Wednesday, January 28, 2015

GastroFest Homebrew Competition!

Registration is now open for the 2015 Homebrew Competition at GastroFest. The competition is open to the first 12 homebrewers who complete the registration (below). If you're interested in entering your beer, please review the Contest Rules and Regulations before submitting a registration. Cheers and Good Luck!

Homebrew Competition Rules and Regulations:

Who is Eligible to Enter?

The competition is open to the first 12 homebrewers who complete the registration form below. Once all spots are filled, any additional registrants will be notified that they have been placed on a wait-list. If more than one person helped brew the beer, everyone who assisted must be listed on your entry form. Team beers are acceptable, but the entrant must have been an active participant in the brewing process.  Only one entry is allowed per ticket holder.  Beers brewed in commercially licensed facilities are ineligible. The winning beer(s) will only receive one medal, even if there were more than one people who brewed the beer.

Entry Fees

Entry fee is complimentary.

Online Registration

Your entry MUST be registered via the form below no later than February 17, 2015. If you have any questions, please contact Brian at:

Entry Requirements

  • Two bottles (22oz) of the same beer must be entered for the Judges Panel. Bottles must be labeled to include homebrewer's name, beer name, and beer style.
  • A minimum 2 gallons, maximum 5 gallons must be entered and available for sampling at GastroFest. Visitors will sample your beer and vote on the "People's Choice." for best homebrew.
  • Only beer, cider, or mead may be entered. No wine or liquor entries will be accepted.
  • The beer must be home brewed to enter.  No entries brewed at commercial facilities will be accepted.
  • You MUST be 21 to enter.

  • Event Schedule

    • Competitors MUST be available to sample out their homebrew during BOTH hours listed below.
      •  Hour #1: 3:45-4:45pm -- People's Choice Voting
      •  Hour #2: 6:45-7:45pm -- People's Choice Voting; Judges Panel Critique
    • (1) People's Choice Award and (1) Judges' Choice Award will be presented at 8:15pm.

    Judging Information
    There will be a panel of local "Beer Celebrities" to judge the entries. The Judges are:
      Entries will be judged on aroma, appearance, taste, mouthfeel, and overall impression. The judges will taste, critique, and score the entries starting at 6:45pm at GastroFest. Winners of both the People's Choice and Judges' Choice will be presented at 8:15pm.

      Register Now!

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

    Berghoff Brewery Announces Distribution in Florida

    Photo courtesy

    The Chicago-based craft brewery, Berghoff Brewery, announced plans to expand distribution of their line of craft beers to the Florida market for the first time. Partnering with Cavalier Distributing, the beers will become available throughout Florida beginning Monday, February 2. The official launch will take place at Tony’s Studio B in Lakeland on Thursday, January 29Cavalier will distribute:  
    • Germaniac (Kotbusser Style Pale Ale) Pale – American Pale Ale | 6.3% ABV 
    • Reppin’ Red – Amber Ale/Red Ale | 6.2% ABV 
    • Straight-Up Hefeweizen – Hefeweizen | 5.2% ABV 
    • Oak-Aged Stock Ale – Stock Ale |10% ABV; and
    • Craft sodas in flavors of Root Beer, Orange, and Black Cherry.
    With a 127 year history rooted in the Midwest and growing popularity among craft beer consumers, we're excited to introduce our recently reformulated craft beers to a new market of drinkers," said Berghoff Brewery owner Ben Minkoff. "We've been closely following the craft beer boom in Florida over the past five years and think our beers will do well in supplementing this growing market," says owner Ben Minkoff, whose family has owned General Beverage Distributors for the past 80 years and purchased the Berghoff brand in 1994.  Berghoff plans to open Berghoff Brau Haus, a 20,000 square-foot brewpub in Orlando on International Drive in the fall of 2015. 

    Official Launch Event/Photo Opportunity
    Thursday, January 29
    8:30 p.m.
    Tony’s Studio B
    213 East Bay Street, Lakeland, FL 33801
    Live music by Banditos

    About Berghoff Brewery
    Berghoff Brewery is owned by Ben Minkoff and family. In June of 2013, Berghoff Brewery re-launched its entire line of beers with reformulated recipes and new labels. Minkoff consulted with brewing experts Randy Mosher and John Hannafan to create the top-notch German-style beers brewed at Berghoff Stevens Point production facility, located in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.  The first batch of Berghoff beer was brewed in 1887 by Herman Berghoff and his three brothers, Henry, Hubert and Gustav.  Demand for their beer grew with astonishing speed, and by 1890, the brothers were producing 90,000 barrels of lager annually.  During World War I, the brothers cemented their brewing company’s place in American history, changing their slogan from “a real German brew” to “a real honest brew” in honor of their adopted homeland.  In a bold show of American ingenuity, Berghoff produced soft drinks, including a root beer and a malt tonic throughout Prohibition, and was the first to return to production and sale of alcoholic beers when the Volstead Act was repealed, pouring at The Berghoff, the first liquor license to be re-granted in Chicago. For more information about Berghoff, visit
    About Cavalier Distributing
    Established in 1992 by Founder and President George Fisher, Cavalier Distributing is one of just a handful of U.S. distributors with a portfolio comprised exclusively of specialty imports and American craft beers. Headquartered in Cincinnati, the company employs more than 200 people dedicated to bringing better beers to consumers throughout Ohio, Indiana and Florida. The Florida operations are based in Lakeland.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2015

    Bold City Release Party and Beer Dinner - Archie's Rhino Rye Pale Ale

    Bold City Brewery’s very popular Archie’s Rhino Rye Pale Ale will be having a special Release Party on February 8, 2015.

    This Bold City creation, named after the Zoo’s oldest male rhino, will be featured at the Release Party event at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens <>

    The keg will be tapped just prior to dinner and ticket holders will then enjoy a totally unique beer-themed dinner on Shaba Terrace. For all you wild party animals, live entertainment will be provided by the fabulous Snacks Blues Band!

    The event will be held from 6 to 9pm and a portion of the proceeds will go to Rhino Conservation.

    Tickets are limited – so get yours now! For more information and to purchase your tickets, please CLICK HERE.

    Monday, January 5, 2015

    Shiner Birthday Beer Chocolate Stout

    Brewery: Spoetzl Brewery
    Location: Shiner, TX
    Style: American Stout
    ABV: 5%

    Each year, the Spoetzl Brewery produces a new brew to commemorate it's birthday. This year, for its 106th birthday, Shiner brewed itself a cake. Sort of. Birthday Beer Chocolate Stout is brewed with real cocoa and made to be sweet and decadent. It's a different direction from the German-inspired brews that Shiner typically produces, and I like that they've had a little fun with this year's anniversary brew.

    Appearance: Birthday Beer pours a deep chocolate brown hue  (almost black) with a tan and frothy head.

    Aroma: There's an interesting nose on this beer. I get a lot of chocolate at first, but then I begin to pick up some bready yeast aromas on the back end. The chocolate smells very sweet, almost like chocolate syrup or frosting.

    Taste: This is definitely a dessert beer! Sweet milk chocolate and sugary goodness jump out on the front of the palate. Cake batter and chocolate frosting also comes to mind. Beyond the initial burst of sugar, the flavor dries out just slightly. Again, I pick up bread on the finish, which I tend to enjoy. It helps to cut the sweetness of this stout a tad.

    Overall: If there's ever a beer to replace the ol' cake at the next birthday bash, this is it. It's enjoyably sweet and has a drinkable body. However, as someone who doesn't really love cake and sweets all that much, this isn't a beer I would want to keep drinking. It's definitely worth trying, and I found the beer to be quite tasty, but one and done is good enough for me.

    Beer Apostle's Final Grade: B-

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

    Friday, December 12, 2014

    NOLA Brewing Rebirth Pale Ale

    Brewery: NOLA Brewing Co.
    Location:New Orleans, LA
    Style: American Pale Ale
    ABV: 5%

    I was recently given a bottle of Rebirth Pale Ale, which just recently began distribution in select Florida markets. Having not tried much from NOLA Brewing, I was pleased at the opportunity to try something new and provide a review on my experience with the brew. And of course, I would be remiss if I didn't give a big thanks to Guy for sending me a can of Rebirth to check out!

    Appearance: Rebirth pours an orangish hue that is slightly cloudy. The pour provides a white head with negligable lacing.

    Aroma: The aroma is mild and hard to detect any one element. From what I can distinguish, I get sweet citrus and caramel malt notes.

    Taste: Just like the nose, the taste is fairly mild, and I don't find that there is any one flavor distinguishing itself from the rest. Nonetheless, I will do my best to create a separation and describe what I detect. Rebirth is bready and yeasty. The malt sweetness picks up on the middle of the palate and then ends with a slight pine and bitter finish. The slight malt and slight pine make this a fairly mellow, yet drinkable, beer.

    Overall: Mild is the theme, and I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. I can see this being a local favorite, especially during those warm summer months in New Orleans. Rebirth Pale Ale is easy to drink and docile.

    Beer Apostle's Final Grade:C+

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

    Friday, December 5, 2014

    Jax Ale Trail - Explore Jacksonville's Craft Breweries

    It’s Time to Hop On the Jax Ale Trail!
    -Jacksonville’s Beer Scene Offers Plenty of Tasty Options-

    In case you've missed the buzz, the folks at Visit Jacksonville have launched the Jax Ale Trail as a part of their package to promote tourism to the city. Anyone who has spent any time in Jacksonville knows that craft beer has become an integral part of the city's identity. I have been preaching it for a while now, but I believe that Jacksonville has quickly become the beer capital of Florida. The Jax Ale Trail confirms this notion; Jacksonville's beer scene stands toe-to-toe with any other city, and we've only begun to see the potential. With more breweries set to open in the coming months, this is a fun time for beer nerds and general tourists alike.

    Below is the official press release for the Jax Ale Trail. Take a look, grab a passport, and start exploring Jacksonville's finest!

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- When your city has tons of award winning craft brews you want to make sure everyone, especially those visiting from out of town, gets a chance to enjoy all of them, that’s why on this December 4, Visit Jacksonville and Jacksonville’s craft breweries are unveiling the new Jax Ale Trail and the Jax Ale Trail Brewery Passport!

    The Jax Ale Trail invites beer lovers on a self-guided tour of the seven craft breweries across the city of Jacksonville including Aardwolf Brewing Company, Bold City Brewery, Engine 15 Brewing Co., Green Room Brewing, Intuition Ale Works, Pinglehead Brewing Company, and Veterans United Craft Brewery, as well as local restaurants that brew their own beers and other beer attractions.

    Visitors of the Jax Ale Trail will receive a Jax Ale Trail Brewery Passport, which can be stamped at each of the local craft breweries to receive cool free prizes.

    All the information related to the Jax Ale Trail and the Jax Ale Trail Brewery Passport can be found online at  including maps to all the craft breweries, tours information, all activities on the trail, and the rules for receiving your free gifts after completing the passport.

    “Craft beer is becoming a more and more popular reason to travel, and not many destinations are making it easy for visitors to find all the information for local breweries in one easy step like our passport and website do. We know that new visitors will be surprised by the quality, and quantity, of beer here in Jacksonville,” said Katie Mitura, Director of Marketing and Communications at Visit Jacksonville, the city’s official marketing organization.

    The collaboration with the local craft breweries and attractions, the Jax Ale Trail Brewery Passport and the new Jax Ale Trail website, give Visit Jacksonville an opportunity to promote all of the beer related activities and breweries in the city while at the same time giving visitors a unique destination experience that can only be enjoyed in Jacksonville.

    "We are very excited to participate in the Jax Ale Trail and proud to represent Jacksonville as a thriving craft beer destination. Cheers!” said Christina Bradford, Marketing Coordinator at the newest brewery in town, Veterans United Craft Brewery.  

    Those who embark on the Ale Trail may come away with cool SWAG!

    The Jax Ale Trail Brewery Passport is free, and can be picked up at any of the breweries as well as the Visit Jacksonville Visitor Centers in Downtown or at the Jacksonville Landing.  Get your passport stamped at four breweries to win a Jax Ale Trail beer koozie, and visit all seven breweries to win a koozie and a Jax Ale Trail T-shirt. Visit for more details.

    Two local companies, Jax Brew Bus and Play Harder Tours, will be offering guided group tours of the seven breweries on the Jax Ale Trail Passport, with visits planned during the weekdays and weekends. Other activities on self-guided portion of the Jax Ale Trail include tours of the Budweiser Brewery, and samplings at local restaurants that brew their own beers like Ragtime in Neptune Beach, Zeta in Jacksonville Beach, Seven Bridges on the Southside and the River City Brewing Company in Downtown Jacksonville.

    Thursday, October 23, 2014

    Farm to San Marco: A Five Course Dinner with Local Beer and Spirit Pairings

    The San Marco Preservation Society is hosting a Farm to Table event in Jacksonville's historic San Marco neighborhood. This is a five course event accompanied by local beer from Aardwolf and Veterans United Craft Brewery. There will be cocktails from San Marco's own Grape and Grain Exchange. This promises to be a great evening with a good cause. Tickets are still available. Click here to purchase:
    Here is a breakdown of the five course dinner:

    First Course: A Smoked Chicken and Pumpkin Bisque with Madras Curry from Chef Chris Dickerson of Corner Taco, served in beautifully carved pumpkins provided by Conner's Amazing Acres and chicken provided by Black Hog Farms. Pairing with Grape & Grain.

    Salad Course: Field of Dreams Microgreens Salad from Berry Good Farms paired with Sage Wit from Intuition Ale.

    Third Course: Dig Foods will be serving a vegan charcuterie board to include house-made terrine and pates, house-pickled vegetables and Sunrawise artisan vegan cheese, paired with Scout Dog 44 Amber from Veterans United Craft Brewery. Optional on the table is Verde De'Vine Cilantro Tomatillo Sauce from Fresh Jax.

    Main Course: Bistro AIX will be presenting a seared fish over polenta with a seafood bouillabaisse. Providers and farms include Fisherman's Dock, Greenway Farm, Traders Hill Farms and Producing Edibles. Paired with an Aardwolf brew.

    Dessert: Bakery Ribault will be preparing a twist on the classic Napoleon. Paired with Grape and Grain which will be using Queen Bee Honey in the cocktail.