Brewery Visit – Green Bench Brewing @greenbenchbrew

It is with great satisfaction that I can report that there is a green bench at Green Bench Brewing. There’s only one, and it’s sort of hidden by the bathrooms, but they have at least one.

I will readily admit that I expected a lot more, with the historical significance of the green bench to the city of Saint Petersburg and the company getting its name from said item. But at least there’s one.

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Brew Review – Aardwolf and Wicked Barley at Mojo Old City @mojo_bbq @aardwolfbar @wickedbarley

It’s funny, I have become so acclimated to South Florida that when I see the word Mojo I instantly pronounce it as ‘Mo-Ho,’ as in the citrus and garlic marinade that is so prevalent down here.

That is most definitely not the case with Mojo BBQ, a series of North and Central Florida barbecue joints whose name is more of the ‘Mojo Risin’,’ ‘Mojo Nixon,’ blues bent. One of the first stops makes on our yearly trips to St. Augustine is always the Old City Mojo BBQ. It’s located just off the main tourist drag and steps away from the municipal parking garage. The restaurant is pretty spacious, with a wonderful outdoor patio and an exemplary view of the very old, very creepy Tolomato Cemetery across the street.

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Brewery Visit – American Icon Brewery @AmericonBrewery

In the 1920’s, Vero Beach was experiencing a growth spurt. The Florida East Coast Railway had arrived a few decades earlier, and the town was officially chartered in 1919.

By 1925, the city had become the county seat of the new Indian River County and clearly needed more power to sustain growth. To that end, a diesel power plant was built in a large red brick building right next to the railroad. Located inside were massive diesel engines, the newest of which was a 750-kilowatt hour engine built in 1937.

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Brew Review – Please Remain Seated by Bowigens and What Ales Ya @bowigensbeerco @what_ales_ya

I’ve been wondering lately if I should transition the blog into a podcast.

It seems that podcasts are the way to go these days, and there are plenty of avenues to publish out there. That being said, I basically do everything I need to for the blog on my phone, whereas the podcasts that I’ve been on have had quite a significant investment in equipment. That’s just not in the cards right now.

In addition, beer podcasts in Florida are starting to become numerous. While not the first, one of the more notable podcasts is the Central Florida-based What Ales Ya, started by video of Brian Quain and Jeff Brennan. On a regular basis, they will choose a particular brewery and sit down with ownership, marketing managers, etc., and discuss their brewery, their beers, and going inside the Florida Brewing experience.

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Brew Review – Local Lager at Bonefish Mac’s by Biscayne Bay @biscaynebaybrew

If you’re a South Florida resident, there is a good chance that you have heard about Bonefish Mac’s.

They are a small regional change of sportfishing-themed sports bars and restaurants. They have surprisingly good food for reasonable prices. My wife and mother-in-law are fans of their weekly prime rib specials, and one friend of mine really adores their Grouper Reuben sandwich. My daughter loves the food as much as she loves the fish tank at the front of the restaurant.

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Brew Review – Whistlin’ Dixie by Ft. Myers Brewing @fmbrew @dixiefishco

It’s amazing how many little islands there are on the Gulf Coast side of Florida. The Atlantic side, by comparison, is fairly smooth-ish, with just a big barrier island in many places.

The gulf coast, however, has neat little island next to neat little island next to neat little island. This is nowhere near as obvious as when you get west of the Fort Myers area. The region is home to locations such as Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, Estero Island (which comprises most of Fort Myers Beach), and San Carlos Island as well.

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Tap Room – Auggie’s Tap Room with Aardwolf @staug_auggies @aardwolfbar

It has been understandably slow, but Florida craft beer is finally getting taken up by Florida’s biggest industry, tourism.

At this point every theme park features not only local stuff, but has stuff contract brewed just for them. And if you’re not big enough to be a multi-billion-dollar park, there are still plenty of options creeping in for both in-state and out-of-state visitors to enjoy.

St Augustine, for example, traditionally did not have that much to offer in terms of local craft on their famous St. George Street. If you did find a restaurant serving something, it was mostly macro. But a couple years ago, St Augustine darling Ancient City opened up a nifty little tap room facing the Plaza de la Constitucion.

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Brewery Visit – Holy Mackerel Beers and Weed Reaper Experiment @holymackbeers

Not going to lie, this has been a long strange road for Bobby Gordash. In 1996, he was the winner of a Samuel Adams homebrewing contest. A decade later, he used the notoriety and his recipes to found Holy Mackerel beers, a contract-brewed series of beers that could be found in and around Florida. He eventually sold that, moving on to other things.

Eventually he made his way back to craft beer, working as a spokesman for a couple of other Florida breweries (This was the time that I met him, and I still have a great picture somewhere of him at Palm Beach Summer Beer Fest in West Palm Beach).

The Mack was calling, so eventually he got back his IP and revived Holy Mackerel. This time, he settled on a facility in Pompano Beach, literally across a retention pond from Bangin’ Banjo. This he called The Garage Project, a living laboratory where he could make some of the beers he had been dreaming up all that time.

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