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All Systems Go! for Playalinda Brewing, Titusville: Two Years and Launching (Again)

Two years ago (almost to the day), a small community brewery named Playalinda Brewing Co. opened in downtown Titusville, Florida. Owners Bryan and Donna Scott and Ron and Katie Raike transformed a former hardware store into a brewery, and, well, that sounded pretty cool. A couple days after the Grand Opening on Nov. 14, 2014, I stopped at the new place for the first time. About all I knew of Titusville was that the Kennedy Space Center is closeby, and it's not far from Cocoa Beach, a surfing town and the TV home of "I Dream of Jeannie." During my visit, I started talking to others at the bar (as I like to do), and I learned that "Playalinda" is also the name of a local beach, which is known for the usual beach activities, with a twist: a part of it is home to a clothing-optional stretch, in other words, a new meaning to "take-off." I've visited the brewery and tap room several times since then. 






Two Years of Beer:

Fast forward two years to Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016: Playalinda Brewing celebrated its Two-Year Birthday. And, what a party it was! I had that one marked on the calendar for a while, and who could resist something called "Birthday Cake" beer? 

Playalinda Brewing's three-barrel brewhouse and tap room sit side-by-side at the downtown "Hardware Store" location (it's called that now for a reason; more on that below). The only thing separating the brew tanks from the tap room guests is a chair-rail wall for holding beer. The tap room features shelves and the old tin ceiling from the hardware store days. The tables and chairs are heavy wood that match the shelves. Outside is a sidewalk patio, which provides a view of the downtown Titusville business district, and makes for a great people-watching spot to enjoy that beer. The entire vibe is very laid back and casual. 

As expected, there was a steady stream of foot-traffic at the brewery for the Birthday Party. 


Outside at the Hardware Store, downtown Titusville, for Two-year Birthday Party
Meanwhile, inside....

But, I had heard of that Birthday Cake Beer, so that was the first thing on my mind:


Birthday Cake Beer: Funfetti Birthday Cake Blonde Ale
I'm not sure I've heard of anyone else who does such a beer, and I missed it last year.  The brewery's signature Bottomless Blonde Ale (5% ABV) gets a special treatment, topped with whipped cream and confetti sprinkles. Not too surprisingly, it tasted like a cake, and perfect for the happy occasion!   


Beer and Whipped Cream ...
The tap room menu featured 11 house brews, along with 9 guest taps, and a root beer. In addition to the infamous Birthday Cake Beer, the tap list included: La Mure (blackberry infused Lambic style), You Blue It (Cask Brown Ale with blueberry & vanilla), Caramel Macchiato (blonde ale with local roast coffee, caramel & vanilla beans), Key Lime Slice (Pilsner treated with lime), Titusvillain (pumpkin ale), Geographically Challenged (Belgian Double IPA), Robonaut Red (signature red ale, hop and malt balanced), signature Bottomless Blonde (light, refreshing blonde ale), Inaugurale (Imperial Red Ale), and Pleasure Chest (tropical IPA). Playalinda brews a wide variety of styles at any given time, and while I missed having the Night Launch Stout on the menu, there was no shortage of beer styles to please any palate. So, yeah, you can see where this is headed:


Left to right: Caramel Macchiato, Pleasure Chest IPA,
Key Lime Slice (what's that, more whipped cream?),
You Blue It Cask Brown, Bottomless Blonde ...
That's a lot of flavor, right there!
Playalinda's Bottomless Blonde (5% ABV) is one of those beers that can easily be a "go-to." It's lighter and refreshing and will complement any type of food or activity; and, hey, you gotta love the name (remember the beach?). The Key Lime Slice (4.4% ABV) was a treat from the start, with its lime aroma, and lime flavor that's tart, but not ridiculous, and this one surprised me (in a good way); well, hey, it's like a tart blonde (ahem). Another pleasant surprise was the You Blue It Cask Brown Ale (5.5% ABV): I have to admit I was a bit skeptical of blueberry in a brown ale, but I found it very pleasant, with a subtle blueberry that became more prominent on the backend, while not being too sweet overall. The Pleasure Chest IPA (6.6% ABV) is an easy-drinking IPA with a floral profile, and I noticed a bit of spiciness; a repeatable IPA for you hop-heads. 


Ah, there she is.... 


What's in your....


... Pleasure Chest 

And, that wasn't all. Playalinda also offered beer-and-cupcake flights, featuring five beers (Titusvillain, Cask Blueberry Brown, Caramel Macchiato, Pleasure Chest, and Birthday Cake) with five mini-cupcakes (Chili Mocha, Dark Chocolate, Salted Caramel Bacon, Lemon, and Funfetti). Hey, I don't make this stuff up:


Photo by Playalinda Brewing Co.

All in all, it was a fun celebration, and there was no evidence of "Terrible Two's" here. And, a special shout-out to Michelle Mulak, Playalinda's Director of Marketing, for introducing me to co-owners Donna Scott and Katie Raike! So glad to have finally met them in person, and I enjoyed talking not only about beer, but also about Chicago experiences with Katie (turns out she's from the Midwest, too). 


Just talking beer with the ladies:
co-owners Donna Scott, Katie Raike

photo by Playalinda Brewing Co.


Here's to Playalinda Brewing Co. on turning two. I recommend visiting here, and don't wait til next year's Birthday Party.

But, there's more.... Another Countdown, and... 

Launching Around Florida ...

There's another type of "launch" in the works. In early November, Cavalier Distributing and Playalinda Brewing announced that they have partnered to distribute Playalinda's beers throughout Florida. For now, the distribution will cover Central and North Florida, and Playalinda's beers will be available on draft at bars and restaurants. 

While some of the Playalinda "core" beers are already making their way throughout the area, official launch parties are scheduled to begin in Central Florida on November 18 in Orlando, followed by events along the Space Coast and in the Jacksonville area. Be on the lookout, too, for some additional special release beers to make an appearance at these events:


11/18: Redlight Redlight (Orlando) – 5 pm
11/19: Brass Tap Mills Park – 4pm
11/21: World of Beer Viera –7pm
11/21: The Mansion (Melbourne) – 7pm
11/22: Gnarly Barley (Orlando) – 5pm
11/22: Coasters (Melbourne) – 7pm
11/22: The Village Idiot (Cocoa) – 7pm
11/23: The Thirsty Topher (Orlando) – 5pm
11/30: World of Beer Dr. Phillips – 6pm
12/2: Rossi’s Pizza (Orlando) – 5pm
12/6: Alewife Craft Beer and Bottle Shop (Jax) – 6pm
12/7: Engine 15 Brewing (Jax Beach) – 4pm
12/8: Brewz & Dawgz (St. Augustine) – 6-8pm
12/8: Planet Sarbez (St. Augustine) - 8:30pm
12/9: Beer:30 San Marco (Jax) - 5-8pm
12/9: The Public House (Orlando) – 5pm
12/10: World of Beer Downtown Orlando – 5pm
(events subject to change)


So, how does a brewery with a three-barrel system handle distribution like this? Enter Playalinda's new 30-barrel production facility, the Brix Project. The Brix Project, also located in Titusville, opened in September, and features a full kitchen in addition to a brand-spanking new brewhouse. And, while I also stopped by the Brix Project on Saturday, I made another visit on Tuesday... 




Playalinda Brewing has teamed up with the Surfing Santas of Cocoa Beach to brew up the "Surfing Santa" Cranberry Blonde Ale with Orange Zest for the Surfing Santas beach fundraiser next month (see the "BeerSPHERE Page" of brewnymph.com for a summary). I had a great time hanging out with the Santas at the special brew event (which provided a new meaning to holiday party), and getting a behind-the-scenes look at the Brix Project brewhouse, as well as tasting the merry concoction. 

And, hey, you just might see that Surfing Santa beer at one or more of those Playalinda launch parties .....  But, that's all Part 2 of this story (coming soon).....  In the meantime, I'll just leave you with this sneak peek:


The Surfing Santa Cranberry Blonde Ale
with Orange Zest...
Be good, and maybe Santa will bring you one

Had a great time at Playalinda Brewing for two days of visits! Be on the lookout for the beer in Central and North Florida! Thanks again to Playalinda Brewing for the hospitality!

And, hey, it's almost Thanksgiving, so be sure to get some beer for your dinner (and maybe to help you with all that family stuff). There are still lots of beer events going on, and 2017 will be here before you know it. Check out the BeerSPHERE and Tap This Pages on this website, and get a beer! See you around a beer somewhere in Florida.....

Cheers!

Til next time,


Linda 






Linda Johnson
Certified Cicerone®



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