Saturday, January 11, 2014

Maple Bacon Coffee Porter Release Day

Today's Belle of the Ball.
It's always fun going to bed, knowing you'll be waking up for some day drinking. Day drinking is exactly what happened with Funky Buddha's Maple Bacon Coffee Porter Bottle Release and Festival. This beer is a hot topic. Just Google it. It has high ratings on Beer Advocate,, and got famous at the Great American Beer Festival. It's what launched Funky Buddha into craft beer fame. I do enjoy this beer, drank it on draft and picked up a few bottles, but I don't pick up on any bacon. Sorry. The coffee notes are fantastic and prominent, and it's robust, sweet and a smooth porter. Bacon no, delicious - yes! 
Bottle status. I got my 2 of the 3,000.
The festival included many beers, with special times releases on the hour. 

Somehow we thought our feet would liven up the shot. You're welcome.
My notable pours included:

Bonita Applebum, an American Brown Ale which has the aroma of a freshly baked apple pie. The cinnamon is dominant, with a lot of spice going on. This beer is great. It's not too sweet, and I enjoyed the malty undertones. 

Snowed In is an Imperial Porter, which was my favorite of the day! It's pretty similar to Last Snow, except a higher ABV. It feels a bit more creamy, and less earthy than Last Snow. I tasted chocolate, coconut, high malt, and maybe caramel. 

Their Rice Crispy Cream Ale was a tatsy beer, however I wouldn't say it tasted like one. I picked up more of a lemon, toasted marshmallow flavor. It didn't taste overly artificial. 

Special Guests on Draft:
I sipped on an Engine 15 Jasmine Saison, but wasn't a fan. It was way too floral for my taste, but, I rarely enjoy saisons so this was expected. Not my thing. 

The Dogfish 2012 Chateau Jiahu was a treat, an ancient ale modeled after an era 9,000 years ago from China. It's made with brown rice syrup, orange blossom honey, grapes and berry - with the wort fermented with sake yeast for a month. It's like a fine wine hybrid beer. Dogfish always gets my respect for pushing the envelope on things no one else has done, or imagined!

I really wanted to try Cigar City Illuminating the Path Pinot Noir Barrel Aged Ale (ran out), and Cigar City's Good Gourd Almighty Rum Barrel Aged Ale (left too early). 

One of the best moves we made all day, was to avoid the food truck lines and made a field trip to the Ale House for a round of cheese steaks. The weather was great, balmy and 80, and I was impressed with the organization of the festival, and selection of beers. The only thing I didn't like was seeing kids being brought there; I felt bad - each one I saw looked miserable and was crying. Not their thing, obviously. 

Overall, this was a very fun day with friends! It's great to have so many options continuing to develop for South Florida beer nerds! We have South Florida Beer Week coming, and Miami Beer Festival!


Monday, January 6, 2014

Florida Sunshine, Via Malt and Hops...

It's cold everywhere. Even here in Florida, we're supposed to "drop" to the 40s tonight, but for most of you - I know that's still car washin' weather. Regardless, it felt like the perfect time to bring you some Florida sunshine and warmth, via our local water, yeast, malt and hops! 

Over the last month or so, I've tasted a lot of beers. Just check Instagram. Of those magnificent beers, there were plenty local selections. I've said it before, and will say it again: I love being in South Florida for this craft beer revolution we're undergoing. Breweries are popping up everywhere, and some sports bars/restaurants like Bokamper's are now offering special craft selections. I would've taken a pic of my Bell's Two Hearted Ale, but I sacrificed material for the sake of a first date. However, I was at a ladies night at Village Tavern (Pembroke Pines), and was pleasantly surprised to have a can of Cigar City Jai Alai, which was a week old. 

Funky Buddha has exploded in South Florida since they've opened their second, and larger brewing location in June. I recently tried their Chocolate Cherry Porter, Sweet Potato Casserole, and famous Maple Bacon Coffee Porter, which by the way - is the one that put them on the craft beer map nationwide. I didn't pick up much bacon, but the coffee and maple were fantastic. I'm extremely excited to be heading to the Maple Bacon Coffee Porter Bottle Release and Festival this Saturday, and can't wait to try it bottled. I'm expecting a massive beer nerd reunion with my local peeps. Their tap list looks insane: Pineapple Jalapeno Hop Gun, Imperial Stout, Fire in the Hole, Pina Colada Wheat Ale, Whiskey Barrel - Aged Snow Day, guest drafts like 7eventh Sun Guilty Pleasure and Galactic Pale Ale, Funky Buddha/Tequesta Brewing Co. Imperial Pils, and Cigar City Brewing Good Gourd Almighty Rum Barrel Aged Ale - just to name a few! Consider this a warning in advance, on behalf of South Florida for flooding your Instagram and Twitter feeds on 1/11/14!

Over my amazing two week winter break / vacation, I mapped out a strategic road trip which hit two breweries while I ran other errands. The first stop was to the rural farmland area of Homestead, to Miami Brewing Company, which also houses Schnebly Winery. I wasn't there for the wine (that day). Strictly the beer please (this time). I picked up a couple 6-packs of Big Rod Coconut Ale, and Gator Tail Brown Ale. Big Rod Coconut Ale is one of my favorite local brews. The aroma instantly transports you to a balmy, tropical day in which you would be relaxing pool side, or jumping off the boat into the warm Atlantic. It tastes just as great. Hints of vanilla and caramel, with a not too overly sweet or phony coconut goes down smooth. The Gator Tail Brown Ale was a new one for me. I like it. It's very malty, with subtle coffee notes. It's not too heavy, so this would be another great one for the beach, boat, or pool.

My next stop was to Wynwood Brewery, in one of the hippest and coolest neighborhoods in Miami. I've tasted their fine beers in other local establishments such as: Tap 42 and the Mack House, but I was SO excited to finally get there in person. I love everyone connected to Wynwood Brewery I've ever met. It's such a great family vibe and they are doing wonderful things. Great things such as: integrating art into the brewery, which is a reflection of the area, and great things such as the growler of El Dorado Pale Ale I brought home. It was so fresh, crisp, with barely there hints of fruity sweetness and the perfect hoppy boldness I love. I will be going back sooner than later, and can't wait to sample everything they have!

There is beautiful art at Wynwood Brewery
On a final note / public service announcement, 595 Tap and Tavern in Davie, has Terrapin Cinnamon Roll'd Wake and Bake on tap!!! Not a Florida brew, but the establishment is South Florida, and the beer is one we could use tonight to keep warm! Cheers!