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Sunday, June 26, 2016

I've Been to Hell'n Blazes Brewing and Back

What a difference three months makes! I visited Hell ‘n Blazes Brewing Company  (Melbourne, Florida) in March when the brewery was still under construction, but beginning to take on its personality (check out that preview post HERE for all the background info). Fermenters were being moved around in the brewhouse, the bar didn’t have a top yet, and the construction dust was far from settled. It was obvious, though, that when finished, this would be a pretty impressive place, and that a substantial amount of manhours (along with blood, sweat and tears) had been poured into this project over the past year. A few weeks ago, the brewery announced its Opening Day as Friday, June 24 (5pm), and I’m fairly sure (oh, just a wild guess) that there were quite a few others besides me who marked that date on their calendars. 

Good-natured bunch waiting for the doors to open.
These guys were in the shade. Hey, it was over 90°
out here!


The crowd wrapped around the building before 5pm,
and awaited the clock to strike at 5. Highly anticipated opening.
Hell ‘n Blazes Brewing opened its doors to the general public Friday evening with a Grand Opening party that not only introduced the beer and showcased its beautiful tap room, but also included an outside beer garden with music and two food trucks. It didn’t take too long before the tap room reached its capacity of 300, which was standing-room-only. 

As reported in the earlier post, the brewery building spans two floors, each with about 8000 sf of space. The tap room and brewhouse sits on the main floor, with offices upstairs. The tap room is large and features a wraparound bar and additional seating at tables and sofas. The oversize 10-barrel brewhouse is visible through a glass wall behind the bar and along two hallways on either side that lead to two additional rooms: a game room on one side, and a cozy event/meeting room on the other. The brewery retained the old tin ceiling in the tap room, and the décor is mostly woodsy, from the wood logs under the bar to the walls. Add in an industrial flair, and it's an inviting place to enjoy your beer and watch some TV (and there are plenty of them). 

So, let's take a look inside Florida's newest brewery!







And, the pictures on the wall tell the story of the building’s history (hey, gotta read that prior post), the brewing process, and the HnB crew: some pretty cool stuff.








Inside the events/meeting room...

There was an old safe here....

It's an understatement to say that the HnB crew worked "like hell" Friday night to accommodate the packed house. General Manager Andy Pinkerton was all over the place, and I at least managed to briefly talk to  him a couple of times. Brewmaster Todd Furbeck checked on guests and asked for comments about the beer (thumbs up, Todd). Even the air conditioning system probably thought it was "hot as hell," as it had a bit of a tough time keeping up with the capacity crowd (they added some fans on Saturday). Oh, well, drink more beer!



For the Opening Day, the brewery offered 12 house beers on tap along with a selection of 24 red and white wines. An electronic menu screen over the bar scrolls through the available beverages, and printed menus were also available. You can also check www.beermenus.com for an updated list of the beers on tap. 

And, speaking of beer, the initial tap list had something for everyone: light, dark, malty, hoppy, easy-drinking, robust. The "featured" beers included: 

Andy's Poppin Pils, Pilsner, 5 ABV, 35 IBU
Blonde Dwarf, Golden/Blonde ale, 5 ABV, 19 IBU
Don't Leave Me, Amber, Amber ale, 6.1 ABV, 30 IBU
Frank Cof-Fee Stout, Imperial Stout, 8.6 ABV, 60 IBU
German Chocolate Cake Porter, Porter, 5.2 ABV, 29 IBU
Raspberry Beret, Hefeweizen,4.7 ABV, 29 IBU

The "house" beers looked like this:
Causeway IPA, 7 ABV, 56 IBU
Huggins Hefeweizen, 4.7 ABV, 11 IBU
Mr. Pink's Porter, 5.7 ABV, 29 IBU
Northern Flow Lager, 6 ABV, 21 IBU
Orange Blossom Honey Wheat Ale, 5 ABV, 20 IBU
Tropical Trail Pale Ale, 5.6  ABV, 35 IBU

The menu also let you know of a few beers that are on the way: Crane Creek Cerveza, Mable's Piano Belgian Pale Ale, and Smashing Lemons IPA, so be on the lookout for those, too. Depending on what style of beer you order, you'll get it served in an appropriate-style of glassware, too (nice touch, guys).

I had planned on being here a while, with a local hotel shuttle at my beck and call, so I explored a number of the beers. First up: a pint of Blonde Dwarf blonde ale, a lighter malty beer, that was indeed refreshing.

Blonde Dwarf blonde ale, a great start to the nite

After I secured a seat at the bar, I delved into a couple of flights so that I could try almost all of the beers! In general, I thought that the beers were on point, and I liked the offering of different styles. So, let's start with the "featured" beers: 

Flight No. 1: Andy's Poppin Pils, Don't Leave Me Amber,
Frank Cof-Fee Imperial Stout, German Chocolate Cake Porter

The Pilsner has a definite bitterness holding true to the style, while being a good choice for craft newbies or those who like something a bit lighter. Subtle notes of caramel in the Amber, with a noticeable hop presence, but still a mild ale. The Imperial Stout features Brazilian coffee, which is deep and intense, with a pronounced coffee bitterness (you stout and coffee beer types are gonna love it; I did!). And, then there's the German Chocolate Cake Porter: like chocolate? There's lots of it. Love this beer, too. 

Ready for more....... Drink some water, and dive in again.....

I went with a selection of "house" beers for Flight No. 2: 

Yes, it's all in a beer blogger's work:
Northern Flow Lager, Orange Blossom Honey Wheat Ale,
Tropical Trail Pale Ale, Mr. Pink's Porter

The Lager has a good maltiness and is another beer that will go well with tv-watching or chatting at the bar. The citrus character of the honey wheat ale (pours a cloudy light gold color), with a bit of sweetness, makes for another refreshing beverage. If you're looking for a bit of hoppy bite, you'll find it in the Pale Ale, which is indeed tropical, featuring both flavors of orange and grapefruit. And, last but not least, the house Porter is a straight-up roasty robust porter, with coffee and chocolate characters, that is sure to be another favorite here. But, then again, I can drink a good porter anytime of the year, even in Florida!

And, hey, ladies, just remember this:

Sight seen in the ladies' restroom.
I'm always looking for bathroom humor,
but thought this was a pretty cool use of decor.
Nah, didn't make it to the men's restroom this time.


Whether you live in or around the Space Coast and Brevard County, or whether you like a beer trip now and then, there's no doubt that Hell 'n Blazes Brewing Company is a stop that you will want to make. 

Hell 'n Blazes Brewing is located at 1002 E. New Haven Ave., in downtown Melbourne, just across the tracks. It is open 7 days a week: Monday-Thursday, 4-11pm; Friday-Saturday, 12pm-2am; and Sunday, 12pm-11pm. Food is available for delivery direct to your bar seat through Doorstep Delivery

The Space Coast area is an up-n-coming beer destination in its own right. I've been here a time or two, or...., have visited the breweries here several times, and attended several beer fests here (there are posts for that, by the way). There's a lot to do around here (yes, even besides drinking beer). I'm already looking forward to coming back, both to Space Coast, and, to Hell 'n Blazes Brewing!

It was an awesome opening for Hell 'n Blazes Brewing, and Congratulations to everyone there!

And, that's a wrap ... for now .... Thanks for reading, and I'll see you at a brewery, beerfest, or bar around Florida Somewhere (probably at an event or two listed on the pages of this website).  Til next time,

Cheers!




Linda








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