Interview – Richard Smith, Florida Hops

The national image of Florida agriculture has long been relegated to the sole image of citrus, maybe some corn or sugar cane thrown in. In reality, the Sunshine State grows a wide variety of crops, including peanuts, tomatoes, watermelons, and much more.

One more crop is starting to show up in Florida’s farms: hops.

Much research and development is being done to acclimate this traditionally temperate climate plant to Florida’s tropical and subtropical weather. One such outfit is Florida Hops, and it’s Founder & CEO, Richard Smith.

I recently spoke to Richard concerning hop varietals, Florida sunshine, and the future of Florida hop growing.

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Brewery Visit – Tabula Rasa Brewing @TabulaRasaBrews

It may not look like much, but there’s a lot of history and a lot of good happening in Jacksonville’s Railyard District. It’s a section of the town that experienced rapid growth after the fire that burned half of the city to the ground in 1901.

Driving its streets, you get an interesting mashup of houses in radically different architectural styles combined with standard spacious boxy warehouses. In one of these warehouses, right next to heavily wooded McCoy Creek, is Tabula Rasa Brewing, one of Jacksonville’s newest breweries.

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Brew Reviews – Oktoberfests in December

It is simply beyond me why, with all the styles of beers there are in the world, the aptly-titled Oktoberfest seems to be one of the most controversial.

I am not sure why, but because the beer has the word October in the title, people are steadfast in assuming that it can only be consumed in one month and must be completely avoided for the other 11. I have even had people tell me that once October 31st is over, this beer had better be off the taps.

And I don’t understand why.

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Brewery Visit – SwampHead Brewery @SwampHead

The oldest and the side of the biggest Brewery in Gainesville is definitely Swamp Head. The beers from this mess of outfit can now be found around the state in six packs , all originating from their brand new 13000 foot Warehouse, just off Interstate 75. I had the pleasure of meeting with Owner/founder Luke Kemper recently, who took me on a guided tour through the facility to talk about the history of the brand, their focus on the state and the environment, and where they are going in the future.

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Brew Review – Coffee Stout and Watermelon Cider at 3 Keys @3keysbrewing

Trust me, if I lived in Bradenton, I would be going to 3 Keys a lot more. They are genuinely nice people, with a wonderful facility and some utterly fantastic beers. Plus, they have this awesome growler and tap fountain out front. I mean, just look at it. It’s awesome.

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Interview – Aaron Schmalze & Jared Witt, Castle Church Brewing @churchbrew

It’s been a very momentous few weeks for Castle Church Brewing Community in Orlando. They just held their soft opening a few weeks ago ahead of their blowout Grand Opening event on Dec. 1st. In addition, they recently received Best Overall Brewery at the 2018 Orlando Beer Fest.

It has been a long time since I spoke with brewery co-founder Aaron Schmalze about Castle Church. Ahead of their opening on Saturday, I spoke with he and his fellow partner, Jared Witt, about the 1516 German Purity Law, the state of Orlando beer, and growler bags.

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Brewery Visit – Halpatter Brewery @halpatterbrew

I will readily admit that even I am prone to assumptions every now and then. Sometimes those assumptions are sadly correct, and sometimes I am pleasantly and excitedly surprised by something that goes far beyond my expectations.

One of those expectations was for Lake City, Florida.

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