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Rollin' Out the Barrel: Florida Brewers Guild Barrel-Aged, Sour & Cider Fest Rolls Into Intuition Ale Works

December 4, 2017:
When the Florida Brewers Guild rolls out the third edition of its annual Barrel-Aged, Sour & Cider Fest on Saturday, December 9 at Intuition Ale Works in Jacksonville, attendees can expect "more breweries, more beers" this year, according to Sean Nordquist, FBG Executive Director. The unique fest is set to host over 35 Florida breweries bringing the smooth tastes of barrel-aged beers along with the funk of sours, the tartness of Berliner Weisses and Goses, and the fruitiness of ciders. For those who savor the words "bourbon," "rye," and "whiskey" when describing barrels, and get thrown into a frenzy at the mention of "Brettanomyces" and "Lactobacillus," the fest is certain to tempt tastebuds!



As barrel-aged beers and sour beers become increasingly more popular, "a narrow-focused fest has a special appeal," said Sean in an interview with this site. With people having "an affinity for barrel-aged anything and sours," this fest "makes it a special draw." Along with more breweries in the mix this year, the FBG expects a higher attendance as well -- as much as 50% higher. 

With each brewery offering between 2-5 beers, barrel and sour power will be in full effect. The FBG released the initial brewery and tap list on December 4.

Beer enthusiasts will also find beers from several new breweries that have opened within the past year or so. 

One of those is Old Coast Ales, which opened in February in St. Augustine. The brewery will pour a Barrel-Aged version of its El Galeon Imperial Stout (10% ABV), together with its Salt Run Gose (4.3%) and a fruit Gose. Not only was the Imperial Stout the brewery's first time brewing this style, it was done so with this festival in mind, says Jon Boisclair, co-owner and brewer. This is also the start of a barrel-aging series at Old Coast Ales, Jon adds. While the brewery's goses have been extremely popular in the tap room, the salty brews have always been brewed as pilot batches, and Old Coast Ales anticipates brewing a full batch in the Spring. This fest is the first time that Old Coast Ales pours beer at a fest as an operating brewery. When Jon and co-owner Matt Hooker attended their first beerfest, Hogtown Craft Beer Fest in Gainesville, five years ago, they "never thought we'd be pouring from a brewery that we owned and operated." Although the two have attended this fest the previous two years, they'll be on the vendor side of things this time. Jon adds that barrel-aged and sour beers are a "labor of love," and styles such as these let the brewers try new things and give people something they may have never tasted before. Old Coast Ales is excited to be part of the FBG fest for the first time, as it will let more people get to know its beers. "To be able to showcase what we can do so close to home is a real treat."


St. Augustine Distillery barrels (Photo: Linda Johnson)

Another relatively new local brewery making its beerfest debut is Bog Brewing, also of St. Augustine. The brewery celebrated its first-year anniversary in March, and marked the occasion with a barrel-aged Anniversary Ale. Bog will also begin using wine barrels, in addition to bourbon barrels, as it looks to expand its barrel-aged Belgian-inspired ales, said Steve Mendoza, co-owner and brewer. The brewery's "Sour Saturdays" program this past fall was popular, adds Steve, with six Weisses and sours offered. In a sneak peek of upcoming special beers, look for a Lemongrass Wild Ale and a Blackberry Gose on tap at the brewery. Bog is also very excited to be part of this fest, especially because during its first year, the brewery simply didn't have the time or manpower to step away, says Steve. Bog will pour its popular Belgian Tripel aged for five months in St. Augustine Distillery barrels. The beer will also be released in bottles in December, with a formal announcement coming soon. [Ed. Note, 12/5: Bog Brewing has since announced the bottle release for 12/16 at noon.]  Rounding out Bog's fest beers are a traditional Berliner Weisse, and a Cranberry Sour Ale that has been aging since Bog began brewing. It's also a special occasion that Bog Brewing's first beerfest appearance be this one. "Coming together to support our Guild is a reminder that we are stronger together," adds Steve, while breweries can still remain competitive, yet work together to reform Florida laws in support of better beer and jobs. 

The beerfest takes place at Intuition Ale Works, 929 E. Bay St., Jacksonville. VIP entry is at 1pm, with general admission at 2pm. Tickets (ages 21+ only) are available online in advance. The ticket includes unlimited beer and cider samplings and a souvenir tasting glass. The VIP option includes a one-hour early entry, along with a VIP t-shirt screenprinted on site. The fest concludes at 5pm. Cost for VIP tickets is $50 (limited to 100), and $35 for general admission. A $10 military discount is also available with proof of military service.

The Florida Brewers Guild is a non-profit trade association committed to preserving the rights of craft brewers throughout the state. FBG generally holds two major beer festivals during the year, the Barrel-Aged, Sour & Cider Fest, and the larger March fest in Tampa, simply known as "FBG Fest," which coincides with Tampa Bay Beer Week and the Best Florida Beer Championships. Funds raised by the FBG events assist the Guild in its efforts to represent the interests of Florida craft brewers. 

Get ready to pucker up at the Barrel-aged, Sour & Cider Fest! 

Cheers!
Til next time,





Linda 





Linda Johnson,
Certified Cicerone®


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