Tag Archives: Midnight Oil

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.


Swamp Head Brewery: 3 Best Beers

3 Apr

Gaines ville, Flor ida

(geynz– VIL, FLOOR-duh)

– noun

1. A small town in the heart of Florida with an unhealthy infestation of Alligators, Koran-burning lunatics and pretentious academics.

2. A town where Tebow is an acceptable unisex first name for a child.

3. A town that is literally hotter than hell during the months of May, June and July.

4. A town holding the award for ‘most orange and blue infrastructures’ in a 5-mile radius.

5. The birthplace of Tom Petty and Gatorade.

Besides being a quaint small town, Gainesville as a community is very supporting of local music, art and beer.

Bar hop around Gainesville, and you will notice local bars with 2 or more Swamp Head beers on draft. As much as businesses like to support other local business, they would not house these beers if they were not good. These beers are good and have serious potential in the world of craft beers.

Swamp Head Brewery makes a variety of tasty brews that I have come to know, love and recommend at my bar. Here is a run-down of my 3 favorite beers they brew.

Big Nose IPA

As you may have guessed from other posts, I can be a little partial to IPA’s. What’s not to love about them – hoppy, fruit flavors, usually pouring a beautiful orange-red color.

Big Nose is an admirable IPA – full-flavored, strong and hoppy. It has a strong floral smell to it and a slight fruity taste. I like this IPA because it’s not too overwhelming in the bitter category. Overall, love it. If you like IPA’s, a must-try.

Stump Knocker Pale Ale

I like to think of this beer as a less intense, less fruity version of the Big Nose IPA. While this beer is milder than an IPA, it is still flavorful, hoppy and slightly bitter.

Whenever I have sold this at my bar, it has been very well received. Good beer.

Midnight Oil Oatmeal Coffee Stout

Perfect for dark beer lovers. This beer is thick, chocolaty with tastes of coffee. It pours with little carbonation and a light layer of dark brown foam. It has a bite to it and the roasted barley and malts are definitely identifiable.

I often recommend this to people at my bar, and it is always well received. It masters the art of making dark beer drinkable – not too heavy, but still dark, creamy, smooth and enjoyable.