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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Firkin Good Time at First Magnitude Third Anniversary

Driving into Gainesville last Saturday, the skies were dark except for the bright lightning bolts that flashed up ahead toward the downtown. Knowing that parking at First Magnitude Brewing would spill over onto nearby Main Street for what was expected to be another rockin' Anniversary party, a rain poncho and umbrella sat ready for duty. In what may have been a case of celestial intervention, however, the rain clouds decided to move on, clearing the way for First Magnitude Brewing's Third Anniversary party inside and outside. (Caution: lots of photos and fun in this story!)





The story behind the brewery
Not my first visit to the brewery, but if you haven't been there, the property consists of a brewery area with a large seating and activity space, an indoor tap room known as "The Source," and an outdoor beer garden under the trees. As the afternoon turned into evening, all of these areas were filled with some pretty happy folks enjoying an awesome tap list, music in the beer garden, and food trucks. For those who are unfamiliar with with sky-and-water references behind the brewery name and inspiration for a number of its beers, the photo at left tells the story, along with a few earlier stories on this website. 

Not too surprisingly, I found Head Brewer and co-owner John Denny in the beer garden checking on things at the outdoor bar. The 14 tap set-up in the beer garden was new at this year's party and allowed the crowd to split between inside and outside, knocking down the wait times. While most of the 20+ drafts were served both in the tap room and in the beer garden, a few were available only at one or the other. 


Indeed.....


Brewery area to the left,
tap room and beer garden to the right....
Yes, it's air-conditioned inside

Brewery anniversaries typically center around the beer, and the beer list for the day was a party in itself. With around 24 beers on tap, there were beer styles for every taste - the brewery crew had to be pretty busy over the last couple of months! The list included First Magnitude's five year-round core beers and two popular limited releases (Devil's Eye DIPA and Saltwater Intrusion Gose). And, then there were the Pilot Batches and Timed Releases. Some of these were re-releases and many were special releases. At the risk of making your mouth water, here's what you had to choose between (not an easy task): Razz-Lemon Radler (Radler); Mag Lite (American Light Lager); Hallertau Blanc Pavo (Dry Hopped German Pilsner); Vanilla Black Rye (Black Ale); Smoked Maple Brown (Brown Ale); Double Choo Choo (Chocolate Milk Porter); Pineapple Mango Sour (Florida Weisse); Bullhead Red (Red Ale); Southern Hemisphere (IPA); BBA Batch 200 (Bourbon Barrel-Aged Strong Ale); 2015 American Barleywine; 100% Brett ( Brett IPA); Big Barrie's (Triple IPA); Grand Cru (Belgian Style Quad); Coffee Vanilla Minnow (Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout with Coffee and Vanilla Beans); Gummi Berliner (Weisse); and Pineapple Devil's Eye DIPA in the Firkin. Low ABV, High ABV? It was all here, from 3.8 to 14.1. Flavors and styles for every palate and taste. 








Pour me a beer!
In addition to all those beers, there were people. Quite a few people. With the two bars, it was fairly easy to move around and order a beer, especially during the late afternoon before the evening heavy-hitters arrived. 


That's brewery rep Ian in the special edition shirt.



Inside, it's still early....


Outside ....
In the brewery.  There was even a party within a party going on out there.
And, what's a brewery visit without checking out a few of the beers (or maybe more). I began the afternoon with the Razz-Lemon Radler - a refreshing combination of the named fruits: sweet and tart, you could drink this one all afternoon. From there, it was all across the board, in no particular order, with the photos doing the talking: 


Southern Hemisphere IPA: Fruity good!
The New Zealand & Australia hops packed a fruit punch
Smoked Maple Brown: Breakfast Anyone?
Maple syrup, smoked malt:
very complementary, smoke didn't overpower



Vanilla Black Rye (oh ... so ... good), and...
Cupcakes! This is "before" the photobomb....
And, during ... with a Twitter friend, Scott.
The brewers even tapped a special firkin of the Devil's Eye DIPA with Pineapple (9.2 ABV). The beer was a delight, with its citrus and tropical characters. So smooth. And, nothing better than enjoying the beer with the head guy, John!


Pretty firkin cool! And, the beer was pretty firkin good!
And, what was this about a Gummi Bear Berliner?


Gummi Bearliner: Infused with Gummi Bears!
Tart, sweet, tasty.
As the evening rolled around, the crowd became a bit larger, as you might expect: 





It's a party!
And, what would it be without another photobomb ... or ... video bomb, as the case may be outside in the beer garden: 


video

Besides the quality beer and the amazing people behind this brewery, there are a few other things I particularly like about First Magnitude Brewing. According to an earlier released statement, it's the first carbon-neutral brewery in Florida. It supports a number of environmental causes in the area. Many times, that means brewing a special beer, like its special-release Maibock which helped support the butterflies. Over the past year, the brewery replaced its old bulbs in the warehouse with LED lights that use a fifth of the power, reducing its electricity use by 5.5%. 

The owners also made some changes over the past year that affect the visitors here: doubled the size of the music stage in the beer garden, added new picnic tables for more seating, constructed three outdoor restrooms, and added a 60-barrel fermenter and more pilot tanks to produce and serve even more beer!  The crew brewed over 100 beers during the past year. 


The brewhouse with some party lights!

I even got an up-close and personal with Maggie this time around: 



First Magnitude Brewing is located at 1220 SE Veitch Street, just outside of University of Florida and downtown Gainesville. The tap room is open six days a week, closed on Mondays. You can even bike there, as it's close to the Gainesville-Hawthorne bike trail and Depot Park.




Congratulations to First Magnitude Brewing, and Here's to Year Four!

Another great visit to Gainesville, and I had an awesome time at the Anniversary! Take a look at the previous stories on brewnymph.com about First Magnitude Brewing and some of my earlier visits there, and put this one on your brewery map. You're sure to have a firkin good time (even if there isn't one). 

Hey, be sure to check out the events pages on brewnymph.com for upcoming events! And, I'll see you with a beer around Florida Somewhere!

Thanks for reading, 

Cheers!

Til next time, 



Linda 









Linda Johnson,
Certified Cicerone®


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