Friday, October 14, 2016

Fill My Cup: Psalm 73 and Beck's Oktoberfest

Fill My Cup is a weekly Bible and Beer review where I share notes from a Scripture passage and a critical review of a featured beer. May this series spark discourse, reflection, and promote new learning about craft beer and the Bible. I invite you to engage with me--share your thoughts, comments, and your musings!

Good News

The more I seek God and dig into the Word, the more I come to certain understandings about who I am and who God is. These epiphanies have led me to a place of gratitude and reflection. I'm thankful that God shares His truth through the Word. This passage from Psalm 73 underscores how important it is that we continue to seek and study the life applications that are found in Scripture, because the truth is: we are flawed.

We are flawed. You are flawed. I am flawed. Even when I'm at my best, I sometimes make some of my worst decisions. It's always a struggle not to give in to certain desires of the flesh and heart. Desires like potato chips. There may not be a better snack ever created.  They're deliciously greasy, salty, and flat out unhealthy. I am fully aware of the facts around potato chips, and yet I can't stay away. They pair well with everything. Literally--I can't think of a scenario that potato chips can't complement. While, I am being somewhat facetious, I think you get the point.

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." While we know that we can't count on our own strength because failure people fail all the time, God's strength is guaranteed and everlasting. I recall being in high school as a new Christian. I had this newfound faith in Christ and had experienced an internal transformation that I couldn't fully explain or describe, but nothing else around me was all that different. I had the same friends, same plans, same habits. I was constantly struggling to navigate how to reconcile who I was becoming in Christ and who I was and had been up until that point. I failed countless times. Reverted to old behaviors. Gave in to old pleasures. But God's strength was unwavering, and no matter how many times I messed up, I was able to set my sights back on Him and try again.

I am thankful that God's strength and love is constant. He is our portion forever. He'll always satisfy. He's always going to be enough.

Craft Brews

Now that we are in full swing of the Fall season, there are plenty of choices when it comes to seasonal beer. Beck's beer isn't one that I would typically buy or praise. It's owned by Anheuser-Busch and comes in a green bottle. That's two red flags (and one is usually enough to keep my money in my wallet). Nonetheless, I found this at a local store for $12.99/12-pack and, at just over a dollar a beer, I thought I'd give it an honest try.

The beer pours a clear copper color with a decent head. Malt aromas and caramel notes with some subtle spices are easily detected on the nose. It's a pretty nice aroma. The taste follows suit: light bodied with malt characteristics up front, followed by a smooth caramel sweetness. The finish includes a touch of fall spices and a bready aftertaste. As the beer warms, I pick up some hop dryness as well.

Beck's Oktoberfest isn't as bad as I thought. It's light and easy to drink. Living in Florida, it's a nice alternative to some of the heavier and sweeter Marzens, but it lacks on overall flavor and complexity. It's a nice bargain beer, but won't knock your socks off.

As the saying goes, "You get what you pay for." 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Kidney Fest 2016

Kidney Fest, a Homebrew & Craft Beer fundraiser to benefit Jeannie's Kidney Fund, will take place this Saturday (9/24) from 3-8pm at Marker 48 Brewing in Weeki Wachee, FL. This is the third charity beer fest in two years to contribute to Jeannie's Kidney Fund.

Tickets are $25 prior to the event ($30 at the door) and include unlimited samples of over 60 different homebrew & craft beers. To purchase tickets visit, or stop into Marker 48.

This year's festival includes a SMaSH (Single Malt, Single Hop) beer competition in which participating brewers will have their SMaSH concoctions judged by a panel of judges (of which I have the pleasure of being a part) and the winning beer will be awarded a hand-carved wooden trophy signifying their smashing success (see image below)!

The festival will also include raffle prizes, auctions, food trucks, and live music! 

All proceeds from this event will help with ongoing medical costs resulting from Jeannie's kidney transplant surgery.

Join in on the discussion and receive updates on the beers and special auction items by viewing the Facebook Event Page for Kidney Fest.

Kidney Fest Beer/Brewery List

Jeannie’s Kidney Fund Summary

Jeannie was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease aka Kidney Failure and was on daily dialysis for 9 hours a day, every day.

While waiting for a transplant donor, Jeannie's son,Eric, bravely signed up to donate his kidney to another family in exchange for one given to Jeannie. Thankfully, Jeannie received a successful transplant on March 4th, 2015!

This fund for Jeannie is established to help offset some of the expenses incurred with the transplant procedure and lifelong recovery.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Fill My Cup: Sincere Love and Highland's Oktoberfest

Fill My Cup is a weekly Bible and Beer review where I share notes from a Scripture passage and a critical review of a featured beer. May this series spark discourse, reflection, and promote new learning about craft beer and the Bible. I invite you to engage with me--share your thoughts, comments, and your musings!

Good News

Sincere love is a recurring theme of the Bible. It's rare in man but constant in Christ. He sets the example for us countless times. Christ leads like a servant and humbles Himself while elevating others. He loves in a way that, to be honest, sometimes feels impossible to emulate.

Fortunately for us, God commands us to love and also calls us to repent...probably because he knows we'll fail frequently on the first part. Romans 12:9-10 establishes a bar of excellence not only in regards to how we should show love, but how we should cling to love. Christ epitomizes love. To cling to love is to cling to Christ.

Romans 12:9-10 paints the ultimate picture of Christ's self-sacrificing love on the cross; 
He loved and died so that we may be loved and live.

Craft Brews

I've been reluctant to try any Oktoberfest beers prior to now, but I recently received a bottle of Clawhammer from Highland Brewing and wanted to give it a try. With college and professional football starting back this week, it's a bit easier to transition into the autumn beers.

The aroma is pretty mild with a faint malt sweetness. Clawhammer provides a smooth taste that starts with malt sugars on the front of the palate followed by caramel, toasted grains, and light hops. It's a clean beer--a nice malty marzen that is a solid representation of the style. This not my favorite Oktoberfest, but certainly one I enjoyed.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Fill My Cup: Abram and Intuition

Fill My Cup is a weekly Bible and Beer review where I share notes from a Scripture passage and a critical review of a featured beer. May this series spark discourse, reflection, and promote new learning about craft beer and the Bible. I invite you to engage with me--share your thoughts, comments, and your musings!

Good News

Last week, I talked about how much we are a culture of people who value directions and "how-to" instructions. Genesis 12 begins with God telling Abram to leave everything and everyone he knows and go to a place that God will eventually show Abram. Can you imagine the conversation that must have taken place between Abram and every other rational person around? Abram is about to set out towards a destination that hasn't even been revealed to him yet!

God provides a great promise to Abram, but demands faith and obedience in return. It would have been easy for Abram to be talked out of going. He could have easily talked himself out of going! If nothing else, it certainly would have been a whole lot less inconvenient for Abram to simply stay put where he was settled and comfortable.

Stepping out in faith is uncomfortable. It's risky. Yet it's also rewarding. In this scenario, God not only promises Abram a great nation and a blessing upon his name, but God goes as far to say, "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." God's promises and His blessings have a broad reach. and often have an overflowing impact that extends beyond us. When we are willing to listen to God's direction for our lives and take steps in our faith, we can be assured that God will honor our faithful obedience.

In what way is God calling you to step out in faith?

Craft Brews

I took a trip back to Jacksonville this past week and picked up a can of Easy on the Eyes from Intuition Ale Works. This is a session IPA which simply mostly means it's a lighter IPA with a lower ABV (4.7%). Often, session IPAs (and session beers in general) are made for easy drinkin'.

There's a big aroma that comes with this beer--bright citrus notes and a slight dankness. Easy on the Eyes is also easy on the palate. There are flavors of bitter orange peel, melon, and a nice tropical juiciness that I enjoyed. It's a medium bodied beer--a bit more than I expected--that ends with a very crisp and slightly cloying finish.

Easy on the Eyes is no chump. While it is a session IPA, Intuition did not skimp on the hop flavors, but it's balanced just enough to make this a nice summer-time IPA. The aroma oversells the beer just a tad and was definitely my favorite part about the beer, but it's still a nice choice and lighter alternative to Intuition's flagship I-10 IPA.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Fill My Cup: God's Direction and Tampa-Style Lager

Welcome to the new weekly series, "Fill My Cup." The series will invite readers to share in and engage with my personal review of the Bible and also my critical tasting notes of a beer from the week. May this series spark discourse and reflection, while learning something new about craft beer and the Bible. I invite you all to engage with me--share your thoughts, comments, and musings along the way!

Good News

We are obsessed with directions. It's no wonder four of the top ten self-made YouTube millionaires made their money by posting "how-to" videos. Looking for the best Thai food in a 10 mile radius? There's an app for that. Need directions on how to learn a new instrument? There are dozens of videos online to get you started. Heading on a road trip and need directions on the quickest route? Cellphones now come with built-in GPS apps that not only provide you with a turn-by-turn direction, but they will calculate the best route given traffic and roadside hazards. If you're anything like me, you like to have your GPS on even when you know where you're going because sometimes it's nice to see you're still going the right way.

The directions we rely on everyday are only helpful when we have access to and can understand them (IKEA, I'm looking at you). God provides us with the ultimate set of directions: His voice. All we have to do is hear it. I love the line, "Whether you turn to the right or the left," because God knows that we are constantly losing our focus and that we have an inkling to lead ourselves astray. But the assurance we have is that at anytime, no matter how far off the path we've gone, His voice is always behind us, always leading.

Perhaps, the hardest thing to do is listen.

Craft Brews

If you're looking for directions to the best beer to help you finish out the summer heat, Cigar City's Tampa-Style Lager may be your beer. This American lager is a refreshing and light beer that has hints of tropical bitterness to make this an easy winner over some of the alternative light lagers on the shelves. The initial flavors on the palate are light cracker and grain malt with sweet corn and a dry, slightly bitter finish.

Tampa-Style Lager has been my go-to summer beer. It's highly drinkable, mildly crisp, and smooth. I could have used a bit more crispness on the finish, but other than that this is a very good beer that I suspect most people who try it will like.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

New Weekly Series: Beer and Bible Review

The etymology of Apostle is a Middle English word meaning "one who is sent on a mission." The word has several religious contexts.
Beer Apostle spawned from a conversation over beer at a craft beer pub in Houston, TX in 2009. I was enjoying a couple of locally brewed pints with a good friend. We found ourselves in this situation often: a couple of guys drinking beer together, talking about life, the world, and yes--even religion. The conversations were never heated or disrespectful. We enjoyed talking and, more importantly, listening to each other. No matter how far apart we were on various issues, beer was our common ground and our shared affinity.

Those conversations were the early stages of what would eventually become Beer Apostle, a platform to share Good News and Craft Brews. These two concepts--beer and Bible--have shared an important connection in my adult life. This new weekly series will peel back the proverbial curtain and provide insight into my personal studies and imbibitions.

I'm calling this series, "Fill My Cup: A Weekly Beer and Bible Review." The series will invite readers to share in and engage with my personal review of the Bible and also my critical tasting notes of a beer from the week. The verb, "engage" is important here. One of the most powerful aspects of connecting beer and Bible, in my experience, has been that the walls (literal and figurative) are often torn down and some people are more willing to engage in healthy and authentic conversations around religion, faith, and theology when it happens outside of a church and over a round of some tasty brews. 

The series will kick off on Friday, August 26. My hope for this series is that it will spark discourse, reflection, and an opportunity to learn something new about craft beer and the Bible. I invite you all to engage with me--share your thoughts, comments, and musings along the way! You sign up for the email list and receive this series, and every Beer Apostle post, directly to your inbox. Just look for the "subscribe" box at the top right of the website. Cheers!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Florida SMaSH Beer Festival - July 30, 2016

Inaugural Florida SMaSH Beer Festival 2016
Central Florida Breweries Unite to Benefit Charity with Single Malt and Single Hop brewing

The Hourglass Brewery, in conjunction with Florida Craft and the City of Longwood, FL are hosting the inaugural Florida SMaSH Beer Festival on July 30th, 2016 from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. The event features over 20 breweries from around Central Florida and all proceeds benefit The Sharing Center of Longwood.

This event will not only unite brewers from across Florida, but it will showcase the true craft and talents of the breweries. Although each brewer will concoct a beer using the same single malt and single hop, the brewers have free reign to brew any kind of beer they choose. Festival goers will have the opportunity to sample each brewer’s SMaSH beer, getting a taste of the true variety and spectrum of flavors and styles that can come from the same base ingredients.

Tickets are available at for $30.00.

With roughly 50 beers to sample, including one-offs from every brewery involved, there will be something to please everyone. All proceeds will benefit the Sharing Center, so this is the perfect chance to enjoying some delicious craft beer while supporting a great cause. Attendees will also have the opportuity to vote for their favorite SMaSH beer and the winning brewery will have the honor of taking home the first-ever Florida SMaSH Beer Festival trophy!

The City of Longwood and Hourglass has worked to ensure the event is a success. The event will have a large canopy to provide shade and a place to rest from the summer heat. There will also be plenty of port-a-potties on site (anyone who has ever attended a beer fest knows the toilet situation is almost as important as anything else).

Florida SMaSH Beer Festival Brewery and Beer List

See below for a list of participating breweries and the specific SMaSH beer they’re bringing to the festival. Samples are not limited to the beers below; many of the breweries will be pouring other offerings at their respective booths.
  • Barley Mow Brewing Co. - Double IPA
  • Bear and Peacock -  Belgian Golden
  • Black Cauldron Brewing -  Apricot Belgian IPA
  • Bowigens Beer Company - American Style Barleywine
  • Broken Strings -  American IPA
  • Bugnutty Brewing company -  Specialty Fruit Beer
  • Cask & Larder - American Pale Ale
  • Central 28 Beer Co. - California Common Inspired
  • Deadly Sins Brewing - Saison
  • Hourglass Brewing - Golden Strong Ale
  • Intracoastal Brewing Co. - Dry Hopped Sour Blonde
  • Marker 48 Brewing – Kettle Soured Honey Cream Ale w/cherries (+ two surprise SMaSH beers)
  • Musquito County Brewing -  “Berliner-esque” fruited Sour Ale
  • New Smyrna Beach Brewing Company - Fruit Beer
  • Ocean Sun Brewing - Saison
  • Orlando Brewing - Organic IPA
  • Overflow Brewing Company – Berliner treated with tea (not a part of the SMaSH submissions)
  • Red Cypress Brewery -Late Hopped Pale ale
  • Reprise Brewing - Fruit Beer/Fruit Cocktail
  • Wolf Branch Brewing Co. - German Pilsner
  • Wop’s Hops Brewing  - Belgium Ale W/ Lychee (+ three surprise SMaSH beers)