Showing posts with label St. Augustine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label St. Augustine. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Rose by the Name of Dog Rose Brewing to Open in St. Augustine

Dog Rose Brewing, St. Augustine
(photo by Linda Johnson)
"Handcrafted." That's the word Doug Murr uses to describe his new brewery, Dog Rose Brewing Co., as it moves toward opening later this summer in the historic Lincolnville area of downtown St. Augustine. While still undergoing construction, the brewery is all about attention to details and giving brewery guests the experience and beers that they want. The beer, the bar, the tables - all handcrafted - says Doug.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

That's a First: Bog Brewing Company To Celebrate First Anniversary March 4 With First Bottle Release

[UPDATE, 2/26/2017:  The Anniversary Ale referenced below will be subject to a two-bottle limit, at $15 each. Sales of bottles will begin at the back door of the tap room on March 4, 2017.  Cheers!]

On March 4, 2016, brothers Steve Mendoza and John French quietly opened Bog Brewing Company on West King St. just off of US 1 and downtown St. Augustine (see pre-opening story from this site here).  The brothers opened the 3.5 barrel brewery and tap room in a building that housed a former drugstore and a pawn shop with the intention of bringing a neighborhood brewery to the area. Over the course of the first year in its young existence, they have done just that. Walk into Bog Brewing anytime, and guests are immediately made to feel welcome while enjoying a glass of house-made craft beer (and, yes, this writer speaks from experience).  

Photo by Linda Johnson
Since its opening day 2016, the brewery has brewed more than 30 different types of beers, served on its ten rotating taps. Signature beers include the brewery's Cream Ale, Amber Rye, Session IPA, IPA and Chipotle Porter. In addition, the brewery serves up a few very creative beers, such as  the Smoked Datil Cream Ale. One of this writer's favorite Bog beers is the Oatmeal Coffee Stout, made with local coffee beans. 

Photo provided by Bog Brewing Company
On Saturday, March 4, 2017, Bog Brewing celebrates its One-Year Anniversary to the day in grand style, as it releases its first bottled beer, a limited edition Anniversary Ale, available in 22 oz. bottles. The special beer (9.1%) is a barrel-aged combination of Barleywine and Belgian Brown styles, with a deep ruby color, a vibrant bourbon aroma, and an "assertive, yet balanced" bitterness, according to a statement by the brewery. As if an Anniversary ale weren't enough, why did Bog Brewing decide to take the added step of making that beer the first barrel-aged beer it produces? Says Steve, "we have a good reason to celebrate and only have one chance at a first anniversary." The Anniversary Ale was aged about six months in Barton bourbon barrels and Templeton Rye Barrels and will be blended together. "We did some sampling, and the beer turned out be a very nice balance," says Steve. In addition to  hand-labelling and hand-bottling around 400-450 bottles of the Ale which will be available for purchase at the Anniversary, the brewery is also planning to offer it on tap for the special day. Steve further adds that the brewery is looking to retain some bottles to do vertical tastings in future years. 

When asked what has been most challenging during the first year, Steve replied, "What hasn't been?" "We want to give 110% effort and never rest on one good batch or get complacent." Says Steve, he and John have "not let up" since opening last year and have been going non-stop.

So, what does Year Two hold for the brothers and Bog Brewing? "We are looking to continue to hone our craft and at small growth," adds Steve. There's a possibility of adding several new styles of beer to the menu board, such as German beers. With respect to growth, the brewery is looking at possibly acquiring another fermentation tank. 

The public is invited to stop by the brewery on March 4, beginning at noon, to meet co-owners/brewers Steve and John. Pie 95 food truck will serve wood-fired pizza starting at 12:30pm. 

Photo by Linda Johnson
Bog Brewing, or simply "The Bog," as it is called, serves only craft beers brewed on site, along with wine. Patrons may purchase glass growlers of Bog beer in quart and half-gallon sizes.  The tap room is family and pet-friendly, and the venue also features a beach-like picnic area (complete with sand) at the back of the tap room.  Food trucks are on site regularly.  

Bog Brewing is located at 218 West King St., St. Augustine, and is open six days a week, beginning at 4pm Tuesday-Thursday, and at noon, Friday thru Sunday.

Yes, you can find this writer at Bog Brewing frequently! The tap room is cozy, the staff is friendly, the beers are solid, and there's always someone willing to strike up a conversation! Congratulations to Bog Brewing, and Cheers to many more years!

As Florida beerfest season continues to rock along, and many more special events continue to find their way onto events calendars, I'll see you around a beer in Florida Somewhere! Thanks for reading!

Til next time,


Linda Johnson, Certified Cicerone®

original posting date: 2/21/2017

©2017 BrewNymph, LLC. All text and photos. 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

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Old Coast Ales, St. Augustine, Set to Share the Beer on Opening Day, February 1

For Jon Boisclair and Matt Hooker, the past three-plus years of planning, building and crafting their local, community-inspired brewery are about to give way to the reality of opening their doors to the public. 

On January 30, Old Coast Ales, 300 Anastasia Blvd., held a "soft opening" preview night and will make it official on Wednesday, February 1, when the long-awaited Opening Day finally arrives. 

Last November, I visited the still-under-construction brewery and tap room and found Jon framing out the bar. Take a look at the first preview story published about Old Coast Ales, along with background about the building and the co-owners.  

Old Coast Ales opens for business, February 1
300 Anastasia Blvd., St. Augustine

Last night's soft opening probably drew more of a crowd than may have been anticipated, and there were still some things being worked out, as expected. But, the bar is now completed, and Old Coast Ales house beers are flowing from the taps. 

The new bar, all ready for beer, in the Old Coast Ales tap room.
The 1900-square-foot space houses the 7-barrel brewhouse, walk-in cooler, tap room and open activity/game room area. A covered patio overlooks "The Boulevard."  Here's a look around the space, as seen by last night's crowd: 


Much to the delight of craft beer enthusiasts, Old Coast Ales is serving up its own house beers right from the start. Beers on draft include: Burt's Summer Ale (5.4 ABV), Signal Pale Ale (5.4 ABV), Session IPA, Empirical IPA (6.5 ABV), Boulevard Brown (5.0 ABV), and Port of Call Porter (6.4 ABV). Two Kombuchas -- Ginger and Lavender Elderberry -- are also on tap. Wines are also served. Flights of Old Coast Ales beers will be available, and the tap room will also fill growlers in the near future. Logo shirts and glassware are available for purchase. The tap room offers different sizes of beers on draft, which allows for more beer sampling! Old Coast Ales has around 16+ beers already in its recipe bank. On Saturday, February 4, expect the tap room to release and add several new beers in timed tappings throughout the afternoon, including Coffee Brown Ale, Gose, and Imperial Vanilla Porter. 

The tap room is open and bright, with the brewhouse visible through a window behind the bar. 

Signal Pale Ale and a view of the brewhouse from the bar.
Malty, with a noticeable hoppiness on the backend.
Good, all-around brew for everyone.
Burt's Summer Ale, named for the yeast.
Flavors of fruits, pleasant & refreshing.

Empirical IPA (named for the bike shop).
Hopheads rejoice! Smooth, balanced,
citrus, earthy, with a hop bite.
Boulevard Brown Ale. A bit nutty with
a medium-to-full mouthfeel

Overall, locals and tourists alike will find beer they will thoroughly enjoy here at Old Coast Ales. And, sitting out on that patio sounds inviting, too. 

And, if you didn't know, the logo bike actually does exist (see the earlier preview story for the background). The "Alcohauler" is a fully functional bike and will be on display at the brewery soon. 

It's been a long road for the guys at Old Coast Ales, and it was a bit difficult to tell last night if they were going to be exhausted or ecstatic by night's end! I think both. After taking a day to prepare for the official opening day and the next stage of their ride, Old Coast Ales will open at 1pm on Wednesday, February 1. As of now, the brewery plans to open the tap room at 1pm each day, except Tuesdays (subject to change). Be sure to join them as they share their beer with you!

I've known Jon and Matt almost since they started this journey .... Congratulations on your road, your ride, and getting here!  

They actually looked pretty relaxed last night.
With Matt (l) and Jon (r). Gotta love the boots!

Old Coast Ales will be another great addition to the local and Florida craft brewery scene! And, it's been a highly anticipated opening for some time. I'm looking forward to stopping in again for the official opening and what's sure to be many more times after that!

See you around a beer .... in Florida Somewhere!

Til next time,



Linda Johnson, Certified Cicerone®

© 2017 BrewNymph, LLC. All text and photos. 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

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

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Opening Day in St. Augustine: Bog Brewing Company

It may be Spring Training elsewhere in the Sunshine State, but yesterday, St. Augustine witnessed its own Opening Day: Bog Brewing Company officially opened its doors to the public. Serving up six original house craft beers, owners Steve Mendoza, John France and Jeffery Hayes unlocked the front door at 218 West King St. to guests already waiting to be among the first customers to sample their beers. With a soft opening scheduled for noon, Steve let those folks in a few minutes early, and the steady stream of well-wishers continued throughout the day. I arrived shortly before 4pm, and I found the place humming with guests at the bar and tables. If you haven’t heard about the newest addition to the local North Florida brewery scene, take a look at my earlier story from a couple of weeks ago, where I got a sneak peek before opening day.

So, against that background, let’s get right to the beer! Bog Brewing listed the six available beers on the chalkboard behind the bar and also had laminated menu sheets describing each. There’s also wine available.

Bog Brewing intends to rotate the selection of beers, and on this Opening Day, they hit a home run with this team: Wheat IPA, Single Hop IPA, Cream Ale, Peach Mango IPA, Chipotle Porter and Chipotle Cream Ale. I like to try different beers, so I checked out a flight consisting of the first four.

L to R:  Wheat IPA, Single Hop IPA, Cream Ale, Peach Mango IPA

At the outset, I’ll say that Bog Brewing scores with its Cream Ale (6.0 ABV), a lighter brew that has good character. It’s a refreshing beer that’s a bit different from other cream ales in that there’s a noticeable, but yet subtle, spiciness from the Fuggles hops. It’ll be a go-to for Bog Brewing customers, as well as craft beer newbies alike.

Moving on to the Peach Mango IPA (6.7 ABV), this one has a pleasant light fruity aroma, with a touch of mango and peach flavor. Nice balancing with the citrusy hops, the result is a blend of flavors that work well together, with a dry finish. 

When I visited the guys a few weeks ago, I sampled the Wheat IPA (6.7 ABV), and I was looking forward to having another one! The wheat gives this beer a bit of fluffiness, which complements the citrus overtones from the Cascade and Centennial hops. What stands out here to me, though, is that the citrus doesn’t overpower your tastebuds. Another reliable beer.

Last of the flight was the Single Hop IPA, featuring the fruity New Zealand Pacific Jade hop, along with caramel malt. I also detected spicy/herbal notes. This beer is just hoppy enough without being a hop-bomb, is pleasing to the palate, and is highly drinkable.

 Then, I decided to wander into the Chipotle Porter. I’m typically not drawn to peppery and hot-spicy beers, but I was hearing good things, so I thought I’d give it a try. OK, that sample was pretty good, so I opted for the full pint (I’m a rebel). I first noticed the smokiness on the aroma, which followed through to the flavor. Abundant roastiness. And, wait for it … on the back end of this beer, the chipotle peppers make their presence known. Your tongue and taste buds feel and taste the heat, but want more at the same time. The beer is brewed with beechwood smoked malt and chipotles. Hey, Bog Brewing, you got me with this one.

Rounding out the beer selection was the Chipotle Cream Ale (6.0 ABV). It’s a hot version of the Cream Ale, aged on chipotles. I didn’t try this one, since I figured I had been daring enough already with the Porter, but I heard it packs a punch. That’ll be for another day.

And, you’ll probably want to take some of those brews back home with you, so get a quart growler to go (yes, they were filling them).

Bog Brewing is open 5 days a week, closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Stop by and see these guys, and enjoy a pint or flight in a friendly, neighborhood bar. The beer selection will change as they brew new beers and add to the roster, so you might want to check out this all-star opening lineup.

Til next time! Cheers!


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Shhhhh! ..... Bog Brewing Company Ready to Open in St. Augustine

See also: my follow-up story from March 5

Quietly, over on West King St. in St. Augustine, just west of the US 1/King St. intersection which leads to downtown, three guys who love beer have been hard at work converting a building which previously housed a former pawn shop and an old drugstore/soda shop into a craft brewery and community tap room. 

From the outside, you may not have noticed much going on at 218 W. King St., but inside, the transformation is just about complete, and within the next couple of weeks or so, you'll be able to visit and taste the small batch brews crafted by Bog Brewing Company

Brothers Steve Mendoza and John France, along with long-time friend Jeffery Hayes, are the partner/owners of the business.  While Steve and John are the head brewers, Jeffery will focus on running the bar. Each has a background in the hospitality business, and Steve has homebrewed for around eight years. 

Former drugstore-turned pawnshop is home to the new
Bog Brewing Company, at 218 W. King St.

Originally from South Florida, Steve later relocated to Washington, DC, where he developed an appreciation for, and knowledge of, craft beer as a bartender and manager of Pizzeria Paradiso, a restaurant that emphasized craft and import beer selections. He also lived in the beer-centric town of Asheville, NC for a while and was the General Manager of the Thirsty Monk, a beer bar with two locations. Likewise, Jeffery, from Central Florida, also worked in the same DC establishment, and most recently worked at the acclaimed local St. Augustine restaurant The Floridian. 

Somewhere along the way, Steve decided open a brewery and tap room, and enlisted the help of John and Jeffery. Jeffery had already been familiar with St. Augustine from various trips here. They searched around the East Coast of Florida for a brewery location, and ultimately determined that the small town nature and ambience of St. Augustine meshed with the "neighborhood bar" feel that they wanted to create. The pawnshop building had a certain feel that appealed to them, and the West King area is seeing a revitalization. So, in February of 2015, they started remodeling the 1500-square-foot building, basically starting from scratch. They did the framing and built the bar themselves. 

Large, open space is home to the tap room
and the brewhouse

From the street, you may not have seen what's been going on inside, but the end result of months of hard work is an openly warm and inviting tap room with a small-batch brewery providing the backdrop. I visited Bog Brewing yesterday, and the interior immediately reminded me of one of those bars "where people know your name." You get the idea. There were still tools and power cords around the place, as the "work-in-progress" winds down, but the bar is finished and the furniture is in place (there are even hooks under the bar for your jacket or handbag -- nice touch!). The buildout was pretty much finished about a month ago. See that entryway in the above photo?  That's the old wooden drugstore entrance, which still has the old cola sign in the upper window. Kind of a cool nostalgic character. 

Well, I guess you should meet these guys:
John, Steve, Jeffery (left to right)
(photo from Bog Brewing website)
I had not met Steve, John or Jeffery before this, but I felt like I had made some new friends just in the short time of this visit. They're really nice guys, pretty laid-back. In speaking with them one-on-one, it's obvious that they want to provide guests with a friendly experience, along with serving up some creative craft beer! You'll find each of them behind the bar at some point. 

The brewhouse consists of a 3.5 barrel brewing system, obtained from Brevard Brewing in North Carolina. Actually, Steve acquired the equipment in 2014 and held it in storage until the right time. In addition, there are two new 7-barrel fermenters. Steve pointed out that there have been "nice" 10-12 hour double-brewing days lately! And, when I arrived, they were indeed brewing up a new batch of their cream ale (yeah, it smelled good!). The brewhouse sits along one side of the open interior. 

What kind of beer can you expect?  The bar has 6 taps, and Bog Brewing will constantly rotate the beer styles. The beers will be ales (fermentation time takes longer for lagers), and you'll see different beer styles represented. This will also give Steve and John a chance to do some creative brewing, too. 

View from the bar
As of now, Bog Brewing has two IPAs ready to drink, in addition to the cream ale.  One is a Wheat IPA (6.6% ABV), and one is a Single Hop IPA. A chipotle porter might also be on the way soon. I sampled the Wheat IPA, which is a pale IPA (by the way, I found it very tasty). The late-addition of Cascade and Centennial hops provides citrus notes that make for an easy-drinking IPA (it's not along the lines of a citrusy session IPA). I'm already looking forward to another one of those! 

You'll be able to grab some branded merchandise, too: shirts, hats, sweatshirts.  

Although the brewery has quart growlers in stock, these aren't likely to be available for filling right away. But, hey, getting them filled for your fridge will give you something to look forward to!

And, check out that brewery graphic: a beer mug with a head of beer in the shape of the state of Florida (that was John's idea). The name Bog Brewing just fell into place, considering the nearby marshes and bogs that are found in the area, and the guys also love to go fishing. 

For now, Bog Brewing isn't looking to distribute its beer outside of the brewery. The focus is on the beer and the bar. All three of the guys have been doing whatever needs to be done (jack-of-all-trades kind of thing). Now that the buildout and initial planning stages are done, and the construction dust has settled, they can look ahead to getting down to the daily business of brewing beer and serving the thirsty public! They are still working on setting tap room hours, so stay tuned. Signage is also forthcoming. 

And, lastly, when does Bog Brewing anticipate opening? Look for a relatively quiet "soft opening" sometime in early March. 

Something tells me that this isn't going to stay quiet for too long.....

Welcome to St. Augustine, Bog Brewing Company! 

It was pretty cool getting a behind-the-scenes look at this new brewery before it opens, and thanks to the guys for the "sneak peek."  

Be sure to take a look at the BeerSphere Events page and "Tap This" calendar page (click on the tabs at the top) for events and things going on around the North Florida 904 area. I'm constantly updating those pages. In the meantime, you can usually find me around a brewery, bar, restaurant, or beer event somewhere, so don't be shy, and say Hi!


Til next time,

Peace, Love, Pints®

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

May your pint glasses, steins and mugs be full of Christmas cheer!

Thank you!

Peace, Love, Pints®


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

It Was Cookin' at Brewz n Dawgz' First Beer Dinner with Cigar City Brewing

When I first found out a couple of months ago about the first Beer Dinner being planned at Brewz n Dawgz in St. Augustine (December 22), I was intrigued.  After all, how does a menu featuring brats/hot dogs offer the culinary variety and flair usually associated with these pairings?  As I saw the food menu come together, my interest was further piqued (not to mention that it really sounded good). And, then I got the lowdown from owner Roger Lim on the beer menu (exclusive, I might add).  Nothing like a new place hosting its first beer dinner with some creative brews from the most recognizable craft brewery in the state of Florida, Cigar City Brewing.  

If you aren't yet familiar with Brewz n Dawgz, first of all, go back and read my earlier story here. It's a new craft beer bar that opened in July of this year at the southeast corner of US 1 and SR 312.  It features 24 rotating drafts of Florida craft beer, along with a large selection of bottled beers, and you can earn your name on the prestigious "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" list if you drink 'em. Moreover, there's a kitchen that serves up organic, non-GMO, humane food items in the nature of brats, hot dogs, fries and chips. It's not a "typical" "hot dog place," however, because this menu offers items such as a Breakfast Dawg, Cuban Dawg (my favorite), Cali Dawg, Spicy Dragon Dawg, Slaw Dawg, and Veggie Dawg options, along with organic chips and fries (with toppings, too) (see their online menu). 

So, how did they do?  With each food and beer pairing, Roger explained the food item, and Kyle, the local Cigar City Brewing rep, provided info on the beer. I hadn't heard of some of these beers before, as they are limited releases or only available in Tampa. Take a look:

Irish Cheddar Cheese Appetizer & Raspberry Wit/White Ale: three types of cheddar (whiskey, stout [smoked], aged white cheddar) with roasted sunflower seeds. Flavorful with a mild sharpness. Sunflower seeds a crunchy contrast. Beer: Florida Cracker Wit with raspberry puree (6%).  I'll be honest: I'm not usually a fan of wit beers, but the raspberry toned down the coriander/citrus of the wit enough for me, and the pink-colored beer was a delicious raspberry beer without too much sweetness. Good pairing, neither overpowering the other. 

3-Bean Organic Chili & Slow as Molasses Old Ale: Corn chips over hearty bean chili. Chili with robust flavor, not overly spicy. Beer: collaboration beer with SwampHead Brewery (Gainesville), poured from the bottle (10.4%). Dark amber color; sweet with a slight warming; alcohol became apparent following warming; no dark fruit flavors; very tasty. Good complementary pairing on strengths of flavors, yet the sweetness of the beer contrasted with the hearty chili.

The dinner was a sold-out event

Roger behind the bar...

Italian Spicy Beef Dog Bites & Hard Cider: Battered nuggets filled with organic pepper jack, jalapenos, and meat. Lots of heat on this one, and if you like spicy, this was for you. Good coating on the bites. Drink: Hard Cider (5.5%) made with apples from Pacific Northwest; sweet and slightly dry. As one who doesn't usually drink ciders, I was pleasantly surprised on the flavor. Good pairing of contrasting flavors: spicy against sweet.

Black Bean Burger & Blueberry Ginger IPA: Black bean patty with hint of datil peppers; the spice from the datils came at the end; a different flavor that meshed well.  Beer: Jai Alai IPA treated with ginger and blueberry (7.5%); slight ginger on the nose; more pine on taste with background of blueberry; different mix of flavors with subtle but noticeable hoppiness. Contrasting pairing of bean and spice in the dish, with cooling of the blueberry and different spice in the ginger.

Cheeze Dawger with chili, fries and cheddar & Lue Gim Gong Pale Ale: Grass-fed organic ground beef with fries, chili and cheese wrapped up in a bun. Comfort food meets upscale; a hearty and palate-pleasing dish. This was a favorite. Beer: Invasion Pale Ale with orange peel aged on white oak and orange peel (5%).  Less hop taste than the base Invasion pale ale, notes of vanilla from the oak; packs a punch of flavor from the orange and oak, very easy-drinking.  Named after Florida horticulturist, circa 1700s, known for working on the growth of the state's orange industry. Heartiness of the dish contrasts with the less-hoppy drinkability of the beer. 

Leftover Turkey Dawg & Peach White Oak IPA: Turkey provolone sausage, organic mashed potato fries, croutons from buns, topped with turkey gravy on a roll, with a side of cranberries. Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner on a bun! Tender turkey with subtle seasonings, and hearty gravy. Savory, wonderful flavor. Beer: Jai Alai IPA treated with peach (7.5%) on white oak; sweetness of peach with vanilla notes with slight bitterness on the back end, good balance with hoppiness; ridiculously good treatment.  Seamless complementary pairing here, as the lighter flavors of the turkey balanced perfectly with the slightly sweet but light peach beer. 

Brewz n Dawgz' first beer dinner sold out last week, and from my observations of everyone there, it was a definite success!  So, that's how you craft artisan dawgz!  Pair that with the creativity that Cigar City Brewing always brings to the keg and bottle, and it was an impressive combination. 

And, of course, there's an obligatory photo with this blogger:

With Kyle (left) and Roger (right), and...
a bottle of Slow as Molasses
Thumbs Up to Brewz n Dawgz and Cigar City Brewing on a fun, tasty, and even educational evening.  You cooked it up right!

Til next time, I'll see you around St. Augustine, Jax, or somewhere in North Florida. And, keep track of the events listed on the BeerSphere page of this site, because 2016 is pretty much here.... 


Peace, Love, Pints®