Monday, November 30, 2009

Review: Lazy Magnolia's Southern Pecan

Mississippi is a place I think of for moonshine more than beer but the Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company is changing that. This is the first beer that I have tried from them and had heard good things. I was a bit skeptical if I was going to like this at first because I'm not a huge fan of pecan pie. Though the beer does have the sweet nutty taste of a pecan pie it doesn't overload you with sticky sweetness. It has a nice dark brown color that goes very well with the whole theme of the beer. The smell of nutty maltyness just made me want to put this to my lips. The tastes were the perfect blend, a bit of sweetness with a very slight bitterness you would expect from a pecan. The mouthfeel was not overwhelmingly sticky, like I was expecting. It actually had a nice bit of carbonation and medium body to it. The roasted malt finish was a great finish to what could be one of my go-to session beers. I picked this beer up while I was in Naples so start requesting it at local stores and bars hopefully we will see it over on this side of the state soon enough.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Beers for Thanksgiving

So it's that time of year again. It's starting to get a little colder out. The Halloween decorations start getting put away and people start getting ready for Christmas. It's that little holiday in between that is one of my favorites, Thanksgiving. I've been getting people asking me lately what beer I will have with my Thanksgiving dinner. It would probably have to be a couple different beers since it is an all day event.

Pre-dinner/Early football games: I'd probably start off with something light. I'd probably pick up a nice pilsner like Victory's Prima Pils or possibly a nice pale ale like something along the lines of Dale's Pale Ale. This will get your ready for the main course ahead.

Dinner: With my Thanksgiving dinner we'll be having a good bit of fruit sprinkled in the meal so I'll want something to help bring those out a little more. I will probably treat myself to a saison for this. Ommegang Hennepin or Saison Dupont would probably be two of my choices for the main course. Saisons can be a bit funky so if they are something you aren't used to you might want to have a pale ale like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or an amber like Stone Levitation. You could also go with something to compliment the carmelization on the turkey skin. A Belgian strong ale, like a Chimay Grande Reserve(Blue), would do a good choice with it's malty-ness and fruit overtones.

Dessert: Depending on what you are having for dessert would help dictate the beer but you can never go wrong with a stout. A good coffee or chocolate stout always work out well. My choice for the occasion will be Brooklyn's Black Chocolate Stout. With it's great sweet taste it will go well with any dessert. If you are a fan of pumpkin pie I would suggest pairing it with Weyerbacher's Imperial Pumpkin Ale. Don't be scared off by the imperial part, it's not as strong in taste as you might be thinking.

My best suggestion is to drink something you enjoy for Thanksgiving. Whatever you feel is good is the right selection for you. Enjoy and have a great Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Growlers Now Available at BX Beer Depot

Florida has some strange laws but this one to me seems to be one of the strangest. You are only allowed to sell containers of beer under 32 oz and over one gallon(128oz). I guess those 96oz in between are the problem ounces.

Starting last Friday, BX Beer Depot is the first in South Florida to offer you the chance to fill growlers. Of course, the growlers have to be either under 32oz or over one gallon. With prices ranging from $13.50 to $25.00 for their lineup this week. And what a lineup it is. Not only are these some really great beers, if you can find them in the bottle, but some of these you can only get on tap. And only at BX Beer Depot. So head on over fill up a growler and bring it home to share with your friends.

Beer lineup:
Stone Anniversary
Stone Cali Belgique
Stone Vertical Epic
Lagunitas Little Sumpin Extra
Left Hand/ Terrapin Depth Charge(only 1 of 2 kegs available in South FL)
Star Hill Pale
Star Hill Love
Star Hill Dark Star Stout
Star Hill Jomo Lager

BX Beer Depot
2964 Second Avenue North
Lake Worth, FL 33461

Friday, November 20, 2009

Homebrewing with The Decemberists

If you are unfamiliar with the Portland, Oregon band The Decemberists you wouldn't be the only ones. This up-and-coming indie rock band has been starting to make a name for themselves in the last couple of years. The Al Gore owned, Current TV, recently caught up with them in Portland to talk to them about their upcoming tour and also about bassist Nate Query's love of brewing beer in his off time. Check out the video below.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Review: Abita's Abbey Ale

Abita is to Louisiana what Shiner is to Texas. This Abbey Ale is something a little different from this Louisiana brewery. Brewed in the Belgian style this Abbey Dubbel ale was more than I was expecting from a brewery that hadn't brewed a beer in this style before. It poured a dark brown with a good inch of frothy head on it. The sweet smell of banana and cloves are the first to hit your nose with some yeasty bready goodness coming up in the rear. The taste isn't far off from the aroma with all of those taste mingling together nicely. It has a bit of a sticky slightly watery mouth feel to it with a good amount of carbonation. It leave you going down with a bit of sweetness but followed with a slight spice bite at the end.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

American Consumer Satisfaction Index shows beer up

The University of Michigan's American Consumer Satisfaction Index has come out today with it's new findings. It shows that even though the US may be in a recession that things are doing better. The overall ACSI has risen 1.4% from where it was just a year ago at the start and, what some might say, the worst of the recession.

Well, some of you might be wondering what the heck the American Consumer Satisfaction Index even is. I'll let them tell you what they are.

"Developed at the University of Michigan, the American Customer Satisfaction Index is a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of products and services available to household consumers in the United States. It is updated each quarter with new measures for different sectors of the economy replacing data from the prior year. The overall ACSI score for a given quarter factors in scores from about 200 companies in 44 industries and from government agencies over the previous four quarters."

So, it is pretty much an indicator of if people think the stuff they are buying is worth the money.

Beer has been one of the categories that is studied by the ACSI that has been on an increase since the recession has started. It has risen 1% to 84% since the last quarter to its highest rating since the ACSI was started in 1994. The study only covers the macrobreweries with Anheuser-Bush InBev with the biggest increase of 4% to 85%. Miller is up 1% to 83% and Coors is down 2% to 81%. There is another section for All Others(no further breakdown on that section) that has an increase of 3.7% to 85%. The increase in AB InBev is accredited to it's lower priced brands like Natural Light and Busch and also for new products like Bud Light Lime and Golden Wheat. Coors decrease in score is accredited to a larger portion of its portfolio being higher priced brands. The merger of Anheuser-Bush and InBev has been a factor in it being able to keep it's prices down by cutting some of it's cost by selling off it's theme parks, cutting 1,000 jobs, and overhauling the management at the company.

In the future I would like to see how the microbrewies play in and what their ACSI scores would be in comparison to the macrobreweries. What would kind of score would you give your favorite breweries? Which ones do you think are worth the money?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pints For Prostates Biking Fundraiser Nov. 21st in Orlando

So, if you are on this site then you must like beer. Most likely you also know someone with a prostrate(that would be most males). You may also like to bike. Well, this is your lucky day because you'll have a chance to drink, support and bike all at once.

On November 21st, the Mellow Mushroom restaurants in Orlando will be hosting a 24 mile round trip bike ride from the Mellow Mushroom at 11680 E. Colonial Drive in Orlando to the Mellow Mushroom at 2015 Aloma Ave. in Winter Park to support Pints for Prostates. For an entrance fee of $25 you will get the opportunity to sample some of Bell's Brewery's great beers and get to have some Mellow Mushroom pizza at the end of your ride. You will also be entered in a raffle for other great prizes. If the 24 miles is a bit much for you, you can also do a 12 mile ride back from the Winter Park location to the Orlando location. For more details, contact George or Kris at either store- (407)657-7755 for Winter Park or (407)384-4455 for Orlando.

Money raised from the event will go to support the Pints for Prostates campaign. Pints for Prostates was created by Rick Lyke, a drink journalist and prostate cancer survivor, in 2008. It helps to raise awareness about the need for men to get tested for prostate cancer through the language of beer. You can watch the video below to learn more about the cause and you can visit the Pints for Prostates site for more info about the cause and what you can do.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Urbanite Bistro Beer Dinner

The new bistro in town, Urbanite, is set to start it's monthly beer dinners on November 20th. It is a six course meal paired with six different beers. Urbanite is known to use some out of ordinary ingredients that you don't find at a lot of restaurants which should make for an interesting beer dinner. At $35 for six course and six beers you can't go wrong. Make sure to reserve by November 18th to secure your spot. Check out the menu below:

Course I - Woodpecker Pear Cider with Wild Mushroom Empanadas (vegan-white truffle gravy)
Course II - Ayinger Hefe Weizen with Wild Mussels (lemon grass broth with a touch of Thai red curry)
Course III - Victory Pilsner with Alligator Egg Rolls (roasted mango and jalapeno crème)
Course IV - Victory Smoking King Stout with Moroccan Lamb Sliders (tomato, harissa mayo and tabbouleh)
Course V - Rogue Chocolate Stout with Natural Short Rib (braised vegetables and roasted garlic mashed potatoes)
Course VI - Seadog Wild Blueberry with Pear Cobbler

Urbanite Bistro
62 NE 14th St
Miami, FL 33132-1334

(305) 374-0662

Lunch, Mon-Fri: 11 am – 3 pm

Dinner, Mon-Sat: 5 pm – 11 pm

Late Night: Thu-Sat, 11 pm – 3:30 am


Mon-Wed: 11 am – 1 am

Thu-Sat: 11 am – 4 am

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Interview: Bob Gordash of Gordash Beer Company

If you have been in a bar, store or restaurant in the last few years then you are probably familiar with Holy Mackerel. This Florida based beer company has been making quite a name for itself over the last few years, not only in Florida but also around the country. I decided to talk to the man behind the beer, Bob Gordash, about how he got to where he is today and what he has going on in the future.

South Florida Beer Blog: What is your position at Gordash and what do you do?
Bob Gordash: I am the Founder and President of Gordash Beer Company, and as such I test brew every beer that we plan on bringing to market. I also am largely involved in the marketing, sales, and promoting of Holy Mackerel beers.

SFBB: When did the brewery open and how did you get into brewing?
BG: We started business about 3 years ago by bringing to market my Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale which I had already been brewing for about 10 years and tweaking during that period. I got started brewing about 15 years ago by picking up a small kit from the Sharper Image store here in South Florida.

How long have you been brewing beer?
BG: For about 15 years, reading every thing I could get my hands on about the craft and touring many breweries throughout the United States and getting tips from many of the brewers.

SFBB: Did you work in the beer industry before you started brewing and if so, how did it help you in the position you are in now?
BG: As I mentioned I have been brewing for 15 years, but only formed my brewing company 3 years ago. I work for a local beer distributor that specializes in craft beers for about 5 beers and this has helped educate me as to the marketing and sales aspect.

SFBB: Do you remember the first beer you brewed? Was it any good?
BG: The first I ever brewed was a Canadian style ale that I brewed using the Sharper Image kit that I purchased. I was amazed that the beer turned out good, not excellent, but it tasted like beer.

SFBB: You only have Holy Mackerel and Mack In Black right now. Any plans on adding new beers anytime soon?
BG: Yes, I plan on a new beer for early 2010. All I can tell you is that it will be another strong Belgian style ale.

SFBB: What is the process for deciding on new beer recipes?
BG: The process for deciding a new beer recipe for me is the same as a good solid musician has to decide what music to produce on his next album. First and foremost the music has to be something the musician enjoys,but that has to be balanced with something that is marketable.
So it’s much the same with our company we’re not going to brew anything that doesn’t get us excited. At the same time, this is a business and we have to balance that by brewing something that we know is also exciting for the public. I have always loved brewing and drinking the beers of Belgium and in my 15 years of brewing I found that many of my friends who were not familiar with craft beers or Belgian beers also truly enjoy them.

SFBB: You just moved the brewing of the beers from Florida Beer Company in Melbourne to Thomas Creek in SC. Any reason for this?
BG: Actually we continue to use both breweries. Our Mack in Black is still brewed in Melbourne and much of our special golden ale in draft form is still brewed in Melbourne. The change that we made was that our special golden ale bottles are now being brewed at Thomas Creek Brewing in Greenville, South Carolina. One of the main reasons we made this change is that we always wanted our golden ale to be bottled unfiltered and the way that Florida Beer Company is set up it’s just not possible to do this, but by using the Thomas Creek Brewery we are able to keep our golden ale almost identical to the draft version because it now is unfiltered and unpasteurized. We also like the fact that we have 2 breweries that know how to make our beer and because this helps us meet with the demand and also helps some states save on shipping costs depending on their location.

SFBB: Do you ever plan to have your own brewing facility?
BG: This is something that we have always thought about and it is still in the back of our minds, but we feel that first and foremost we need to focus on the sale and marketing of our beers and our next step in that direction would be adding sales people before adding a brewery.

In what states are your beers distributed and do you have plans to expand to other states?
BG: Our beer is distributed in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, North and South Carolina, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware and our next step believe it or not is Oklahoma because of requests that we have had from there and also because we have a sales person already in place.

SFBB: What sets your beers apart from others?
BG: If you are speaking about your average every day mainstream beer such as Bud, Miller, Corona, what sets our beers apart would be summed up in one word “flavor”. We’re not interested in producing beers that are void of flavor, watery and as these companies promote as having no after taste. Our goal is to produce beers that are loaded with flavor and that purposely leave an after taste that says “give me some more!”
Of course today there are lots of excellent craft beers available that are full of flavor as well. In fact we enjoy drinking many of them. But still Holy Mackerel beers are set apart from them as well because we strive to do things that are unique, different and daring. We love to play around with spices, for example. And our idea behind Mack in Black was producing an 8% black ale that really doesn’t fit into any style. It looks much like an Imperial Stout but it’s definitely not. It’s much drier and it has a subtle touch of pomegranate.

SFBB: What are some of your favorite beers besides your own?
BG: Recently I had Sweetwater Brewing’s Creeper which was a Belgian style IPA and that really stands out as one of the best beers I have had in a long time. I also enjoyed their Big Belgian Blue Balls which is a strong Belgian ale made with blueberries. Of course some of my favorite beers are Belgian beers like Westmalle Trippel, Chimay White Label and Belgian style beers like Avery Salvation and Allagash Trippel. Of course I enjoy many styles of beers and some other beers that I enjoy are Avery IPA, Smuttynose IPA, Avery Maharajah and Victory Prima Pils.

SFBB: Can we look for you at any beer fests that are coming up?
BG: Yes, all of them. City Link has a beer festival the end of November that we will be attending, the very beginning of December we’ll be attending a beer festival in downtown West Palm Beach and in January we will be in Jupiter for the Jupiter Beer Festival and also Total Wine and 93 Rock are sponsoring a beer festival February 26, 2010 at Gulfstream Park, not to mention the we’ll also be at the World Beer Festival in Columbia, South Carolina and Raleigh, North Carolina in the early part of 2010.

SFBB: What do you think of the South Florida Beer scene?
BG: I think it has no where to go but up. More and more people in South Florida are catching on to great IPAs, double IPAs, strong Belgian ales and realizing that beer is not just for guzzling but can be savored and enjoyed sip by sip. Also, many are realizing that beer can be just as good if not better then wine when paired with many fine foods, cheeses and the like. Stage 84 for example in Davie is doing a Beer and Cheese pairing on Friday November 13th, which will include our beers.

SFBB: If someone wanted to be a brewer one day what advice would you give them?
BG: If somebody wanted to brew for a hobby, I would say go for it. It’s a lot of fun being creative and seeing the rewards of your creativity and sharing that with others. But if someone wants to become a commercial brewer, I would say the same thing but I would add 3 words, patience, patience, patience. Be prepared to wait for the pay off. This is something that we have always been prepared to do and we have no problem with it because we’re having fun every sip of the way.

SFBB: Any final thoughts?
BG: I encourage everyone to support their local brewers. Besides ourselves there are other local brewers that are producing excellent beers of different styles right here in our back yard and although they may be using someone else’s facility to produce the beer it doesn’t discount the fact that it’s their expertise, creativity and imagination that create these works of art.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Micorbrew By The River - Kayak By The Moonlight

When most people think of a beer tasting they don't usually associate it with kayaking, but that is all going to change this Friday. Josh Brent from Fresh Beer will be hosting a very tasty and informative kayaking journey. This wild adventure will start off at 6:00PM at the Blue Marlin Fish House on the Oleta River in North Miami with a pre-kayaking tasting of a couple of lighter beers and some food. At 7:30PM everyone will get in the kayaks, with some coolers full of beers being pulled behind them, and head out down the river. Along the way everyone will gather together and taste a couple more beers. Once the trip has returned back to land , at about 9:30PM Josh will finish off the tasting with the heavier beers. Some of the beers that will be featured at the tasting will be Avery's White Rascal, Monk In The Trunk, Dale's Pale Ale, Stone IPA, Victory Prima Pils and Storm King Stout. If I wasn't going to be out of town this Friday I would love to do this. It would be nice to get out and get some fresh air and have some good beers instead of just sitting in a smoky bar for once. If you are interested in going you can you can call to reserve your spot at (305)957-8822. The tasting and kayaking will run you $40 per person.

Blue Marlin Fish House
2500 NE 163rd St.
North Miami, FL 33160


Monday, November 2, 2009

Review: Anchor Small Beer

Anchor Small Beer is Anchor Brewing's attempt at returning to an old tradition of brewing where you make a second beer from the mash of a first beer. This small beer is made from Anchor's Old Foghorn barleywine style ale. Though the Small Beer is made from the Old Foghorn mash the beers couldn't be more different. Anchor Small Beer is only 3.3% ABV. It has a thin bitter taste with barely any malt flavor. You're left with a pretty bland tasting beer. If you want to try a beer style many people don't make anymore, than this is worth a try. However, if you are looking for great tasting beer, I would reach for something else.