. just on the outskirts of downtown Gainesville and University of Florida.  It was pretty obvious by the number of cars surrounding the place that the best place to park was on Main St. -- just a short walk to the brewery.



The brewery opened at noon, and the party was in full swing when I arrived around 4pm. A band was playing outside, people were playing cornhole inside in the brewery area, people were ordering beer at the bar inside, people were ordering beer outside at the tent. Two food trucks were on site.  In short, lots of activity inside, outside and all around!



John was workin' hard pouring beer out there!
Meg was running around behind the inside bar, too
I started at the outside beer tent, where four beers were available -- and who was pouring the beer out there?  None other than John, head brewer and co-owner. Always great seeing him!  My first beer was the special release Pavo Pils, First Magnitude's new lager. I was looking forward to this one!



Here's the low-down on the Pavo Pils:
"Pavo Pils is a crisp and refreshing German style pilsner with exceptional hop flavor balancing the classic grainy pilsner malt character.  A perfect companion on a hot summer day, Pavo will delight you with wonderful floral hop notes from imported noble hops.  The name is a nod to Wes Skiles Peacock Springs as well as the constellation of the same name. Pavo is the Latin word for peacock.  Our first lager-style brew pours a rich golden color with a creamy white head.  This bird is a beauty of a beer.   5% ABV  31 IBUs"
Ok, then, I couldn't have said it better myself. Indeed, the beer has a good amount of hoppiness, and it was quite refreshing. Just a good-tasting, fresh, crisp beer. I really liked it.   And, you're in luck, because they brewed a bunch of this, so it should still be available in the tap room for a while. 


Cheers!  
In addition to the Pavo Pils, the tap list offered 18 First Magnitude beers, including the core brands mentioned above, and an impressive list of pilot batches brewed specially for the occasion. Choices?  Yeah, check these out: Wakulla Weizen, Devil's Eye Double IPA 2015, River Rise Belgian Dark Strong, Schwarzweizen, Wakulla dry-hopped with Lemondrop, Weizenbock 2015, Creature from the Black Lagoon Black IPA with Citra, Black IPA with Hallertau Blanc, Scott's CaliFlorida Common, Weizenbock 2014, River Rise 2014, Milk Stout on Nitro, and a special Vanilla-Cocoa-Espresso Milk Stout on Cask (tapped at 4pm and finished by 6pm from what I could tell).  Also on the menu: a couple of ciders and goses. 

Given my penchant for Black IPAs, I had both of the above pilot batches (around 4.5 ABV).  These probably aren't available by time this article is published, but the brewers hit the mark here. I especially went a little crazy over the Black IPA with Citra.  The two black ales were definitely a contrast with each other. The Hallertau batch was more on the mild side, with light coffee notes.  The Citra batch was an all-out surge of coffee and citra on the nose -- you know what I'm talking about if you like this kind of thing (and I do). The flavor was also right on -- good blend of coffee and bite from the hops. Hey, John, please make more of this!


Black IPA with Citra...... almost left me speechless...
Dark, hoppy goodness

I missed out on the milk stout on cask (it didn't last too long). I don't see too many breweries with a California Common style beer, so the special batch of Scott's CaliFlorida Common (5.2 ABV, 32 IBU) was a must-do. 


A CaliFlorida what?  "CaliFlorida" Common...
delightful
And, I'll say that they really got this one right, too. Good maltiness, toasty, and just the right amount of caramel, with a woodsy-hop character, and a nice finish. 

There may have been a seat or two open at one time:




I think there were just a few happy people over here last Saturday...  








And, well, why not?  When you have some good people making some good beer like this, it's pretty easy to support 'em.  And, of course, a couple of full growlers made the trip back, too (those didn't last long).

Hello, new 64 oz growler!
So, what's next for First Magnitude?  The current buzz is the new canning line.  Expect to see cans of the 72 Pale Ale first, initially in Gainesville. Plans are to expand that distribution to St. Augustine, Tally and Ocala afterwards. 


And, yes, you can find First Magnitude beers on tap at various locations. I've seen the four core beers as far as in various St. Augustine bars and restaurants, too. 

One more thing.... in celebration of St. Augustine's 450th anniversary, First Magnitude also brewed the 450 Amber Ale, which has already been on tap in St. Augustine. I've had it, and I like the caramel/toffee character. It's an easy-drinking ale that is sure to appeal to everyone. Be sure to give it a try!  I think Pedro would like it!



That's it this time around.  And, remember, if you see me out and about at a beer event, bar, restaurant, beerfest, sporting event, 5k, or, well, anywhere....give me a shout!  If you are a brewery, bar or restaurant that will be hosting an event or something special, I sure would like to include it on my BeerSphere (tm) events page and on my social media sites.  And, you guys know that I love charity events for good causes, so let me know about those, too!

Til next time!  Cheers!