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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Opening Day in St. Augustine: Bog Brewing Company

It may be Spring Training elsewhere in the Sunshine State, but yesterday, St. Augustine witnessed its own Opening Day: Bog Brewing Company officially opened its doors to the public. Serving up six original house craft beers, owners Steve Mendoza, John France and Jeffery Hayes unlocked the front door at 218 West King St. to guests already waiting to be among the first customers to sample their beers. With a soft opening scheduled for noon, Steve let those folks in a few minutes early, and the steady stream of well-wishers continued throughout the day. I arrived shortly before 4pm, and I found the place humming with guests at the bar and tables. If you haven’t heard about the newest addition to the local North Florida brewery scene, take a look at my earlier story from a couple of weeks ago, where I got a sneak peek before opening day.

So, against that background, let’s get right to the beer! Bog Brewing listed the six available beers on the chalkboard behind the bar and also had laminated menu sheets describing each. There’s also wine available.

Bog Brewing intends to rotate the selection of beers, and on this Opening Day, they hit a home run with this team: Wheat IPA, Single Hop IPA, Cream Ale, Peach Mango IPA, Chipotle Porter and Chipotle Cream Ale. I like to try different beers, so I checked out a flight consisting of the first four.

L to R:  Wheat IPA, Single Hop IPA, Cream Ale, Peach Mango IPA

At the outset, I’ll say that Bog Brewing scores with its Cream Ale (6.0 ABV), a lighter brew that has good character. It’s a refreshing beer that’s a bit different from other cream ales in that there’s a noticeable, but yet subtle, spiciness from the Fuggles hops. It’ll be a go-to for Bog Brewing customers, as well as craft beer newbies alike.

Moving on to the Peach Mango IPA (6.7 ABV), this one has a pleasant light fruity aroma, with a touch of mango and peach flavor. Nice balancing with the citrusy hops, the result is a blend of flavors that work well together, with a dry finish. 

When I visited the guys a few weeks ago, I sampled the Wheat IPA (6.7 ABV), and I was looking forward to having another one! The wheat gives this beer a bit of fluffiness, which complements the citrus overtones from the Cascade and Centennial hops. What stands out here to me, though, is that the citrus doesn’t overpower your tastebuds. Another reliable beer.

Last of the flight was the Single Hop IPA, featuring the fruity New Zealand Pacific Jade hop, along with caramel malt. I also detected spicy/herbal notes. This beer is just hoppy enough without being a hop-bomb, is pleasing to the palate, and is highly drinkable.



 Then, I decided to wander into the Chipotle Porter. I’m typically not drawn to peppery and hot-spicy beers, but I was hearing good things, so I thought I’d give it a try. OK, that sample was pretty good, so I opted for the full pint (I’m a rebel). I first noticed the smokiness on the aroma, which followed through to the flavor. Abundant roastiness. And, wait for it … on the back end of this beer, the chipotle peppers make their presence known. Your tongue and taste buds feel and taste the heat, but want more at the same time. The beer is brewed with beechwood smoked malt and chipotles. Hey, Bog Brewing, you got me with this one.

Rounding out the beer selection was the Chipotle Cream Ale (6.0 ABV). It’s a hot version of the Cream Ale, aged on chipotles. I didn’t try this one, since I figured I had been daring enough already with the Porter, but I heard it packs a punch. That’ll be for another day.

And, you’ll probably want to take some of those brews back home with you, so get a quart growler to go (yes, they were filling them).

Bog Brewing is open 5 days a week, closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Stop by and see these guys, and enjoy a pint or flight in a friendly, neighborhood bar. The beer selection will change as they brew new beers and add to the roster, so you might want to check out this all-star opening lineup.

Til next time! Cheers!




  Linda