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Beer Dos and Don’ts!

5 Jul

no, no, no, NO

DON’T use your babies stroller to push your crappy beer around – not okay…ever!

DO use classier carrying mechanisms like those giant purses you have laying around or reusable grocery bags.

DONT play flip cup, beer pong or any beer games with craft beer – This substance is too delectable and expensive to be splashed around in your mom’s basement.

DO play beer pong with Betty white if you ever get the chance. She’s my old person idol.

DONT drink dark beer when it is blazing hot outside. Think Will Ferrell in Anchorman “Milk was a bad choice!” It’s the same principal… something heavy, creamy and dark sitting in your stomach may lead to instant nausea.

DO try a tasty light beer in portable cans (think Mama’s Little Yella Pils)

“Old Rasputin was a bad idea”

DO combine wearing flannel with craft beer. It’s a total trend in the beer bars… even Charlize Theron is doing it..

DONT Use a koozie. If you can’t finish that before it goes warm, I hate your face and you need to reevaluate yourself as person.

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Craft Beer Week Q&A Craig Birkmaier, Head Brewer at Swamp Head

14 May


Well, American Craft Beer Week is right around the corner and I am smiling like a little kid waiting for Santa to bring the gifts. Only my gifts will be alcoholic and I will be buying them for myself. I interviewed head

Courtesy of Swamp Head Website

brewer of Swamp Head, Craig Birkmaier (who makes delicious IPA’s and Stouts)about his plans for craft beer week, expansion and craft beer in Florida.

I was going to talk to founder Luke Kemper as well, but he was off in the Bahamas getting hitched to longtime GF and Swamp Head bartender, Katie Allen.

I also snagged some pics when I was trespassing no one was looking *sneaky sneaky

So what can you say the importance of craft beer week is?

It’s an opportunity for brewers around the country to get people focused on what we’re doing. It gets people thinking.

Where does Florida fall into the craft beer mix?

We were late to the party, but things are starting to take off. The container law change in 2002 helped craft breweries begin.

And was Gainesville responsive to craft beer?

Our experience has been phenomenal because of people going in and asking for our product.People are willing to spend a little more money for a local, higher quality product.

Microbrewing is taking off – a lot has to do with the tasting rooms. They allow brewers to sell out of their establishment and put revenue back into the brewery. It’s helping us grow faster.

What kind of things are you doing for craft beer week?

We’re doing a people’s choice brew day Wednesday. We solicited requests for recipes. People can send them in online. We’re going to brew the best recipes on a pilot system. We’ll be here to talk to people and show them how it’s made.

So what’s next for Swamp Head?

We’re starting to look for a 30-barrel brewhouse. We have a 10-barrel right now. We brew 100 barrels a week, so we would brew 2 times a day, 5 days a week and more than triple the product. We have a couple of places we are looking for.

Scottish Brewery Makes Viagra-laced Beer for Royal Wedding

18 Apr

Leave it to Scotland, England’s cooler, kilt-wearing older brother, to give Price William a Viagra-laced beer for a wedding gift.

*Henry VIII chuckles in his grave*

The Royal Virility Performance is a 7.5% ABV India Pale Ale brewed by Brew Dog, based out of Fraserburgh.

Many British- based breweries have made commemorative brews to honor the royal wedding, which will take place April 29th, including Castle Rock, but none have taken this approach.

Ingredients of the beer will include aphrodisiacs such as Viagra, chocolate and horny goat weed.

According the Brew Dog Website, “With this beer we want to take the wheels off the royal

The secret ingredient

wedding bandwagon being jumped on by dozens of breweries; The Royal Virility Performance is the perfect antidote to all the hype. A beer should be brewed with a purpose, not just because some toffs are getting married, so we created something at our brewery that will undermine those special edition beers and other assorted seaside tat, whilst at the same time actually give the happy couple something extra on their big day.”

Bottles will be sold online only for 10 Euros each on brewdog.com and Watt plans on sending a bottle to Prince Willy for his big day.

On the Brew Dog website, James Watt, co-owner of Brew Dog brewery said, “We put a bottle in a jiffy bag marked ‘Prince Willy, Buckingham Palace’. We sent it by Royal Mail as we presume they are most likely to know where he lives. As the bottle says, this is about consummation, not commemoration, so we hope he gets it.”

Hilarious.

And so much better than a commemorative beanie baby.

Man Lives Off Beer For Lent

12 Apr

Don't judge me. I'm doing it for the monks...

 

Normally, people give up something they like, such as sweets, coffee, soda, etc. But THIS GUY gave up everything except beer and water for lent.

I can’t decide if I think this guy is my number one hero or an alcoholic seeking to make a mockery out of the sanctity of religious sacrifice.

Either way I’d probably give him a high five for being able to stomach 4 – 5 Doppelbocks a day on zero food.

Newspaper editor and beer blogger J. Wilson has vowed to only live off beer and water for 46 days as a test of Franciscan monk fast.

According to a nctimes.com article, this non-denominational Christian drinks four 12-ounce Illuminator Doppelbocks on weekdays and 5 on weekends. The beer is 6.7% ABV and got a rating of A – on beer advocate so it must be okay.

He is 35 days in and still truckin’ through lent although he told reporters he was tired of the beer after day five.

He has a keg installed in his house and at his work so he has easy access to the 288 calorie brew at all hours of the day.

Now, there’s this pesky rumor circulating that beer makes you fat. I would like to quash that right now since this guy lost 15 pounds in a month. Sign me up for this diet.

His plans for his first non-beer meal? Smoothies, Mexican food and a bacon sandwich. That’s an interesting combo.

Read the full article here.  Or watch the video I have conveniently embedded for you.

Starr Hill Brewery – 2-for-1 Special

11 Apr

If you live in an area where Publix dominates the grocery industry with their good looks, fresh produce and uncanny ability to employ the fastest mentally challenged bag boys on the face of the planet, you must have come to know and love the Buy 1, get 1 Free specials they offer.

Now normally, I end up with a cabinet full of stuff I don’t need or really even like, such as soup, popcorn and random cereal, but this week they have a sweet deal and I thought I should let you know about it.

They are offering Starr Hill beer 6-packs buy 1 – get 1.

They are normally $8.99, so you will be getting 12 for the same price. Wait, put your phone calculator down – I got this.  You’re paying 75 cents per beer, which is a great deal.

They have some pretty tasty beers, brewed out of Charlottesville, VA. The Master Brewer Mark Thompson seems super laid back. Check out this Q and A with him, it’s pretty funny.

Starr Hill is a pretty cool little craft brewery, definitely worth an honorable mention, that <3’s bright lights, chill music and other trippy stuff.

I haven’t made my way over to Publix yet, but my picks would be Northern Lights and Dark Starr Stout.

For your convenience, here’s a run down of some Starr Hill beers:

Northern Lights – 6.5% ABV. This is a good India pale ale.  It’s not overwhelming, and certainly not as strong and bold as, say Bell’s Two Hearted, but definitely a good beer. It’s slightly hoppy, amber in color, floral smelling with fruit tastes.

The Love – 4.6% ABV – This German Hefeweizen is a light unfiltered wheat beer with tastes of banana and clove.

Jomo – 4.6% – If amber lagers are your thing, this could be a good option. It’s won a couple of awards at the Great American Beer Festival.

Dark Starr Stout – 4.6% – I had this at a recent beer festival, but it was toward the end and everything sort of tasted the same. But, it is a dark, heavy, chocolate stout. They brew it with coffee, so you may want to give it a try if you like stouts. It has also won multiple awards.

Lucy – 4.4% – This spiced golden ale is their current seasonal that is out. It’s spiced with ginger, lime and coriander. I have not had this beer yet but I’m guessing it’s light and herbal.

On their website, they claim this Lucy beer will “remind you of warm summer nights on the beach”. Now this makes me wonder why this is named as such. Could it be a waterfront hook-up or a beach-side Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds experience?  Considering master brewer goes to Bonaroo, loves Grateful Dead and said he thinks he should have existed in the 60’s, I’m going to go with the latter. Rock on Mark Thompson. Below is a video of what may or may not have inspired this beer (Beatle’s stuff is super copyrighted, it’s one click away!)

Bars doubling as art galleries: A great coexistence

31 Mar

Here is an article I wrote, published in the Independent Alligator (3/31). Enjoy!

Downtown Gainesville Bars Doubling as Art Galleries

Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, thousands of people flock to downtown Gainesville’s bar scene. Students and locals alike cram into watering holes for many reasons – to socialize with friends, to look for romance, to dance and let’s face it – to drink. A few of downtown Gainesville’s bars are offering patrons something that they may not have expected – a view of local art.

If you walk into Alcove, a small bar nestled in between Rockey’s Dueling Piano Bar and Main Street Billiards, the atmosphere takes you into a translucent euphoria. As the indie music and low chatter pumps in your ears, your eyes adjust to the glow of the low lights, and the craft beer entices your taste buds, your eyes are drawn to one of the many unique works of art that line the walls and you can not help but ponder these pieces. This setup is not by accident. Alcove’s second purpose, after being a bar, is to display local art.

Evan Yavelberg, owner of Alcove, said art is a big part of his life and has shaped the way he runs the bar.

“It’s an experience when you come to Alcove,” said Yavelberg. “You feel like you are walking into a piece of art.”

Yavelberg said his stylistic vision of the bar comes from his art background. His mother and brother are both artists.

“Art is a way to stimulate the mind and emotions,” said Yavelberg. “It is important for social interactions.”

If you happened to be standing outside of 110 S Main St. at night, you can see through the windows to the Alcove sign, which is a piece of art work in itself.  Yavelberg commissioned a friend to make this piece that incorporates different colored shapes of stained glass placed asymmetrically and illuminated to give off a vibrant feel. It draws patrons, like moths to a bright light, into Alcove for a cocktail.

Yavelberg said that he admires professional artists and wants to help them in any way he can. He said he is often approached by local artists or will seek them out to display his or her work. He has displayed abstract paintings, figurative works and photography pieces. He is open to displaying any type of art, with the exception of sculptures, which Alcove cannot accommodate due to its small size.

Similar to changing the art, Yavelberg only features craft beer, which he rotates frequently. His appreciation of beer and wine has led him to diverge from mainstream brands and showcase brews by smaller, less-known breweries.

“Our beers are always changing. Like the art highlighting the artist, the beers highlight the brewery,” Yavelberg said.

He tries to support local brews, particularly Swamphead beers, by featuring them on draft. He rotates an array of different types of beers and wines. Beers currently on draft are Hofbräu – Hefe Weizen, High & Mighty – Two Headed Beast, Cigar City – Double Cream Ale, Fort Collins – Retro Red Ale, Atlanta – Red Brick Porter Hitachino – Nest Red Rice Ale, Fox Barrel – Black Currant Cider, Great Divide – Old Ruffin Barley Wine Ale and Swamphead – Wild Night Honey Cream Ale. His approach to featuring wines is the same as his approach to beers.

Yavelberg said everyone has had your standard Cabernet or Merlot, so he features different types of wine to enlighten people and expose them to new options.

Yavelberg has one piece displayed behind the bar that he created, which doesn’t get rotated and also a piece by Gainesville artist Ted Lincoln that is a permanent fixture.

Other recently opened bars around downtown Gainesville have followed suit and are incorporating a strategy similar to Yavelberg’s. The Bull, bakery/coffee house by day, craft beer bar/gallery by night, rotates unique local art through their establishment. Recently opened Tall Paul’s Brew House, located at 10 SE 2nd Ave., intends to adopt a similar approach to displaying art.

“We plan on showcasing many pieces of local art at Paul’s,” said Tall Paul’s co-owner Jeff Hickey. “It’s important to us, as a member of the downtown bar community, to expose people to Gainesville’s artists.”

Paul’s is 4,500 square-feet and has a lot of wall space available, which the owners hope to display unique art that will be enjoyable for customers to look at.

“People want something to look at other than blank walls or beer ads, said Hickey. “Having the art gives customers something to discuss as well as adding to the atmosphere and we definitely think it will be a good thing for us and for the artists.”

 

 

Layered Beers: Because some of us just have to have the best of both worlds

30 Mar

Do you order your pizza’s half and half?

When the waitress asks you, French fries or salad, so you ever think, damn, why can’t I have both?

Do you know what an Arnold Palmer is and order them on the regular? (Its half lemonade, half tea and 100% delicious)

Want a truck but want a car too? El Camino.

Labradoodle. Goldendoodle. Peekapoo. Poogle. Pugapoo. All halfsies. All Cute.

Ligers,  Mules and Prius’ – all functioning hybrids.

Variety pack of anything? Yes please.

This post is for all the people out there who can’t make up their minds and enjoy having the best of both worlds.

Layered beer, along with being very aesthetically pleasing, can give you the best of two beers or a beer and cider. The only catch is the beer on top always has to be nitrogen based (usually Guinness) so that the beers do not mix and they layer.

Here’s a couple layered beers to try: 

Black and Blue

Black and Blue

Black and Blue (The Tina Turner): Guinness and Blue Moon (or a Blueberry beer such as Sweetwater Blue)

Black and Tan: Guinness and Bass
Half and Half: Guinness and Harp
Snakebite: Guinness and Cider (Magners preferably)
Dirty Hippie: Guinness and Sweetwater 420 (or any extra pale ale)
Black and Purple: Guinness and Abita Purple Haze (or other raspberry beers)
Black Magic: Guinness and Magic Hat

How to make a half-and-half beer: Half and Half

Step 1: Pour carbon-based beer into glass until it is half full (or half empty, you pessimist).
Step 2: Find clean layering spoon.
Step 3: Pour light stream of Guinness onto spoon so it runs off over the the side of the spoon and layers.
Step 4: Give to customer Drink yourself.