Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Champion Brands Prepares for Future with New Corporate HQ

Champion Brands Prepares for Future with New Corporate HQ
“We’re Investing in our employees and the future of Champion Brands”

Jacksonville, FL -- Champion Brands, along with close to 100 guests, will celebrate the future, as they break ground on their new corporate HQ tomorrow, April 24, 2018 at 9:00 am. “We want our employees to have pride in their workplace, and create an environment that will foster collaboration, teamwork and room to grow in the future. When I purchased Champion Brands in 1985, there were 80 employees – we now have 300+,” said Earl Benton, CEO Champion Brands.

Notable Project Facts:
  •         36,000 SF Tilt Wall Construction
  •        Solar Rooftop and LED Lighting Throughout
  •         Full Service Gym with Locker Rooms
  •         State of the Art On-site Meeting Space for 250 In-door and Out-door Tap Rooms

Once the new HQ is completed (estimated Feb 2019), the vacated office space will eventually be demolished, for a 40,000 SF warehouse expansion. “We’re excited to be a part of Jacksonville’s continued growth,” said Benton.

The groundbreaking will be held at 5520 Florida Mining Boulevard South, Jacksonville, FL 32257 (off Shad Rd. and Florida Mining Blvd just past Champion’s existing facility on the left). The event begins at 8:30 am with guest registration and a light breakfast. The program will begin at 9:00 am. The event will conclude with the ceremonial “turning of the dirt” at approximately 9:30 a.m.

About Champion Brands
Champion Brands, Inc. is a Jacksonville based malt beverage distributor servicing six Northeast Florida counties. They currently represent 62 domestic and foreign breweries, several local craft breweries and Red Bull (Northeast Florida and 32 counties surrounding Savannah, Ga). They are celebrating 33 years in business www.championbrands.net

Architect: HHC

Follow Champion Brands on social media: Facebook @championbrandsinc Twitter @ChampionBrands Instagram @championbrands

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Marker 48 Brewing brings back 'Smallbatch Beer Program'

Marker 48 Brewing announces the return
of the Smallbatch Beer Program

Released each Wednesday beginning Feb. 7, the 2018 version of this passport program
could lead to valuable prizes for the brewery’s customers

WEEKI WACHEE, Florida (Jan. 30, 2018) — For the second year in a row, Marker 48 Brewing will offer a promotion that will give participants a chance to win magnificent prizes at the end of the year, as well as pours of unique one-off beers throughout 2018.

The Smallbatch Beer Program proved to be such a success in 2017 that the brewery is eager to do it again.

“Oh my gosh, it was phenomenal,” said Cindy Halley, Marker 48 Brewing tasting room manager. “People who would only drink a cream ale or only drink an IPA or only drink a stout opened up their palates to drink more types of beer. Some they liked and some they didn’t.”

But, she added, “It helped them start venturing out and trying other beers.”

Here’s how it works:

The Beers:  Our brewers and select guest brewers have committed to brewing 48 different small-batch beers, one new beer every week.

These beers will allow our brewers and guest brewers to explore creative and experimental brewing — everything from sours to barrel-aged beers, and many styles in between.

The Promotion: Marker 48 is offering a VERY LIMITED number of Smallbatch Beer Books for sale. These books allow customers to receive one FREE small-batch beer per week or half-off bomber bottles of the week’s small-batch beers (when available).

The books cost $100 each and are on sale in the tasting room, 12147 Cortez Blvd. (S.R. 50), Weeki Wachee, Florida, beginning Feb. 1. In addition to the 48 free beers, book holders will receive a stamp for each Smallbatch Beer drank.

The Prizes: At the end of the year those individuals who have all 48 stamps will get an exclusive Marker 48 Smallbatch Beer shirt AND a special 20 oz. glass to be kept in the brewery to receive pours core beers throughout 2019 for the same price as 16 oz. beers.

Depending on the number of stamps required, book holders will also be qualified to win end of the year grand prizes.

The prizes are:
10-25 stamps are qualified to win:
·        $100 Marker 48 gift certificate
·        Free passport book for 2019 ($100 value)
·        $25 BeckyJack’s Food Shack gift certificate
·        $25 Florida Cracker Kitchen gift certificate
·        ($250 value total)

26-35 stamps are qualified to win all of the above, PLUS:
  • The chance to brew a small-batch beer with our brewers in 2018

 36-48 stamps are qualified to win all of the above, PLUS:
  • A one-night stay with one guest, hosted by Marker 48, on a private island on the Homosassa River and a half-day fishing inshore charter with a guide captain.
New for this year: All books with 48 stamps will be entered to win two VIP tickets to a 2019 Tampa Bay area beer festival of Marker 48’s choice, accompanied by either the owners or brewers.

2017 grand-prize winner, Debbie Garda.
You must purchase a Smallbatch Beer Book to receive the stamps and qualify for the prizes but you do not have to have a book to come in and order each week’s Smallbatch Beers.

The winners for the 2017 program were announced during a drawing on Wednesday, Jan. 17, and the grand-prize winner’s name is Debbie Garda.

In addition to the tangible prizes, there are other advantages to being a member of the Smallbatch Beer program, Halley said. In the inaugural year, a group of regular customers who purchased the passport books banded together to meet in the tasting room for each new release.

“So there’s a huge group of people who made lifetime friends by coming every Wednesday and trying all the new beers together,” Halley said. “So yeah, I would say it was a huge success.”

The passport books are currently on sale in the taproom, and the first beer in the program will be released Wednesday, Feb. 7.

Check the Marker 48 Facebook page or Twitter account for announcements on subsequent releases. For more information on Marker 48 Brewing, please visit their Facebook page.

Marker 48 Brewing is a 7-barrel craft brewery with a 32-tap tasting room in Weeki Wachee, Florida, founded by Hernando County natives Maurice and Tina Ryman. Regular hours are Monday3 to 10 p.m.; Wed-Thurs., noon to 10 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., noon to midnight; and Sun. noon to 8:30 p.m. The address is 12147 Cortez Blvd. (S.R. 50), Weeki Wachee, FL 34613. Phone: (352) 606-2509.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Ivanhoe Park Brewing Company Celebrates Groundbreaking Ceremony

Independent Craft Brewery Begins Construction in Heart of Ivanhoe Village

Ivanhoe Park Brewing Company, an independent craft brewery and tasting room in Orlando, Fla. hosted its groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, October 13, 2017. Mayor Buddy Dyer and Commissioner Robert Stuart both spoke at the event and participated in the groundbreaking ceremony, which was a nice play on tradition. Mash paddles replaced shovels and, together, the group broke into a bed of hops, rather than dirt. The ceremony was well organized and displayed thoughtfulness and class--something to look forward to in their beers as well.

The brewery is targeting an open date of Spring 2018.

Located in Ivanhoe Village, one of Orlando’s Main Street districts, the brewery will open with a tasting room and distribution capacity of 1,450 barrels per year initially with significant room for expansion. 

Renderings of Ivanhoe Park Brewing released:

Ivanhoe Park Brewing Company celebrates the pioneering spirit of early 20th century Lake Ivanhoe founder, George Russell. Ivanhoe Park previously served as home to beautifully lined orange groves and a pineapple farm, and was later named Joyland, an amusement and recreational park. To start, Ivanhoe Park Brewing will focus on three core beers offered year-round, in addition to other seasonal varieties, with names like Bungalower Belgian Witbier, Joyland IPA and Toboggan Blonde Ale to honor the area’s rich history.

Founded by Glenn Closson, former owner of Beach City Brewing in California (its assets were acquired by Beachwood Brewing when Closson relocated to Orlando), the brewery is funded by individual investors predominately based in Central Florida. Recent changes to Orlando’s City Planning regulations were the driving force that compelled Closson to open Ivanhoe Park Brewing.

“Changes allowing a 50/50 split between distribution and tasting room business paired with the immense support I would be receiving from the Orlando Main Street program and Ivanhoe Village were the catalysts to push me over the edge and open a brewery here after relocating from California,” said Closson. “I had launched a brewery from the ground up in California, starting as a home brewer, and after conducting market research, I determined Orlando provided the perfect conditions to open Ivanhoe Park Brewing.”

McCree General Contractor & Architects is leading the construction efforts and Ivanhoe Park Brewing is scheduled to open Spring 2018.
About Ivanhoe Park Brewing Company:
Ivanhoe Park Brewing Company is an independent craft brewery that celebrates the pioneering spirit of early 20th century Lake Ivanhoe founder, George Russell. Ivanhoe Park previously served as home to beautifully lined orange groves and a pineapple farm, and was later named Joyland, an amusement and recreational park. Connecting Orlando's illustrious past to our brewery’s commitment to community, education and the use of quality ingredients, Ivanhoe Park Brewing Company seeks to make craft beer accessible and approachable. 

More photos from the groundbreaking ceremony:
A bed of hops for the groundbreaking ceremony

Thursday, August 10, 2017

BrüMate | HOPSULATOR TRíO | Review

I recently discovered BrüMate's Hopsulator Trio via their Instagram account and immediately sought to get my hands on it to see if it worked as nice as it looked.

So, what is the Hopsulator Trio? According to the official description, the Hopsulator Trio is "the most functional drink accessory on the planet." It boasts a 3-in-1 design that combines a double-walled stainless steel and copper-layered pint glass that can hold 16oz of liquid or a 16oz "tallboy" can. To complete the trifecta, the Hopsulator Trio comes with a freezable insert that sits in the bottom of the can and acts as an arctic adapter to fit 12oz cans.

To start, I placed a cold 12oz can in the Hopsulator Trio and placed it in direct sunlight during the hottest part of the afternoon. The external temperature at the time of the test was 102°. From here, I will measure the temperature every 30 minutes for the next two hours. Why just two hours? Simple. If it takes you longer than that to finish your beer, or Arnold Palmer in this case, then you probably deserve to drink your beverage warm.

Now that the test is set up and external temperature recorded, I insert the can into the Hopsulator Trio, screw on the cap, and measure the starting temperature of the liquid. Let the test begin. Scroll down to see my findings.

Time: 1pm | Temperature of liquid: 38.8°

Time: 1:30pm | Temperature of liquid: 38.5°
After 30 minutes, the temperature actually went down slightly. My guess is this has to do with the frozen insert that the 12oz can rests on while inside the Hopsulator Trio.

Time: 2:00pm | Temperature of liquid: 41.8°
After a full hour, my beverage has warmed by nearly four degrees, but is still at a chilly 41.8°, which is more than 60 degrees cooler than the outside temperature at the moment.

Time: 2:30pm | Temperature of liquid: 46.9°
After an hour and a half in the blistering Florida sun, the Hopsulator Trio is keeping my beverage at 47 degrees, which also happens to be around the preferred serving temperature of most standard ales and lagers.

Time: 3:00pm | Temperature of liquid: 51.3°
Two hours after setting my beverage in the Hopsulator Trio under direct sun, the liquid inside is still chilled at 51 degrees! The temperature rose by 12.5 degrees in that span, which averages out to be about 3 degrees every 30 minutes. 

Final thoughts: The Hopsulator Trio has an attractive look and comfortable feel. As you can see from the pictures in this review, the device is well insulated and keeps your beverage ice cold. There is definitely great utility in this product and I have enjoyed being able to use it as both a koozie and a pint glass. I love the arctic insert and find that to be one aspect that truly sets the Hopsulator Trio apart in what is becoming a growing market for drink accessories. 

Recommend? Yes! The Hopsulator Trio is worth the $25 and will become your go-to drink holder. Use it for coffee in the morning, water at your desk, or beer by the water--the versatility of the Hopsulator Trio is a key selling point.

Here's a look at the Hopsulator Trio when used as a pint glass. The lid comes included.

Like what you just read? Let me know by connecting with the Beer Apostle on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter . If you end up purchasing your own Hopsulator Trio, be sure to let them know you read this review!

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.com.

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