Friday, March 27, 2015

Sourcing Suds: Zeta Brewing's American Lager




'Sourcing Suds' is a monthly column by the Beer Apostle, Brian Little, recognizing beer that’s locally brewed and served. You can find a printed copy of this column by picking up a copy of BUZZ Magagazine at your favorite local beer joint. Join him each month as he highlights a local craft beer and where you can find it on tap!


Source: Zeta Brewing Co.

In the heart of Jacksonville Beach, Zeta Brewing Company offers an additional layer of fun, food, and beer to an already lively beach scene. Zeta boasts a prime selection of hand-crafted beer, food, and cocktails, all just a jump, skip, and a hop from the beach!


Head brewer, Chris Prevatt combines his years of experience in food and brewing to produce delicious beers that pair well and compliment Zeta’s diverse food menu. Prevatt, who is a classically trained chef, uses local ingredients to create unique spins on traditional styles, like his Twin Finn Pre-Prohibition light American lager.

Zeta offers a fun-but-sophisticated beach vibe. Stop by on a Saturday, and you're sure to see dozens of visitors in their sunwear pairing one of Zeta's craft beer with a food item from the menu. Zeta is the perfect place to visit, whether you're the beach-goer, the foodie, the craft beer enthusiast, or a combination of the three. Oh, and they offer pretty tasty cocktails too, for those who might be looking for a libation without all the carbs.

Suds: Twin Finn American Lager


Twin Finn showcases what a well-crafted lager can offer the palate. This is a malt-forward and crisp lager—refreshingly pleasing and perfect for the beach—with a subtle citrus burst that cuts through the malt sweetness and adds a hint of bitterness. This pre-prohibition lager demonstrates all the flavors and complexities that a lager has to offer, without using the adjunct ingredients and watered-down techniques used by some of the big beer companies. This is a light(er) beer that brings doesn't skimp on the taste!

“We are a brewpub and appeal to a large crowd—we really have something for everyone—but at the same time, we take pride in the beer we produce and like to focus on one-off brews and experiment with new batches to really please the craft beer drinker,” explained Prevatt. Whether you’re stopping in for a quick bite before the beach or looking to grab a flight of craft beer, Zeta is sure to please.


Zeta is located at 131 1st Ave N, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250 Visit Zetabrewing.com to see everything they have to offer! 


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Jax Beer Society Launches in North Florida




Jacksonville, FL – Jax Beer Society, a nonprofit trade association committed to developing and preserving an active beer culture throughout Northeast Florida, launched earlier this year and made its debut at the Riverside Craft Beer Fest in late February.

“Our beer community has always been very supportive of each other. So, it was only natural that we come together to elevate Northeast Florida’s beer culture and make a focused effort on Jax Beer Week. The interest and support the community has shown for Jax Beer Society has already been overwhelming -- and we’ve only just begun,” said Kara Scremin, President of Jax Beer Society.



Membership is open to brewers, wholesalers, associate members (e.g. retail outlets, brew pubs) and craft beer enthusiasts who are interested in working together to advance the emerging craft and specialty beer scene in Jacksonville and to promote regional events and festivals that support the industry.

Memberships can be purchased at www.JaxBeerSociety.com/members or by visiting the Jax Beer Society table at GastroFest on March 21st outside the Visit Jacksonville offices on Laura Street or the Cathedral Arts Project CAPtivators “Economic Hopportunity” brewers’ panel on March 26th at St. John’s Cathedral. Jax Beer Society will also be a creator at this year’s One Spark festival and will be hosted by Visit Jacksonville.

JBS Officially Launched at the Riverside Craft Beer Fest in February
The organization’s main focus will be the coordination of Jax Beer Week which will take place November 8th through 14th. Jax Beer Society will organize a number of events across the city that focus on promoting the area’s craft and specialty beer scene. Jax Beer Week will culminate in a two-day grand tasting event at Hemming Park in downtown Jacksonville on November 13th and 14th.

Follow Jax Beer Society on Twitter: @JaxBeerSociety

For more information, please visit www.JaxBeerSociety.com or contact Cari Sánchez-Potter at (904) 540-6390 or jaxbeersociety@gmail.com.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Zardoz Imperial Russian Stout



Brewery: Aardwolf Brewing Co.
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.1%


The setting is a post-apocalyptic world in which Sean Connery strolls around in tight spandex (or is that a cloth diaper held up by suspenders?) and tries to save the world in a cinematic expression of good versus evil. The movie, Zardoz, is terrible. It’s a mockery of acting and should have ruined Connery’s career.

Seriously. Check out this trailer from 1974.

Thanks to the creative genius’ behind the brewing doors of Aardwolf Brewing Co., Zardoz has been resuscitated. Only this time, Zardoz is a Russian Imperial Stout. Those hoping to see 70s style spandex shorts should stay home and dust off the old LaserDisc.

Zardoz Russian Imperial Stout is a sci-fi thriller in your mouth. It’s James Bond meets Chewbacca meets that chick from The Fifth Element. It’s fun and enjoyable.

Jest aside, this beer is the real deal. Zardoz brings rich flavors of chocolate and smoked malts. There’s bits of oak that run throughout the palate, finishing with a subtle bitterness. Zardoz goes down surprisingly well for a RIS that weighs in at 10% ABV. There’s a sweet vanilla flavor that eloquently strings the smoked malts, charred oak, and bittering flavors together into something that is complex and quite enjoyable.

Beer Apostle's Final Grade: B

Aardwolf Brewing Company is located at 1461 Hendricks Ave. Jacksonville FL, 32207. I highly recommend visiting their taproom on Wednesdays as they release a new and unique pilot batch each week. 

Check out www.aardwolfbrewing.com for more details on their beer and upcoming events. And as always, support craft beer and drink local!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Dunedin Brewery's Stogies & Stout: Everything You Need to Know!


 
Perhaps one of the greatest experiences a craft beer fan can have is attending a beer fest. Many breweries (and even cities) host their own festivals to honor craft beer and present patrons with a cornucopia of beer and beer styles. Most of these festivals try to cater to the masses and will have any color and flavor of beer you can imagine. But there is one festival that hones in on one particular theme: Dunedin Brewery's Stogies & Stout is the beer fest for those who like their cigars hand-rolled and their beers dark.

Dunedin Brewery is Florida's oldest craft brewery. They've been brewing solid craft beer for nearly two decades and have helped to set the standard for craft beer in the Sunshine State.

Stogies & Stout is a beer festival hosted at the brewery each year on the last Saturday in February. Apply named, the event delivers a myriad of deliciously robust stouts on tap and a hand rolled stogie to each person who purchases a ticket to the event (more on that a bit later). Stogies & Stout has become a long-running tradition for the brewery, and it's one of the best beer fests we have attended.

Stogies & Stout 2015 is just around the corner. And because we know craft beer drinkers like to be educated, we recently chatted with General Operator at Dunedin Brewery, Michael Bryant, who  additional context on Dunedin, their beer, and what you can expect at this year's 14th Annual Stogies & Stout.

Dunedin Brewery is well known in the Tampa area, but you guys seem to be under the radar a bit when it comes to the broader craft beer landscape. What should people know about Dunedin Brewery?

While Dunedin Brewery is Florida's oldest microbrewery, we do indeed fly slightly under the radar with regard to the mainstream craft beer landscape. This is mostly b/c we choose to spend our time as full-time creatives rather than full-time capitalists. While we do have plans to expand (slowly), we have never had a romantic vision of becoming a big factory. We do this to maintain our artistic clout & believe that a healthy regional/local beer scene is full of all sorts of business types--from purely creative to purely capitalistic (and everything in between).

Photo via beerbusterspodcast.com
Dunedin Brewery strives to not only craft great beer, but also enhance our local community with top notch entertainment. We believe this is important b/c nothing seems sadder than beer for the sake of beer itself. Beer is a social lubricant. But that social situation will degrade if the people are not well entertained. We do whatever we can to elevate all of this--whether it be through live music, festivals, food, comedy and/or exploring the world through travel. Everything we discover that's worthwhile, we find worth sharing with our audience.

What sets Dunedin Brewery apart? What should folks look for/expect when visiting?

The main component that sets Dunedin Brewery apart from other breweries is our focus on guests. Every individual that visits us is unique. We approach them this way. Our beer selection is ever-rotating but consistently provides a full spectrum of flavors to help each guest find exactly what it is they seek in a beer, all while encouraging them to explore new things.

Secondly, we are one of the premier live music venues in the Southeast. With a year-round calendar filled with everything from national legends to great locals, we provide an endless narrative of inspiring craftsmanship.

And of course, our beer sets us apart. We not only brewed the first beer with fruit in the state (when it was still taboo), but continue to break the barriers of trends & styles. Our goal is not to replicate ideas, but to manifest new ones. This is what we are busy doing off-the-radar.

Tell me about Stogies & Stout. Where did the idea for the event come from? It seems to have become a local tradition for many people. Can you explain how that has happened? Why the pairing of stouts and cigars?

Stogies & Stout started 14 years ago as a social gathering on our brewery's patio among a small group of beer lovers. My father (founder of Dunedin Brewery) & some other beer aficionados came together with their small collection of stout bottles/kegs. Enjoying the dark beers, they discussed them while smoking cigars (simply b/c this small group of people enjoyed cigars). The original group was less than 20 people. As the years ticked by, the event became big enough to close the entire property and host just stout lovers for the evening.


Photo we snapped at 2014 Stogies & Stout
What has made the event unique & traditional for many local beer lovers is two-fold. First, we only sell a certain number of tickets in order to keep the place from being too full. This gives the attendees room to enjoy themselves as well as eliminates any waiting in line for a taste.

Secondly, the beer selection is hand-picked by myself. Most beer festivals invite every brewery to participate, usually with standard offerings that can be enjoyed almost anytime. With Stogies & Stout, I focus on quality of craftsmanship & ingenuity. This gives us a line-up of not only strong local beers, but also nationally distributed beers that have held up against the time of growth.

One final note with regard to the tradition of the event. Most beer festivals require the brewery representatives to work the event, pouring each sample to each guest. We relieve the brewery representatives from that duty & simply ask that they come enjoy themselves for the event. This allows beer lovers the chance to meet people who work at the breweries represented & even discuss the beers on tap.

What can people look forward to this year? Any new aspects or surprise tap listings?

This year will be our 14th annual Stogies & Stout. At the current moment, we have 35 different kegs of stout from 20 different breweries (10 FL breweries & 10 nationals). This number will continue to grow up until the event, as we purchase more flavors that come available before then. Cigar choices will be provided by our long-time partner Los Blancos Cigar Company. Live music will be provide by Lingo from Athens, Georgia. $35 admission gets them access to everything above, including a commemorative 2015 S&S tasting glass. For $10 more, attendees can opt to purchase a meal voucher which will get them a plate of Smoked Brisket (or Barbecue Seitan for vegetarians), Jalapeno Corn Mac n Cheese, Braised Collard Greens & Milk Stout Cornbread.

Current Tap List:

Dunedin Brewery Leonard Croon’s Oatmeal Stout
Dunedin Brewery Braemar Milk Stout
Dunedin Brewery Midnight Sextant
Dunedin Brewery Bourbon Barrel Aged Midnight Sextant
Dunedin Brewery Single Origin Honduran Brownie Batter Stout
Dunedin Brewery Mundofolbick Imperial Stout
Dunedin Brewery Vanilla Mundofolbick (cask)
Dunedin Brewery Cookies & Croon (cask)
Founders Breakfast Stout
Founders Imperial Stout
Founders Nitro Oatmeal Stout
Founders Black Rye
Terrapin Liquid Bliss (chocolate peanut butter stout)
Terrapin Guano Loco
Terrapin / Shmaltz Reunion 12
Stone Master of Disguise Blonde Stout
Stone Smoked Porter w/ Chocolate & Orange Peel
Stone 2011 IRS Belgo
Cigar City Marshall Zhukov Russian Imperial Stout
Sweetwater 2013 Happy Ending
Barley Mow Maven Nitro
Green Bench Stay Dry Stout
Green Bench — (Apple Brandy Barrel Imperial Stout?)
Pair o Dice Hot Cocoa Imperial Stout
Nature Coast Manatee Milk (imperial coffee chocolate milk stout aged in a Jack Daniels barrel)
Breckenridge 72 Imperial Chocolate Cream Stout
Swamphead Midnight Oil (coffee stout)
Funky Buddha OP Porter
St. Pete Grateful Stout
Three Palms Hot Schtuff (stout brewed with brown sugar, cinnamon, ghost peppers)
Wynwood Pop’s Porter
Highland Thunderstruck (coffee porter)
Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron
Dogfish Head Chicory Stout
Rogue Double Chocolate Stout
Rogue Russian Imperial Stout
Great Divide 2013 Oak Aged Yeti

Ticket Purchasing: http://goo.gl/4d4ttw
FB Event: http://goo.gl/8hVTyi


Monday, February 2, 2015

Champion Brands brings first Public Access CNG Station

Champion Brands is known in the area for distributing some of the most recognizable brands in Jacksonville's craft beer scene. Aardwolf, Intuition, and Pinglehead are just a few of the local brands of beer that Champion Brands moves across the city and state.

On February 26, the first public access CNG (compressed natural gas) station will launch its grand opening, thanks to the partnership between Champion Brands and Trillium CNG. This station will be the first of several potential stations across the First Coast, and could put Jacksonville on the map as a leading hub for clean, natural gas operations.

Champion Brands piloted its first wave of CNG Trucks in October 2014. I interviewed Earl Benton, CEO of Champion Brands, in September 2014, and Benton talked in detail about his commitment to running his business efficiently. Benton explained that he wants nothing more than to "leave this world at least in as good a shape as when we found it." The launch of this CNG Station is evidence of Benton following through on his word.