Monday, October 31, 2016

Green Bench India Pale Ale

Remember that visit to Tampa a few months back? And the diversion to St. Petersburg, "The City of Green Benches?" Well, Green Bench now has a few beers distributed to the Miami area, and today I'm checking out their "benchmark" beer Green Bench India Pale Ale.

Nice story on the can lets you know about the brewery and beer name and sets expectations. 6.8% alcohol. 68 IBU. Nice use of space on their label.

Pine aroma with tangerines and citrus and just a hint of peach. Citrus orange and grapefruit flavors come first with some resinous pine on their heels. Terrific bitterness.

There is a soft fruity backdrop, lightly sweet. Dry at the finish with some lingering bitterness and just a hint of alcohol. Very nice! Check it out. And check out the brewery too!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Dry-Hopped Anchor Steam Beer

Dry-Hopped Anchor Steam Beer? Sure, everyone loves the original Anchor Steam! There's a story on the neck of the bottle that tells you about Anchor and their steam beer and what happens when dry hopped. 5.4% alcohol.

Malty caramel aroma with some herbal and citrus in the background. Same flavors, herbal and earthy. Tangy and hoppy with a pleasant bitter finish. Interesting take on a classic beer.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Sapporo Black

Stalwart Japanese Sapporo Brewing had their Ontario, Canada brewery send me a bomber "cool" can of their Sapporo Black recently. The can kicks ass! This beer is "A perfectly balanced blend of roasted dark malts with refined hop bitterness. This is one bold lager with an uncommonly smooth finish." 5.0% alcohol, 152 Calories per 12 ounces (279 if you drink this can), but hey, no fat!

Chocolate and coffee aroma, nice roasted maltiness in the nose. Sweet chocolate flavors to start with enough roast to instantly balance that. Creamy, silky smooth, maybe a hint of coffee too.

Very simple and unexciting. On the (not quite) flat side. Not wow and not bad. Will have plenty of fans, especially those that say they "don't like dark beers."

Friday, October 28, 2016

Enjoy By 10.31.16 Tangerine IPA

"ENJOY NOW! Drink it by HALLOWEEN or we will Haunt You." Those are some of the tag lines on the bottle of Stone's Enjoy By 10.31.16 Tangerine IPA. Stone brewed this beer to be enjoyed within 37 days. Luckily I drank mine in the 25 day range.

The story on the back of this bottle tells the history of the "Enjoy By" series of beers. This particular version is a DIPA brewed with mandarin orange. I eat so many cuties, this is right up my alley anyway! 9.4% alcohol. Bottled 09/27/16.

Holy fucking awesome tangerine aroma! Mandarina Heaven! And despite that nose, the flavors were even more fabulous than I was dreaming about! Tons of tangerine, super juicy and awesomely fresh. Tangy, bitter, super hoppy, a little spicy. That tangerine flavor really makes your taste buds dance! Like out of control awesomeness!

Absolutely delicious, so much so that I would risk the Stone haunting to even drink this beyond Halloween! #FrighteninglyFresh

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Clearwater Honey Cream

You remember the #EpicTampaBreweryTour from earlier this year right? And the awesome stop at Pair O' Dice Brewing in Clearwater? Well, one of their signature beers, Clearwater Honey Cream, is now being canned and shipped over to Miami now. So I grabbed some!

The brewery opened on Halloween, 2013, and this Saturday they are actually having a dual birthday/spooky party to celebrate! Clearwater Honey Cream is brewed with local Florida orange blossom honey and oranges to create a refreshing sessionable beer. 5.0% alcohol. #GetAPair at Clearwater's first brewery!

Pleasant honey sweet aroma with hints of orange and grain. Great honey flavor with plenty of citrusy orange. Not overly sweet and plenty of hoppy balance. There is some sharp and prickly action on the palate that enhanced the flavors as well. Crisp, very refreshing. Definitely check it out!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Beer Run IPA

Ninkasi Beer Run IPA is one of those Total Wine Brewery Direct Beers (in Florida). I didn't even see this beer when they must have first imported it from Eugene. I bought the others but not this one...

...until I saw it on a value last-chance display for $3.99 then $1.99 per bomber. So I bought several, multiple trips, each time with register issues because of the bar code, but each time with the expectation of a (hopefully) awesome IPA.

As you can see from the pictures, Beer Run IPA made my Hurricane Shutter Series (Matthew), at least the bottle I used for the review. The label shows a mountain running trail, hardcore with bleachers at the start and finish. Speaking of hardcore running, I really need to figure out where/when/how to train for the Beer Mile. It's frowned upon in my community to carry some beers and chug them every quarter mile!

Anyway, this bomber is 7.3% alcohol. 80 IBU. I'm game for anyone that wants to set up the Beer Run IPA Bomber Mile! Changing the definition of "Beer Run" for sure!

Pleasant aroma, citrus but not that big. Citrus grapefruit flavors come first, big and full of pithy sharp bitterness. A little background orange sweetness balances things out, a tiny bit. Very juicy throughout with a dryer finish.

I personally loved this beer. It's pretty simple but has an aggressive bitterness, so probably not a beer for an IPA beginner or hater. The bitterness does loosen up with some warmth but still... Very well done. Yum!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Art Hop Imperial Blonde Ale

This year, Magic Hat Brewing teamed up again with Burlington's South End Arts and Business Association (SEABA) in their annual Labels for Libations benefit contest. Artist Zelde Grimm won the contest, and her deep-sea explorer finding some Magic Hat packaging at the bottom of the ocean art work has been applied to these special pounder cans.

2016 Art Hop Ale was brewed with Blood Orange, Orange Peel and Sage. 8.0% alcohol.

Orange and herbal aroma. Orange flavors come first too with a huge burst of sage following. Super creamy texture is appealing.

Citrus, orange, orange rind sharpness. That's when that herbal character really shakes shit up, a little overdone. And the alcohol that shows toward the finish actually enhances that sage flavor even more. That synergy was my least favorite part of this beer as the sage just starts dominating everything else. I would have cooked a pork chop or something with the rest if I didn't need to go coach a little league game, but...

Monday, October 24, 2016

Euphoria Pale Ale

Today I'm checking out Ska Brewing Euphoria Pale Ale, "the beer of choice for epic powder days!" Hmmm, what is Ska's winter seasonal doing in Miami? Great question! In this case, the brewery sent me a sample. HOWEVER, I just got an email from Total Wine that says Euphoria and a handful of other Ska beers are available for a limited time in their Brewery Direct program! So if you like what you read, this distribution will come and go so check it out.

The can shows a dancing skeleton in front of some mountains, presumably the Mighty San Juans mentioned on the can. In addition to the normal 4 beer ingredients, Ska added the LOVE adjunct, LOL. Around the rim of the can: DAFFY-HIBERNATE-CURL-RECYCLE-SKIN UP FATTY-LUTZ-SKELETON-RECYCLE-ICE FISH-CHECK-RECYCLE. 6.2% alcohol.

Nice bright citrus aroma jumps out at you, with some bready and sweet herbal in the background. Sweet orange flavors come first. Doughy, toasted bread, herbal, light sourness come next.

A nice orange and grapefruit citrus answer follows with plenty of flavor and bitterness. Softly spicy as well. Well balanced with some light alcohol and dryness at the finish. I liked it!

Sunday, October 23, 2016


Miami's Concrete Beach canned their Floridafest beer this year and sent it to some local liquor stores where I grabbed a can. This is the brewery's Oktoberfest-style beer brewed with coconut for a tropical hint. Enjoy By DEC 01.

Grainy aroma with a good dose of toasted coconut. Interesting flavors start with some sweet caramel, which are met immediately by a huge dose of coconut. A little herbal, sweet tea, some grain and toast. AND LOTS OF COCONUT!!!

Not bad but I'm certainly not a fan with all the coconut and how it works with the herbal character in the beer.

Saturday, October 22, 2016


Tuberfest, a hopped-up Antiquious Achtuberfest Lager, is part of Lagunitas' 2016 One-Hitter Series. Thanks to that bitch Hurricane Matthew, the beer became part of my Hurricane Shutter Series.

The story on the label says, "During the Dark Age Reign of Sir Loin of Boef, Germanic warlords imported Irish slaves to work their potato plantations. The Irishmen celebrated the harvest with a unique fermented potato beer from which rose the cry 'Ach..! Tuberfest...!'" 7.5% alcohol.

Interesting and strange hoppy, grainy aroma. Quite hoppy flavors with that unmistakable Lagunitas herbalness. Earthy, generic maltiness, bready, doughy, perhaps some wood. Honestly, the flavor combination was kind of weird and more of a mash-up than anything. NOT in love! I'd find something else in the Lagunitas Aisle instead!

Friday, October 21, 2016

LocAle Local Ale

Today I'm checking out Saltwater Brewery's LocAle Local Ale, their third canned beer. Coincidentally, I also just received a press release announcing Saltwater's new Head of Brewing Justin Rick, a former senior brewer with Brooklyn Brewery among other top craft breweries. I think that's a big score for the brewery!

LocAle is a 3.7% alcohol Golden Ale, a part of their Coastal Series. The can has nice artwork as usual, showing a beach hut and crashing waves in an early morning sunrise scene. Pair with burgers and crabs. Canned on 09/21/16.

Honey, grainy, nicely sweet aroma. Similar flavors, sweet grain and bread with a hint of honey. A hoppy answer follows with some light apple flavor. Simple, flavorful, tasty. Good body for such a low-alcohol session beer. Could easily have a few for breakfast and throughout the day!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

db Bistro Moderne Beer Dinner Featuring Wynwood Brewing

This past Tuesday evening, db Bistro Moderne hosted a dinner featuring the beers of Wynwood Brewing Company. The theme was Local Brews Meet Local Produce, a nod to locally sourced ingredients used by the restaurant and Executive Chef Clark Bowen.

And of course, a nod to the local beers of the nearby Wynwood neighborhood brewery! Representing the brewery were Missionary of Beer David Rodriguez, Marketing Wizard Enrique Vittorino and Owner Pop's (no first or last name needed). And let's just say the week of beard growth on my face was like peach fuzz in this crowd!

My wife and I were of course on time, one of our best qualities. David and Enrique were already there talking beer with the chef. And from my eavesdropping at the end of the conversation, we were about to have an awesome meal.

As other people started to arrive, the restaurant staff served fried green tomatoes and shrimp ceviche, both paired with La Rubia Blonde Ale. Both items were delicious and La Rubia is a very flavorful, refreshing beer, a great starter. David and Enrique introduced themselves to all the guests while my wife and I chatted with the others sitting at our table. That's when Pop's arrived, and no cardboard cutout Pop's either!

Chef Bowen then led us through a fabulous four-course dinner, while David presented each beer and answered a lot of questions about the brewery and the beers themselves. The food was excellent, and I've posted the menu below along with some photos. Probably my favorite parts were the burrata in the first dish, the beer soaked roasted pork shoulder, and My God, the entire dessert!

Not to be outdone, the beers were expertly paired with each dish. Since I was sitting next to Pop's, I got to hear a lot about each beer and some fun stories. He let me know that their Berliner Weiss, Guava the Hut, is not a style the brewery makes often, but they are keeping this one because it's subtle tartness and hint of guava are something their fans love.

The group was chatting about the RC Cola plant across the street from the brewery as we were being served Wynwood Fox Imperial Red Ale. Pop's said the name of the beer actually comes from a fox that lived there in that lot when the brewery was opening, kind of a legend. But Pop's found a picture of the fox on his phone and showed everyone. 

And of course, the famous Pop's Porter served with dessert. This beer won the Gold Medal at GABF a few years ago and it's rich, roast and coffee flavors tasted great alongside that cake and ice cream. And that's where I had to get the picture: Drinking Pop's with Pop's!

The meal, beers and hospitality were only trumped by the nice people and entertaining conversation at our table. I hope to stop back at db Bistro Moderne for what I was told is an ever-changing and exciting menu!

Here are some pictures of tonight's fabulous dinner. Thank you for everything.

Florida Figs
Burrata, Rocket Coulis, Focaccia Tuile
Guava the Hut, Berliner Weiss

Local Pompano
Confit Fennel, Blistered Tomatoes, Lemon
Wyntoberfest, Märzen

Pork Tasting
Roasted Shoulder, Beer Sausage, Baby Carrots
Wynwood Fox, Imperial Red Ale

Chocolate Opera Cake
Chocolate Biscuit, Coffee Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream
Pop’s Porter, Robust Porter

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Grovetoberfest 2016

Grovetoberfest took place this past Saturday in its new Miami Marine Stadium home on Key Biscayne. When it was time to leave my Miramar home, we had already had a few inches of rain that morning, so we were a bit nervous for the day. It didn't rain one drop at the festival, however. What a beautiful day it turned out to be!

Let me see if I can tell the story of the day with some beer t-shirt pictures (with a few others mixed in too, I guess).

My wife and I bumped into our friends Floribrew and Mrs. Floribrew in the entrance line. Mrs. was sporting a pretty sweet Dogfish shirt!

The VIP area had some new and interesting beers. I suppose my favorite was Bourbon County Brand Stout, paired with some really awesome sliders, tacos and sandwiches from Latin House Grill!

Alpine Beers are the first table inside the festival? This isn't going to be in alphabetical order is it? Seriously though, Hoppy Birthday is a fabulous beer!

Over at the "Support Florida Breweries" section, we stopped at a bunch of local and semi-local stops including Funky Buddha. Red Velvet Red Ale is amazing!

One of the distributor reps that was pouring was friends with a guy who was drinking Jolly Pumpkin beer while wearing a Bam the Dog shirt!

I didn't even know Elysian was distributed here in South Florida, but apparently I can look for Space Dust IPA and others at local liquor stores! And I guess I'll have to do that since I never made it back for this beer's tapping.

Hey, there's Anler from Bacardi and Hatuey! Besides their Pale Ale, Anler pulled a bottle with no label on it and said he wanted me to taste it, LOL. Apparently, these guys finally ventured to Beer #2, a pilsner created to replicate one the brewery brewed back in Cuba. Grovetoberfest got to sample the test batch! Nice and crisp, refreshing.

Anler is the Chief!

My wife got caught trying to take a picture of the burly dude with the best beard ever. Guess what? That's David from Wynwood Brewing, the reason I gave up trying to grow a beard. And yeah, Pop's was there too!

On the other side of the "Support Florida Breweries" trailer were some out-of-state breweries I definitely support as well!

Like, for example, the beers of Duvel, Ommegang, and Boulevard being poured by two of my favorite brewery employees, Jessica and John. John told me about all the recent successes the breweries had at GABF while I philosophized over a shot of Three Philosophers. But the beer that caught my attention (and my wife and our friends too) was the Boulevard Tripel Julep!

While the woman from Founders Brewing poured me some favorite Centennial IPA, a new yellow can caught my eye. Founders recently started brewing their new PC Pils, featuring American hops and coming in at 5.5% alcohol. Also available in those handy 15 packs. Full of flavor, crisp, refreshing.

I guess it's time to check out Lincoln's Beard Brewing!

I'm such a sucker. She got pissed when I told her I didn't want to try the beer! I caved in though.

Bangin' Banjo Brewing and Adam were there showing off their beers. Sure, I'd love some Hop of the Muffin IPA!

Right after we left the Bangin' Banjo table, I chased down a guy I saw with the shirt below. Turns out it was Adam's uncle! LOL.

Miami Marine Park was spacious and I think a big improvement on the park in Coconut Grove. Also a big bonus is that the set up is on concrete (remember the mud from last year?) Parking was also way more convenient. The crowd was big but not on top of each other. I hope the festival organizers continues to hold Grovetoberfest here.

Here's a picture after the festival got into full swing (and the weather-conscious attendees figured out the sun was shining).

Guinness was pouring two new beers from The Brewers Collection. Antwerpen Stout and Rye Pale Ale.

Not Present!

Islamorada Brewing had a couple of nice looking local beers to check out!

MIA Beer Company had quite the crew led by owner Eddie Leon. And quite the line of people wanting to sample their beers!

Thank you very much! I'll take that!

Copperpoint Brewing from Boynton Beach was on the scene! DEFINITELY go visit that brewery!

Magic Hat was pouring Belgo Sutra Quad among other beers. I didn't try them at this festival but have a bottle of Belgo Sutra waiting in my fridge for the Fifth Annual #QuadDay December 2nd.

The Tank Brewing is another brewery that I must visit soon. Right off the Palmetto. Hmmm. Maybe Thursday, LOL.

Stone Brewing is one of my all-time favorites. Everything is terrific...

...including their Devastatingly Dank Enjoy By Series!

Abita was serving their Purple Haze among other beers.

No, Phil isn't here! I wonder how many people asked this guy if Barrel of Monks Brand Manager Phil Palmisano made the long trip from Palm Beach County to MIA.

Great crowd!

Unfortunately unavailable!

Coppertail brews some fabulous beers! Their entire core lineup is money including Wheat Stroke!

Green Man in the house!

Inner Peace!?! The End!