Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Oktoberfest Beer


If you are even vaguely the same as us in the love of beer, you will change your beer selection with the seasons. Stouts and porters in the winter, holiday ales during the holiday blitz at the end of the year, saisons in the spring, and of course, Oktoberfest beers in the fall. Mmmmmm, Oktoberfest beers. There are several Oktoberfest beers available right now at your local vendor, but did you know that there are actually 2 types of Oktoberfest beers?

The one that is sold here in the U.S. is the Märzen (5.8% ABV) style beer.  It is an amber beer style that was developed over 200 years ago to celebrate the original Oktoberfest. The Märzen name comes from “March beer” because it was historically brewed in March to be at peak flavor for the Oktoberfest celebration. Today this style is available year round in the US due to popular demand. This full bodied beer with its rich malt flavor and dark toffee note, has an underlying fruitiness and masterful hop balance.

The second Oktoberfest beer is less well known because it is not sold here, but is only available at the festival in Munich. This golden Oktoberfest lager is the only beer served in Paulaner Oktoberfest tents today. It also happens to be the best-selling Oktoberfest beer in Germany.  Brewed once a year, and only available while supplies last, Oktoberfest Wiesn is the pinnacle of German brewing: deep golden color, full-bodied and wonderfully mellow, with a balanced harmonious taste and the pleasant fragrance of hops. At 6% ABV, it is stronger and bolder that the usual lager.  I drank 7 liters of this delight while in Munich and was so very proud that I was still vaguely functional at the end of the evening.

Whichever beer brand you choose is irrelevant in that all of the German Oktoberfest beers are fairly similar, but try them while they are still available.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Florida and Tampa Bay Area Great American Beer Festival Winners 2017



Another GABF on the books and a few Florida came home with some bling. It is quite surprising to us that with as many fine, fine breweries that we have here, there were so few winners. Are the breweries in Florida not submitting?  We wouldn't think that the beers here are in any way substandard, but why are so few winning?  Hmmm, anyway, here is a list of the winners from Florida and those from the Bay area.  We are very proud of our winners and would appreciate if you visited these fine establishments and congratulated them on their wins ..... oh, and don't forget to try their brews. - Bon

Bay Area Winners:

Gold - Mischievous Black, Six Ten Brewing, Tampa       
Dark Lager

Silver - Ringmaster Raspberry Berliner Weisse, Big Top Brewing, Sarasota
Berliner Style Weisse

Gold - Three Tun, Brew Hub, Lakeland       
Ordinary or Special Bitter

Gold - Rome City IPA, Brew Hub, Lakeland 
Session India Pale Ale

Silver - Milk Bone, Pinellas Ale Works, St. Petersburg 
Sweet or Cream Stout

Other Florida Winners:

Gold - C Porter, LauderAle, Fort Lauderdale   
Field Beer

Silver - No Crusts, Funky Buddha Brewery, Fort Lauderdale             
Field Beer

Bronze - Duke Snider's Imperial Stout, Walking Tree Brewery, Vero Beach
Imperial Stout


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Craft Beer vs. Corporate Beer

While we know that the large corporate beer companies are buying up craft brewers, and we realize that we need to support real craft brewers and not these corporate giants, how do we know which brewery is really craft and which are not? Well, we are happy that you asked. The Brewers Association has created an symbol that small brewers may place on their label to help you identify real craft brewers. The craft beer lover has a right to know when they are purchasing from an independent craft brewer or from big beer and this symbol will help you do exactly that.


Craft brewers who want the seal do not have to be a BA member, but they need to meet criteria. The criteria are:

1. The brewer must fit the BA craft brewer definition:
•Small – Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales).
•Independent – Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled by a beverage alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.
•Traditional – A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.

2. The brewer must have an active TTB license to commercially brew beer in the United States.

3. Breweries will sign a licensing agreement that will cover many bases, including if a brewery sells. If they are no longer a craft brewer, they aren’t allowed to license the seal. They’ll have to remove it from future packaging.

We ask that you look for this label, we ask that you support the small brewer. Cheers, Bon

Thursday, June 1, 2017

TBS Official Beer of Summer 2017

Have you ever tried a beer that you were sure that you were not going to like, but when you tasted the beer you were blown away by how much you enjoyed it?  On a recent jaunt to the beaches we were offered a rather dismal, but not surprising, array of crappy corporate beers .... and TropiCannon, by Heavy Seas Brewing.

In the first part of the surprise, Heavy Seas Brewing from Baltimore, Maryland, is one of those brewers who makes beers that usually don't excite us.  When given a choice of one of their beers vs. other beers, we almost always choose 'other' and while the beers are not usually bad, they usually aren't terribly impressive either. Part 2 of the equation is that we don't particularly like beers with fruit, and while we are not reinheitsgebot (the German beer purity law) purists, we feel that fruit is better used in sissy drinks with umbrellas. 

That is why we are surprised that we liked this beer so much. TropiCannon Citrus IPA (7.25% ABV) is a variation of their flagship Loose Cannon IPA, but with loooooots more citrus.  In this version they added blood orange, grapefruit, mango and lemon flavor, and reduced the piney flavor found in the Loose Cannon, to create a wonderfully refreshing IPA that was so delightful that we now can't get enough of it and actually seek it out. 

While the ABV is too high for this to be a true session beer, we found it very easy to drink several at a time, staggering away from the bar with a satisfied smile.  This is why we have chosen the TropiCannon Citrus IPA as our official Beer of Summer.  Cheers, Bon