Hourglass Brewing Hosting Two Bottle Releases Saturday July 1st.

On Saturday July 1, Hourglass Brewing will be hosting one of its biggest bottle releases of the year for its highly anticipated new brews, Giant Giant Dwarf, and Augustus.

Giant Dwarf is a 12% ABV Imperial stout. It is 50% stout aged in bourbon barrels and 50% fresh stout. After blending, they added cacao nibs from the Dominican Republic, Tahitian vanilla beans, Maraschino cherries from Italy, and Brazilian espresso beans roasted right here in Orlando. The end result is a rich, flavorful stout that is a fan favorite in their lineup.
Hourglass Brewing Giant Dwaft bottle label

Augustus is a 7% ABV sour ale with cacao added and is the successor to Violet in Hourglass’ award-winning Wonka-inspired sour ale series. The beer was 100% fermented and aged in barrels that previously contained a chocolate stout. After 12 months of aging, they roasted raw cacao beans in house and let them soak for an additional 6 months. Drinkers can expect a truly unique beer that starts off fruity and tart, and ends with a blend of funk, dark chocolate and oak.

Hourglass Brewing Augustus Beer Label

Hourglass Brewing Augustus Beer Label

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A Brewery Visit to Big River Grille | Craft Beer in Baldwin Park

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Zymurgy Magazine Announces 2017 "Best Beers in America"

–Cheers for the Best Beers (And a New #1!)–

The streak is over! After eight straight years of Russian River Brewing Company’s double IPA Pliny the Elder dominating the top spot, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale was named number one in the 15th annual Best Beers in America survey, conducted by Zymurgy magazine.

“As homebrewers, Zymurgy readers have more refined palates than most for tasting beer,” said Gary Glass, director, American Homebrewers Association. “The Best Beers in America survey reveals which beers are leaving the biggest impression on the minds—and mouths—of these discerning beer drinkers.”
Members of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA)—which publishes Zymurgy—were able to choose up to 20 of their favorite commercial beers available for purchase in the United States in an online voting system.

“This is an incredible honor for us. We got our start as homebrewers—that’s how my dad got going—so we really identify with the homebrewing community,” said Laura Bell, CEO, Bell’s Brewery, whose father, Larry, started the brewery in 1985 in Kalamazoo, Mich. “We take a lot of that spirit into what we do today.”

Top-Ranked Beers (T indicates Tie):
1. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
2. Russian River Pliny the Elder
3. Founders Breakfast Stout
4. Three Floyds Zombie Dust
5. Bell’s Hopslam
T6. Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)
T6. The Alchemist Heady Topper
T8. Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA
T8. Sierra Nevada Celebration
10. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA

Top-Ranked Breweries:
1. Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Comstock, Mich.
2. Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, Mich.
3. Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, Calif.
4. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, Calif. and Mills River, N.C.
5. Stone Brewing, Escondido, Calif., Richmond, Va., and Berlin, Germany
6. Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Paso Robles, Calif.
7. Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Ore.
8. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, Del.
9. Lagunitas Brewing Company, Petaluma, Calif. and Chicago, Ill.
10. Ballast Point Brewing, San Diego, Calif.
Top-Ranked Beer Portfolios (T indicates Tie):
1. Stone Brewing (31 beers)
2. Bell’s Brewery, Inc. (27 beers)
3. Firestone Walker Brewing Co. (25 beers)
4. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (24 beers)
T5. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (22 beers)
T5. Lagunitas Brewing Company (22 beers)
T7. Boulevard Brewing Co. (21 beers)
T7. Founders Brewing Co. (21 beers)
9. Avery Brewing Co. (19 beers)
T10. New Glarus Brewing Co. (18 beers)
T10. Odell Brewing Co. (18 beers)

The complete list of Zymurgy’s Best Beers in America is available at HomebrewersAssociation.org. For homebrewers interested in replicating some of the winningest beers at home, the AHA also provides clone recipes in Zymurgy.

About the American Homebrewers Association:
The American Homebrewers Association has worked on behalf of the homebrewing community since 1978 and celebrates a membership of more than 46,000 homebrewers. The American Homebrewers Association (AHA) organizes events including Homebrew Con and the National Homebrew Competition. The AHA also publishes Zymurgy magazine and offers the Brew Guru™ mobile app. The AHA is part of the Brewers Association, whose Brewers Publications division is the largest publisher of contemporary and relevant brewing literature for today’s craft brewers and homebrewers.

Beer lovers and anyone interested in making their own homemade beer are invited to learn more at 
HomebrewersAssociation.org. Follow the AHA on Twitter, and join us on Facebook and Instagram.

The Brewers Association is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital/familial status. The BA complies with provisions of Executive Order 11246 and the rules, regulations, and relevant orders of the Secretary of Labor.


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A Brewery Visit to Big River Grille & Brewing Works at Walt Disney World Resort

I've been enjoying visits to Big River Grille & Brewing Works for a long time. This Walt Disney World microbrewery and restaurant are located in the heart of Disney's Boardwalk Resort.
Brews with Views

I've been to Big River Grille & Brewing Works many times; a couple of times while on vacation and now as a local. 

The draw for me is fresh beer on the patio taking in the view of the Boardwalk. 

They offer a number of house brews; some of which have won awards. If you’re having trouble deciding on a beer, it’s always fun to get a flight and try a few. I’m partial to the Rocket Red Ale, but I also like to see what seasonal beer they have on tap. The brewmaster has a bit more freedom with the seasonal beers and I have found them to be quite good.
craft beer on the patio at Big River Grille & brewing at walt disney world
Always fun at night to people watch

I enjoy the beer at Big River, but the food is not on par with the beer. It’s certainly not bad; it’s just the menu lacks creativity. You’ll find “typical” bar eats here. We usually end up with nachos, Caesar salad & sandwiches. It's a nice place to go with teens who like "bar" food over the adult menus at so many Disney restaurants.
Nachos at big river grille at disney's boardwalk
They have host special beer tapping parties about every couple of months. These events were a fun way to check out the brewery and chat with other local beer geeks. We've become friends with some of the regulars that make it out to these tastings. It's a great deal too since the beers are just $3 for the tapping and they have been pairing the beers with complimentary food that pairs with it. Follow their Facebook Page for upcoming tastings.
beermosa at big river grille & brewing at walt disney world
 Beermosa 🍊🍺
fish tacos at big river grille at walt disney world
Fish Tacos

Disney's Boardwalk is one of my happy places. I love taking in the view and if you can enjoy some beers on the patio, it's pretty sweet. I like to visit late afternoon before the dinner crowd. You can get in a couple of beers and enjoy the parks or the activities around the Boardwalk
View From Big River Grille & Brewing Works at Walt Disney World Resort
The View From the Patio is a Visual Delight

Disney's been stepping up their craft beer selection. Most of them are still very expensive for this local, but I feel that when I'm at Big River I'm getting a fresh beer brewed right at Disney for a good price, I think it may be the best craft beer deal at Disney. The added view is a nice bonus👌

Beers are Perfect on the Patio

City: Orlando
Location: Walt Disney World's Boardwalk Resort
My Favorite Beer: Beermosa
Guest Taps or Bottles: No
Their Beer Sold in Cans or Bottles: No
Crowlers: No
Food: ✔
Patio: ✔
Bar vs Patio: Beers on the patio.
Kids: ✔
Dogs: No
Tours: No
Visits: 20+
Setting: Walt Disney World
Vibe: Located on Walt Disney World Property this brewery attracts many tourists and folks in town for conventions.
What I Enjoy: Beers on the patio with a great view of Disney's Boardwalk.
More breweries in Central Florida to check out.

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Editor's Note: This post was originally published in November 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Craft Beer in Baldwin Park

Baldwin Park is a master-planned community in Orlando that has a town center at its heart. In this center, there are a number of restaurants, shops, and businesses. What's nice about venturing to Baldwin Park is it's a walkable neighborhood. You can get to the town center by foot, bike or car. It's a good neighborhood to enjoy a date night or to get out with friends.

If you're like me and you're looking to go out and enjoy a beer you're in luck. There is a handful of spots in Baldwin Park to take in a pint or two. Each place is different from the other, making for some nice options. 

Gator's Dockside 
First off is Gator's Dockside. It's not what I call a true "craft beer" spot. They do however have some craft beer options on their beer menu. Yes, most of them are your standard "craft" options but it is nice to have a spot to go out with family and friends knowing you can, at least, enjoy something that's not crap.
Gators Dockside Baldwin Park
Gator's Dockside

Sometimes I'll swing by just to enjoy a beer on the patio and take in the great view of Lake Baldwin.
craft beer on the patio at gators dockside in baldwin park

If I'm going to Gator's Dockside and grabbing something to eat chances are it's going to be wings. I love me some beer and wings. 
Beer & Wings at Gator's Dockside Baldwin Park

I've got older kids and they enjoy going here for some wings and to watch some football. If my parents come to town for a visit it's a spot the whole family can all go to. 

Beers on Tap: 16 or so
Bottles: ✔
Food: ✔
Patio: ✔
Bar vs Patio: Patio for view inside for games
Kids: ✔
Dogs: Patio
Vibe: Sports bar restaurant
What I enjoy: Coming with my kids and parents

The Nest Bar Orlando

The Nest Bar Orlando is a new craft cocktail bar that is part of Colibri Mexican. This stylish bar is adjacent to the restaurant on New Broad Street
outdoor seating at the Nest Bar Orlando in Baldwin Park

While it is known for being a craft cocktail spot they did have a dozen or so craft beers on the menu including a handful of local brews. Hubs went with a Bell's Two Hearted on our visit.
bells brewing craft beer at The Nest Bar Orlando

The bar has a lounge feel about it. A nice spot to chill with friends or enjoy drinks on a date night. If you're looking to mix it up the cocktail menu was👍

Bottles: 12+
Food: ✔
Patio: ✔
Bar vs Patio: Bar
Kids: No
Dogs: Patio
Vibe: Stylish
What I enjoy: It's nice to have a lounge in Baldwin.

Uptown Park Wine Bar
I've been to Uptown Park Wine Bar a few times, but my last visit wowed me. I hadn't been in for some time and they recently did a remodel of the bar and it's👍
Uptown Park Wine Bar
Uptown Park Wine Bar

I enjoy how Uptown is an intimate place to enjoy a beer. It's off the beaten path in Baldwin. They have a large selection of craft beer in bottles. There are about a dozen drafts, but those tend to be the "standard" craft options.
Beer Cooler at Uptown Park Wine Bar
Beer Cooler

Uptown Park Wine Bar has a daily Happy Hour with $1.50 off beers from 4 pm-7pm. I found a delicious beer to enjoy on my last visit. 

Uptown Park Wine Bar has a small menu with cheese plates and sandwiches. It's a nice spot for a drink with friends. The comfortable setting has made it enticing to stay a little longer and enjoy another pint.

Website: None
Beers on Tap: 12
Bottles: 75+
Food: ✔
Patio: Y✔
Bar vs Patio: Either
Kids: None during my visits.
Dogs: Patio
Vibe: Casual yet a touch of class
What I enjoy: They just remolded the space. Nice selection of bottles.

The Osprey Tavern
I had been wanting to visit The Osprey Tavern ever since it opened last year. I had heard great things about this beautiful tavern. I was happy when Bryan and I finally got to stop by and see what all the buzz was about.
The Osprey Tavern Happy Hour
Ale Go Rithim from Playalinda

Bryan and I rarely sit down for a full meal at restaurants. We end up drinking more than we do eating. When I heard The Osprey Tavern had a Happy Hour (5-6:30) Tuesday - Sunday, I thought it would be a good opportunity to check them out on a Saturday night.

We sat at the bar. This bar is beautiful. It sits in the middle of the dining room. There is a lot of seating all around. The marble is gorgeous. I especially like that they have a couple of tv's above showing the games, but they're set in a way that they aren't distracting to those not interested.

There are Happy Hour Bites & drink specials. There are a half dozen beers to choose from. It was nice to see a Playalinda beer thrown in the mix. Bryan went with the Brown Ale while I was the mood for a Saison.

We ordered a few things off the Bites menu and it was all delicious.
Happy Hour Bites at The Osprey Tavern
Happy Hour Bites at The Osprey Tavern

While there are only 18 beers or so on the menu at The Osprey Tavern there are some really great ones in the mix. It's not the "usual" craft beer finds here. I made sure to let the bar manager know how much that was appreciated.
Craft Beer at the Osprey Tavern
Freigeist Rhubarb Gose

Bryan and I enjoyed our visit so much we came back a couple of weeks later. The Bites menu changes a bit which is nice. This visit I enjoyed an Anchor Brewing Barrel Ale Strong Ale. It was wonderful.

The Osprey Tavern is becoming a favorite spot of ours. The beers, food, service, and atmosphere make for a great night out.

Beers on Tap: 8
Bottles: 8
Food: ✔
Patio: ✔
Bar vs Patio: Bar
Kids: ✔
Dogs: Patio
Vibe: Restaurant
What I enjoy: Small but quality beer menu. The restaurant is one of the nicest looking in town. Happy Hour on weekends too.

Winestyles Baldwin Park

Winesyles in Baldwin Park is a nice spot to cap the evening off. Of course, there is plenty of wine, but this wine bar has a decent selection of craft beer. They have about six beers on tap and over a hundred bottles. Caviller is a distributor so there are some goodies to be found here where many people aren't looking.

I especially like the chocolates that they have. Nothing better than ending a night with a stout or porter and some chocolate. 

Beers on Tap: 8
Bottles: Over 100
Food: ✔
Patio: ✔
Bar vs Patio: Either
Kids: Yes
Dogs: Patio
Vibe: Wine bar
What I enjoy: Nice spot to end an evening after dinner with some beer & chocolate.

The Admiral Cigar Club & Seito Sushi also had some craft beer, but those were more of a place I'd go for cocktails.

Tactical Brewing will be setting up shop in the Town Center. Fresh beer there!🍻

Craft beer finds in nearby Audubon Park & Mills50
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Editor's Note: This post was originally published in January 2016 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Craft Cocktails on Tap Alongside Craft Beers at Playalinda Brewing Company Brix Project

Oh Snap- Playalinda Brewing Company is` at it again – bringing all the good stuff together under one roof.

We are thrilled to announce the addition of craft cocktails to the lineup at our Brix Project location!

Craft Cocktails at Playalinda Brewing Company Brix Project
Playalinda Brewing Co. - Brix Project's new Signature Seven Craft Cocktails   credit: Donna Scott

Alongside freshly-brewed beer and a fully developed food menu – we’re now serving high-end, hand crafted and draft cocktails seven days a week. Playalinda is one of just a handful of breweries in the state where liquor is served, and sets itself apart by mixing high-quality spirits from small batch distilleries with fresh, innovative ingredients.

Designing a creative, original menu that paid homage to both historical context and modern mainstream was key. To help with the process, Playalinda brought Central Florida cocktail connoisseurs Tyson Bodiferd and Cory Bennet, on board to assist in collaboratively developing the menu.

Menu highlights include seven signature drinks and three draft cocktails, with an additional list of about 30 classic options. On tap (yep, you heard right – cocktails on tap) you’ll find our spin on an Aperol Spritz, Gin & Tonic and Watermelon Limeade Summer Rum Punch.

Among the featured signature cocktails is the Verbena. This imaginative concoction originated at Las Vegas hotspot Chandelier Bar, located in the Cosmopolitan Hotel.  The drink mixes Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka, lemon, coconut ginger Rooibos tea, lemongrass, Kaffir Lime leaf, ginger puree and Fever Tree Ginger Beer. Topping this masterpiece off is a Szechuan Button – also known as a “Buzz Button”. This natural flower enhances the flavors of the cocktail, and makes your mouth feel like it’s on a trip that can only be described as a pop rocks-style, electric taste explosion.

On the horizon, Playalinda has plans to launch distilling operations of their own. An already existing building adjacent from the production brewery and brewpub will eventually become the home of Playalinda Craft Spirits. For now, however, we celebrate the milestone at hand the best we know how – by raising a glass and toasting the community that has supported us so relentlessly.

Cheers to independent beer and craft cocktails on the Space Coast! 

My visits to Playalinda Brewing & The Brix Project

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Blackberry Farm Brewery Releases Can Craft Beer Line

The Blackberry Farm Brewery has partnered with Brew Hub of Lakeland, FL, to introduce a line of canned craft beers launching in July 2017. While the brewery’s cork and cage bottles have been the brand’s hallmark and a great success in the craft beer market, the line of canned beers is designed to offer a Blackberry Farm beer option ideal for outdoor adventures, spending time with friends and being present to enjoy everyday moments.

Packaged in twelve ounce cans, the initial launch consists of three new Blackberry Farm Brewery beers: Coyote Tactics IPA, TN Times Pilsner and Screaming Cock Pale Ale. Each can features unique label art created by Southern artists who have relationships with Blackberry Farm. “Much like the beers, we wanted each label to have its own personality,” said Roy Milner, Blackberry Farm Brewery’s Chief Fermentation Officer. “Working with artists familiar with Blackberry Farm’s culture ties this project closer to the people that we interact with on the Farm. We want the cans to feel more youthful, bold, and in the moment. These new beers are meant to inspire recreating, connecting, and enjoying yourself and an active lifestyle.”

Having established themselves as a quality producer in the craft beer world, Blackberry Farm Brewery wanted to create a format that fits into more environments and offers more people access to their product. Can options appeal to a broader audience of craft beer drinkers and serve as a more playful addition to the Blackberry Farm Beer family. “We’re incredibly happy to be working alongside the team at Brew Hub to begin offering our new can line of beers. Their dedication to quality and attention to detail are second-to-none, and reflect the same passion and care that have been the foundation of our own brewing program since day one. It’s a natural fit and an exciting new chapter for our brewery,” said Roy.

“We are thrilled to have Blackberry Farm Brewery as a partner and to help them offer cans for the first time,” said Tim Schoen, founder and CEO of Brew Hub.

The cans will be available at taprooms, restaurants and grocery stores throughout Tennessee. For more information contact Sarah Chabot at (865) 380-2626.

About the Blackberry Farm Brewery 
The Blackberry Farm Brewery team began producing beer in 2011, selling their products to Blackberry Farm guests and a few select restaurants in the Southeast. In response to increased demand, they moved into a larger production facility in Maryville, TN in 2015 and expanded distribution to 36 states. In keeping with the sense of place at Blackberry Farm, the brewery and processes are rooted in centuries old traditions. The Blackberry Farm Brewery is respectful of the time honored methods of making beer, while constantly pushing the boundaries to employ modern techniques to enhance the complexity of their releases. To learn more, please visit www.blackberryfarm.com/brewery

About Brew Hub
Brew Hub was founded in 2012 in St. Louis, MO by a team of beer industry executives and craft-brewing experts led by Tim Schoen. “Where Craft Brewers Go To Grow”, Brew Hub provides full brewing, packaging, distribution and selling services for craft brands that are constrained by capacity, geography or capital. The company’s first brewery is located in Lakeland, Florida. The company plans to have five breweries located throughout the country that will cater to craft breweries. Each facility will allow craft brewers to partner brew their beers on-site. Brew Hub’s financial sponsor is a private investment firm, The Yucaipa Companies.

*My visit to the Brew Hub

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