Sunday, November 27, 2016

Old Coast Ales: Riding Into St. Augustine on a Bicycle Built for Brew

[Ed. Note: I am thrilled to have been the first writer and site to publish a preview story about Old Coast Ales.  The new brewery held a soft opening on January 30,2017, and will open to the public on Wednesday, February 1, 2017.]

The wheels are in motion for Florida's newest brewery to open during Nights of Lights in the nation's Oldest City. Inspired by the St. Augustine community and a passion for brewing locally-made beer, Old Coast Ales is gearing up for an opening date by the end of 2016. 

Co-owners Jon Boisclair and Matt Hooker have been seen around town sporting "Old Coast Ales" shirts and hats for over two years, as they worked their way through the arduous task of finding a property and building a brewery. There's now a light at the end of part one of their adventure, and the two are eagerly anticipating the next phase: sharing their handcrafted beers with the public in their brewery and tap room at 300 Anastasia Blvd., near the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine. 

Yes, really: On the way soon......
Jon and Matt started the project about three years ago. They have been homebrewing for around 4 years, and converted Matt's garage into a homebrewing headquarters. They knew that they wanted to have their brewery call St. Augustine home and set out looking for properties. In the meantime, they were tweaking and experimenting with beer recipes on their half-barrel homebrew system (yes, that means that they were drinking it, too: you have to test the brew), and they currently have 16 different styles of beer in their lineup. 

In May 2015, they decided to set up shop at a former auto garage property, which the property owner intended to refurbish. I happened to be sipping on a beer at The Kookaburra coffee shop when an excited Matt stopped in with lease in hand.

The "before":
The former garage at 300 Anastasia Blvd. circa May 2015
(photo by Old Coast Ales)
Shortly afterwards, a wooden fence went up around the property as construction and renovations took place. Since then -- behind the scenes -- concrete was poured, floor drains installed, floors raised, gas lines installed, and a new facility was born. And, check out how it looks now:

The "after": The brewery and tap room sits on the right half;
tenants for the left half are still in the works
(photos by Linda Johnson)

The main entrance to Old Coast Ales tap room.

Outdoor patio, under roof. Won't this be an awesome spot
for people watching along Anastasia Blvd.?
The new brewhouse features a seven-barrel brewing system, consisting of a mash tun, brew kettle, two seven-barrel fermenters, and a seven-barrel brite tank. Old Coast Ales obtained the new, hand-built mash tun and brew kettle from Bennett Forgeworks in Ridgway, Colorado. Matt and Jon brought the tanks back from Deutsche in Charlotte, North Carolina earlier this year. The brewhouse is set up for approximately 500-700 barrels of beer per year, and there is space for additional fermenters. According to Jon, scaling up on the larger brewing system has been challenging in terms of timing and quantity of ingredients, but those are things that get worked out. Spent grain from the brewing process finds its way to a local farm for use as feed. 

I visited with Jon and Matt at the still-under-construction-but-oh-so-getting-there brewery last week. Jon was building out the bar as we spoke, and later that night, had completed the framing. The space occupies roughly 1900 square feet, comprised of the brewhouse, bar area, and a lounge/game/brewery activity area. Plus, there's a pretty cool covered outdoor patio space accessible from the lounge area, which overlooks Anastasia Blvd. The tap room might be described as "industrial rustic," with hanging bronzed light fixtures and a cypress ceiling. Jon and Matt work in the trades (Jon in HVAC and Matt in painting), and they put the inside together themselves -- from the 150sf walk-in cooler, insulated with concrete and styrofoam, to the bar area. Take a look:

Brand new brewhouse! (photos by Linda Johnson)
Fermenters and brite tank ...
By the way: Yes, there's beer in there!
Industrial meets rustic:
cypress ceiling, hanging lights in tap room

The tap room will feature 12 taps at the end of the bar pouring beer directly from the walk-in cooler. Old Coast Ales will have its own house beers on tap when it opens for business. (They're just a bit busy right now.) And, yes, the fermenters are already full of beer -- a brown ale and a session IPA -- just waiting to be kegged and stored in that cooler.  The brew schedule has an IPA and Porter being brewed in the upcoming week. The bar will seat around 8-10 guests, with a view of the brewhouse through a glass window. One wall will feature a "leaning bar" with a shelf for holding beer, and the tap room will also include tables. Here's how it's shaping up:

Framing: Bar area just off the main entry. Overhanging lighting.
Room with a brewhouse view through the large window.

(photos by Old Coast Ales)

More progress! You're getting thirsty, very thirsty!
So, you're probably asking what kind of beer you can expect from Old Coast Ales. There will be a variety of styles here, with no one particular specialty. The four "main" beers are Empirical IPA, Signal Pale Ale, Port-O-Call Porter, and Boulevard Brown. Other beers you're likely to find in the Old Coast Ales rotation at any given time will be: hefeweizen, summer ale, hoppy brown ale, ESB (Extra Special Bitter), smoked oak strong ale, vanilla milk stout, dark rye, golden Belgian ale, Double IPA, saison, Brett (brettanomyces) saison, and a West-Coast style IPA. ABV's generally range from 5 - 8.5. There's a beer for everyone! While Old Coast Ales has limited local distribution in the long-range plan, in Year 2 or 3, for now, the focus is to continue to brew high-quality beer for the community-inspired tap room. They'll continue to tweak recipes as they go forward, along with creating additional new beers. 

If the Porter is any indication, Old Coast Ales is on track. I was able to try the Porter as part of a local fundraiser last week, and it's solid: roasty, chocolaty, with a hint of caramel, slightly bittersweet, with no overpowering flavors; a well-balanced brew that, I think is safe to say, will be a favorite for many.

Old Coast Ales Porter: Looking forward to more of this one!
(photo by Linda Johnson)
But, let's change gears, so to speak -- what about that bike? Yes, it really does exist. The bike, known as "The Alcohauler," is a functioning bike, inspired by a 1930's Dutch beer delivery bike. Jon's brother, Josh, a bike-builder, built the bike some years ago for the North American Handmade Bicycle Show. Josh's bike business, Empirical Cycles, is also the inspiration for the brewery's Empirical IPA. The Old Coast Ales theme of neighborhood and community is built around the bike, which will be on display at the brewery, as well as local events. 

The Old Coast Ales signature bike: "The Alcohauler"
(photo from Old Coast Ales)
Old Coast Ales has its brewery licenses in place, and once the tap room build-out is complete, and the beer kegs are full, it will be ready to start serving its beers to St. Augustine locals and visitors alike. It's been a long road since Jon and Matt started their Kickstarter campaign in September 2014 to raise funds to help purchase brewing equipment (there's even a video of Jon riding the bike). While the partners have been working to do whatever is necessary in launching the brewery, once the dust settles, both will continue to brew, with Jon taking on the main brewer duties, and Matt handling the admin side of things. When asked what they would like their guests to think after a visit to Old Coast Ales, the words "friendly vibe," "fantastic service," "exceptional product," and "great experience" sum it up. 

Old Coast Ales is located at 300 Anastasia Blvd. in a district of St. Augustine becoming more and more known simply as "The Boulevard." Hours will be announced as the opening date approaches, but look for the tap room to be open during the afternoons into the nighttime hours at least 5 days a week. The site also offers 15 parking spaces (are those cheers I hear?), as well as street parking along Anastasia Blvd.

Soon, you'll be able to share some beer and conversation at Old Coast Ales, as part 2 of their ride (the fun part) is just getting started.

Congrats to Old Coast Ales on the new brewery! And, special thanks to Jon and Matt for the site access and putting up with all my questions. See you on opening day!

The Holiday Season is here, and I'll be roaming around downtown St. Augustine and travelling on the trolleys for Nights of Lights again this year. Stop and say Hi! Be sure to check out the events pages on for local North Florida beer events and additional Florida events. See you around "Florida somewhere!"

Til next time, 



Linda Johnson, Certified Cicerone®

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

Making HEADlines: 


West Palm Beach, FL: The popular annual "Palm Beach Summer Beer Fest" in West Palm Beach in July is known for offering beerfest attendees a chance to sample over 150 different beers with a cool catch -- the fest takes place indoors, with A/C.  No matter what elements Mother Nature decides to send South Florida's way, the beer flows in climate-controlled conditions.  This past July marked the fourth annual Fest (see story here). Because the fest has proven to be hit with the South Florida beer enthusiast crowd, fest organizers will offer a Winter Holiday edition of the beerfest on Saturday, December 3.

The first Palm Beach Winter Beer Fest will also take place in the Expo Center at the South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach from 1-5pm (general admission). A VIP ticket option allows one-hour early access at noon. The fest once again will benefit Little Smiles, a non-profit children's charity devoted to helping children affected by serious illnesses by offering fun activities and emotional support. 

As Jennifer Cartwright, of the fest organizing committee, says, "We want to get Palm Beach
County in a festive mood…with craft beer!" The Winter Beer Fest is also a Holiday Party. In addition to craft beer sampling by local, regional, and national breweries, this Fest includes bourbon and whiskey tastings. A Holiday Mixology Bar will serve up a variety of festive drinks, while also offering tips on making holiday concoctions for home holiday parties.   Jennifer expresses the mood of the event as a "giant get-together to celebrate the holidays." 

Tickets can be purchased here. General admission tickets are $45 in advance, $55 at the door. Both admission options include commemorative tasting glass, unlimited craft beer sampling, and unlimited bourbon and whiskey tasting. VIP tickets are $75 in advance, $100 at the door, and in addition to the early entry at noon, features a food ticket, special timed releases, special limited release bottle of FOX Sports beer by local brewery Barrel of Monks Brewing. A Designated Driver admission is also available for $10, including unlimited water and soda. A variety of food trucks will be on site, and a music stage will feature live music throughout the afternoon. 

Combining a beerfest with spirts packaged in a festive, holiday vibe? That gives a new meaning to "getting in the holiday spirit!" 


Certified Cicerone®

Friday, November 25, 2016

Making HEADlines: 



LARGO, FL:  Barley Mow Brewing Company, known for its black raven artwork, has announced a partnership with Out of the Pot Catering to open a craft kitchen in Largo.  The new venture, "The Raven," will open with 18 taps of Barley Mow beers. The gastropub will feature "unique, seasonal and beer infused dishes, one-off chef inspired brews and craft cocktails," according to a press release issued by Barley Mow Brewing. "From Bulgogi tacos and Roasted Cauliflower Grilled Cheese to fried olives and handmade ice cream sandwiches, The Raven promises to tantalize one’s taste buds while being authentic to its local audience."  

Barley Mow Brewing Company, which celebrated its four-year anniversary in July, operates a 30-barrel production brewhouse, in addition to its original two-barrel brewing system in its tavern. Barley Mow's beers, including the flagship Americana Golden Ale, Unkindness Black Ale, Maven Milk Stout, and Quackalope IPA are canned onsite in its 25,000-square-foot facility and distributed throughout Florida.  

Barley Mow Brewing Company is located in downtown Largo at 518 W. Bay Dr.  The brewery tavern features 14 rotating taps and a beer engine, along with wine and a liquor bar. The Raven craft kitchen is located at 2535 E. Bay Dr., also in Largo, approximately two miles or six minutes away. 

In explaining the brewery tagline "Simple. Honest. Craft.," Owner/Head Brewer Jay Dingman explains that "[the brewery's] beers are brewed simply, with hard work and thoughtful ingredients by honest people who are sincerely and wholly dedicated to their craft. Simple. Honest. Craft."  

Congratulations to The Raven!  

Linda Johnson
Certified Cicerone®

Thursday, November 17, 2016

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 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.....


Til next time,


Linda Johnson
Certified Cicerone®

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

Monday, November 14, 2016

Intuition Ale Works Sixth Anniversary "Week" is Here

The week before Thanksgiving means lots of things. Around the Jax craft beer community, it means Intuition Ale Works hosts an Anniversary Party. And, not "just" a party -- an entire week of beer events leading up to an Anniversary Bash. This year marks Intuition's Sixth Anniversary, and the week-long celebration starts November 15. So, mark those calendars and join the party!

First of all, by now, you know that Intuition opened its new brewery and tap room on East Bay St. in Downtown Jacksonville adjacent to the Sports Complex in September, and closed its original Riverside location. (Just making sure. And, if you didn't know that, check out the preview story here.)

The Anniversary Week starts off on Tuesday, November 15, with a Food & Beer Pairing Dinner with Black Sheep Restaurant, featuring an opening reception followed by five chef-created culinary courses paired with five limited-release and/or new Intuition beers. Featured at the Reception is the "Backyard Brawl" Berliner Weisse (light, tart beer with peaches and oranges), the collaboration with Swamp Head Brewery (Gainesville) and Terrapin Beer Co. Athens GA) for the Florida-Georgia festivities. The courses will be complemented by these brews: AWC SMaSH ("Single Malt and Single Hop"), Barrel Rested Saison (session saison aged in red wine barrels), Stateline IPA (IPA with Georgia peaches), All Night Diner BBQ Breakfast Stout (featuring smoked malts, maple syrup and coffee), and 
Underdark 2016 (Underdark is an annual Imperial Stout release that occurs in February; the 2016 version was aged in Rye Whiskey barrels). You'll need a ticket to attend ($50), which you can purchase here (view the full menu, too). The event will be held at Intuition Ale Works.

On Wednesday, November 16, join in an epic pub crawl around downtown Jacksonville nightlife spots, with a cast of Intuition crew and enthusiastic revelers. The adventure starts at Intuition Ale Works at 4pm. From there, crawl your way around to Dos Gatos, Burrito Gallery Downtown, The Volstead, Fionn MacCool's Irish Pub & Restaurant, Spliff's Gastropub, and The Hourglass Pub & Coffee House (in that order).

Next up, on Thursday, take some time to "Detox/Retox" at Intuition, with Yoga by Yoga 4 Change at 6pm. Then, indulge with savory sweet treats and cold brew from BREW Five Points.

On Friday, the fun continues with Family Game Night -- featuring arcade games, a bounce house, face painting, and more activities.

The week culminates with the Anniversary Party! If you've never been to an Intuition Ale Works Anniversary Party, get ready to experience an all-out blitz of beer. Intuition will tap over 15 special one-off beers. The event also includes live music by Strangerwolf, Wise River, and West King Street Band, and on-site screenprinting by Shipyard Dog.

Follow all of that up on Sunday and call it a week at the Hangover Brunch. Enjoy special brunch items crafted by Black Sheep at Intuition, along with beermosas and special beers (there's something about a "Graham Boat" - hmmm). The brewery will release bottles of its Premonition No. 2 (Imperial Saison with Local Honey aged in Rum Barrels), so you can keep the party going.

Happy Anniversary (Week) to Intuition Ale Works! See you there!

Intuition Ale Works is located at 929 E. Bay St., downtown Jacksonville, adjacent to the Sports Complex. 

There's always something going on in the craft beer world, and so much right here in Florida! Be sure to take a look at the BeerSPHERE Page and the TAP THIS Page on this website for events, both state-wide and local (North Florida). It's getting tougher and tougher to figure out which one to go to!  (But, I'll try to do what I can!). 


Til next time, 


Linda Johnson, Certified Cicerone®

(story modified from original publication by Linda Johnson on the Beer Buzzed Page of the Nightlife section on

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

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Making HEADlines:


Bradenton, FL:   Darwin Brewing Co. announces its partnership with Lucky's Market for exclusive retail sales of its Chocolate Cherry Big Deal Imperial Stout. The brew will be available in 750 ml bottles at all Florida Lucky's Markets. Sampling events began on November 9 in Tallahassee. The next sampling will take place at the Lucky's Markets in Gainesville on Friday, November 18, 5-8pm, and Tallahassee, 4-7pm; followed by another tasting in Tallahassee on November 25, 4-7pm.  This marks the initial offering of bottles outside of the Darwin Brewing tap room.  The beer rings in at a 10.3 ABV.  The Darwin Brewing team "was excited to create an exclusive edition of one of our very favorite beers for Lucky's Market. We look forward to developing new brews that celebrate the spirit of Lucky's and local collaboration in the future," says Jorge Rosabal, brewmaster.  Darwin Brewing's beers are inspired by culinary creations, and the brewery is proud to partner with local businesses through collaboration beers and special events.  The sentiment is summed up by Matt Cornelius, owner and general manager: "[t]he opportunity to work with a partner that shares our love of all things local like Lucky's is incredibly important to us." Lucky's Market sources from local vendors and earmarks 10% of proceeds from its signature "L" brand to the local communities where its stores reside. Lucky's Market, based in Colorado, currently operates stores in five Florida cities, with three additional locations opening soon. (For a review of the beer, see the BrewNymph Instagram post from Nov. 14).

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Thankful for Florida Beer!

As the calendar winds down toward the end of the year, things never seem to slow down. Thanksgiving is just a couple of weeks away, and the Holiday Season is starting to get in full swing: decorating, parties, time with families (either loathe it or love it), travel, Holiday lights, food (too much), drinks (probably not enough).  

As you plan your calendar (you do that, right?), check out some of the beer festivals and beer events happening around Florida during the remainder of November. The first full weekend of November featured a number of events, and if you didn't get to one of those, be sure not to miss out ...  Because Christmas will be here before you know it, the egg nog will be gone, and those gym memberships from last January will be looming large again in less than two months. For now, be thankful for some Florida beer!

Take a look at these upcoming Florida events from the BeerSphere Page of this website:


BREW AT THE ZOO, Jacksonville Zoo, 7-10:30pm (General), 6-10:30pm (VIP). OK, so it's sold out, but maybe you know someone who will give you an extra ticket. Benefits the Jacksonville Zoo. Includes beer and food samplings. I've been there the past two years! It's WILD! (Note: This is the rescheduled date from October, because someone named Matthew decided to take a day trip along the Florida Coast. Event sold out in August, so pay attention next year.)  

11/11 & 11/12:

TREASURE COAST BEER FEST, Port St. Lucie, 1-5pm. New location this year: Tradition Square, along with a slightly different format. Open to the public, with individual beers available; otherwise, ticketed event for unlimited beer tasting. Food drive with raffle prizes. Homebrew competition. Charity Partner: Treasure Coast Food Bank. I've been to this fest; it's a fun one!  River of Beers food and beer pairing at Santa Lucia River Club, Friday night, 11/11, 5-9pm. 


MELBOURNE FOOD AND WINE FEST, DOWNTOWN MELBOURNE, 5:30-10pm. Always love my visits to SpaceCoast! The sampling tickets are sold out, but there will still be a cash bar. Event takes place all throughout Downtown Melbourne. Vendors include restaurants and beer/wine businesses. Sounds like a tasty evening. And, one of the sponsors is Hell 'n Blazes Brewing .. Check out my story from the Opening Day HnB party in June! 

11/12: SEE PREVIEW STORY ON THE HOMEPAGE, TOO (includes tap list):

It's the second big event of the year for the Florida Brewers Guild: FBG Barrel-Aged, Sour & Cider Fest at Intuition Ale Works, Downtown Jax, 2-5pm; VIP entry at 1pm. Second Annual Fest. Features unique beers from 25 Florida breweries. Tickets are on sale HERE. The FBG supports the craft brewing industry throughout Florida. And, in honor of Veterans Day (11/11), all military personnel receive a 50% discount off the ticket price - when purchasing tickets use code USOjax, and bring your military ID to the fest at check-in.


4th ANNUAL BIERTOBERFEST AT TWO HENRYS BREWING CO., Plant City, 11am-5pm. Beerfest includes a German theme, and about 30 participating local breweries with over 100 craft beers and ciders. VIP entry at 11am; General Admission at 12 noon. Includes tasting glass and unlimited pours.  Food, music. Two Henrys Brewing shares the venue with Keel & Curley Winery, and it's located just off I-4 between Lakeland and Tampa. Get tickets in above link. This is a very cool spot in the middle of farm country. If you haven't visited yet, take a look at the story from my first visit here.

TWO-YEAR ANNIVERSARY PARTY at PLAYALINDA BREWING COMPANY, (Downtown Hardware Store location) Titusville, noon til midnight. Special beers (including the infamous cupcake birthday beer), food, beer & cupcake flights, limited release drafts and bottles. Wow, it's been two years already? I've been there a time or few. Check out the story from my first visit there, shortly after it opened... well, two years ago!


ORLANDO BEER FESTIVAL, Festival Park, Orlando, 12-5pm (11am VIP entry). Unlimited tastings of over 150 beers from breweries around Orlando, elsewhere in Florida, and more. Benefits Coalition for Homeless of Central Florida. Portion of proceeds also goes to Milk District, Orlando. Tickets in link. 

FALL FESTIVAL FOR THE ENVIRONMENT at FIRST MAGNITUDE BREWING COMPANY, 2-9pm, Gainesville. That Matthew guy caused this one to be rescheduled too. Music, food trucks, raffle prizes. Donation of $5-10 gets you $.50 off First Magnitude beers. Learn about ecosystems. Support the 2017 Great Invader Raider Rally (City of Gainesville Parks), an all-day volunteer ecosystem cleanup project, happening on 1/28/2017, Gainesville. I've stopped by First Magnitude a few times! Gotta love the way the Gainesville breweries really support the environment!

11/15 - 11/19: 
INTUITION ALE WORKS 6th ANNIVERSARY, Jacksonville .... AND, THERE'S A WHOLE WEEK OF ANNIVERSARY EVENTS, STARTING 11/15.....ANNIVERSARY BASH ON 11/19. If you've ever been to an Intuition Ale Works Anniversary Party, you know it's a big deal. If you've been to the new Intuition location in downtown Jax, you know it's gonna be an even bigger deal this year! If you haven't been to the new location, take a look at the only preview story written about it before the opening on September 6. Check the TAP THIS Calendar Page for daily events: Beer Dinner, Pub Crawl, Yoga Night, Family Game Night, Hangover Brunch (and check out my story here).


NIGHTS OF LIGHTS opens in St. Augustine! The award-wining dazzling spectacle runs through January 31. It all starts with the opening ceremony and the "flipping of the switch" in the downtown plaza on 11/19. Check out my stories from last year (here and here)! Of course, I'll be out on the trolley and around the downtown again this year! 

NORTH MIAMI BREW FEST, FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Miami Beach, 1-4pm (12 pm entry for VIP; VIP includes food tent, shirt and more). Over 30 breweries from South Florida and more. Includes beer seminars, food & beer pairings, food trucks, music, lawn games, unlimited beer sampling. Benefits FIU Chaplin School. Tickets in link. Or, get a Groupon ticket for $15 General Admission and $27 VIP, while they last!

CIVIL SOCIETY BREWING COMPANY First Year Anniversary Block Party, 12-4pm, Abacoa Town Center, Jupiter. Big party featuring 30+ breweries, including Florida and out-of-state breweries, food trucks, music, special releases. Check the ticket link for list of breweries. Ticket includes anniversary glass, unlimited tastings of beers. Limited tickets HEREI've been here, and it's a cool place in the heart of Abacoa Town Center (if you play golf, get a round in at Abacoa Golf Club!). Love hoppy, hoppy beers? (did I mention hoppy)

MARKER 48 BREWING FIRST ANNIVERSARY PARTY, Weeki Wachee, noon til midnight. Featuring beer releases, barrel-aged beers, guest taps from local breweries, two music stages, food trucks. Mo and Tina are pretty awesome, and I've had some of the beer - Thumbs up!


ANGRY CHAIR BREWING Second Anniversary Party, Tampa. Two sessions (afternoon, 12-3:30pm; evening, 5-8:30pm) by advance ticket only; each session holds 100 ticketed guests. Ticket ($30) includes glass, one beer, and option to purchase one anniversary bottle - Bourbon barrel aged Fudge Bucket with vanilla beans. Bottle purchase limit = 1 bottle, $25). Draft list includes stouts, porters, imperials, weisses, and guest taps. Tickets on sale 11/12 at noon: get ' em here.

And, then there's this:

DECEMBER HoHoHo, Let's Get Jolly:

Something about Nights of Lights and trolley rides..... take a look at my posts from December 2015, but there are a few changes this year..... 

There are more events in December, too, so be sure to take a look at the BeerSPHERE Page and the TAP THIS Calendar Page for constant updates. 

See you around a beer somewhere in Florida! Happy Thanksgiving!

Til next time,



Linda Johnson
Certified Cicerone®

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