Brew Review – Golden Ratio Hoppy Lager by Unseen Creatures @UnseenCreatures

I can put my finger on my favorite cartoon from my childhood.

I’m sure the hip thing to say is something like Thundercats or My Little Pony, or even something slightly unknown like American Rabbit. I am, however, steadfast in my viewpoint that Donald Duck in Mathmagicland was the bomb.

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Brew Review – Pog Slammer by Beat Culture

Pogs. Seriously, pogs.

How can you not love bringing that particular piece of the 90’s back? If you have no clue what I’m talking about, you clearly missed out on one of the greatest flash in the pan collectibles in the 3 decades: Pogs.

For the uninitiated, pogs started off as the cardboard caps on bottles of juice made by dairies in Maui, Hawaii. The name of the drink was an acronym of the juices mixed to make the beverage, passionfruit, orange, and guava. Continue reading

The Seltzerbot 5000 (NewAir 160 Can Beverage Fridge) with Funky Buddha Seltzer @NewAirUSA @FunkyBuddhaBrew #shareyournewair

I have been mentioning it, but it’s time to reveal the fully stocked and operational Selterbot 5000! In reality, it’s the New Air 160 Can freestanding beverage fridge in stainless steel (SKU: NBC160SS00). And because of things, i have now fully stocked it with hard seltzers. Fully stocked.


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Sake San by Beat Culture Brewing

It’s always with a touch of irony that I pass by cases of Bud Light that prominently advertise rice as one of their ingredients. For most brewers, it is understood that the rice is a cheap adjunct added to water down the beer making it cheaper to produce.

And yet in craft beer circles the rice lager shows up time and again. It’s always with a bit of trepidation that I enjoy one, seeing as I hope more for the flavors and nuances of a well-crafted sake, a rice wine that actually has more in connection with beer than wine. It’s that or a watered-down sparkling water beverage that you get in huge packs. Continue reading

Brew Review – Annual Passholder by Dissent Craft Brewing

I will go ahead and state it now, I am firmly of the belief that if the State of Florida has an official dessert, it should be the Dole Whip.

Not that it can be found in a ton of places, but it’s sort of a mythical part of the cultural lexicon of the state. Sure, key lime pie is quite ubiquitous and actually made with ingredients from Florida, but it doesn’t hold quite the same fanatic status as the Dole Whip does. It’s a legendary beast unto itself.

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Brew Review – Coast to Coast Adventure Ale by Playalinda Brewing and Ross Piper Designs @PlayalindaBrews

Breweries collaborate with breweries all the time. It’s just part and parcel of the craft beer community. But what really excites me is when a brewery collaborates with somebody who is not a brewer, but obviously likes craft beer, and make something a little bit special and different.

I had no idea that was what I was getting into when I picked up a six pack from Playalinda Brewing in Titusville. To be sure, it was the bicycle on the artwork that immediately grabbed my attention. I used to cycle many years ago, and I’m sad to say my Specialized Tarmac continues to collect dust in my garage. Once I’m a little bit more comfortable I should jump back on and get some miles in.

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Brewery Visit – 81Bay Brewing Co.

There’s a cavernous building in an old, currently renovating strip mall in South Tampa. It used to be a server farm back in the day, but now it’s the home of 81Bay Brewing, currently in soft open.


Pronounced Eight One Bay, the brewery’s name is a clever play on the region, according to co-owner and president Michael Beard. It’s a kind of combination of the obvious bay in the Tampa Bay area (of which they are incredibly close) and the region’s area code 813. Look closely, and you’ll see the 3 hiding in the B of the logo.


Michael is, par for the course, a homebrewer and honed his skills while living in the San Diego, brewing with friend, former Naval engineer, Matchbox 20 hater, co-owner, and Director of Operations Shawn Bowman (who also kind of happens to look like Elliot Stabler from Law and Order: SVU).


Michaels on top, Shawn's in the green shirt, and Keelan is on the bottom.

After moving back to the Tampa area, Beard and Bowman discussed their dream of opening a brewery with Beard’s fraternity bro Keelan Cottle, himself a veteran of the Bay’s bar and restaurant scene and 81Bay’s Co-owner and Director of Sales & Marketing.

While still unfinished, the tap room is quite impressive and only looks to be getting better soon. One wall is devoted to a giant mural-sculpture whose massive blank space, Beard told me, will be home to a kinetic texture-mapping underwater scene, whose fish will swim leisurely by next to brewery visitors.


Another wall is painted as a sunken television, and it will be used for some old school video game beat downs, as well as the prerequisite sports. A giant row of gleaming fermentation tanks in the back separates the brewery area from the tap room.


There’s a gorgeous line of taps behind the bar, and those taps are being filled by 81Bay’s brewmaster Stephen Foster. Stephen is incredibly knowledgeable, having spent time learning the art of brewing in Germany. He’s a great catch for 81Bay, and hopefully he’ll be bringing some really fantastic classic recipes to the brewery.



He’s already off to a good start as evidenced by some of the beers I was able to sample:


Lightning Lager (American Light Lager, 3.2% ABV) – There’s a lot to discuss with this beer. Yes, first of all, the beer’s name is a subtle reference to my beloved Tampa Bay Lightning, which is always a good thing.

As for the beer, the one they had on tap was a very light, slightly hoppy, instantly recognizable light beer. But Stephen let me know he’s in the process of tweaking the recipes to get the most out of the beers on their new system, especially with the water. Stephen let me try a sample of the newest batch of Lightning Lager right from the fermentation tank, and it’s fantastic. Light, bursting with malt sweetness and a well rounded mouthfeel. If they can this, it will easily be one of my favorite Florida beers.


Ramble on Raspberry Ale (Framboise, 5.5% ABV) – This is a non-soured framboise, quite the rarity in the craft beer world. And I can’t quite understand why, since it’s so good. Michael even told me people will grab him to let them know how much they enjoyed this beer. It’s got a light body and a great raspberry flavor that feels fresh, not artificial.


Fishwater IPA (West Coast IPA, 5.8% ABV) – Believe it or not, this West Coaster is actually a pretty approachable beer. Light aromas of earthy hops transform into a mildly-hoppy, yet not excessively bitter brew.


Snookin’ Around Stout (Irish Stout, 4.5% ABV) – Beautifully true to style and wondrous from a nitro tap. Classic roasted malt body with flavors of coffee and toasted bread.


Topwater Plug Porter (English Porter, 5.8% ABV) – Just like the Irish Stout, Topwater Plug is wonderfully true to style, resplendent with notes of dark cocoa, black bread, and a tiny little hint of molasses. Big malt character.

I am really excited to see what the team at 81Bay will be coming out with next. I’ll keep you in the loop.

But really, did you see the 3?

Drink Florida Craft,

Brewery Visit – Cigar City at Tampa Int’l Airport @ cigarcitybeer

This is an article I never thought I’d write, simply due to the nature of how terribly difficult it is to get to this particular brewery.

For those in the know, Cigar City has three breweries in Tampa. Everyone knows about the main brewery and tap room behind the Home Depot on Spruce Street. There’s also a brewpub well north of that, which still has an in-house pilot system.

But the third one, and the smallest, is the brewpub located at Tampa international Airport. In Terminal C.


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