Saturday, November 23, 2013

Beers Under the Same Roof as Greg Koch...

If the CEO and Co-Founder of your favorite brewery (Stone!) is going to be in town, much less going to be in town, and accessible to meet and drink beers in the same room with - not only do you blog via run on sentence, but you go! You make sure your Sunday evening schedule is clear for Greg Koch, and you drive on down to Coconut Grove to the LoKal for this grand occasion! That is exactly what I did one beautiful, full moon Sunday evening. 

Hanging out with Greg Koch, ya know, typical Sunday...

I was happy to represent the Craft Brewjas, and while a packed house waited for the guest of honor, I had a chance to catch up with old and new Miami beer friends. I love meeting beer friends, especially the ones from Instagram. It's nice to have a real name to the IG name! I say this all the time, but it's so exciting to be a part of South Florida's craft beer movement. There has never been such a fulfilling time to be a beer nerd. We have so many options for great craft beer in South Florida!

OK, back to Greg Koch. As he tapped Enjoy By 12.13.13, he preached to his craft beer disciples about how Miami has made such progress in craft beer, and enlightened us with inspiration such as: "No longer will we put up with the fizzy yellow beer; can I get a hell ya?!"  I will say no more. OK, a little more. He was amazingly approachable, extremely down to earth, and very hospitable. Coolest CEO ever. He signed my W00tstout, and his people were texting the shot to Wil Wheaton. He shared his Crime and Punishment bomber with anyone that held up their glass. And that my friends, is a testament to why I love Stone. Not only are their beers hardcore, bold, in your face and made with obvious quality and ingenuity, but their leader is a man of the people. The craft beer people. 

While we're talking about Stone, I've recently tried the Suede Imperial Porter, a collaboration between 10 Barrel (OR), and Bluejacket (DC). It's brewed with Calendula flowers, jasmine and honey. I loved this one. It was like drinking some smmmooooth velvet. Suede was a great name. I don't know what Calendula flowers taste like, however, I did pick up on a lightly sweet floral-esque hint, so I'm guessing it was the flowers. I will be picking up another so I can age it. It will be awesome. 

Most recently, I picked up a Belgian random bomber from my local Total Wine. Pauwel Kwak, a traditional Belgian special ale (8.4%). I enjoyed this. The color was a beautiful honey hue, and the mouth feel was crisp, full and classic. It's from Belgium. Chances are it will be fantastic. They've been doing this a lot longer than most of us. One day I will get there and taste first hand. Until then, I will keep hitting up the Belgian aisle. Cheers!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Broward Beer Adventures...

It's such an exciting time to be a beer nerd, in South Florida! We've got new breweries like Wynwood and MIA Brewing; and restaurants and beer spots upping their craft selections regularly. The best thing is when you stumble upon a new spot by accident! On a rainy Saturday night, a group of 3 non beer nerds, and myself were out and about in Ft. Lauderdale. They took me to The Parrot (near the beach). Oh my. It's a bar/restaurant with it's very own craft beer menu! It was such a nice surprise to find this gem of a craft beer mecca. I enjoyed a Ballast Point Sculpin IPA bottle. Delicious! This place has a lot of taps, and a large craft beer fridge. I can tell hardcore beer geeks know about the place since a lot of items were out.. I will be back to this place, and recommend if you're near Ft. Lauderdale beach, check it out. 

Continuing my fall / pumpkin extravaganza, two high ranking brews for me are: Shipyard Pumpkinhead, and Cigar City Good Gourd. CCB Good Gourd was all that I was expected it to be. Believe the hype. I could probably pass up a slice of pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving for some Good Gourd. Southern Tier Warlock Imperial Stout made the cut for International Stout Day. This one was dark, luscious, satin pumpkin smoothness and was very memorable. 

After a long week, all I wanted to do was to go drink out of my Funky Buddha snifter. It's the small things, ya know? It was truly what I was looking forward to all week. So, we go, and arrive to the fire alarm going off. No big deal, but somewhat disorganized. No one really said, oh hey, welcome, and disregard that alarm. It was kind of everyone looking at each other like - should we be in here? Eventually, they ask us to go outside while the fire department handles business and the alarm is shut off. We wait quite a bit once inside to even get waited on, and the server was kind of zoned out, eventually helping us, and was not courteous, but not rude. The other servers, with the exception of Adam, all appeared so stressed and like they didn't want to be there. I was so surprised, because every other time I've been there - everyone has been so pleasant. The vibe was stressful, and I didn't want to stay that long. My beers were awesome though. Adam was fantastic like usual, but I'm disappointed with the vibe now. Seems like some team building is order. Hopefully they get it tightened up. My Pip's Pumpkin Porter was excellent. I would love to have more. My sampler was on point too: Cream Abdul Jabar (creamy and awesome, like a mild Boddington), Red Dawn X and Broooownn Double Brown. 

I knew Tap42 would cheer me up, and that it did. I had a flight of: Miami Brewing Co. Coconut Blonde, Rivertown Brew Espresso Vanilla Porter (OH), and Cigar City Cubano Espresso. Yesssssss. They were all so tasty! I loved them all. The Rivertown was pretty malty, and roasty. The Cigar City was heavy on the espresso, just how I like it. Miami Brewing Co. Coconut Blonde is so easy drinking and full of flavor. I love when I find this on tap! Big ups to Lauren at Tap42 for making the beer selection nothing less than perfect every time I go there. By the way, their new menu is very cool. I had baked potato soup, and shrimp mac n' cheese. Yes, yes, yes!!