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)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Three (more) Tree House Beers for Review

This is a continuation from a previous post where I sampled Julius. The bar has been set high, and I am excited to share my tasting notes from the remaining three Tree House Beers that I recently received.

Lights On 
American Pale Ale
5.6% ABV

Being that this is only the second beer I've ever tasted from Tree House, my only point of comparison is Julius--two radically different beers, and yet, I found some obvious similarities that show a distinct craftsmanship from the brewers. 

Strong and pleasant aroma--strong hop notes and a subtle orange peel aroma as well. As you can see from the image, the beer poured a thick hazed pale-orange color. Not as vibrant as Julius, but a similar haze and orange aroma.

Lights On tastes of grapefruit, orange zest, lemon, mango, and other tropical fruits. This is a very flavorful and citrusy pale ale that packs a balanced bitterness, making this an approachable and highly drinkable beer. It's not quite as juicy as Julius, but one could argue this beer had more going on in terms of depth/layers of flavors.

Imperial IPA
8.2% ABV

Similar to the previous two beers I've sampled, Haze is...well, hazy. This beer pours an almost identical color and "thickness" to Lights On and Julius. The aroma is similar as well: tropical fruits and some citrus zests dominate the nose.

On the palate, Haze begins with notes of orange, lemon, and pineapple. There's not much of a hop bitterness here, and I enjoy the more prominent malt presence that's in this beer. Still, there is a clear theme going on with Tree House's IPAs: they pack a punch of juicy (often tropical and citrus) flavors. Haze tips the scale more on the tropical side of the scale, but the signature orange flavors are certainly there. 

Also noticeable is the heaviness of this beer. I found Haze to have almost a "chewy" feel to it: quite thick and juicy--but that is definitely not a knock on the beer in any way. As an imperial IPA, Haze does not disappoint and provides the flavor and mouthfeel to satisfy the genre.

Single Shot
Milk Stout
6.4% ABV

I was excited to try this one as it was so very different from the previous three that I sampled. There was such a clear theme and pattern detected in the pale ales, that I was curious to see what Tree House would do with a stout.

Single Shot is labeled a Milk Stout or Sweet Stout, depending on which site you're looking at. Either one works well in my opinion. As soon as I cracked open the can, I was met with a sweet coffee aroma, something similar to a cafe con leche. 

If you are someone who likes their coffee with lots of cream, this beer is for you. Single Shot tastes of rich coffee and sweet cream flavors. There is a hint of chocolate in the middle, but this beer doesn't shy away from being a sweet coffee stout and nothing else. The finish is very smooth. There's absolutely no bitterness from hops nor coffee. This is a rich and smooth, sweet and bold stout. I would love to try this one on Nitro and have a nice creamy texture to go with the sweet cream flavors. 


After tasting four different Tree House beers, it's clear that those of us who live in Florida are missing out on some well crafted beers! I thoroughly enjoyed each one and have to thank Nine State Brewery one last time for sharing these beers with me. Be sure to check out Tree House Brewing Co by visiting and show some love to Nine State by giving their facebook page a Like!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Hourglass Brewing Wild Ale Bottle Release


The Hourglass Brewery has announced the simultaneous release of three beers in their Wild Ale Series, which will take place on  May 21st at 11AM in the Hourglass Brewing Taproom.

Each wild ale was bottle conditioned with champagne yeast, and embody a dry, funky flavor. These are wild ales by definition, not sours. While the beers certainly have a funky profile reminiscent of sour ales, the difference is that wild ales are not acidic.  
The three wild ales are:
  1. Wild Hare Wild Ale  – Golden ale with brettanomyces and organic, locally grown persimmon and roselle. We brewed this in collaboration with Wild Hare Kitchen And Garden Emporium.
  2. White Gold! – Golden ale with brettanomyces, white pepper, and white sage.
  3. TererĂ© Saison – Belgian saison brewed with yerba mate and lime and fermented with a traditional saison yeast and brettanomyces.
The Wild Ale Series will be available for purchase on May 21st. $15/each. There are less than 400 bottles of each, and sales will be limited to 4 bottles per person, per flavor. As a special promotion, patrons who purchase 3 wild bottles can purchase any 4th Hourglass bottle for just $10!

Each bottle features a custom label designed by Hourglass’ in-house artist and longtime employee, Jeremy Gonzalez. 

Visit to learn more about this production brewery in Longwood, FL.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Julius-Tree House Brewing Company

I received a message recently from Eric of Nine State Brewing. He asked if I had ever tried anything from Tree House Brewing Co. I explained that I hadn't but would love the opportunity and, just like that, I received a packaged containing these four beers. Eric's only request was that, in return, I provide my readers with honest and in-depth reviews of each beer. Challenge accepted!

After doing some research on each of the four beers, I decided to start with Julius and work my way through each one, posting a review as I go, based on the hop profiles of each beer,taking into consideration the beers that should be consumed fresh.
BreweryTree House Brewing Co.
Location: Monson, MA
Style: American IPA
ABV: 6.8%
Beer Apostle's Final Grade: A+

Julius is Tree House's flagship American IPA. Julius has a perfect score of 100 on both BeerAdvocate and RateBeer, and has become one of the more sought-after American IPAs as of late. Just a quick glance on any of the beer trading forums and you'll quickly see there is a considerable buzz around Julius. However, I will state for the record: I am not one to fall in line with the hype around beers. Without naming specific labels, there are several "whales" that dominate the ISO forums that, in my humble opinion, are not worth the trouble people go through just to get their hands on a beer that may not be much (if any) better than the beers brewed at your local microbrewery. With that being said, I trusted the endorsements given by many who have tried Julius and was eager to give it a taste for myself.

As soon as I opened the can, the aroma from Julius instantly fill the room. Just as if I had lit a candle, the kitchen filled with vibrant scents of citrus and tropical fruits. There was also a considerable amount of orange notes detected.

Julius pours a deep haziness. This is as cloudy as I have seen an IPA. The color is spot-on: a beautiful orange hue to match the theme and label.

Complex layers of citrus and tropical fruits attach the palate. Julius is just as sweet and juicy as advertised, and full of oranges--both fruit and rind flavors. But for as juicy and fruity as Julius is, there's also a good amount of bitterness that balances this beer. I have seen some reviews labeling Julius as sweet with little bitterness, but I would have to disagree. I get a good amount of bitterness, but it's just not overpowering. As for a malt profile, there's not much of one. Julius is juicy, tropical, and citrusy.
Overall, Julius is as near a perfect IPA as I have tried. In many ways, I find this to push boundaries on what my archetype of an American IPA is or was. Julius' juiciness is unmatched. And the amount of fresh orange flavors that are packed into this beer is impressive. As far as I can tell, Julius deserves the credit and even the hype. It's refreshing and delicious, and I wish I would have received more than just one can.

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, February 16, 2016

Marker 48 Brewing

I started following Marker 48 about a year ago. They hadn't opened their doors for business yet, but they were already making their mark in the community. I first met owners, Maurice and Tina Ryman, at a beer festival and charity event. Their booth was packed, the line to try their beer was long, and the Rymans made an effort to talk with every person who came to sample their beer. I must have tried dozens of beer that night and met more people than I could remember, but I didn't forget Marker 48. They had made an impression on me as I suspect they did for others. That impression grew in favor as I followed the construction and building process of the brewery leading up to the grand opening in late-November 2015.

Fast forward to this past weekend when I happened to be in the Brooksville area for Valentine's Day. We made a stop to the brewery and it was the highlight of our weekend.  As I was sitting outside, listening to live music in the Marker 48 beer garden, Maurice and Tina were going from table to table talking with patrons. It was just as I had seen them do months before. They make it a point to talk to the folks who come out to the brewery and I think that makes a world of difference. Drinking at Marker 48 becomes a familiar affair. Judging by the number of strollers, kids, and dogs, I don't think I am the only one who feels that way.

I tried three beers during my visit, and thoroughly enjoyed each one. I started out with Mo Say It, an American pale ale brewed with Mosaic hops. This pale ale has a vibrant aroma and nice tropical fruit flavors. My next beer was the Pine Island IPA, which has become one of my go-to IPAs. Pine Island is an approachable IPA with a balanced malt/hop profile without being aggressively bitter. My last beer was Mermaid's Milk on Nitro. Mermaid's Milk is a beautiful blend of sweet, rich, and roasted flavors. It's a creamy stout that doesn't quite drink like a stout and finishes with just enough lactose sugar.

If personable owners and great beer isn't enough to convince you to visit, the atmosphere of Marker 48 surely will. The interior is beautifully designed with wood finishes and charming features, like the toilet that encourages folks to recycle their beer after they're done using it. The building itself is reclaimed--what used to be a tire and lube shop is now a beer brewing haven. The old garage doors from the lube shop open the taproom and lead patrons into the outdoor beer garden that includes ping-pong, jumbo-sized Jenga, live music, and Adirondack chairs. It's like having a fully operational brewery in the comforts of your own backyard.

On my way out, I noticed this donut-making food truck and couldn't help myself. I order 12 made-to-order donuts that capped off a perfect afternoon.

There's a reason it was recently named by Beer Advocate as one of 2015's best new breweries. It's a must-visit location that has put Brooksville, FL on the beer map.

Marker 48 from the front of the building

Mo Say It Pale Ale

Mermaid's Milk Stout

No caption needed

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, 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!