Friday, August 26, 2016

Fall for a Florida Beerfest!

[Ed. Note, 9/3/2016: I've added a few events to this article since it was published on 8/26/2016 ... enjoy] 
With Labor Day just around the corner and a three-day holiday weekend ahead, Summer starts to give way to Fall. That means lots of things: school is back in session, football season takes hold, the oompah of Oktoberfest celebrations abound, and, of course, more beerfests and beer events fill the calendar as the heat starts to take a dip. Although, here in Florida, sometimes the Summer and Fall blend together seamlessly -- love 'em or hate 'em, even those harbingers of Autumn, pumpkin beers, have been on the shelves for a while. In between tailgating and fantasy league, be sure to hop over to a beerfest or beer event around Florida! Check out the BeerSPHERE Page and Tap This Calendar on this website for events, as they are constantly updated. Here are a few early Fall events to satisfy your thirst for all things hops (while having some fun, too!).


LAST DAY AT INTUITION ALE WORKS, RIVERSIDE BREWERY & TAP ROOM, Jacksonville. Yeah, it's closing; we knew it was coming. But, fear not: the NEW brewery, tap room AND rooftop beer garden will open at 1pm on September 6! Check it out on the "Making Headlines" page, too!


VETERANS UNITED CRAFT BREWERY,  Second Anniversary, Jax, 1-11pm. All-day party! Tasty Dogs Food truck, full tap list of house beers and special releases all day long, cornhole in the brewery. Additional brewery bar. Here's some background info: The brewery, which runs on a 20-barrel brewhouse, is military-themed and inspired, with its principals being former military officers. Two of its core beers, Raging Blonde blonde ale and Hopbanshee IPA, are canned on site and distributed at retail in addition to being served at numerous locations on draft. The brewery has earned several medals, including three at the 2016 Best Florida Beer Championships earlier this year: Silver, Paratrooper Porter (porter category); Bronze, Raging Blonde (golden blonde ale category); and Bronze, Scout Dog 44 Amber Ale (Euro lager/ale category). 

COPPERTAIL BREWING 2nd Anniversary Party, featuring Florida Weisse Party, Ybor, Tampa, 1-5pm... Over 30  Berliner Weisse beers, plus bottle release. I've been there a few times. A favorite stop! Check out my 2015 story here. Also, they'll be brewing the Oktoberfest Tampa Dunkel again this year for Oktoberfest Tampa in October. 

SUMMER SOUR FEST at Abbey Bar, 2-6pm, DeLand. Like sours?  You'll be able to get your fill!  Samplings of worldwide sour beers! Get your tickets HERE.

SEPTEMBER (already?)

9/1 - 9/5:

KEY WEST BREWFEST, Key West, Labor Day Weekend.  Tastings, beer events, pool parties, breakfast, and more fun stuff going on all around Key West. Begins 9/1, 5pm with Opening Kickoff Party at Waterfront Brewery. Main beerfest event on Saturday, 9/3 at Southernmost Beach Resort. VIP ticket entry to tasting 3-5pm, with tastings and appetizers; General Admission 5-8pm.  Get tickets HERE. I've been to this fest, and it's a blast. Right on the water. And, hey, it's Key West, what else do you need? Benefits Sunrise Rotary. 

ORCHID ISLAND BREWERY Second Anniversary & SPECTRUM DAY Party, Vero Beach 2pm-midnight. Featuring the release of SPECTRUM Triple IPA. Food, music, beer ... Sounds like a party!

 LABOR DAY! Relax and kick up your feet with a cold one!


The all-freakin' NEW INTUITION ALE WORKS opens its doors to the public on East Bay St. in downtown Jax at 1pm. Adjacent to the Sports Complex. Expanded brewery, new tap room, plus rooftop beer garden. 

9/8 & 9/9:
EMERALD COAST BEER FEST, Seville Quarter, Pensacola. Beer Pairing Dinner on 9/8. Fest on 9/9 from 5-8:30pm (CDT). Samples include craft brews and homebrews. Benefits Alfred-Washburn Center and Seville Rotary Club. 

AARDWOLF BREWING CO. Three-Year Anniversary Celebrating Three Years of Beer, Jacksonville, 2-11pm. If you were there last year for the "Two," you know what we're talking about! And, I've written about 'em a couple of times, so take a look at the stories on the homepage for brewery info. 


BRUVAL JAX, Seawalk Pavilion, Jacksonville Beach, noon-10pm; all day music. Craft beer fest. Food trucks. Family friendly. Sampling ticket for unlimited beer tasting, from 2-6pm (2pm for VIP). Get tickets HERE

9/16 & 9/17:

COMMANDER SAAZ INTERPLANETARY HOMEBREW BLASTOFF, Judging Sept. 3/4 and Sept. 10/11 at THE MANSION, Melbourne; Competition, Sept. 16/17 at Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront. Entries open: July 11 to August 22. More info, rules, party info, etc. at the link. 

9/16 - 9/17:

FLORIDA TAP INVITATIONAL, Proof Brewing & Madison St., Tallahassee. 4th Annual Event: Friday night, 7pm, food and beer pairing on Madison St. Saturday: 3pm (VIP entry): beerfest at Proof Brewing, with brewery samplings from all over. VIP gets hour early entry with complimentary food.Tickets in link. 

GRAND OPENING: GROVE ROOTS BREWING CO., Winter Haven, 2-11pm. Inspired by Florida's citrus. 

TOMOKAFEST at TOMOKA BREWING COMPANY, 12pm-11pm, Port Orange. Featuring pretzels, brats, and the Tomokafest Oktoberfest lager -- also available in six packs to go! (And, yeah, I've been here a time or two or....)

9/17 - 10/3: 
OKTOBERFEST, DEUTSCHLAND: Do you know your boot from your Mass (Maẞ)?  Ein Prosit! Check out my Oktoberfest post from last year for background on this fun holiday! New post on the way soon!

DID YOU KNOW: The German Oktoberfest celebration runs from September 17 to Oktober 3, 2016 in Munich!

BREW 2 AT THE ZOO, West Palm Beach, 6-9pm. Over 25 breweries. Benefits the zoo. Wild!

HIDDEN SPRINGS ALE WORKS Anniversary Bash, Tampa, 12 noon - midnight. It's the First Anniversary for Hidden Springs Ale Works! Food trucks, beer, special releases, special merchandise. And, check out my visit there!

SUNDAY BAYOU BEER GARDEN at Cajun Cafe on the Bayou, Pinellas Park, 1-4pm. Intimate gathering of no more than 200 attendees. Around 100 beers, plus snacks and Cajun plate. All in the beer garden under the tent. Get tickets here

9/17 - 9/24:  JAX BEER WEEK.......

JAX BEER WEEK, all around Jacksonville. Events taking place at bars, breweries,  brewpubs in Jax. Stay tuned as events listed on the "Tap This" Calendar. And, check out the preview info/summary on the Making Headlines Page.


OKTOBERFEST at Intuition Ale Works, Jax, 12-8pm at the NEW brewery on Bay St., downtown Jax. Features Oktoberfest bier, German food, music from the Swinging Bavarians, festival King & Queen, games! Prost! Get tickets HERE.

9/20- 9/24: 
DAILY BOTTLE RELEASE AT GREEN ROOM BREWING, Jax Beach: Green Room Brewing releasing Yates Manifesto Imperial Stout on 9/20, 4pm. Only 100 bottles available; limited draft. Variants: Chocolate (9/21), Coffee (9/22), Vanilla (9/23), Coconut (9/24). Only 100 bottles of each. Also, Re-release of last year's collab brew: I Did It All for the Chinookie IPA (It was awesome!) on 9/23. 
And, check out my story about Green Room Brewing from June HERE!

9/24:  MASH-IN BEER FEST: 9/24, the Glass Factory (Engine 15 Downtown), 12-4pm; tickets on sale now. VIP includes one hour early entry, t-shirt, catered lunch; only 100 VIP tix available. 


STUART BEER FESTIVAL, presented by ARC Martin County, Martin County Fairgrounds, Stuart, 1-5pm. Local, regional, national breweries, food, music. Benefits Advocates for the Rights of the Challenged (ARC) of Martin County. Tickets in link. Good time for a good cause!

HULLABALLOO FEST at CENTRAL 28 BEER CO., DeBary, 12-7pm. It's a combination 2nd Anniversary Party and Oktoberfest celebration! Ticketed event: get em HERE. Ticket includes beer stein glass, 3 beer tickets, food coupon. Beer specials all day, and the Oktoberfest Hullaballoo Festbier on tap! 

9/29 - 10/1:
THREE-DAY OKTOBERFEST CELEBRATION at DUE SOUTH BREWING, Boynton Beach. More info  on the way, but they have already canned their Oktoberfest bier!

9/30- 10/2:
OAKLAND PARK OKTOBERFEST, PRESENTED BY FUNKY BUDDHA BREWERY, Jaco Pastorius Park. Three days of German music, beer, games, vendors, dancing, and oompah! Authentic German food and bier in the biergarten! Friday, 5-11pm; Saturday, 1-11pm; Sunday, 12-5pm. Admission: $5.


OKTOBERFEST JACKSONVILLE at ANHEUSER-BUSCH BREWERY.  Two-day festival.  Friday night, 4-10pm. Saturday, 11am-10pm, with 5k at 7:30am.  Bands, Tapping, Food, games, contests, DJ. VIP and General Admission options. Get tickets HERE

9/30 - 10/1:
30A CRAFT BEER & SPIRITS FESTIVAL, Gulfplace, Town Center, Santa Rosa Beach. Formerly the Destin Craft Beer Fest. Two-day fest featuring cocktail contests and judging, beer, music, food.  Benefits Seaside School Foundation. Tickets and more info in link. 


Like I've said before....ya gotta be somewhere... be there with a beer in hand! See you at a beer event .... around  Florida somewhere!  

Til next time,


© 2016 BrewNymph, LLC. All rights reserved. BrewNymph; Peace, Love, Pints; Where the Beer Meets the Beach are federally-registered trademarks of BrewNymph, LLC; BeerSphere, Beer is my Trademark, and I'm Fun; Deal With It! are trademarks of BrewNymph, LLC

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Blues, Brews & BBQ: Singin' the Brews at Florida Theatre, Jacksonville

[Ed. Note: 8/22/2016: Late addition to the BBQ lineup: Bow Leg'z BBQ]

If you've ever attended a concert or show at the Florida Theatre in downtown Jacksonville, you'll likely agree that every seat in the house is a good one and the acoustics enhance your experience at the historic ornate venue. After all, the theatre has been a leading entertainment center since 1927, and it's seen its share of different musical genres and entertainers over the years. As host of over 200 entertainment events annually, the Florida Theatre is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

On Thursday, August 25, the Florida Theatre plays host to a different type of event which combines music with a couple of other popular activities around town: eating BBQ and drinking beer! Join the Theatre at its annual BLUES, BREWS & BBQ bash, as it raises funds to support its mission of bringing celebrated arts and entertainment experiences to the community while preserving a historic landmark. 

Guests will enjoy Blues music by Mama Blue and Smokestack. Mama Blue, from Jax, evokes legendary artists such as Tina Turner, Etta James, Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone. Mama Blue is the "sultry sister of soul," and intertwines elements of blues and jazz with nuances of classical, Motown, Latin, and even some Country. Smokestack, based in Jax Beach, is a favorite of the local blues community and circuit, and strives to keep the Blues strong in the local area. Against the smooth sounds of the Blues, attendees will also savor the flavors of barbecue from some of the best BBQ joints in the area: Mojo's No. 4 Riverside, The Butt Hutt Smokehouse, The Bearded Pig, Woody's BBQ and Bono's BBQ, and indulge on wings, ribs, pulled pork, brisket, smoked turkey and smoked sausage. By this time, your tastebuds might be experiencing a saucy euphoria and anticipation of sorts just thinking about it, but there's more. Because you'll need libations of the liquid variety to complement the tantalizing food and entertainment, the event also features unlimited craft beer brewed by local Jacksonville breweries Bold City Brewery, River City Brewing Company, Seven Bridges Grille & Brewery, and Veterans United Craft Brewery

The event is sponsored by Publix Supermarket Charities, Inc., together with BBQ sponsor KPMG, and Beer sponsors Brown & Brown Insurance and CK Direct. 

And, if you're looking for even more Blues and BBQ and want to make a day of it, head over to the Jesse B. Smith Memorial Park (across from the Theatre) during lunchtime on Thursday from 11am-2pm for a lunch party featuring The Butt Hutt Smokehouse food truck and live blues music by Evan Ruffino. 

These featured breweries will have you singin' the brews to go with the blues and BBQ:

BOLD CITY BREWERY, launched in 2008, is the city's oldest production craft brewery. Its popular core beers Killer Whale Cream Ale, Duke's Brown Ale and Mad Manatee IPA are no strangers to the bar and restaurant scene throughout the Jax area. Bold City started canning its beers onsite in July 2013, and the three core beers are also readily available in virtually every local grocery and liquor store. In addition to the Jax/North Florida area, the distribution also extends to Tampa, Sarasota, Daytona, Orlando and Gainesville. While the brewery is located in the Riverside area, look for the upcoming opening of its new, smaller brewhouse and tap room downtown on Bay St. Featuring a 3-barrel brewhouse, the new digs will produce small and experimental batches.  

RIVER CITY BREWING COMPANY, located along the banks of the St. Johns River, offers some of the most beautiful views of Jacksonville and is also accessible by boat. The brewery/restaurant opened in 1991 and is Jacksonville's first brewery. The main indoor dining room seats 325, and the menu features chef-inspired seafood dishes, steaks, pastas and daily specials. A separate lounge and bar provides a relaxed atmosphere for enjoying the views with a cold beer and casual food menu. The restaurant offers a full liquor bar, in addition to its signature house beers brewed on site: Jag Light, Jackson Pale Ale, and Red Rooster Red/Amber Ale, along with seasonal brews. 

SEVEN BRIDGES GRILLE & BREWERY, part of the CraftWorks national group, is located in the Southside area of town and features a full-service restaurant and bar, along with an array of house-brewed beers. Seven Bridges offers five core beers across the style spectrum, ranging from its Southern Flyer Light Lager to its Iron Horse Stout. Seven Bridges hosts a number of tappings and events throughout the year for its Passport club members, in addition to charitable events. The food menu includes something for everyone, from comfort and casual selections to seafood and steaks. The indoor dining room is spacious, and there's also seating on the outdoor patio. Seven Bridges will tap its Oktoberfest beer on September 20. 

VETERANS UNITED CRAFT BREWERY, brewing on a 20-barrel brewhouse in the Southside area of town, will be celebrating its two-year anniversary on Saturday, August 27,with an all-day party from 1pm-11pm. The brewery is military-themed and inspired, with its principals being former military officers. Two of its core beers, Raging Blonde blonde ale and Hopbanshee IPA, are canned on site and distributed at retail in addition to being served at numerous locations on draft. The brewery has earned several medals, including three at the 2016 Best Florida Beer Championships earlier this year: Silver, Paratrooper Porter (porter category); Bronze, Raging Blonde (golden blonde ale category); and Bronze, Scout Dog 44 Amber Ale (Euro lager/ale category). 

Tickets to the Florida Theatre Blues Brews & BBQ benefit are available by calling the Florida Theatre Box Office at 904-355-2787 or by online purchase in the links above. Florida Theatre is located at 128 E. Forsyth Street, downtown Jacksonville. 

I've attended a number of concerts and meet-and-greets at the Florida Theatre, but this might be the tastiest!

It seems that there are always unique and entertaining events at which to enjoy a cold beer and maybe even try a new one (or more).  Pairing beer with some great food and a community event is a winning recipe!  


Til next time,


©2016 BrewNymph, LLC. All rights reserved. BrewNymph; Peace, Love, Pints; Where the Beer Meets the Beach are federally-registered trademarks of BrewNymph, LLC; BeerSphere, Beer is my Trademark, and I'm Fun; Deal With It! are trademarks of BrewNymph, LLC

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Star-Gazing With a Mermaid: First Magnitude Brewing Springs to Second Anniversary

[Ed. note 8/21/2016: The Second Anniversary Party was an awesome event. Huge crowds attended all day long, and the tap list was phenomenal! Check out my photos on social media and in the Photos tab on this website. Congrats to the crew!]

It seems like ... well ... just last year about this time, I wrote about First Magnitude Brewing Company's first anniversary bash in Gainesville: an all-day party with special tappings, music, and a whole bunch of enthusiastic beer fans inside the tap room and outside in the beer garden. It's now a year later, and First Magnitude Brewing celebrates its Two-Year Anniversary on Saturday, August 20. What can you expect? How about an all-day party with special tappings, music, and a whole bunch of enthusiastic beer fans! So, let's get ready to do this again ......

First Magnitude Brewing sprang onto the Florida beer map in 2014 with a theme direct from two forces of nature: Central Florida's natural springs -- with the "first magnitude" springs being the strongest in terms of water volume -- and the brightest star in the sky visible by the naked eye, the "first magnitude" star. Not only did First Magnitude Brewing combine these elements into a cool brewery concept and logo, but the brewery also actively promotes the Florida habitat. (Take a look at articles about my first and my most recent visits for more background.)

Hey, we're here for the beer, so if you're wondering what might be filling your glasses at the brewery on Saturday, you'll be gazing at a special tap list that (as of now) looks like this (if you don't already know, the first five are the core beers):

Vega Blonde Ale
72 Pale Ale
Drift English Mild Ale
Ursa IPA
Wakulla Weizen
Devils Eye Double IPA
FM Oktoberfest
Saltwater Intrusion Gose
Lem-n-Ginger Wakulla Radler
West Coast Blonde
Vanilla Black Rye
Nitro Double Cream Stout w/ SWO Coffee
Saison w/ locally sourced lemongrass
Double Dry Hopped 72 w/ Citra and Chinook
Barrel Aged Belgian Style Tripel w/ Brettanomyces and Apricot

And, as if you're not already thirsty enough, be on the lookout for these timed tappings, staggered and each happening twice so there will be more to go around:

Barrel-Aged Ursa with Mosaic & Amarillo, 1pm & 6pm
Saltwater Intrusion Gose with Gummi Bears, 2pm & 7pm
Chestnut Brown Ale: 3pm & 8pm
Big Barrie's Triple IPA: 4pm & 9pm
Barrel-Aged Raspberry Nightfall, 5pm& 10pm

First Anniversary,  2015. The scene inside...

The brewery will have three pouring stations to help manage the anticipated crowd and keep things flowing (yes, more than a few people will attend, if last year is any indication). Music, you ask? Yeah, they've got that covered, too, with live music all day:

1-2:45pm: Boilin' Oil
3-4:45pm: Wax Wings
5-6:45pm: The Hard Luck Society
7-8:45pm: Thin Skins
9-11 (ish): Ramblin' Mutts

Don't worry about your hunger pains, because three onsite food trucks will keep those in check: Humble Wood Fire, Cilantro Texas, and Bubba Luigi's Roadtrip. 

One last thing: new at this year's party is a Dunk Tank! (I'm looking forward to photos). If you've got some game, bring your swimsuit and a towel!

First Magnitude Brewing has certainly grown during its short two years in existence. What may have seemed light-years away at the outset has happened rather quickly for the crew, as response to the brewery and its beers has been tremendous. The brewery opened with four 30-barrel fermenters and one 30-barrel brite tank to complement its 15-barrel brewhouse, and has already added two 60-barrel fermenters and another 30-barrel brite -- more than doubling capacity. It added a barrel-aging program and plans to offer limited bottle releases soon. 

Cans of First Magnitude's 72 Pale Ale and Drift English Mild Ale began hitting the local retail shelves last year, with the first cans of the pale ale rolling off the line right around last year's First Anniversary. The brewery has since added its Wakulla Hefeweizen to the retail distribution lineup. According to Meg The Losen, brewery President, the brewery's business plan anticipated a canning line during its second year, but as a result of its early success, the brewery was able to move that forward by having enough working capital to purchase and install the canning line last summer. Further, Head Brewer John Denny adds that cans of the brewery's core Blonde Ale, Vega, are anticipated to enter the market in September. 

I've visited the brewery a few times and always make a point to stop by the brewery's booth at beerfests to chat (and have some beer, of course). One thing I notice about the principals of First Magnitude Brewing is that they are very quick to embrace and show gratitude to the community for their success. This crew really gets it. As Meg summarized it: "We are eternally grateful to our local Gainesville community and the larger Florida craft beer community for helping us get off to such a great start and allow us to move canning ahead of schedule."  In addition, the community around the brewery is growing, with the Grand Opening of nearby Depot Park also taking place on Saturday, and the Cade Museum scheduled to open next year. "We are absolutely thrilled to see so many exciting community places to gather and spend time in our neighborhood," and "it's fun just to drive into work every day and see what is happening around here," says Meg. 

And, yes, I drank them last night to prepare for this article.
First Magnitude's beer names are generally inspired by references to the sky and water: Vega, a first magnitude star (recently rebranded from the "Siren" blonde ale, but no changes to the recipe); 72, the temperature of the first magnitude springs; Drift, a reference to drifting down the springs; Ursa, the brightest stars; and Wakulla, the largest of the first magnitude springs.

Drift Engilsh Mild Ale.
One of the brewery's most intriguing beers to me is the Drift English Mild Ale. I love the easy-drinking nature of this beer, along with its character of chocolate and toffee complemented with hints of coffee and nuttiness. It's not a beer style that you see too often, let alone as a core beer. Yet, as a young brewery, First Magnitude distributes this fairly unique style on draft and now in cans. When asked about that, Head Brewer John explained that the First Magnitude beers are designed to appeal to as many different craft beer drinkers as possible. With Vega being the "balanced, light, easy drinking" beer, and 72 a hop forward choice, he looked for a malt-forward option. With porters and stouts not always being a first choice in the Florida warmth, the Mild Ale was a nice fit, providing "darker" flavors in a good session beer for year-round enjoyment. 

Lastly, a word about the brewhouse crew at First Magnitude. From brewers John and Eric, to cellarmen Jim and Scott, to QA specialist Arthur, each is an accomplished homebrewer. Among their accomplishments, Jim won a gold medal at the 2015 AHA national competition for his pale ale, and Scott's Smoked Dunkelweizen earned a gold for the brewery earlier at this year's FBG Fest. Inspiration for all of the First Magnitude beers come from these guys, who also experiment on the brewery's 1.5-barrel pilot system. Once the tap room customers give their nod of approval, recipes may head to the main brewing system. Bar manager Steve also plays a part by suggesting different beers to brew and blending the barrel-aged beers. It's truly a team effort!

I need a refill.....
That's a lot to accomplish during two years, and I wonder what we'll see during year three. For the time being, it seems that the stars are aligned for First Magnitude Brewing Company. 

First Magnitude Brewing Company is located at 1220 SE Veitch St. just outside of downtown Gainesville. It's open six days a week, closed on Monday. 

Happy Two to First Magnitude Brewing Company! I'm looking forward to another visit to The Source (as the brewery's tap room is affectionately called), and I see a few special beers on that list that I must taste!  Special thanks to Meg and John for the additional background info for this article. You guys rock!

Cheers! Til next time, 


©2016 BrewNymph, LLC. All text and photos. All rights reserved. BrewNymph; Peace, Love, Pints; Where the Beer Meets the Beach are federally-registered trademarks of BrewNymph, LLC; BeerSphere, Beer is my Trademark, and I'm Fun; Deal With It! are trademarks of BrewNymph, LLC