Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Modern Times Ice

Modern Times is a San Diego based brewery focused on "aroma-driven, complex, flavorful, sessionable beers." Modern Times Ice is a Czech Pilsner and, given the aforementioned description of their focus, I'm eager to check this beer out. While the Czech Pilsner style certainly falls under "sessionable" beers, a solid pilsner is difficult to brew well and not a style you typically think of as aroma-driven and flavorful. I am out to find whether Modern Times can live up to their mission with this light lager.

Before I get to what's inside the can, let's talk about what's on the outside. Not sure where the name, 'Ice" comes from, but I can't help to think of a certain light beer that has historically found its way onto college campuses and, formerly, my basement. Regardless, I find the name and can label to be jovial and maybe even a little ironic. The design is like a flashback to the early 90's. I can recall a fanny pack I used to wear that would have complemented the overall design and color scheme quite well.

Now, let's get to the beer. I served Ice ice-cold as the can instructs. The beer pours a clear golden color and I  immediately picked up on a classic pilsner aroma -- grass, hay, and biscuity malt.

The flavor follows suit. Lots of sweet grain on the palate, as well as hay, grass, and biscuit flavors. I also pick up corn, slight pepper, and herbal notes. The finish is dry with lingering pepper.

I can't deny that this is a solid Czech Pilsner, Lots of flavor, and yet light and very drinkable. I enjoyed how crisp it was--perfect for summer. Great aroma, definitely flavorful, and overall enjoyable.

To learn more about Modern Times, check them out here. I recommend looking out for this beer and checking it out. If you do, give me a shout-out on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter 
and let me know what you think!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp Across the World Hitting Shelves

Beer Camp is the craft beer industry’s largest collaboration effort and showcases the art, spirit and attitude of craft beer. It's also become an annual tradition--something craft beer fans can look forward to.

This year, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has partnered with 12 craft breweries–6 overseas and 6 stateside–to brew an international collaboration 12-pack, dubbed Beer Camp Across the World. This pack is loaded with dream beers–no idea was too wild and no ingredient was off-limits–and a one-time-only national release originally announced for June, but boxes have already been shipped and some have been spotted on shelves across the country. 

Some craft beer sellers have already announced release events and tasting opportunities, such as this Beer Store in Oregon. Regardless of where you live, Beer Camp should hit your local store within the next week or two.

Variety pack brewery participants & beers:

Tree House Brewing Co. / East Meets West IPA
The Bruery / Raspberry Sundae
Avery Brewing Co. / Dry-Hopped Barleywine
Boneyard Beer / West Coast-Style DIPA
Surly Brewing Co. / Ginger Lager
Kiuchi Brewery / White IPA with Yuzu
Garage Project / Campout Porter
Fullers Brewery / Atlantic-style Vintage Ale
Mikkeller Brewery / Thai-Style Iced Tea
Ayinger Brewery / Dunkel Weisse
Saint Arnold Brewing Co. / Dry-Hopped Berliner Weisse
Duvel Moortgat / Hoppy Belgian Golden Ale

Monday, May 22, 2017

Carnival Cruise Line Celebrates Craft Beer Week with New Cask

To celebrate American Craft Beer Week, Carnival Cruise Line has created a tropical themed beer served exclusively on the Carnival Vista's RedFrog Pub & Brewery, the first aboard a North American-based cruise ship.

The beer, Miami Guava Wheat, is a tropical-flavored beer unveiled on Saturday, May 20 during a shipboard ceremony. I was in attendance for the event and was one of the first to try the beer after Brewmaster, Colin Presby and Vista Hotel Director, Pierre Camilleri, tapped the cask.

"Since Carnival Vista began sailing from Miami, I've become fascinated by tropical fruit and Cuban cuisine, so I'm beyond thrilled to create this new [beer] in honor of American Craft Beer Week for our guests to enjoy," Presby said.

In addition to the new Miami Guava Wheat, I had the opportunity to sample the three other original beers brewed onboard Carnival Vista -- Thirsty Frog Port Hoppin' IPA, an aromatic, floral, and hoppy IPA with juicy tropical and citrus overtones; Thirsty Frog Caribbean Wheat, and unfiltered wheat beer with notes of orange and spices; and FriskyFrog Java Stout, a rich and creamy coffee stout.

The inaugural cask is just one of many exciting craft beer developments Carnival is working on. According to Presby, guests have been very receptive of the freshly brewed ales onboard and Carnival is considering expanding the project to include more breweries on other ships. For now, Carnival Vista is the only ship with a brewery--a beer oasis at sea.

Here are a few additional photos from the celebratory event. To learn more about Carnival Cruise Line, visit

Carnival Vista houses a 3.5 bbl, double vessel glass brewhouse

RedFrog Pub & Brewery Bar

My Father-in-Law and I posing with Brewmaster Colin Presby

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

3 Ways Drinking Establishments and Communities Support One Another

3 Ways Drinking Establishments and Communities Support One Another
by Henry Moore | guest contributor

While you may not consider drinking establishments as the backbone of your community, you just may find how vital their role is when you take a closer look. Often located in the heart of a town, drinking establishments have long been social gathering places. Nearly everyone of age has their favorite local bar, and people often find it difficult to enjoy themselves as much in any other drinking establishment. Beer lovers know these local businesses are a place to meet friends and unwind, celebrate, or bounce back after a rough day. That’s why community members support their local drinking establishments when they host events to benefit the neighborhood and continue to visit time and again. We explore the ways local watering holes and communities support one another below.

1. Local Pubs Improve People’s Lives

A recent study by Oxford University found that people who regularly visit a local pub are happier, have more friends, have better life satisfaction, and are less likely to drink excessively. While it may be counterintuitive to think that living near a drinking establishment helps people, it is the case; researchers believe that people find it easier to socialize in small community bars than in larger establishments, and bartenders keep tabs on how much people drink and do not serve them in excess.

Neighborhood patrons appreciate having a welcoming, comfortable place to gather to spend time with friends, and they develop friendships face-to-face in relaxed venues. Tim Page, chief executive of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), explains: “Pubs offer a social environment to enjoy a drink with friends in a responsible, supervised community setting. Nothing is more significant for individuals, the social groupings to which they belong and the country as a whole as our personal and collective well-being. The role of community pubs in ensuring that well-being cannot be overstated. For that reason, we all need to do what we can to ensure that everyone has a ‘local’ near to where they live or work.”

People recognize the role their local drinking establishments play in their lives, and they continue to patronize them as a result. They also visit them more regularly when they fit their lifestyles, as dog-friendly bars do. Many watering holes have realized that patrons want to visit in the evening while walking their dogs but were unable to do so; they were losing business when people were standing on the sidewalk with their pets and talking to patrons rather than going inside and purchasing a drink of their own. By welcoming pets, many neighborhood bars have become even better members of the community.

2. Bars Provide Venues for Local Musicians

Local musicians often get their start in drinking establishments. They play to entertain patrons, and patrons pack the establishment and continue to drink as long as the music continues. Bar owners love finding popular local music acts to keep the people coming back, and they also draw new patrons who may have seen the band play elsewhere and follow them from gig to gig. Additionally, drinking establishment owners realize that giving local musicians a place to showcase their talents helps them grow their fan base and expand their career. The community appreciates that the drinking establishment provides entertainment and supports local artists, and the owners appreciate the boost in business they get by hosting the musicians.

3. Drinking Establishments Support Local Artists

Similarly, drinking establishments support the community by inviting local artists to showcase their work in the bar. It can be very expensive for budding artists to rent space in a gallery or find another location to display their art, but if they display it in a local drinking establishment, they get a great deal of exposure to potential buyers. Drinking establishments feature artists and host nights to meet the artists to draw business, and they also rotate artists to draw more interest in the art and keep art-loving patrons coming back to see the new displays every month or so. Again, patrons appreciate that the bar supports the local arts and view it as an upstanding member of the community for doing so.

Drinking establishments support communities by giving people a place to socialize and contribute to their well-being, providing venues for local musicians, and supporting local artists. In return, community members continue to patronize the drinking establishment and sing its praises for being such a community-minded business.

About our guest writer:
Henry is the co-creator of FitWellTraveler. The site blends two of his favorite subjects (travel and health) to provide readers with information about how to get the most out of both.

Image via Pixabay by tpsdave

Monday, May 8, 2017

Following God's Calling | The Story Behind The Orlando Whiskey Festival

The 3rd Annual Orlando Whiskey Festival (OWF) will take place this Saturday, May 13. Located at the Mercedes-Benz of Orlando dealership in Maitland, the event will feature unlimited samples of over 100 whiskey brands, 4Rivers BBQ, cigars, and live entertainment. 

The Orlando Whiskey Festival is not just another local festival, but it was the first of its kind for Central Florida when it launched three years ago. Since then, OWF has set the standard for whiskey festivals. In addition, OWF has a unique philanthropic mission. 100% of the net proceeds go to a local organization. I recently connected with Mark Matuszek, owner of Whiskey & Bizz, LLC, and founder of Orlando Whiskey Festival to gain a better understanding of the story behind OWF and what we can expect from the high-end festival in the future.

Influence. This is the word Mark gave me when I asked why he launched the festival a few years ago. Mark, a man of faith, explained that the word "influence" was what he felt God had continuously put on his heart. A modest business owner at the time, Mark felt that he was called to do more--to have a greater impact on others--but he wasn't quite sure what that looked like. 

"It was birthed from a love of whiskey. We wanted to create a network and bring people together, and then it grew into something so much bigger than we had expected," Mark explained. At the time, Mark was hosting small whiskey tastings, bringing together friends and colleagues with one thing in common: their love of whiskey. "We would coordinate these tastings and just charge people whatever our costs were. We always broke even. Over time, we connected with various whiskey companies that offered to donate product. So now we had to decide what to do with the profit."

Enter: The Lovely ProjectThe Lovely Project is a Non-Profit Organization, headquartered in Orlando, Florida, that exists to empower girls by providing them with tools, education and peer-mentorship for living a purposeful, productive life. "It was a no brainer. I love what The Lovely Project is all about. It is an organization that was started by people in my church and I thought that we would be able to help influence something good by giving to them."

Last year's event sold out and raised tens of thousands for The Lovely Project. Impressive by any measurement, but especially for OWF in just its second year of existence. When I asked Mark what he thought about the success in such a short period of time, he was quick to explain that it all goes back to his calling from God. "This is the most successful business I have ever had without making any money. The secret sauce is giving back." 

When asked what we can expect from him moving forward, Mark shared, "I go back to the initial word that God spoke to me, Influence. Influence is still what I am called to. God's not done with us yet." 

Ticket Information
General Admission (7-10p) and VIP (6-10p) tickets are available. For those looking for the "ultimate" experience, there is a 3-course dinner and whiskey tasting event that will take place the night before. Tickets for the dinner are sold separately and do not include admission to the Orlando Whiskey Festival. 

For all ticket information, click here

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Craft beer takes center stage at Annual Taste in Inverness Event.

Craft beer takes center stage at revamped 'The Taste' in Inverness, Florida.
The Citrus County Beer Experience will offer unlimited samplings at the food and beverage showcase

The City of Inverness has revamped its annual Taste of Inverness in 2017 to enhance the enjoyment of residents and visitors. The premier addition to what is now called The Taste is the Citrus County Beer Experience, a massive tent under which a wide variety of craft beers from regional breweries and home brewing clubs will be available for unlimited sampling.

The Taste will take place Saturday, April 8, from 3 to 8 p.m. at Liberty Park, 286 N. Apopka Ave., Inverness, Florida, and will benefit the Citrus County Education Foundation.

Local entrepreneurs Kemper Willcut and LouAnn Jacobs, owners of Pine Street Pub and The Cove Pub and Grub, both in Inverness, collaborated with the City of Inverness in conceiving the idea of integrating craft beer into the annual showcase. And it won’t be the last time the Citrus County Beer Experience tent will be raised.

“The Beer Experience was put together specifically to coordinate and conduct beer events throughout Citrus County and the Central Florida area,” Willcut says.
And the homebrew clubs participating will be entering their brews into a judged competition for prize packages.

“I want the homebrewers to be a big part of this,” Willcut says. “We are giving away cash prizes and awards — that’s a big deal. “  

Those prizes are:
·            1st place:  $100 cash plus $100 gift certificate from Pine Street Pub
·            2nd place:  $50 cash plus $50 gift certificate from Pine Street Pub
·            3rd place:  $30 cash plus $30 gift certificate from Pine Street Pub

Those attending who wish to participate without sampling the craft beer will be able to enter the festival for only $5 to enjoy music from local bands, an art show and a la carte food sampling from at least 10 local restaurants and 10 specialty food trucks. None of the food offerings will cost more than $6, and beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase.

But craft beer fans who want the full Citrus County Beer Experience will pay only $20 more for unlimited sampling of the commercial and home brews throughout The Taste.

These are the commercial breweries already confirmed as participating. More will be added:

Florida breweries
·            Cigar City Brewing (Tampa)
·            Copp Brewery (Crystal River)
·            Nature Coast Brewing Co. (Crystal River)
·            Infinite Ale Works (Ocala)
·            Swamp Head Brewery (Gainesville)
·            Backyard Barn Winery & Microbrewery (Wildwood)
·            Brooksville Brewing Company (Spring Hill)
·            Miami Brewing Co. (Homestead)
·            Funky Buddha Brewery (Oakland Park)
·            Barley Mow Brewing Company (Largo)
·            Green Bench Brewing Co. (St. Petersburg)

Other breweries
·            New Belgium Brewing
·            Samuel Adams
·            Sweetwater Brewing Company
·            Abita Brewing Company
·            Terrapin Beer Co.
·            Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
·            Founders Brewing Company
·            Left Hand Brewing Company
·            Oskar Blues Brewery
·            Guinness
Plus numerous local homebrewing clubs.

WHAT: The Beer Experience at The Taste beer & food festival

WHERE: Liberty Park, 286 N. Apopka Ave., Inverness, Florida

WHENSaturday, April 83 to 8 p.m.

WHY: Food, beer and fun! Plus, a portion of proceeds will benefit the Citrus County Education Foundation. Its mission is to support Citrus County public schools in order to enhance learning and improve personal development for present and future generations.

HOW MUCH: $5 for admission to the festival; $25 includes general admission and unlimited sampling of craft beers.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Touring Winter Park's Brewstillery

Posing with Co-Founder, Andrew Asher, at the Brewstillery
When the Founders of the Winter Park Distilling Company unveiled expansion plans to combine their craft distillery with a fully functioning brewery, taproom and retail showroom, it was innovating, groundbreaking, and set to be the first of its kind in the State of Florida. Those plans were originally unveiled in 2015. Today, that plan and vision for “The Brewstillery” has been fully realized and patrons can visit the site, now home to The Bear& Peacock Brewery and the Winter Park Distilling Co. which has been in full operation since the grand opening in November 2016.

I was recently given a tour of the site by co-founder, Andrew Asher, whose enthusiasm and passion for craft brewing and distilling was on full display. The tour began in the brewery (which is separated from the distillery only by a government-mandated wall) where Asher gave an overview of the brewing process, focusing on the scientific nature of his five-barrel system. 

While I have been on more brewery tours than I can count, this tour was different. Asher’s presentation was fully engaging and enlightening. His love of Winter Park, craft beer, and craft liquor was inspiring. He intertwined Winter Park history into the tour and provided personal stories which gave light to his inspiration for opening the craft brewery. 

The name, Bear & Peacock, for example is homage to Winter Park— “Bear” referring to a lake he and his friends used to hang out around, and “Peacock” referring to the bird found on the city’s official seal thanks to members of the Morse family who brought the first peacock to Winter Park in 1950. As Asher stated in his original press release announcing the brewstillery, “Our identity as a craft distiller is grounded in the unique beauty and creative drive of this community.” 

The second part of the tour took place through the opening of the wall and into the distillery side. Here is where Asher truly shined. It’s clear that the Winter Park Distilling Co. is Asher’s first love. Again, he provided an expansive overview of the process. Like a kid on show-and-tell day, Asher proudly displayed the 250 gallon still which sits adjacent to the smaller, home-made still with which he began. The tour also included a walkthrough of the aging area where barrels of rum and whiskey await their bottling day, and a humble side space which serves as an office, lab, and bottling room.

The tour concluded with, perhaps, the best part – the samples! To no surprise, Asher pulled out every bottle of liquor he had available; he generously shared a tasting of each spirit while giving even more backstory behind each one. Typically, the samples are available only to those who pay for a tour (scheduled by appointment only), but Asher pulled in the crowd and invited several others to enjoy – one final reminder that the Brewstillery is, at its core, grounded in community.

Within hours, Winter Park Distilling Co. tweeted a photo from our tour
The Brewstillery is located at 1288 N. Orange Ave., Winter Park, FL and is open Monday-Sunday. For tours, contact or call 407.801.2714.

A few more shots from the tour:

Entrance to the Brewstillery, located at 1288 N. Orange Ave.
A look at the brewery's fermenters
Barrels of WPD rum and whiskey currently aging

The original, hand-made still at Winter Park Distilling Co.

Tasting the award-winning Bear Gully Classic Single-Barrel Bourbon
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