I may I am a complete and total sucker for all things hot and spicy. Whenever I go to Thai restaurants, the server always looks at me slightly askew when I tell them that I want things either Thai hot or super Thai hot (Something tells me they just go in the back and make it medium, since it’s never really as hot as I want it).
Now, for some reason, that love of heat has not translated well into a love of pepper beers. I just feel that heat is the exclusive domain of food, and beverages need not apply. That does not mean that I have not had very tastefully done, very artfully executed pepper beers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.