Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer Madness!

School's out. Traffic is (slightly) better. I'm not nagging my kids over homework each night, and the NBA playoffs were on. What's this mean? It's SUMMER! This also translates to basically showing up to work each day, making sure children are fed, and doing whatever I want in between! Lucky guess, beer is involved. Here are a few recent dabbles, into my craft beer world:

Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale

This is one of my top ten favorites. It's a brown ale coming in at 5.5%, with hints of toffee, tobacco and caramel. It comes in cans, at my local Publix. Not sure which is more exciting: checking the dates on the bottom of the can, or tasting "that batch" to see if the tobacco is more prominent, or if the toffee is stealing the spotlight. It seems to vary, and each variation is delicious to me. This is one of my favorite local brews by far. 

I would not have left early, my Heat

Oskar Blues Deviant Dales IPA
16 ounce tallboy can. Pine, hops, citrus and a beautiful copper hue. This is a fabulous, big-bodied IPA. I've never had an Oskar Blues I didn't like: Old Chub Scotch Ale, Ten Fidy Stout, Pale Ale; I love them all! They're one of my favorite breweries. I savored this while watching the Heat playoffs. That's all I've got to say about that. 

Bison Brewing Organic Chocolate Stout

Pure chocolate, shining through roasted freshness. Organic to boot. This is one of my regular bottles, that make it into the "Make your own 6-pack" at Total Wine. Anyone that loves chocolate, and stout, should try this one. 

Stone Enjoy By 07.04.14 Double IPA

I love bold beers. Whether it's a red, brown, stout, pale ale or IPA, if it's bold, I'll probably enjoy it. That is exactly what I did with Stone's Enjoy By 07.04.14. First of all, it was the last one Total Wine had. Actually, it was the display bottle. I was so happy I got it. Even the cashier said "Oooo... you're lucky". She's smart. This brew is so fresh, as if it was just made yesterday. With 11 types of hops, and 9.4% ABV, as all Stone beers: it's not for wussies. Just saying. I didn't even want to finish drinking it. It's that good. Stone is my favorite brewery, and has never disappointed me. 


Due South Brewing UXO

This American Imperial Red Ale, was created as a tribute to (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) EOD technicians that have served in the military. Mike Halker, Founder and Head Brewer at Due South (Boynton Beach), is a former EOD tech. I'm a military brat, so I have a special place in my heart for anything military. It's what I grew up with. This brew has a 8% ABV, a malty foundation, citrus tones, and a barleywine-esque feel, and it got even better as it warms. A portion of the proceeds get donated to the EOD Warrior Foundation, a group that helps active duty and veteran wounded, injured, or ill EOD Techs and their families, as well as offers assistance to families of wounded and fallen EOD soldiers. Even better. 


Until next time, cheers, and happy summer!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Road Trippin' to Palm Beach and Broward Breweries!

After 8 months of integrating studying, into my world of intense project workloads, raising children, and day to day life: I passed the PMP Exam June 2nd! This warranted a trip to the cellar, for a 2013 Bourbon County Brand Stout, and my autographed-by-Stone-CEO-Greg Koch w00tStout! This was a huge personal accomplishment, and these special beers fit the bill perfectly!

To help ease the pre-exam jitters, I hit the road to enjoy some local South Florida breweries. 

Stop #1 - Due South Brewing, Boynton Beach
I took the 2PM VIP tour, that comes with samples, Q&A and a pint glass for only $10! Mike, the Operations Manager was knowledgeable, courteous and passionate about his craft (no pun intended)!

The Beers:
-Caramel Cream Ale - a favorite. Creamy, malty, with the perfect balance of caramel notes. 
-Category 3 IPA - Great IPA! Smooth and crisp. Citrusy, yet not too sweet. 
-Cafe Ole Espresso Porter - Hola, te amo mucho! 
This is my other favorite Due South staple! I enjoy the roastiness and superb espresso, brewed in this beauty of a beer!
-Mexican Standoff - Hora le.. (I used to love in Cali, what can I say?) This one was very spicy, but not too much that you can't taste the cocoa, vanilla and cinnamon notes. I enjoyed this, but would need to share. I can't hang with a full glass. 

Bourbon Barrel Mariana Trench posing in a glass

Drumroll... My new favorite from Due South Brewing, is... Bourbon Barrel Mariana Trench Imperial Stout! Layer, upon layer of lusciousness. Thank you for the people who didn't pick up their bottles, because I got one to bring home. Their loss, was my gain!

The atmosphere and staff at Due South was warm and inviting, and you can feel the camaraderie of the staff, along with a family feel. I can't wait to go back! Awesome place!

Stop #2 - Saltwater Brewery, Delray Beach

Let me start by saying, I love the building, and decor! It's beautifully decorated with handsome woodworking, and subtle beachy shore touches throughout. The common theme of beers all named accordingly, makes it very interesting. I love the ocean and the beach, so I was really excited about a place that combines two of my passions.

Selfie at Saltwater, since the chandelier and wood is so cool

Flights included the following:
-Chocolate Mayday Imperial Porter
-Watch This Belgian Barley Wine
-Stinger Double IPA
-Bonafied Blonde Belgian Blonde
-Mola Mola Imperial Nut Blonde
-Raspberry Reef Pale Ale
-Bourbon Barrel Watch This
-The Black Current Strong Ale

The only ones I enjoyed, were the Raspberry Reef Pale Ale, and the Belgian Blonde. In full beer blogging disclosure, all of the darker beers reminded me of salt, or meat. Not sure if my palate was overflowing from the amazingness of Due South, but I would drink those two again, and am open to try new ones. 

Stop #3 - Funky Buddha, Oakland Park (1st Anniversary Party)
All of the beer geeks, snobs, nerds, brewers and hoarders were there for this special anniversary party! Initially, I wasn't planning to attend, since I was being low key, avoiding crowds and many, many beers, in preparation of my exam, but, it's Funky Buddha, and it's a party. How could I not? So off to Oakland Park it was! 
The beers:
-Funky Buddha Humble Braggot (Mead/beer hybrid) - Orange peels, raisins and honey oh my!

-Cigar City Double Barrel Hunahpu's Imperial Stout My first Hunahpu ever. I was a Huna virgin, and I get it. This shit is good. Apple brandy and rum barrels, cinnamon and vanilla beans, cacao nibs and chiles. This was a treat indeed, and I was thrilled when I was told some was left!

It was great running into a lot of my beer friends! I'm so glad I ended up there, and am heading back soon to drink from my snifter!