New Smyrna Brewing Company

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P0nce Inlet, NSB

Happy Sunday Funday ya’ll! It seems like I’ve gotten on a every other week posting schedule that I need to kick. Anywho, last week the first lady and I decided to explore a part of Florida we’d never been to and went to New Smyrna Beach/Ponce Inlet. On a wild hair we found an awesome dog park and spent most the morning lounging about on the white sand beaches (shameless #visitFL plug). When we were wrapping things up I figured instead of just grabbing a bite to eat on the way out we should see if there are any breweries near by. It was a shot in the dark as NSB is a fairly small town but we were in luck.

 

After wandering our way through the middle of a classic car show down town, we found the literal hole in the wall brewery titled New Smyrna Beach Brewing Company tucked between a history museum and Yellow Dog Eats (awesome restaurant with tons of craft beer). When we walked in, the average age probably dropped 20 years so we had no idea what to expect.

I started with the Eureka DIPA which was a collaboration between them and the Daytona

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Cool Flight Idea at NSB Brewing

Beach Brewing Company. The beertender highly recommended it and I was a bit worried with it clocking in at 9.1% and being served in a 13oz size but I manned up and got it. To quote Hank Hill “I tell you what” that was an extraordinary beer. It was superbly balanced, full of flavor, and not overbearing in the least. Eureka perfectly embodied both the sleepy beach town (NSB) and with the high ABV the party town that is Daytona Beach. If you can

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Yellow Dog Eats artwork

find it somewhere this is an absolute must try.

 

The First Lady decided to sample the Disappearing Island Apricot IPA. I’ve been turned off by Apricot beers before (looking at you Sculpin) but this was actually very well crafted. It was light, refreshing, and most of all not artificially sweet. The citrusy hops paired well with the apricot fruit flavors. You could definitely knock back a sixer of these on the beach.

We finished with a flight of their beers and all of them were great. Since we had an hour drive back we decided to call it a day and grab some grub at Yellow Dog Eats. If anyone is around New Smyrna Beach and love craft beer, you need to stop and try this brewery!

Until next time, tight lines and cheers!

 

Marshall Zhukov’s Imperial Stout Vanilla Hazelnut Release

Happy Superbowl Sunday Funday ya’ll! No matter if you’re a Patriots or Falcons fan, we all know this is one of the rowdiest, beer guzzling days of the year only by a weekend 4th of July. For this super day, I picked an extraordinary beer that has only been released once. I snagged a Vanilla Hazelnut release of the widely acclaimed Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout by #flogrown Cigar City. Clocking in at a stout (pun intended) 11.2% ABV coming in a bomber sized bottle, let’s see if I can make it to kick off!

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The Behemoth

Appearance: The pour on this looked just like motor oil: 100% opaque, viscous, with absolutely no carbonation. By the looks of it, I may be in for a long ride.

Aroma: Just as the label leads on, there are notes of hazelnut, natural vanilla, and coffee. Unlike many “vanilla” beers (looking at you Breckenridge Vanilla Porter), this doesn’t smell artificial and cloyingly sweet. I’m excited to see how such a thick beer comes across on the palate.

Taste: As I have come to expect from the top tier Cigar City releases, this is an exceptionally complex beer. Like most Imperial Stouts, this needs to be enjoyed a bit warmer than other beers. Mine is about 52 degrees which allows the mosaic of interwoven flavors to really come to bare. Right off the bat you’re hit with a strong nutty coffee flavor. As it progresses a sharp, almost stinging vanilla flavor hits. Finally it fades to a faint smokey, warm bourbon aftertaste that lingers. Keeping with the football puns, this is an aggressive flavor profile that really hits you in the mouth. However the flavors are also delicately balanced in that they compliment each other perfectly.

Mouthfeel: This is extremely heavy with absolutely no carbonation to cut it. This is how a true “Imperial” style should taste. Get out of here with that session nonsense, this beer is a once-in-a-long-while treat like a Kobe or Wagyu ribeye.

Value: At $20/bomber it ain’t cheap. But just like your grandfather said, “You get what you pay for.”

Overall: For a beer lover, this is a 9/10. However, this is not something that someone new to craft beer would enjoy. It is heavy, aggressive, and will light a fire up under you. If you have friends and family that will appreciate craft beer, this is an awesome gift if you can find it. However, if they enjoy the occasional Blue Moon, you may want to pass. Long story short, grab it if you want one unique experience.

PS: If anyone wants to do some beer swaps, I can get tons of Florida beers like Cigar City and Funky Buddha and would love to trade for hard to find beers! Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP. Until next time, tight lines and cheers!

Voodoo Ranger IPA by New Belgium Brewing

Happy Sunday Funday, ya’ll! I know I’ve been irregularly posting, but this week I’m back on track cuz #newyearnewme. After going out downtown last night, which is a miracle in and of itself, I needed some quality junk food, football, and the hair of the dog to recuperate. Well, Green Bay is getting destroyed, I’ve made and destroyed some guac, and decided to pick up New Belgium’s variant on their Ranger IPA, the Voodoo Ranger.

Appearance: The color of the Voodoo is a dead ringer to a Budweiser with a heavy gold hue. There is a touch of carbonation that dissipates quickly due to the high (7%) abv.

Smell: Man this thing has a resinous, almost sticky aroma with a hint of fruity sweetness. Sounds about right for a jacked up IPA.

Taste: Voodoo follows the nose with a strong hoppy taste and some tropical fruit underneath it. Think pineapples or kind of mango-y. (It’s my blog I can make up words if I want.) Overall this tastes fan-freakin’-tastic

Mouthfeel: Not sure if it’s the habanero I ate or the booze, but my mouth is slightly tingly. The light carbonation nicely cuts through the otherwise syrupy, hoppy beer and lends it much-needed balance.

Value: A sixer runs about $9 at Club Pub (Publix) so you can ball on a budget.

Overall: This is a great beer. I’d give it an 8/10. It is reasonably priced, has a great smell, and even better taste, which is complemented perfectly with the carbonation. It’s not every day you find an IPA that is so well balanced and affordable. Do yourself a favor and grab some!

Until next time, tight lines and cheers!

The Bear and Peacock Brewstillery

While breaking my Sunday Funday tradition, heres a Tuesday post to change up the mid-week grind. I recently visited this “Brewstillery” (brewery and distillery for you Einsteins) in downtown Winter Park to see what all the commotion was about. I’ve never been to a distillery before so I had no expectations going in.

We showed up and it seemed to be fairly slow for a Saturday night. By Florida law the brewery has to have a wall dividing it from the distillery, which wasn’t a big deal. As I mosey’d on over to the distillery it also turns out that you can only buy 4, yes 1-2-3-4 bottles a year from the distillery location. Gotta love lobbyists ruining small businesses… Anyways they were still setting up for the night so I started with a beer.

I grabbed their take on a Belgian golden called “Mischief” and I’d have to say it was awesome. There was great flavor to it on top of a lighter mouthfeel. I’m usually leery of these kinds of brews because they are easy to mess up but they did it right. They had an IPA on tap along with a brown ale and one other but unfortunately that was it for their taps so we went back to see the distillery side.

We tried talking to the distiller (bartender? whatever you call them) but he seemed to be more interested in stocking T-shirts and merch then talking with us about their products. After a few minutes we went back to the brewery side and had a few more Mischiefs.

Overall, it was an alright experience. The brewery had a limited selection and Winter Park prices and due to the service we didn’t try the distillery. If you’re in the area definitely swing by and try a beer but I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit it.

Until next time, tight lines and cheers!

Deadly Sins Brewing

Happy New Years, ya’ll! I was quite

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Feeling Wit-Y

busy during the holidays trying to visit family and friends and, of course, trying some new beer! When I was in Southwest Florida, I had to hit up Old Soul Brewing and see what new beers they had to offer. As always, they knocked it out of the park. When I stopped in Winter Park, the first lady and I decided to try a new brewery so we swung by Deadly Sins Brewery, which opened in November 2015.

 

Deadly Sins is right in the upscale part of Winter Park and has a nice setup. First off, being in Winter Park, expect to pay higher prices. You can’t ball on a budget there. Anyways, we got there when it first opened and were welcomed by the bartender who was very attentive. The taproom wasn’t very “deadly sins-ey” but had some TVs, corn hole and some games. Pretty par for the course.

We started with a witbier, their Feeling Wit-Y. It had great flavor and costs $6/pint. The bar started to fill up quickly which I found odd for a Thursday, but it turns out they have a running club that meets up there. They meet, run and return to re-hydrate, which is pretty cool! As a new brewery, I noticed they had some “growing pains.” The beer lists were just regular computer paper, but they ran out of them about 30 minutes in. As the demand grew, the one bartender had to run to the back to go print off more and created a large backlog of customers.

As we were people watching, there appeared to be a few other employees that weren’t eager to step in to help serve the overwhelmed bartender. They sat in the back and were chit chatting until she went and asked them to help her. Bad looks all around.

After the run club rush settled, we decided to have another round and I took their Free Range Citra IPA. This bad boy clocks in north of 8% but sips like a session IPA. It was full of flavor and super smooth. Definitely a home run in my book. After a few more, we decided to call it a night and will definitely have to come back by.

At the end of the day, if you are in the Orlando area swing by Deadly Sins Brewing. It is a nice, clean facility with plenty of entertainment and beer options. This isn’t your bargain bin beer, but you get what you pay for. I think they are on the right track to becoming a successful brewery and just need to get past some growing pains.

Until next time, tight lines and cheers!

 

Barely Bearable Beer of the Month

Happy Sunday Funday, ya’ll! Even though the UCF Knights choked big time in the Cure  Bowl game, I still had a rowdy time. I know this segment has been on a hiatus as of recent, but all this tailgating led me to revive it after crushing cheap beers one after another with friends and family. Looking at you NardDog… I had a realization that even imported “premium beer” can suck. This month’s beer is one that has been in too many country songs, and it’s synonymous with vacation: Corona Light.

Anyone’s beach vacation beer is going to be a Corona. That’s their marketing scheme most of us buy and once you’ve had a few (especially loaded), you forget how terrible this stuff is. The best way to describe this is Mexican water you hope you don’t catch Montezuma’s Revenge from. Now hang on as I break it down Barney style for you.

The aroma of this is reminiscent of the beach. It seems a bit salty, a bit refreshing, with a light and airy touch. Not sure if their marketing is why it reminds me of the beach, but it is what it is. On the other hand, it looks like what comes out after a few too many beers and I’ll use the description much decried by fellow beer enthusiasts: Yellow. Fizzy. Water.

Here comes the taste. Well, if you couldn’t judge it by the title you’re on your own skippy. The flavor reminds me of suspect water down in Central America with a touch of tequila to sanitize it. Alcohol kills germs, right? There is an aftertaste that reminds me of tequila that is marketed as “now shatterproof” when they switched to plastic containers. I’d rather lick a door mat than swish this swill around.

Mouthfeel is just like described above, yellow fizzy water. Very light, very drinkable, tastes like crap. Overall, this isn’t good or even mediocre; it’s just plain bad. However, it has booze in it and you can drink many of them which, tied to a great advertising campaign, turns into a successful brand.  If you slam a few of these with some shatterproof tequila (pronounced too-kill-ya), they’re all right, but there are many other beers that are cheaper and taste better (looking at you Busch Light).

Until next time, tight lines and cheers!

PS If anyone has any ideas on my next bad brew, I’m always looking for suggestions!

Scuttlebutt Hoptopia

Happy Sunday Funday, ya’ll! I did a bit of exploring in North Florida/South Georgia this weekend, found some good beers, got to meet up with some old friends and made new ones. We even got to indulge in the coastal tradition of a low country boil! For those of

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Low Country Boil

you that don’t know what that is, you get a group of people together with a mess of taters, corn, sausage, and shrimp. You get a big pot, set it to boil, then add the ingredients and have a party! But enough about eating, let’s get to the beer. I snagged the Scuttlebutt Hoptopia at Total Wine for $2. Lets see how it is!

Appearance: This is an amber beer with a thick head, especially considering its 8% the head lingers awhile and laces well.

Smell: I’m getting a lot of heavy fruits to it along with some citrus. Nothing too exciting so far.

Taste: Not gonna lie, this is pretty bland. There is a bit of hops and something reminiscent of tree sap. Queue the womp womp wompppppp sound track because Hoptopia fell flat on its face.

Mouthfeel: Hoptopia is lighter on the tongue than what you would expect for an Imperial IPA. It’s still slightly sticky, but the carbonation offsets it giving a mostly neutral feel. Again, bland.

Value: At $2 for an 8% beer, it’s all right.

Overall: For a beer trying to make it into an inundated IPA market, this was a huge flop. Scuttlebutt should considering scuttling it (yes, deal with the pun) and starting back from scratch. I’d give it a 3/10. It’s very drinkable, but very disappointing. The best thing I can compare it to is a malt liquor with marginally better taste.

Until next time, tight lines and cheers!