I don’t know about you folks out there but my work week was filled with meetings, business process discussions, both existing and what should be happening and decision making about a few different topics. All of this in conjunction with a project I am involved in at work and will be for a pretty long while. Needless to say I was ready for the weekend when it arrived.
So it was a welcome sign to see the Doctor start texting me Friday afternoon and let me know where he was. After completing a couple of errands, running home and changing the dog and walking my clothes, I headed out and met the Doctor at BrassTap.
When I arrived he was at the bar talking with Brad, the manager and son of the owner, Allan, who was talking with other patrons. Brad greeted me and after I settled in asked what I was in the mood for. Since I had missed the Cider Event they had held the night before and they had some on tap still, I decided to start with The Anvil Bourbon Cider from Sonoma Cider.
That garnered me another badge on Untappd but I also liked that it wasn’t the cloyingly sweetness or tartness associated with most ciders. The bourbon flavor in the background help dampen down the sweetness, and any tartness that might have been in play. It was refreshing in a way that you don’t normally expect from a cider.
The Doctor and I started catching up with each other and before long a second round was needed. I wanted something with a darker flavor too it and I saw that they had Southern Tier’s 2XIBA, which is a Dark Ale. It had the roasted malt flavor in the background that Schwarzbiers and Porters have, but an extra amount of hop flavor brought it back into the IPA realm.
After a bit, Allan’s relief came in and he sat down and jawed with us a bit while we supped suds and swapped lies. About the time I was getting to the end of my Dark Ale I began to feel a bit peckish and decided that with my next beer I would have one of the hot pretzels. So along with the pretzel I ordered something I had heard about but had not tried yet. They actually had Yeungling’s IPL (Imperial Pale lager) on tap.
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by it. I used to drink regular Yeungling frequently before I started drinking Craft Beer and if I find myself somewhere where craft beer is not available or at least not one that I like, then I will ask for a Yeungling. It is not my go to beer but I still prefer it over Budweiser or Coors or any of the others. The idea of treating a Lager like and IPA isn’t unheard of and is probably how the Czech’s created Pilsners but the flavor was interesting. It was smooth like some Lagers and you could definitely taste the hops in it, but it didn’t have that harshness that Hops can add to an IPA when the brewer gets carried away.
And I have to add that it went very well with the hot pretzel they had served me. Though to be honest the pretzel could’ve stood on its own with the honey mustard dipping sauce they served with it I can’t wait to try the beer cheese sauce they are thinking of trying.
After I finished the pretzel and the Yeungling I decided it was time to head home as I had a long drive the next day. So I bid a good evening to the Doctor and the BrassTap staff and made my way home. But I must confess to a case of the munchies and stopped at Steak and Shake on the way home. Nothing like a steakburger, fries and a shake to stave off the hunger pangs.
The next morning after a hearty breakfast, walking my dog Tucker a couple of times, and prepping the truck for a long drive I headed off to Tampa. Most folks would travel I-75 down to Tampa and I have done so many times in the past but I really hate dealing with the traffic on that route. So instead I went further west, through Williston then turned south and eventually hit the Suncoast Parkway and took it into Tampa.
The ride was fairly smooth even though there was a lite bit of traffic. But on Saturday in Florida that’s gonna happen. I got to my destination about 10 minutes after it started and as I drove by the entrance I saw a very long line to get in.
As I drove past I started looking for some parking whether it was free or pay to park didn’t matter as I had figured I would end up paying. But nothing in the immediate vicinity was available. I actually ended up getting turned around and lost while trying to find point nearby, which if you have driven to the vicinity of the Tampa Stadium you understand.
Eventually I ended up parking between the stadium and the historic museum at a pay n park but it was about 40 minutes later by the time I walked back to the beer fest. The only good part of that was the line has shrunk considerably by then and I gained entrance in a matter of minutes.
Soap box time!!
Why is that beerfests always take place in areas with I sufficient parking and then don’t post anything about it on their sites I don’t mind having to pay to park but just once I would like to attend a Beerfest where I don’t have to walk a mile to get to the rest from parking or worry about being towed or worse token into!
Stepping down from soap box.
After finally entering the fest I was glad to see that it was fairly well organized as far as the site went. There were plenty of brewing tents and quite a lot of food trucks And lots of port-a-potties strategically placed throughout the grounds.
As I began making my way through the various beer vendors I saw some familiar faces with folks from Alligator Brewing, First Magnitude Brewing and Swamp Head Brewing all having their wares for the offering. All of them being Gainesville based I felt obliged to stop by and see if they had something I hadn’t sampled yet. Unfortunately for me I had sampled all of them before but that didn’t stop me from having one anyway as I know they all have pretty good beers.
There were a ton of other brewers present, many of which I had sampled offerings from before. These included Tampa Bay Brewing Company, Intuition Brewing, Funky Buddha Brewing, Cigar City Brewing, Barley Mow Brewing, Coppertail Brewing, Due South Brewing, Florida Ave Brewing, Motorworks Brewing, Miami Brewing, Green Bench Brewing, Wynwood Brewing, Rapp Brewing, Pair O’Dice Brewing and some more.
But there were quite a lot that I had never seen before, maybe not even heard of yet. These included: 7venth Sun Brewery, Barrel of Monks Brewing, Central 28 Beer Co., Copperpoint Brewing Company, Crooked Thumb Brewery, Mastry’s Brewing Co., Rock Brothers Brewing, The Waterfront Brewery, Ulele Spring Brewery, and maybe a few others.
There was a very large crowd with people mostly from the Tampa area but there were also some folks like me who traveled from a bit further out.
I had a good two hours of beer sampling before the fest ended and that actually was about all I really needed. There were hundreds of beers and I probably only sampled about 30 or so it was enough to hit my limit.
So I wended my way back toward the parking garage and half way realized I hadn’t eaten anything at the fest. Luckily for me an answer appeared in front of me.
Yes, there is nothing quite like wings and fries to go with craft beer.
This fest occurred last weekend and I haven’t been able to finish the article til this morning. I stopped by Gainesville House of Beer yesterday after work an chatted with the manager Alex for a bit. I mentioned the beer fest and he asked me if there were any beers that stood out.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention them here:
Mosaico – Session IPA from Four Stacks Brewing
Paratrooper Porter from Veterans United craft Brewery
Udderly Calm – Milk Stout from Swamp Head Brewery
Twisted Streams – a Saison from Saltwater Brewing
Glass Emporer – a rum barrel aged Imperial Stout from Proof Brewing
5th Anniversary Panhandle Steamer – a California Common from Pensacola Bay Brewing
Mad Cola – a mead from Mad Beach Craft Brewing Company which tasted just like a cola.
Dry Hopped Series Pale Ale (Mosaic) from Due South Brewing
Domestic Bliss – a Belgian Strong Pale Ale from Crooked Can Brewing
Blood Orange Wit – from Copperpoint Brewing Co.
Honey Bach – a Doppelbock from Central 28 Beer Company
Indiscretion – a DIPA from Escape Brewing (This got my highest ranking for the day but all of these listed I scored pretty high.)
One last little note for the beer geeks out there. HOB has a couple of Cigar City beers that haven’t been around before: Strawberry Shortcake – a Helles Lager with strong strawberry notes in the nose but a smooth lager finish, and Cinnamon Apple IPA which also has a fruity nose (smells like apple pie) but a strong IPA flavor with a smooth finish.
But they also have a very, very good Belgian Strong pale Ale from Lost Coast Brewing called their 25th Anniversary Ale. Really good flavor and a nice smooth finish.
If you’re near there stop by and try and tell Alex I sent you.