Brewery Visit – The Abbey Brewing Co. @AbbeyBrewingMIA

There are certain people that basically personify the Florida Craft Beer movement. While most people automatically think of Tampa as being their home, that woefully overlooks one of the most important early locations of FL beer: Miami Beach. 

Yes, that Miami Beach. 

Tiucked away on a side street off Alton Rd., below the giant neon sign proudly proclaiming ‘BAR,’ sits The Abbey Brewing Co., owned and operated by Ray Rigazio since 1995.

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Brewery Visit – Bousa Brewing @BousaBrewing

This is an odd start to a blog post, but there’s something to be said about breweries that operate right next to train tracks. It’s oddly soothing and more than a little fun to watch.

That actually explains the entire feeling of being at the newly opened Bousa Brewing. 20171221_170048

Upon arriving I had a lengthy conversation with co-founder Enrique Garcia and their new brewmaster Kayla Brogna, formerly of Sierra Nevada. My first question: what’s with that name?

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Brew Review – Citrafied by Due South Brewing @duesouthbrewing

I am not a big fan of beer hype. Not to make myself obsolete, but beer is inherently subjective, and it’s rare that any single beer will be liked by everybody. One person’s Hunahpu is another person’s Corona Light.

From time to time, I find myself ordering a beer more out of a sense of obligation and curiosity than out of raw need to have the beer in my life. One of those beers was Due South’s Citrafied (Pale Ale, 5.1% ABV), the newest member of their year-round offerings.

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Interview – Dennis Decker, Pinellas Ale Works @PAWBeer

Pinellas Ale Works is one of the newer breweries in the rapidly expanding St. Petersburg brewing scene. Situated in the shadow of Tropicana Field, PAW has quickly risen through the ranks with an emphasis on quality brews, culminating with a silver medal for their Milk Bone Stout and the 2017 Great American Beer Festival.

I recently spoke to co-founder Dennis Decker about St. Petersburg, territoriality, and Jim the brewery dog. milk-bone-video-still-800w.png

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Brew Review – Sorcha O’Sullivan and @Coppertail tap takeover at @RickysSoBe

South Beach. For craft beer. Not a sentence I really thought would be said anytime soon. 

But one bar, Ricky’s, has undergone quite the renovation and changed from a kitchy, 1980’s influenced cheesefest and into a more mature, loungy space. 

It’s owned by Menin Hospitality , who happen to own other spaces around, including the taco place next door and Half & Whole across the street. A quick aside, getting the Crazy Chicken sandwich from them was quite the awesome experience. And way too big to finish in one sitting.   

Yes, you have to pass through Artichoke Pizza and Ricky’s game room to get to the bar area (and even the easiest mode in Mortal Kombat 4 is harder than any game has a right to be), but once through, Ricky’s has a comfortable, ample seating area with lots of little hints of its old décor hidden by waves of ivy. 

The drink menu is quite extensive, with a very interesting run of mixed drinks (one of which is infused with CBD, not sure if I can handle that). It’s interesting watching them fill their mini wood barrels with all sorts of delicious alcohol goodness (for groups of course).

What’s better is the tap list. 

Ricky’s only has 10 taps, but with a killer happy hour and their new Beer Love Social Club, they tend to kick kegs pretty fast. Their beer expert, Chris, is hellbent on keeping the lines clean and the taps engaged with a wide variety of brews, no macros allowed. 

Servers are also expected to taste each beer as they come on tap after having been given extensive tasting notes by Chris. This way, they know a little bit more about what they’re serving than it’s a beer that looks like a Bud Light. 

To celebrate, Ricky’s is hosting a run of tap takeovers, and I went on the evening they had a takeover of beers from Tampa’s Coppertail Brewing. I’ve had a number of their beers before, and my friend took this opportunity to try Night Swim for the first time, one of my absolute favorites from them. It became one of his favorites as well.  

As ever looking for the new beers to write about, I started with a little Sorcha O’Sullivan (IPA, 6.2% ABV), part of Coppertail’s Alpha Hunt PA series and soon to be available in bottles pretty much everywhere Coppertail distributes. 

It’s as bright and electric as pretty much everything else on South Beach. It’s got a hell of a great citrus body coming from ample hopping of Idaho 7, Medusa, & Citra hops. There’s a rounded, meaty hop bitterness in the beer, and the malt of light and crisp enough to let those hops shine.  

It’s remarkably drinkable and very delicious, but you probably can’t go to Ricky’s to get some since they have no doubt have already moved on the next great craft beer. They’re going to start doing more with their new Beer Love Social Club, and more tap takeovers are coming, including Lauderale near the end of the month. Their taps are on Untappd, so you can easily see what the have available. 

On South Beach. Still sounds odd. 

Drink Florida Craft, 

Dave

@floridabeerblog

floridabeerblog@gmail.com 

Brew Review – Blood Orange Gose & 2017 Father Christmas by Barrel of Monks @Barrelofmonks

At this point, my beautiful wife and I have a nice little tradition for our anniversary. We’ll usually have a quiet morning, then hire a babysitter to head to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach (which, if you haven’t gone, is absolutely fantastic).

From there, we head to Boca’s Barrel of Monks, maybe 10-15 minutes away, for a drink before heading home. It’s relaxed, it’s visually striking, and the couch by the front door is always free so we can sit and relax and enjoy being a couple. Members of their mug club The Brotherhood were there slinging tales at the bar and handing out a copious amount of the most heavently garlic rolls. Apparently it’s a rule with them; you order food, you order enough for everyone. 

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Brew Review – Volksmarsch and Walking Tree White by Walking Tree Brewery @WalkingTreeBrew

Walking Tree’s beers are a treat, all too rare for me unfortuantely. But on occasion,  I manage to find their beers. This time, it was at Cobb’s Landing, one of our favorite restaurants in Ft. Pierce (and literally a stone’s throw away from the new Sailfish Brewing facility, assuming you’re Joe Montana).

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Brew Review – Satsuma Wheat & Tropic Thunder by Lake Tribe Brewing @LakeTribeBrew

Gotta love Lake Tribe Brewing. I mean seriously, it should probably be a municipal law in Tallahassee or something that you have to visit them on their limited, but growing, weekend hours. 

And being part of the shockingly rapidly growing Tallahassee beer scene allows them to flex their muscles and enjoy being in the vanguard of a community of beer enthusiasts that started off big and have nowhere to go – and grow – but up. 

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