Sunday, January 31, 2010

BEERflections ~ Field of Beers 2010

A personal promise for the New Year is getting out and about to as many beer related activities and locations as possible: beer fests, tastings, dinners, release parties, bars, brewpubs, restaurants, gastropubs, and more. The wallet is the limit and I plan on stretching it to the point of breaking. Helping me along the way are friends of a similar feather. For example, just last Friday, January 29th 2010, I had the extreme pleasure of accompanying Tim and Ryan to the Field of Beers at the Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, FL. Over a dozen different breweries, local and national, took over the stadium from 1st Base to Third, dugouts included. Each brewery featured one beer from their star-studded portfolio which was in-turn paired with one culinary masterpiece prepared right before your eyes. I was officially in beer geek foodie paradise.

I hooked up with Ryan at Tim’s man-pad before we hooked up with I95 in Ryan’s pimpin’ black mustang, windows down, cigars in hand, and beer in sight. Parking was easy thanks to two generous multi-level garages while getting into the stadium involved two simple beeps of approval as our tickets were scanned. Passing through the wrought-iron gates, I could see the light…but first a moment with the facilities. That business taken care of (no thanks to Nozzle Nolen), I climbed those concrete steps gilded in promise to find a table of empty glasses and three solid hours of beervana.

A few highlights come to mind.

First and foremost, Matt of Corner Café and Brewery was there along with the ever delightful Lisa. Brewed just for the Field of Beers 2010, Matt delighted my tastebuds with his expertly balanced Bourbon-Barrel Milk Stout. Each flavor melted into the next in sensuous harmony. Accompanying his Bourbon-Barrel Milk Stout was an Ancho and Chocolate Rubbed and “Slow-Roasted” Beef Brisket. Equally melt-in-the-mouth, both were heavenly.

Being the seafood loving tiki bar lounging Caribbean-styled beer geek foodie extraordinaire that I am, the Pan Seared Diver Scallops paired with the Humming Ale from Anchor Brewing was a must taste destination. I’ve savored many Anchor beers, but the Humming Ale was a welcome surprise. Delightfully playful, citrusy, and bright, she was a perfect partner to the gargantuan scallops seared to buttery perfection, set atop sesame seed flatbread, and garnished with fresh mango salsa. Ohmygawd. I think polar bears in Alaska heard my moans of indulgence.

The loveable Rich Nowak of Brooklyn Brewery was there, Greg assisting, as every ear-pleasing pop of the cork sent goose bumps crawling up my arms. Right now you are envisioning the Local 1…and you are wrong. The equally tasty and far too underappreciated Local 2 was flowing profusely into eager glasses such as mine, Ryan’s, and Tim’s. Our gourmet accompaniment was the finger-licking Grilled Lollipop Lamb Chops. Marinated in chimichurri and topped with Local 2 glazed onions, caramelized brown sugar sweetness met succulent and spicy for a chart-topping flavor explosion.

Saint Somewhere of Tarpon Springs, FL presented their Saison Athene, a beautiful lass fresh and with age, divine inspiration. Spicy, yeasty, and tropical with a heavy breath of floral and herbal esters, her intense palate was a hearty match for the Seared Florida Snapper Mini Tacos. Layers of snapper, chipotle aioli, roasted vegetables relish, and cilantro battled it out atop my tongue with the Saison Athene for a tasty draw. Sometimes it is not about who wins, but how the game is played.

In terms of over-the-top cannibalism, Stone Brewing wins hands-down with the La Caja China – Pig Roasting Box and their Smoked Porter. As a rauche beer fanatic, I would have enjoyed more smoke in my beer to pair with the smoke in my pig which was carved to order and served on a crunchy potato pancake. Rauche fetish aside, it is my humbly righteous opinion that more food events need to involve the whole package with all the bits and nibbles. As for the pig in question, he ended up in a happier place: my stomach.

There were two instances where I skipped the beer and went straight for the food: the Venison Slider and the Poached Oyster Shooter. In the grand scheme of things, did I get to taste all the beers and all the food? No. Did I have a fanfreakingtastic evening? Yes.

Beer fests are all well and good, but these beer and food celebrations share a special place in my heart. I’ve never met a good beer that didn’t like good food, and I’ve never met good food that didn’t like a good beer. The company was equally smashing, and I loved the thoughtful addition of glass rinsing stations scattered generously throughout the event. Truly a diverse night which further proves there are no beer stereotypes. Woman and man, young and old, geeks, amateurs, and lots of good old fashioned fun filled the night air.

My very own personal highlight was thanks to Tim who introduced me to the man behind the table pouring the illustrious Bell’s Hopslam. Yes folks, Kristyn Lier got to shake hands with and tell Mr. Larry Bell himself how much I love his beers. Rock on and Peace out.

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Vero Beach: Bell's Beer Tasting @ Hurricane Grill & Wings

I'll be there, front and center.

Click HERE for location.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Vero Beach: USO Rocks America

Feel the need for speed? Want to fly a fighter plane? Drive an Indy car? A NASCAR experience? You’ll have your chance in the Auction at USO ROCKS AMERICA on February 19, 2010 hosted by Vero Heritage, Inc. Dance to The Landsharks, catering by Bono’s, target practice, Americana themed microbrews provided by Great Spirits, view The National Navy SEAL Museum’s special ops craft used in Iraq, help Military Mom’s Prayer Group support our troops and view an inspirational fly-over and static display by a WWII Stearman bi-plane, decked in authentic U.S. Army Air Corps insignia as we honor both the history of the Heritage Center and the men and women who have served and are currently serving in our armed forces.

Where:Paris Air Hangar. 6:30 p.m.
Attire: your favorite “USO” era- 1940’s to present or casual.
Cost of Admission: $60 pp /$110 for two. Advance reservations required.
Contact: 772-770-2263 or online at

Orlando Brew News

Sunday, January 31st:
Orlando Brewing 3rd Annual Chili Cook Off
Enter your favorite award winning recipe (mild, medium, hot).

$10 Entry Fee. Please bring at least a half-gallon of chili for judging. All foods must be prepared ahead.

Judging begins at 5pm.

Prizes will be given for the Overall Best Chili and for the best Mild, Medium, & Hot Categories.

Stop by the tap room to pick up an entry form. All entry forms must be completed and submitted with your $10 entry fee to Orlando Brewing Taproom by Saturday, January 30, 2010.

WOB Viera Beer News

At long last.........Thanks for being patient! We want to give you a run down of what you should expect in the World of Beer weekly newsletter so you can have a steady path to becoming a beer connoisseur. Every week we will update you on upcoming events, music, new drafts and new bottles. We want to make sure that your experience will be fun and exciting. Thanks for subscribing and check out our website There is a lot of information that will keep you informed on the latest.

Grand Opening Party
This Saturday, January 30 is our Grand Opening Party from 3 - 7 pm. We will be having free beer samples, live music by national recording artist from Nashville, Tennessee, Chris Nathan, complimentary food, give aways and much more. Come join us for the party. It will be like no other party you have been to. If you can't wait until Saturday, join us Thursday for our weekly Ladies Night with half off wines and selected drafts with music by Matt Adkins. Or stop by on Friday night and visit with the Dos Equis girls with music by Wilcor. Click here for the flyer.

The Big Game
Come watch football on Sunday February 7, its time to party for the Big Game! $1 off all drafts and wines by the glass. Wear your logo of the team that scores and receive a free beer shot. We will have complimentary food for loyalty card holders. Let's party and have a super time! Click here for the flyer.

New Bottles
Brooklyner Schneider Hopfen Weisse, 8.5% (New York)
Inlet Monk in the Trunk, 5.5% (Florida)
O.B. TenFidy, 9.5% (Colorado)
New England Sea Hag IPA, 6.2% (Connecticut)

New Drafts
Boulder Mojo Risin, 10% (Colorado)
Erie Old Red Cease & Desist, 10% (Penn)
Magic Hat #9, 4.6% (Vermont)Shipyard Prelude, 6.7% (Maine)
Weihenstephaner HefeWeizen, 5.3% (Germany)

Live Music This Week
Thursday - Matt Adkins
Friday - Wilcor
Saturday - Chris Nathan
Saturday Nite - Matt Adkins & Jay DiBella

Cigar City Brew News

Draft Lineup Week of 1-27-10

In addition to the obligatory:
Jai Alai India Pale Ale
Maduro Oatmeal Brown Ale

starting Wednesday we'll have on:
Belgian-Nut Brown Maduro: This is Maduro fermented with an Abbey Ale yeast strain and then aged on Georgia Pecans!
Blueberry Maduro: Back by popular demand, this one has softer, almost herbal, blueberry notes to it.
Humidor Series: Juniper IPA: Juniper and Spanish Cedar; a match made in Beer Geek Heaven.

Starting Friday two old favorites will be back:
Cubano Espresso
Vanilla Maduro

....along with a beer we are very proud of and one that quite frankly is one of the best to come out of the barrel room:
Laird's Apple Brandy Barrel-aged Warmer Winter, Winter Warmer Old Ale will be available starting @6PM

Since I know this is the first question I'll be getting, YES it will be available in growlers @ $20 per 32 oz fill. This beer will not be bottled. Draft and growler only at the brewery.

And our guest tap for the week is:
Peg's Cantina's Ich Bin Ein Berliner Weisse

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Siebel Institute Sensory Analysis Kit

Beer Used: MGD64
Date Started: 1/13/2010
Date Finished: 1/25/2010

1) Acetaldehyde
Aroma: green apples not of the granny smith variety; the fleshy meat of green apples

2) Acetic
Aroma: pretty intense vinegar though not 100proof; formaldehyde-esque; sour/rotten/turned apples

3) Almond
Aroma: caramelized almonds, candied almonds; that caramel layer on the top of flan

4) Butric
Aroma: rotten garbage at the dump; old sweaty gym bag; disgusting fly-infested rotten orange skins

5) Diacetyl
Aroma: butterscotch, stale Werther’s Originals; buttery like buttered popcorn of the artificial variety; butterscotch first with butter underneath

6) D.M.S. – dimethyl monosulfide
Aroma: creamed corn, cooked corn on the cob; steamed squash and zucchini; butternut squash cooked

7) Earthy
Aroma: dirt and earth of the black variety, subtle; raw wood freshly sliced with essence of sawdust in the air; dry dirt, dry earth

8) Mercopton
Aroma: stopped up drain, shower or sink; puddle of old water; dirty drains

9) Ethyl Acetate
Aroma: dissolvents; intense peach/apricot skins, fermented; nail polish remover, floor cleaner

10) Ethyl Hexanoate
Aroma: Washington and green apples, more meat than skin, pulpy; touch of apple stem and seeds, rooty

11) Spicy
Aroma: more allspice than clove, hits up front; clove faint underneath; hefeweizenish; reminiscent of holiday beer spices, especially the allspice

12) Metallic
Aroma: tinny, tinfoil, aluminum; all soft tin metals; metal drill bits and tools; tin is most prominent

13) Geranial
Aroma: floral and flower; petals soft to the touch, not dried but fresh; no notable pollen esters; rose and geranium

14) Indole
Aroma: dry grass; baled hay, straw; horse blankets, dry and not too funked; mostly straw, hay, and barn dust

15) Isoamyl Acetate
Aroma: banana cream; faint pear esters after ripe bananas; banana pudding, banana bread doughy and moist

16) Grainy
Aroma: white bread crust; nutty; grains first then nuts, nutty bread; soft whole grains with husks on top of crust

17) Isovaleric
Aroma: old cheese, crumbly and a little moldy; sweaty socks, dirty laundry; dead green grass

18) Lactic
Aroma: curdled milk; old cottage cheese; sour cream

19) Caprylic
Aroma: soapy, intense soap aroma; killed the head, could hear it sizzle away; rank old soap on rank old rope; old goats on a rope; horribly intense

20) Papery
Aroma: stacks of paper; cardboard; manila folders

21) Vanilla
Aroma: rich vanilla notes; vanilla bean, vanilla cream; vanilla ice cream and extract

22) Bitter
Aroma: hop petals, whole hop cones; dry hop petals, dry bitter and abrasive; green

23) Infection
Aroma: soured; almost vinegary, turned vinegar; very piercing

24) Hefeweizen
Aroma: estery with bananas, banana cream, and subtle clove notes

* * * * * *

So… $180 and 24 samples later, I must conclude that the Sensory Analysis Kit from the Siebel Institute of Technology and World Brewing Academy was worth every penny spent and every moment dedicated to the further development of my beer tasting repertoire. My only complaint with the kit is the information pamphlets lacked any indication as to whether the sample characteristics were good, bad, or neither in relation to beer in general and styles specifically. Being a beer geek in the beer industry, it boggles my mind that very few of my fellow beer professionals utilize this immensely informative and simple to use educational tool. You don’t have to be a brewer to appreciate the wealth of knowledge and experience the kit offers. Get some fellow beer friends together and have a fun day of it. All you need is a pitcher, a twelve-pack of characterless mass-produced light lager, the kit, and you are good to go. I’m not sure where my next educational foray with Siebel will take me, but I’m sure it will be well worth it.

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

BEERporting: Bobby's

Growing up and living in a small town has far more benefits than detriments in my own experienced opinion. I get to visit parks, shops, theaters, and restaurants that have been around as long as me, some even longer. Though change is an unavoidable necessity, I can honestly say the soul of Vero Beach remains firmly intact. One institution which has remained resolutely local is Bobby’s on the beach. Located on Ocean Drive, they are still serving up some of the best food and drinks with a cozy small town atmosphere. New establishments come and some may go, but Bobby’s is here to stay.

My most recent lunch rendezvous included my best friend Craig along with Mom and Dad. Craig was over from California for a few weeks of holiday fun, and so we all agreed on a time and place to catch-up over food and a drink. Camera in-hand, Craig made sure I would have pictures to remember the day with.

No one in town does French Onion Soup better than Bobby’s. No one. Prepped, cooked, and baked in an earthen-ware crock, it is served piping hot with a blanket of brown crusted ooey-gooey melted cheese nirvana. Underneath awaits an ocean of melt-in-your-mouth caramelized onions along with swollen chunks of soup-soaked bread that often requires two bites instead of one, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. An exquisite balance of cheese, onions, bread, spice, salt, and what I would assume is beef stock, she is comfort food personified.

French Onion Soup aside, a different stand-out favorite was calling to me that afternoon: the infamous Bobby’s tuna melt. Over the years I have savored more of their tuna melts than I could count, nor would I want to. The pleasure is in the moment where flavor, ambiance, and company came together to create cherished memories. As always, my tuna melt was lipsmackingtastic. The crust was golden and crunchy while inside was a melted paradise of tuna, mayonnaise, spices, cheese, tomato, lettuce, and love. Comfort food personified, take two.

I don’t remember what Craig ordered, but while he enjoyed his meal, Mom was in hog heaven, literally, with the Irish pizza. Dad started with a cup of their world famous chili (OK, it’s not world famous but it should be) followed by their chili cheese nachos. I didn’t hear any complaints from anyone; just the sounds of contented snarfing interspersed between pleasant pockets of jovial chatter.

No moment is complete without a good drink, and Bobby’s is no exception so long as you stick to the hard stuff behind the bar. For as long as Bobby’s has been serving up dining memories, so too have they been serving up the same-old humdrum beer. Granted, the beery landscape was equally humdrum not all that long ago, especially in Florida, but times have changed and are continuing to change in many wonderful beery ways. Before ordering my Makers Mark Old Fashioned (muddled), I enquired as to their beer selection. Some of the choices included Heineken, Yuengling, Corona, Bud Light, Miller Lite, and a few others of unremarkable regard. Yuengling is a decent offering, but between Yuengling Lager and a good cocktail, not good enough to win against the cocktailarian in me. Despite what you, the reader, may be thinking right now, Heineken is not a good choice for the simple fact none ever make it stateside without an unhealthy dose of skunk.

Arriving in excellent form, my drink didn’t last long, prompting the arrival of another Makers Mark Old Fashioned. While savoring my drink, I couldn’t help but ponder the despondency of a flavorful beer landscape. An artisanal beer or three of aromatic and flavor diversity would be at home at Bobby’s along with pleasing a growing number of Vero Beach beer geek foodie aficionados. And then there is the wholly untapped market of roving seasonals who are also beer geek foodie aficionados, but I’ll save that literary escapade for another day. Great food demands great beer and vice-versa. Hopefully in a not too distant future, I will be able to wile away the better part of a day savoring Bobby’s food with a glass or three of inspirational beer. Until then, I’ll stick to my cocktails.

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Supply and Demand

This was initially going to be titled “Supply VS Demand”, but then I realized I was already headed in the wrong direction. The “us VS them” mentality is exactly what I don’t want to encourage, not to mention the constant petty bickering and under-handed tactics that accomplish absolutely nothing positive in the long run. Instead, all it gets me is the inability to buy and to drink the beers I so desire. Whether she’s the new brew on the block or an old friend I haven’t tasted in years, beer choice is beer opportunity successfully managed.

The amount and availability of quality craft beers both American and foreign is a work in progress. It’s not always fair to me, selfishly speaking, but it’s also not always fair to a brewer, distributor, or store to make demands that cannot be met. Conspiracies and unfair practices aside, the reasons are many I cannot get beers such as New Belgium, Three Floyds, or Deschutes in Florida: limited production, freshness, market demand and market share, and sometimes just the simple wish of the brewer and/or distributor to keep it local. As much as I want to regularly wrap my thirsty lips around their beers, I can respect that. No one’s thirst for a beer is so selfishly righteous that they are worth the health and welfare of a great brewery, much less a great beer, before it is time. And if you don’t like that…suck it up, as Dad would say or, even better, make that road trip happen.

But what about the distributors or the shops/restaurants that sell my fermented nectar of beery love?

The majority of them do the best they can with what they can when they can. None are perfect, though some are better than others. Unless your beer is a flavorless light lager mass-produced by the billions of gallons, there is a limit to how much beer is available. Sometimes that means I don’t get a particular beer I like in Vero Beach. A bummer yes, but until I can get that beer, it’s not as though I am left stranded without dozens of other options in the meantime. I may not have gotten coveted Beer A, but more will come, the world will brew on, and thank Gambrinus for that.

So, the next time you freak out on supply and demand, stop.
Take a deep breath.
Realize the world doesn’t revolve around you.
Grasp reality and embrace hope.
Then work with the people involved to reach a solution that is best for everyone. Best of all, have a glass of glorious beer and realize how the good life is only getting better.

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Cigar City Brew News

Humidor IPA Is Back On In The Tasting Room!

Draft Lineup for Saturday 1-23-10:
Jai Alai India Pale Ale
Maduro Oatmeal Brown Ale
Vanilla Maduro
Papaya IPA
Humidor IPA

Tasting Room is open today 11 AM till 11 PM.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cigar City Brew News

Bottled Hunahpu's Imperial Stout Today

Hunahpu is in glass and undergoing bottle conditioning! The yield was very good which means we can comfortably allow a 6 bottle per person limit on the release date (March 12th). And I highly suspect that anyone who wants more will have ample access.

We'll have more specific information on how we'll be running the release as the date gets closer, but as someone who has attended a beer releases I promise you I will try as much as I can to eliminate the whole waiting in line at the crack of dawn thing.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Individual Purpose

Individual: of, relating to, or associated with an individual; being an individual – existing as an indivisible whole; intended for one person; having marked individuality
Individuality: the sum of qualities that characterize and distinguish an individual from others

Purpose: something set-up as an object or end to be attained; resolution, determination
Purpose (v): to propose as an aim to oneself
*copyright Merriam-Webster*

- - - - - -

From the craft beer scene in the USofA to the craft beer scene all across the world, people are returning to and reclaiming their own individual purpose. Brewers of beer and the passionately diverse drinkers of beer exemplify this more than any other facet of humanity at this very real time and place of human development. Curiosity drives exploration which in turn inspires worldliness and culminates in a heated passion for uniqueness and diversity.

According to the Brewer’s Association, the official number of craft breweries registered in the USofA currently stands at 1525 and she is still growing. Equally inspiring are the breweries who celebrate multiple years of success as they remain true to artisanal beers of diverse flavors, aromas, and styles to be enjoyed by various individuals the world over with passion and devotion for ingenuity, collaboration, and quality.

Or to put it simply, individual beers for individual people.

Think about it for a moment. If there are currently 1525 craft breweries in the USofA and each brews an average of 5 year-round beers, that makes 7625 different beers for woman and man of all ages, styles, and profiles to enjoy. Take those 7625 year-round beers and add a minimum of 4 seasonal beers per brewery to the mix; that brings our total to 30,500 artisanal beers hand-crafted for the individual who will drink them. (And I’m not even counting the thousands of free-spirited beer geeks who homebrew.) Of those beers, there will be many similar and dissimilar styles which the craft brewer will then brew them their own individual purpose. That purpose? Taste, and as much of it in as many different variations as possible. If you like it, great; if not, there are 30,499 more beers in which to find that special taste just for you.

Just as unique individuals get together to celebrate a shared taste, so too do unique individuals get together to celebrate the beauteous diversity of taste. Real beer is as real as the people who brew and drink them. We don’t need a gajillion-dollar marketing campaign concocted by suits in white shirts huddled around a desk in some removed location telling us how and why. We love the individualism of what we drink as much as we love to debate the individualism of what we drink with others. Why? Because as individuals our tastes and feelings are still our own no matter how they may change, grow, evolve, or stay the same throughout the years.

From now to later, as long as the brewer and the drinker continue to embrace and reclaim their individual purpose, the diverse selection of artisanal beers will grow accordingly. I am me, and as such, no matter where my tastes lie, I want beers to satiate, inspire, and stimulate my own unique person. After all, I don’t want another Kristyn Lier in this world; I am more than enough.

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Maui Brew News

Oregon, Here We Come!

Maui Brewing Co. (MBC) has signed a distribution agreement with Point Blank Distributing in Portland, Oregon. On- and off-premise retailers in the Portland metro, Hood River, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis and Bend areas are now able to order MBC's trio of packaged microbrews from Point Blank. Medford and other southern and coastal areas are also serviced.

Point Blank received their first shipment of MBC product just a few days prior to the Christmas holiday and only a few days after that delivery, Scott Willis of Point Blank noted, "... sales are going well. The CoCoNut PorTeR seems to be the hot style right now". He added, "Approximately 70% of Oregon's craft beer enthusiasts reside in the Portland area. Of these, many are outdoor enthusiasts and welcome good beers in cans." Point Blank has already sold product to John's Market, Barbur Foods, Nature's, PC Market of Choice stores, Seraveza, Birradeli, Belmont Stations and Whole Foods and expect sales to expand to many more retailers including chain stores and golf courses.

Maui Brewing Co. is the only brewer and canner of craft beer in Hawaii as 100% of the beers are brewed and canned on Maui. Additionally, Maui Brewing Co. microbrews are officially Hawaii's #1 craft beer. With a strong commitment to the local economy, and deep concern for the environment, MBC microbrews are packaged with the most eco-friendly materials. Although cans and bottles are both recyclable, bottles still break and may pose a risk at beaches. The cans are manufactured on Oahu and designed by local Maui artists and have the added bonus of protecting the beer in the best possible manner, protecting our beers from both light and oxygen damage which can seriously compromise the taste. Plastic rings are dangerous to marine life and therefore, a unique, recyclable plastic carrying device is used to hold their products. The spent grain from beer production is donated to local ranchers for cattle feed and composting; and any cans damaged in production are donated to the Maui Humane Society. MBC purchased equipment from Maui Land & Pineapple, preserving a piece of Hawaii's canning history.

Founder Garrett Marrero and his wife, Melanie, run a 7-barrel brewpub at the Kahana location as well as the 25-barrel full production brewery and canning facility in Lahaina. Maui Brewing Co. is a truly local beer as 100% of their products are made in Hawaii as opposed to other "Hawaiian" beers.

Contact for interviews, additional information, or media questions. To order for your retail/restaurant/resort establishment, contact; for Oregon, contact Point Blank directly at 503-232-1668.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Grand Opening: The Town Crier Pub

Remember how I am always saying things in the world of beer for the Treasure Coast keeps getting better… enter the Town Crier Pub in Tradition of St. Lucie County.

While the gastropub itself may be new, the entrepreneurs behind it are anything but new to the Treasure Coast beer and food scene. The mastermind behind it all is Chris Russo of Hurricane Grill & Wings fame along with Dan Steinberg, Alex Scheer, and Richard Adams. Their head chef, Sandor Matyi, enjoys a tasty background in the culinary arts with past experience at the Sunrise Ocean Grille. Add to the overall equation a nice location in an independent community growing by leaps and bounds, one would assume sure success for both owner and patrons.

So what does all this actually mean for the beer geek foodie in all of us, myself especially?

Hopefully a whole lot of promise which blossoms into tangible fruition that I can see, smell, touch, drink, and eat on a regular basis. It doesn’t even have to be the same beer and food all the time either; as much as quality is diversity, so too diversity is quality buoyed by a congenial sprinkling of patience, understanding, and flexibility. I’ve been down that dismal road too many times before where promises of beery bliss and foodie heaven were never kept. Or, even worse, met with tangible fruits of my passion only to watch in horror as they are heartlessly abandoned for more of the same old boring homogenized beery and culinary schlock I can find on any common street corner in any nondescript neighborhood.

Saturday night I got a sneak peak at a promising future between the Town Crier Pub and I, but the real test is to come: an actual sit-down beer and meal experience followed hopefully by many more. Remember, once is not enough if upon a later visit the initial pleasure has become a doomed memory destined for the pages of beer geek foodie gastropub failure.

Now about Saturday night… it was fanfreakingtastic. Let me expound.

Saturdays at work feature my most coveted and cherished beer tastings from 2pm-7pm, highlighting a different selection of artisanal craft and import beers. The tasting was wonderful, the company smashing, and the weather horrible. I don’t know what the overall high for Saturday was, but I can tell you what the overall low was: too freaking cold. This is Florida. I’m a native. I don’t do cold. Sunny and humid year round works wonderfully for me. If you don’t like that, then don’t live in Florida. Now, back to the weather previously at hand; overcast, cold, damp, rainy, and miserable from morn to eve. But I love my Saturday tastings and my lovely crowd of beer peeps, so even the pain was pleasure.

My dear friend Tim had called earlier that day to see when I was getting off work and if I felt like going out. Crappy weather + work all day = not really. But then those magical words escaped his grinning lips: grand opening of the Town Crier Pub in Tradition.

I’m there.

Time flies when having fun and so did my work day. Come closing time, I got directions from Tim and was on my way. After suffering frostbite upon stepping outside, I jittered to my car where the heat function was immediately utilized. My already cold and stiff body was exacerbated by my car’s selfish need for gas, and so once more I braved the arctic air to offer up her vital nutrients so as to get me to my vital nutrients safe and sound.

The Town Crier Pub is really easy to get to, especially when cruising I95 South as I did. Nearing the Gatlin Boulevard/Tradition exit, destiny shone as three spotlights arced across the cold night sky. Guided by their dashing beacon of promise, I found a parking spot in the Publix plaza and jittered outside once more. Following the din of human joviality filling the night air along with good music and bright lights, I located the main entrance with nary a hardship while snapping pictures along the way. Stepping through those glass double doors, I quickly joined the milling throngs of people making merry and having a smashing good time.

But first, to locate Tim…

His buzzed head gleamed while Ryan towered, making finding my two good friends fast and easy. Hugs and kisses were immediately exchanged and Tim, humble host and gentleman that he always is, threaded his way through the mass of bodies to bring me nonic glasses filled to brimming with the glorious nectar of life; beer, specifically the Samuel Adams Noble Pils.

You see, last year Samuel Adams held their annual Beer Lover’s Choice contest which, through months of tasting elimination, boiled down to two beers: Sample A – Pils, and Sample B – Ale. Me and you, the beer drinker extraordinaire, voted at beer fests and other such related events on which Sample they enjoyed most. The winner? Sample A, the pils, which is righteously named the Noble Pils. It’s inaugural release nationwide and on the Treasure Coast of Florida specifically, for me at least, went down at the Town Crier Pub. Personally, I’m thrilled. When tasting both samples, the pils was the obvious shining star: balanced, refreshing, gorgeously golden, and breathtakingly rich with flavor as a proper pilsner should always be. Sadly, a proper pilsner can be frustratingly hard to find at times, making the wonderful and highly accessible Noble Pilsner a true treat for this beer geek.

I followed through the rest of the evening with a couple Anchor Porters and a couple Rogue Dead Guy Ales. Together, all three are solid beers from solid brewers who have proven their craftsmanship’s mettle decades over. Even better, I enjoyed them in the company of Nicole whom I haven’t seen in ages, Satin – a blast from my Saint Edwards past, Howard of Hurricanes, and a few others. Tim and Ryan were a given, of course.

We perched at a cozy round table in the back patio conveniently located right next to a heat lamp and just steps away from the table-o-food. The patio was comfortably warm thanks to a generous helping of those blessed heat lamps aided by plastic curtains that encapsulated the whole patio, keeping the cold out and the heat in. Speaking of being close to the food, the classy spread of gourmet nibblies had unfortunately been well raided by the time I arrived. Nonetheless, I enjoyed a couple plates of (as far as I could deduce) baby dills, pan-seared veggies, sautéed green and red peppers, clamato olives rich with oils and herbs, mushrooms and artichokes slathered in a rich tomato sauce, proschetto and cheese stuffed hot peppers, and a couple different flat breads. Yum! Seeing as I hadn’t ate yet, those couple helpings didn’t last long. I saved the platter of cheese for last since all that was left were unsliced hunks of fresh parmesan and creamy munster-style cheese. Shyness does not apply when it comes to cheese, so a couple of those chunks innocently ended up at our table for all to enjoy.

Beer, cheese, and bread. One really needs no more to achieve nirvana. At least, I don’t.

As the night waned, the food disappeared and the crowd slowly thinned, I found myself taking a moment to simply soak in the atmosphere, the memories, and the band, The Nouveaux Honkies. I have never heard of them much less listened to their music, but it was love at first note. From the moment I walked through those doors, nay, as I approached the locale in question, the musical vibe enraptured me. While a band can’t literally make or break a restaurant in the long run, a good band with a good feel for the crowd, ambiance, mood, and how to play it goes a long way to enhancing the success of a night such as this. The Nouveaux Honkies played with finesse and charm for a smashing night. I will definitely be keeping an ear out for future performances and potential CDs.

Also making a showing at the Town Crier Pub’s grand opening were two ladies tending a Magic Hat table on the patio and pouring samples of the brewery’s #9 Pale Ale. Beers like #9, Fat tire, Anchor Steam, and Brooklyn Lager are excellent gateway beers for those looking to venture away from the macro swill of yore to the craft beers of today and tomorrow. Packed with flavor and individual personalities, the beers are a perfect match for the individuals who drink them. Unfortunately and fortunately, one downside to gateway beers is the beerly initiated eventually leaves them for larger more diverse pastures, though they are never forgotten. After all, if I’m at a bar and my choices are macro 1, macro 2, macro 3, and a gateway beer such as any of the above, my choice is easy-peasy.

Doing their best to keep pace with the bustle and hustle of the enthusiastic crowd was an attentive staff of young men and women scooping empty glasses off tables as often as possible. After all, it’s not as if the Town Crier Pub has an infinite supply of glasses to pour my illustrious beer in, and no clean glasses means no beer which is a sad tragedy indeed. The gathering of trash such as empty plates was a different story, but they eventually made their way to their proper receptacles. Overall and considering the crushing crowd, a job well done.

Though beer is my #1 imbibing pleasure, I am far from a one drink wonder. For example, an artfully crafted martini is an especial weak spot of mine because they are so good and yet so hard to find. I’m not sure if a martini ice sculpture luge qualifies as ‘artfully crafted’, but darned if it wasn’t really cool (pun intended). The ice sculpture/martini luge was a masterpiece to behold with her precision cuts and dual ice buckets sculpted out of, what else, ice. Situated under the base was a strobe light of sorts which set the ice sculpture aglow in alternating soft arctic hues of blue, purple, aquamarine, and rose. Mesmerizing. Unfortunately, I did not partake of the martini luge, but I imagine there will be another time in another place.

Good beer, good friends, and good times was my enthusiastic mission Saturday night which I accomplished with flair, charm, and a purse (see slideshow). Old Man Winter never let up, even when I temporarily parted ways with the Town Crier Pub for a quick jaunt across the parking lot to use a restroom. One restroom per woman and man marked by a long line during a grand opening versus the 15 minutes that Publix remained open was a no-brainer. Let’s just say that I was back at the table supping my Dead Guy Ale before my other fellow female and male compatriots returned. Thanks are due to Tim for gallantly holding down the fort while we were missing in action.

I got to meet the Town Crier Pub’s happy pappy, Mr. Chris Russo, before braving the arctic storm to drive home and snuggle with my kitty. It was thanks to Chris that I was able to peruse the menu and determine immediate plans for a return visit must be scheduled, and to offer a beer-warming gift: Solstice d’Hiver from Brasserie Dieu de Ciel. After final farewells were made, we parted ways and I safely arrived home where pjs were donned, the space heater cranked, and sleep embraced. Till next time, Prosit!

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cigar City Brew News

Draft Lineup Week of 1-12-09 to 1-16-09

On draft tomorrow:
Jai Alai India Pale
Maduro Oatmeal Brown Ale
Cubano Espresso Ale
Vanilla Maduro
Humidor Series: IPA
Mango India Pale Ale

On tap starting Friday at 6PM to celebrate our new weekend hours:
Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout (draft only)
Bourbon Barrel Aged Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout (draft only)
Juniper India Pale Ale (draft only)

Any special kegs that survive the weekend will be available for growler fills the following Wednesday.

Also, Bob from Saint Somewhere stopped by today to pick up some kegs to fills Pays du Soleil, so we hope to have that on one of our guest taps soon. We'll also be stocking our guest taps with whatever we can get from other Florida breweries like Dunedin Brewery, Lagniappe Brewing Company and hopefully even something from Peg's Cantina in Gulfport to sample out. We feel that supporting other Florida breweries is part of our mission so to that end we'll be featuring beers from as many other Florida breweries as we can.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Good Life

To the uninitiated, this may sound a little far-fetched, but I know it to be true. I am living proof after all.

Good beer, good friends, and good times go hand-in-hand. Ever since I let real beer into my life, the days have been filled with nothing but riches. By letting real beer into my life, I stopped watching life pass me by and started living it on my own. No longer am I content to just sit watch the adventures of others on TV (though they can be inspiring) or listen to my friends thrilling escapades; I am going to live my own adventures and tell my own stories.

Real beer is not a mundane pedestrian focus. Real beer is living history rich with culture, personality, hardships and triumphs, artistry, innovation, and inspiration. Real beer demands your full attention and motivates the listless.

That’s not to say I lived an altogether meager meaningless life until now; I have no complaints, but the direction, she was lacking. There were hobbies and recreational interests, but nothing I could really sink my teeth into. My true calling was out there, and when I found her (or she me), her bubbly bounty was a glorious revelation.

The artistry of beer has to include the beast along with the beauty, but thankfully the beauty far outshines the dark side. When I talk of real beer, I speak of artisanal craft beer from the USofA and abroad.

More than just liquid bread, beer is liquid life. She eats, sleeps, lives, breathes, grows, and changes all before my watchful eye, curious mind, and thirsty tastebuds. She has brought so much good into my world in just the few years we have known each other. I am truly innumerably blessed. Or maybe it’s not so much the beer, but I who have invited all the direction, purpose, and good will into my life with beer the silent perch upon which I sit.

I may never have the opportunity to wholly thank everyone who has touched my life over shared pints of beer, but I am ever grateful and humbly indebted. You are as important as each new morning I rise to greet.

So, what all is exactly new?

I’m going to school, self-studying, setting pen to paper and letting the endless creative juices flow, setting priorities straight, and much more. I’ve barely begun to journey up, down, and all around the beery path of my life. Who knows where I will be in 1 year, much less 5 or 10, but I know without a doubt I’ll be surrounded by real beer with good people who fill the hearth and heart of home, my soul, with riches beyond measure.

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

New Magazine on the Block

And it goes by the name The Beer Connoisseur.

Their inaugural issue caught my eye at our local Books-A-Million while looking for the latest issue of Imbibe. No Imbibe (again), but I ventured back home with a prize nonetheless. I find it rather appropriate their inaugural issue spans the changing of years: Winter 2009/2010.

And just who waits between her fresh glossy sheets to delight and please me?

I saw faces new and old, but all of distinguished beer pedigree, professionalism, and enthusiasm. A few of the beer peeps you will find within include:
Stephen Beaumont, Shawn Connelly, Charles D. Cook, Peter Estaniel, Rob Johnson, Ale Sharpton, Carolyn Smagalski, and Bob Townsend

A star line-up if I ever did see one, though it’s a bummer to see just one lonely contributor of the estrogen variety. Girls drink beer too, and many are darn good at it. I should know.

~winkwink nudgenudge~

The format is big, glossy, and in lots of glorious color. Next to drinking beer, looking at eye-popping pictures of said beer in all her beauteous splendor is always a nice bonus. A layout of specific chapters, themes, and subjects keeps the direction in focus and presentation orderly. Any beer geek could put out a magazine espousing their passionate love for suds, but passion is no guarantee for success.

One particular point stood out, which was the lack of obnoxious advertising and the breaking-up of articles that are “continued on page…” Ok, that’s technically two points, but who’s counting. I’m obviously not. And while I’m at it, there were very little to no glaring grammar and/or spelling errors to raise a disproving eyebrow. Personal style is one thing; relying far too much on word/grammar check is a different story altogether.

The Beer Connoisseur hails out of Atlanta, GA so expect there to be local spins, stories, features, news, and so on. And why not. Atlanta, GA is a proud happening hub of all things beer.

I liked what I saw and read in the inaugural issue and look forward to more. The Beer Connoisseur was thankfully not a rehash of the same-old, and hopefully their fresh outlook will continue to evolve in the issues to come.

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Russian River Brew News

Most FAQ for RRBC: Do you have Pliny the Younger?

Eleven months out of the year, the answer is NO. But today, the answer is this: on February 5th, Pliny the Younger will be available on tap at our brewpub in Santa Rosa ONLY! Our doors open at 11am, so if you are in town for San Francisco Beer Week, or just feel like visiting us, you can be one of the first to have super fresh Younger right from the source! It will be poured in 10 oz. glasses for $4.50. Growlers are available NEW for $42, and REFILLS for $36 with a maximum of 4 growlers per person. Pliny the Younger is not available in bottles, so the only way to get some to-go is in a growler. And we DO NOT fill other breweries growlers as it is against the law per the State of California’s Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control. You can look it up if you don’t believe me! Here are some brewing specs for you beer enthusiasts, or those just wondering what this special beer is all about:
Style: Triple I.P.A., due to the HUGElarge amounts of malt and hops (way more than Pliny the Elder!)
Alcohol by Volume: 11% Hops: CTZ, Simcoe, Amarillo, Summit, and Centennial (same hop bill as last year, but slightly more bitter)

Once we release it at the pub, we will begin local distribution to key accounts the week of the 8th in and around the Bay and North Bay areas. Then we will begin shipping to our distributors, beginning with Southern California that same week. It is safe to say you should see it in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and the Philadelphia area by the end of February. Unfortunately, because we are such a small brewery, we ship infrequently to our distributors but will get it to market as soon as possible. Distributor contact information, as well as account listings, are located on our website- go to ”BREWS”, then “Where to Get Our Beer”.

But wait, there’s more! Also on February 5th, we are unveiling Batch #4 Supplication in its NEW adorable 375ml bottle! It will be sold by the bottle for $12 per bottle at our pub, including sales tax and CRV. It still comes in 12-pack cases (if you are thirsty), but are much easier for me to carry with my bad knee! The new Supplication will be shipped to markets in which we distribute along with Pliny the Younger.

And we are celebrating Valentine’s Day a little early at RRBC! Yesterday I had a glass of Rejection and it went down pretty easy! It’s a Belgian-style Black Ale we make every year for V-Day. We will have plenty available through February. So if you find yourself enjoying San Francisco Beer Week, or just feel like hanging out at our pub, you are sure to enjoy a large selection of interesting beers! For more info on SF Beer Week, visit


Maui Brew News

Welcoming Phil Cyr to our Ohana!

(Lahaina, Maui, HI) - Maui Brewing Co (MBC) is proud to announce that Phil Cyr has joined their brewpub staff as Chef. Phil fulfilled his culinary externship in 2008 as a member of the MBC team but left temporarily to finish his degree at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York. CIA is a highly respected institution which, "for 60 years, ... has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. "

"I am excited to be back in Maui," says Phil, ". . . and looking forward to rolling out a new menu in the coming months. Of course, we'll keep the favorites but you can look forward to some tantalizing new 'tweaks'." Phil loves to golf and when he is not hard at work you will likely find him on one of Maui's world-renowned courses! Phil fondly reminisces about a conversation he and Garrett had in 2003 and says, "it's amazing to see Garrett's dreams and plans come to fruition. I remember we joked that I would come back and be his chef but I'm not sure either one of us was certain it would ever really happen!"

Maui Brewing Co. is the only brewer and canner of craft beer in Hawaii as 100% of the beers are brewed and canned on Maui. Additionally, Maui Brewing Co. microbrews are officially Hawaii's #1 craft beer. With a strong commitment to the local economy, and deep concern for the environment, MBC microbrews are packaged with the most eco-friendly materials. Although cans and bottles are both recyclable, bottles still break and may pose a risk at beaches. The cans are manufactured on Oahu and designed by local Maui artists and have the added bonus of protecting the beer in the best possible manner, protecting our beers from both light and oxygen damage which can seriously compromise the taste. Plastic rings are dangerous to marine life and therefore, a unique, recyclable plastic carrying device is used to hold their products. The spent grain from beer production is donated to local ranchers for cattle feed and composting; and any cans damaged in production are donated to the Maui Humane Society. MBC purchased equipment from Maui Land & Pineapple, preserving a piece of Hawaii's canning history.

Founder Garrett Marrero and his wife, Melanie, run a 7-barrel brewpub at the Kahana location as well as the 25-barrel full production brewery and canning facility in Lahaina. Maui Brewing Co. is a truly local beer as 100% of their products are made in Hawaii as opposed to other "Hawaiian" beers.

Contact Garrett W. Marrero at for interviews, additional information, media questions, or to order for your retail/restaurant/resort establishment.

Great Divide Brew News

Happy New Year!

We want to thank all our fans once again for helping make 2009 such a great year for us; in addition to releasing almost a dozen new seasonal beers and increasing our production capacity by 50 percent, we increased our volume of beer sold by 34 percent last year, so thanks to all of you!

As great as last year was, we're planning on making 2010 even better. We're starting by bringing two of our favorite new seasonals from last year, Claymore Scotch Ale and Hoss Rye Lager (which won a bronze medal at last year's Great American Beer Festival just barely after its first release!) into our year-round lineup of six-pack beers. And we also loved last year's new Saison so much that we decided to give it a proper name, Colette, and put it in Claymore's place as our winter/spring seasonal six-pack. Stay tuned for more info on these beers, but look for each of them to hit shelves in mid-Febuary.

We're also pleased to announce that we'll release this year's batch of Barrel-Aged Yeti Imperial Stout on January 15th. In case you've forgotten, this special release of Yeti has been aged in Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey barrels for nine months and then bottle-conditioned, giving it a substantial whiskey character as well as deep notes of oak, chocolate and dark fruit. This very limited release will be available in 750-milliliter bottles at the Tap Room and select retailers for a short time only, so make sure you dust off your snowshoes, because this particular Yeti is definitely worth the hunt.

Speaking of Yeti, we're proud to announce that the newest member of the Yeti clan, Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti, was just named one of the 15 best new American beers of 2009 by Modern Brewery Age; read more and check out the other winners here.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Maui Brew News

Aloha friends!

We, at Maui Brewing Co. are honored to have been nominated for our collaboration with Stone Brewing Co. and Ken Schmidt in the's "Best Craft Beer of 2009" contest. The asks: "It's been a wonderful journey this year with tons of great craft beer from all over the country. We have listed 40 craft beers that were available in bottle starting 2009, and we'd like you to pick the best one. This should be a close one, with so many stellar brews to pick from.."

Voting ends January 22, 2010. Go here to vote:

We would appreciate your vote ... just click on the bar under "Stone/Maui/Ken Schmidt/Aloha Plenty".

Mahalo for your kokua!
Okole maluna!

Cigar City Brew News

Tasting Room Hours, Doug's Travels, Hunahpu's Imperial Stout Update

The Cigar City Brewing Tasting Room and Beer Shine will be operating normal hours this week. Those hours being Wednesday thru Friday from 11 AM till 5 PM. However next week, starting Friday at 6 PM, we plan on throwing a mini-grand re-opening complete with a few barrel-aged brews (Marshal Zhukov's in both Brandy and Bourbon barrel versions) available on draft only, sorry no growlers. The reason for the celebration is that we will officially be expanding our hours. Starting next week the new Tasting Room and Beer Shrine hours will be:

Wednesday 11 AM till 5 PM
Thursday 11 AM till 5 PM
Friday 11 AM till 11 PM!
Saturday 11 AM till 11 PM!

We may expand our operating hours on additional weekdays. But that depends solely on customer demand. For now we hope this will allow the many 9 to 5 ers who have had difficulty getting to the brewery during normal business hours to finally be able to stop in. And yes we are serving pints on premises now!

In other news...

Doug our Production Manager/Assistant Brewer and Head Tinkerer traveled clear across the country to Pasco, Washington yesterday to get trained on our new 12 oz bottling machine. If you happen to find yourself anywhere near Ice Harbor Brewing in Pasco stop in and say hi to Doug. Until Doug gets back I'll regale you with a few of his text updates:
Doug: WOOOO HAWKS!!!!! Flight delayed, got to watch the whole game (Doug is from Iowa and for some reason ok with that fact)
Doug: It's a long freaking day, but it's been smooth, got everything set for tomorrow
Doug: They lost my bag, I'm exhausted and staying at some labrynth of a hotel. Bottling sucks.

In still other segues news...

Hunahpu's Imperial Stout is scheduled for a March 12th release date. And we are pleased to say everything is going mostly to schedule. The 40 lbs of raw cacao we ordered were delayed a day, but our favorite produce seller, Dan The Cheese Man came through (like he always does) on the Ancho and Pasilla Chiles, Cinamon and Vanilla. We got in 5 bags of chiles that were literally the size of pillows!

All 30 bbls of the base Imperial Stout will be moved onto the treatment today and we are still on schedule to bottle Hunahpu's Imperial Stout this month which will give it a full month to condition in the bottle.

That is all for now. I hope everyone had a fantastic New Year!


Monday, January 04, 2010

World of Beer (WOB) Invades Viera

Oh sweet foamy nectar of life, how the heck did I miss this lil factoid?!

Thanks be to RateBeer and other beery powers for informing me that the World of Beer in Viera of Melbourne, FL is officially open and ready for beer imbibement. I'm looking to wrestle a small group to go up and drink the day away very soon, but I don't know if I can wait that long. I may have to go check them out sooner than later and then go back and revisit with my passle-o-peeps...

Either way, I am so going to drink my way through the World of Beer, Viera. And since their offerings will update and change constantly, that means I will never ever reach the end of my goal which is just the way I like it. An end to beer is a sad occasion, not a good one.

They offer a Service Industry Card which, seeing as I am in the industry, I hope I qualify for. I'm also off every Monday and since Service Industry night is every Monday...I don't think I need to say more. If not, I will get their Loyalty Card, but I don't foresee any problems.

Weyerbacher Brew News

Latest Release:
Fireside Ale started shipping to our distributors today. Fireside is an intricate dark ale with a touch of smokiness. The rich malt flavor, crisp bitterness and smoke reach perfect equilibrium in this brew.

Next Scheduled Release:
Heresy and Insanity will come out during the month of February. Heresy is our outstanding Old Heathen aged in Bourbon barrels. Insanity is our Blithering Idiot aged in Bourbon barrels. Both take on complex and unique characteristics from the time spent in the Bourbon barrels.

Still in the stores:
There might be a small amount of Winter Ale in stores and Quad might still be available. There are a couple of distributors who have not yet asked for their pre-order so some states may not have theirs yet. You should also be able to find Double Simcoe 750s and Merry Monks 750s (champagne style) in outlets catering to craft styles.

Other News:
A new website is under construction – it will be exciting, easy to use and full of information. Expect it in the next 6 weeks or so. Check us out on Facebook. Become a friend!

Cigar City Brew News

Dunedin Brewery's Stogie and Stouts

The 10th annual Stogies and Stouts will be held at Dunedin Brewery on February 20th from 7-11 PM. Travis is currently rustling up good dark brews for the event and CCB will definitely be contributing a few brews. Los lancos and Primo Mundo are the cigar sponsors and will be bringing a variety of cigars to sample. Stogies and Stouts is one of my favorite bay area beer events and this year is going to be the best yet, so I hope to see many of the CCB regulars on the 20th!

Contact for tickets.


Sunday, January 03, 2010

BEER Hunting ~ Fresh Market

*obligatory disclaimer: In no way whatsoever am I claiming originality with the naming of my next foray into literary beer land. There will always be just one Beer Hunter: Michael Jackson. The world of beer he brought into my life is expansively irreplaceable, and so I offer up this humblest of thanks in my continuing hunt for great beer.*

Now that I’ve cleared the air for any potential lawsuits, let’s get to the beer hunting at hand.

The few years I lived in Eugene, Oregon opened my eyes to the tasty potential of natural food markets (stores). Wholesome food, reasonable prices (usually), diversity, and an overall ambiance of good will towards people and Mother Earth. An occasional cloud of snobbery would waft on by but thankfully never lingered long.

Fast-forward a few years and quite a few more moves later and I am back soaking up the sunshine in beautiful Vero Beach, FL, land of Publix, Winn-Dixie, and Wal-Mart. Natural food markets? Not likely, though that all changed in August 2009 when a Fresh Market opened right up the street from me.

Being a beer geek, my world rightfully revolves around beer pretty much 24-7. The only unknown is whether or not I dream of beer, but since I can’t remember those… Otherwise, I eat, sleep, breathe, and drink of life one beer at a time. From inspiration to beer to the history, culture, stories, people, and taste within; beer is beautiful. Fresh Market would be a natural fit for the beer lover’s diverse palate. Or at least, I hope it is.

So, how did my ideological fantasy fare against the cold hard reality of their beer selection?

If I was in a grading frame of mind, I’d give Fresh Market of Vero Beach, FL a “C”. Or, in laymen terms: average. They didn’t fail miserably as so many often do, but they could do better if they tried. As a store, if your beer planagram consists of the Big 3 and little to nothing of anybody else, you get a big fat FAIL! From me. To pass with flying colors, you would have little to none macro beers and a sea of fine craft and import beers in which to explore. Now, it should be said, known, and a given that part and parcel with a good beer selection is the responsibility of proper care such as: FIFO, date monitoring, display, handling, and storage. When all these factors come together in beery harmony, life is good for both consumer and retailer.

On all fronts Fresh Market averaged out. They feature a mish-mash of macro beer and craft beer. The shopper has the option to Mix&Match in their limited singles section while the rest remain in their original individual packaging. My most recent trip a few days ago ended with a mixed 6pack of macro light lagers (domestic and import) that I have yet to taste. I also noted some questionable Estrella Damm singles that had a disturbing layer of sediment on the bottom along with a “beers of the world” gift set of macro import beers being marketed as “craft beers”. Neither the best nor most accurate of marketing, to be sure, and unfairly misleading for the uninformed consumer who relies on their retailers to keep them properly informed. As for the Estrella Damm, I can’t read coded dates, but I know that on a lager, especially an import lager, a layer of haze and sediment at the bottom of the bottle is not a good thing. A few bottles back, there were some that were crystal clear so it was obvious that the few bottles in front were older. Now, that’s a good example of FIFO on one hand, and a bad example of selling potentially bad beer in regards to the older bottles. Other than those few discrepancies, I didn’t notice any other glaring stains of shame.

On the brighter side of beer, mixed in with the usual Big 3 suspects is a solid showing of craft(y) beer which includes Samuel Adams, Sierra Nevada, Anchor, Dogfish Head, Rogue, Brooklyn, Harpoon, and a few others I may be forgetting. Nothing ground breaking, but all are solid performers who have proven their mettle over the years through quality and consistency without compromise. A few I did not see but wish I had taking into consideration once again the overall standards of Fresh Market: Brooklyn Local 1, Brooklyn Local 2, or any Brooklyn beers for that matter, and Chimay. As I stood there gazing at their beer, a perplexing dilemma treaded dangerously close to my sound reasoning:
Why is it and when was it that our standards of quality, consistency, originality, and pride in ourselves as individuals and as Americans sunk so low that settling for second-best is an acceptable norm?

All one has to do is travel north to Downtown Produce in Melbourne, or south to Whole Foods in Palm Beach Gardens to see what a natural food market can do with a diverse selection of quality craft and import beers. Florida may be behind others in the world of real beer, but she’s not crippled and Vero Beach is an untapped market of thirsty beer geeks eagerly waiting for a beery oasis to reveal itself unto them. Fresh Market has the potential, so the real question is if they will realize it. For now, leave the beer shopping for elsewhere *coughgreatspiritscough* and stick to all the other wonderful natural food market delights Fresh Market has to offer both you and me.

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Maui Brew News

Now Available in Oregon!

Aloha Friends! Just in time to ring in 2010, retailers in Oregon have begun receiving deliveries of our Big Swell IPA, Bikini Blonde Lager and Coconut Porter! Here are a few places you can find our authentic Hawaiian craft beers:
  • Johns Market
  • Barbur Foods
  • Natures
  • PC Market of Choice (all stores)
  • Seraveza
  • Birradeli
  • Belmont Stations
  • Whole Foods

Okole maluna!
Hau Oli Makahiki Hou! ~ Happy New Year!