Friday, January 22, 2016

Hourglass Brewery to Release Cloudberry Farmhouse Ale

Just a short drive north of Orlando, The Hourglass Brewery of Longwood, FL has been busy. The brewery is set to release Cloudberry Farmhouse Ale on Saturday, January 30. This release is the fourth bottle from the brewery, and the third in as many months. 

According to a statement from the brewery, Cloudberry is the first beer in a line of bottle conditioned farmhouse ales that the brewery has scheduled for release in the near future.

Cloudberries are not a typical fruit that we hear of much in the States, but they are well-known across Europe and considered a delicacy in Norway and Finland. Cloudberries are sometimes used in liqueurs due to their high sugar concentration. The flavor profile of the berry when eaten off the plant is describes as something similar to a sour apple with dry characteristics of a dry Riesling white wine.

Description from the brewery:
Cloudberry Farmhouse Ale is brewed to have a slight tartness from lactobacillus, a dry character from our house saison yeast, and a vinous note from a rest in white wine barrels set the stage for the cloudberries to shine. Lively carbonation from bottle conditioning with champagne yeast give the beer a refreshing effervescence that brings it all together. 

The Hourglass Brewery is open seven days a week. To check them out, visit or their facebook page.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Highland Brewing's West Coast-Style IPA is First of 12 New Beers in 2016

Highland Brewing recently sent me a sample of two of their most recent releases: Highland IPA (a West Coast-Style IPA) and Black Watch (a Double Chocolate Milk Stout). This is the first full review of both beers.

Highland Brewing Company officially released the West Coast-style IPA on Jan. 4 and it is the first of 12 new beers the 22-year-old brewery will debut in 2016.

“Our vision for intentional growth and our talented team inspired the additions of a West Coast IPA and other exciting styles to our portfolio,” said Leah Wong Ashburn, president of Highland Brewing Company. “At the same time, I see Gaelic growing. It’s our workhorse and my go-to beer. The combined strength of classic and new styles, done well, is our future.”

Developed by Head Brewer Hollie Stephenson, the West Coast-style India Pale Ale features American Chinook, Citra and Centennial hops from the Pacific Northwest. A sturdy malt bill frames hints of tropical fruit, lemon rind, grapefruit and dank hop notes. Brilliant and golden in color, the beer finishes resiny, citrusy and dry.

"Highland IPA will be my favorite in the Southeast,” said Stephenson. "There are some good specialty IPAs in North Carolina, but as a year-round offering that is drinkable and edgy, I think Highland IPA is unique. It is assertively bitter, but not overwhelming. The ABV is higher than what you see in a lot of new IPAs, but not so high that you can’t go back for another. For me, Highland IPA is a pint or bottle of what defines a West Coast IPA."

So how is the West Coast-Style IPA? Glad you asked!

Aroma: Vibrant nose full of tropical fruit and perfume-like citrus notes.

Taste: Right away, I get a lot of citrus and lemon zest flavors that lead into a nice malt presence. There's a tropical fruit juiciness that becomes more prominent with each sip. The finish leaves a pleasantly bitter and slightly dry aftertaste.

Overall: This is a well-balanced IPA. Brewer, Stephenson, hit it on the nose with labeling it as, "assertively bitter, but not overwhelming." This is an IPA that I could drink year-round. It's flavorful but not over the top. It's sweet and enjoyable but still very much an IPA. This may be my favorite offering from Highland yet.

Cheers to good beer!

To learn more about Highland Brewing company and the beer they offer, visit

To see more from the Beer Apostle, be sure to check out the Archives section! Have questions or feedback, contact me and share your thoughts! And don't forget to join in on the discussion by following  on Twitter and Facebook!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Hourglass Brewery Announces next bottle release: La Fee Dragee Rum Barrel Aged Christmas Ale

La Fée Dragée Bottle Release
Third bottle release from The Hourglass Brewery available December 19, 2015

Longwood, Florida (December 8, 2015) – The Hourglass Brewery will be releasing its third special release bottle since moving to their new location at 480 S. Ronald Reagan Blvd in Longwood, FL. This is also the second bottle release in as many months from The Hourglass Brewery.

La Fée Dragée is a 9% ABV Belgian Christmas Ale aged in Nicaraguan rum barrels. This holiday beer includes a bevy of delicious dried fruits and spices and bursts with tasting notes of apricots, plums, and Turkish figs.

In French, La Fée means "The Fairy" and Dragée means "Confection." La Fée Dragée, or the sugar plum fairy, has been inexorably linked to the Christmas season since the 1800s when these dancing fairies were immortalized in Tchaikovsky's, The Nutcracker, and Clement Clarke Moore’s idyllic poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas”. La Fée Dragée is a beer modeled after sugarplum candies befitting any holiday occasion.

Bottles will be available for purchase at the brewery on December 19, 2015
beginning at 11 a.m., along with limited distribution in Orange and Seminole counties. They will be priced at $18 each. Special Holiday 4-packs will also be available: 2 bottles of La Fée Dragée and 2 bottles of Nut Squasher Bourbon Barrel Aged Autumn Ale for $60.

The bottle features label art by Hourglass’ in-house artist and longtime employee, Jeremy Gonzalez.

About The Hourglass Brewery

The Hourglass Brewery is a 10 bbl production brewery in beautiful downtown Longwood, Florida. Currently, the facility is 8,000+ sq/ft and growing with 4,500+ sq/ft dedicated to a state of the art taproom and music venue for locals and tourists. Further expansion in early 2016 will include additional 20 bbl fermenters, a canning line, and a wild ale fermentation room.

Known for making unique specialty brews throughout the year, The Hourglass Brewery also offers a number of flagship ales available year-round. Their extensive barrel fermenting, aging, and wild ale program produces frequent bottle releases, so keep your eyes peeled for the next one soon!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Beersgiving: Pumpkin Beer and Charity Event

Tickets are now available for Beersgiving, a charity beer festival that includes a pumpkin beer contest, over 60 homebrew and craft beers,  live music, raffles, auctions, and more!

Beersgiving is more than just a beer festival, it’s an event to raise money for Jeannie’s Kidney Fund. Jeannie was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease, (Kidney Failure) and was on daily dialysis for 9 hours a day, every day. While waiting for a transplant donor, something that could take years and is never a given, her son Eric took matters into his own hands and bravely agreed to donate his kidney to another family in exchange for one given to Jeannie.

On March 4th, 2015, Jeannie received a successful transplant and was on her way to a healthy recovery.
Eric and Jeannie accepting a "Kidney Trophy" at April's Homebrew and BBQ
Beersgiving exists to bring the beer community together to enjoy great locally brewed beer, and to raise awareness and funds to offset the costly medical bills the family has since incurred.

This is the follow-up festival to last April’s “Homebrew and BBQ” event that successfully brought in hundreds of craft beer fans, as well as local homebrewers and craft breweries. The event was one of the most enjoyable beer events I attended all last year. There was great beer, food, music, and there were several brewers on hand who were happy to talk about their craft. 

Beersgiving is expected to draw an even larger crowd, and will have plenty of local brewers on hand as they compete in the pumpkin beer contest. The competition is an exciting addition to the event and gives local brewers an extra incentive to bring some of their best pumpkin-inspired brews. The pumpkin beers will be tasted and critiqued by a panel of four judges, and I am honored to announce that I will be serving as one of the judges at the event.

 All proceeds of this event support Jeannie’s Kidney Fund. To purchase tickets, simply visit:

Ticket includes unlimited samples of over 60 homebrew and craft beers! A turkey dinner will be available as well for purchase. Pumpkin Beer Competition, Live Music, Raffles, Auctions...what's not to love?

Come have a great night out and support a great cause for one of our local residents!The event takes place at Pine St. Pub, Inverness, FL.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Four Beers from Orlando Brewing

A lot has happened since my last post. I've successfully relocated myself and the family to Orlando, where we hope to be for the foreseeable future. Settled and ready to get back at it, I figured it was only appropriate to have my first Orlando-based review come from Orlando's Organic craft brewery: Orlando Brewing.

The brewery is located in an industrial area near downtown Orlando in a fairly unassuming building. The taproom is a dimly lit area (more on that in a minute) with a small bar, a dozen or so tables, and a stage area for live music and entertainment. There is also a back room that provides some more space and an area for darts.

Mariah was the bartender on duty during my visit, and she was quite welcoming, knowledgeable and friendly. After I told her that I was new to the area and this was my first time, she recommended two "flagship" beers, Right on Red and I-4 IPA (both of which I selected to be in my flight sampler).

The dim lighting is the worst part about the taproom and makes it hard to see and appreciate the color and/or clarity of the beers. As you can see from the pictures, it's nearly impossible to gauge the appearance of the beers. I'm sure the lighting works great for the live entertainment that comes through the taproom, but it's really a bummer for someone like me who appreciates more than just the flavor of the beer I'm drinking. But enough about lighting, let's get to the beer.

Right on Red
Mellow and drinkable red ale. Very balanced with some sweetness coming on the front and bitter notes on the back, followed by a bit of dryness. Overall, this is a malty amber ale that's easy to drink is likely a crowd-pleaser. For a flagship ale, this is quite generic and drinkable...but unfortunately, it's also forgettable. Grade:C

I-4 IPA has a citrus kick on the nose and on the front of the palate. I get lots of grapefruit, lemon, and orange zest before the beer mellows out with a smoother finish. There is some lingering hop bitterness, but nothing too strong. The brewery describes this beer as a "Full bodied West Coast style IPA." I have this beer down as a medium-light bodied IPA, but do think the hop profile lends itself nicely to the style. I can see why this is their best selling IPA. Grade: B

Pompous Ass
Released just four weeks prior, Pompous Ass is one of the newest additions to the taplist. And it's one sweet ass beer! Tropical fruit flavors followed by subtle malt notes and finishes with some citrus bitterness. Tropical aroma, sweets, and bitters. As the beer warmed, I got a taste of some Belgian spices that were overshadowed by the initial hop flavors, but not nearly prominent enough to describe this as a Belgian IPA. If you don't mind your IPA being on the sweet side, this is the beer for you. Grade: B

Doble Imperial IPA
Gotta tip the hat to Orlando Brewing for brewing a beer in honor and memory of Tampa Bay Brewing founder John G. Doble. Love seeing some beer love being shared from one brewery to the other. Doble packs a (balanced) punch. The beer is malt-forward, ending with heavy hop notes and booze. Like many Imperial IPAs, this is a full-bodied, full-flavored beer. Doble is balanced without compromising on the malt sweetness or hop bitterness. I found this to be the best beer of the four I tried and the one I would order again. Grade: B+

To see more from the Beer Apostle, be sure to check out the Archives section! Have questions or feedback, contact me and share your thoughts! And don't forget to join in on the discussion by following  on Twitter and Facebook!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Five Must-Try Jacksonville Beers for Summer

Summer is around the corner, and that means you’re going to need local beers to keep your thirst quenched and palate satisfied. With eight distributing breweries in Jacksonville, there are plenty of beers to choose from. But the beers on this list stand above the rest in their ability to provide crisp refreshment without skimping on the flavor.

5) Buzzin Bee Honey Rye Wheat, Veterans United Craft Brewery.
Buzzin Bee is unfiltered and brewed with local honey which provides a balanced sweetness to counter the rye and wheat flavors. Hints of citrus fruits make this an enjoyable summer beer.
Notes: Honey, orange, and hints of rye.

4) I-10 IPA, Intuition Ale Works.
This highly drinkable IPA packs a hop-forward punch without being too aggressive for summer. Zesty citrus and resinous pine make this a flavorful IPA that’ll quench your thirst when you need it the most.
Notes:  Citrus, pine, grapefruit, and pineapple.

3) Big John’s Apricot Wheat Ale, Bold City Brewery
Light, drinkable, and refreshing, this is a gratifying beer that’ll please the palate. Complex layers of wheat, tart fruits, and sweet malts make this a refreshing companion to those sweltering summer months.
Notes: Wheat, biscuits, apricot, and apples.

2) Endless Summer Blonde Ale, Pinglehead Brewing Company.
Endless Summer laughs in the face of naysayers who believe Blonde Ales don’t have flavor. This beer starts with an inviting malt profile and finishes with a crisp, clean, and slightly dry finish.
Notes: Biscuity malt sweetness, honey, and an earthy-dry finish.

1) J’Ville Lager, Engine 15 Brewing Company.
Brewed to commemorate their anniversary, J’Ville is an American lager done right. It’s a clean and refreshing beer that will keep you comfortable during the dog days of summer.
Notes: pale malts, bready yeast, honey, and lemon zest.

From Left to Right: Carolyn Graham, Brian Little, Sean Bielman
celebrating the launch of Engine 15's J'Ville Lager