Oldsmar Tap House

What a great new addition to our area! When time permits, I certainly look forward to stopping by the Oldsmar Tap House for a visit.

Via their Myspace page:

Oldsmar Tap House is a different kind of bar. With 35 beers on tap, including American micros, specialty Belgian ales, German lagers, and other craft beers, as well as over 75 bottles of beer from all over the world, you’ll have little trouble in finding the right beer for you.

But great beer isn’t the only reason to stop by. You’ll find your old friends here and you’ll make new ones, too. You’ll find your neighbors enjoying a drink or two. Make Oldsmar Tap House your neighborhood bar.

And for all you beer geeks and afficinados out there, you’ll love the joint. You’ll be drinking the finest craft beer, out of proper glassware, served at the beer’s right temperature. A member of BeerAdvocate.com or RateBeer.com? Bring your laptop and rate your beers, Wi-Fi access is available.

Oldsmar Tap House is currently the #1 rated beer bar in Tampa Bay on Ratebeer.com!

They will be added to my “Ultimate Tampa Bay Beer Guide” shortly but here is some more info on their location:

Oldsmar Tap House:
300 State St. E. #107
Oldsmar, FL 34677

Map here

Mon – Thu: 3pm-11pm
Fri: 3pm-1am
Sat: 4pm-1am
Closed Sundays

Beerfest 2008 Tampa “Roundup”

Yes, it has been almost 2 months since the annual Florida Brewers Guild festival but I figured I would finally write a few blurbs on our experience.

It has been a few years since we have been able to make it to this event due to scheduling conflicts or what have you. This year, we were able to secure a baby sitter and my wife and I headed out to Ybor City on a beautiful (and rather cool) Saturday afternoon.

I was absolutely amazed at the number of people that were at the event. Centro Ybor was filled with people guzzling some great beer. I didn’t stick around to find out who the winners were in each category but a few standouts were Lagunitas, Bell’s Brewery and (somewhat surprisingly) Hop’s Brewery who’s Winter Pale Ale was fresh and tasty. There was also a stout that was excellent. (I can’t remember their name and they didn’t have a sign at their booth!)

For reference, you can see a scanned copy (PDF format) of all the vendors and the beer that they served HERE.


Lagunitas Maximus – Now available in 12oz bottles!

Not that this is really news . . . But some people might not know.

One minor difference to note is that there is a difference in the alcohol percentage when compared to what one would get in the 22 ounce bomber. The fine folks at Lagunitas have stepped it up a bit to 8.4% compared to 7.5% for the 22oz bottle.

Ohh ya, the bottle pictured below has long since been consumed.


Beer Events: SAVOR

If you are in the Washington D.C. area during the days of May 16th and May 17th, check out SAVOR “an American Craft Beer & Food Experience” (If i can find some cheap airfare, maybe we will head up.)

The 48 participating craft brewers will be pouring their versions of many of the world’s classic beer styles, such as pilsener, porter, pale ale, and stout. Revered styles like wheat beers, barrel aged beers, and Belgian style beers will be chosen specifically by the brewers to best complement an item from the menu.

More info here.

Sam Adams beer recall

I just hate to see news like this especially after such a nice gesture by Samuel Adams. Sometimes Karma just doesn’t work in your favor.

Via tampabays10.com . . .

The Boston brewer of Samuel Adams craft beers said it is recalling an undetermined amount of beer because of defective bottles that may contain glass particles.

The company said the defective bottles came from a glass company that provides Boston Beer with about a quarter of its glass bottles. The “small grains or bits of glass” were discovered during a quality control operation at the firm’s Cincinnati brewery, Boston Beer said in a statement. The problem was confirmed Friday, and was traced to bottles coming from a single manufacturing plant.

The company said it has not received complaints or reports of injury. A spokeswoman, Michelle Sullivan, estimated that the particles of glass are found in fewer than 1 percent of the bottles coming from the problem plant. Only Samuel Adams beers in 12-ounce brown glass bottles are involved in the recall. Potentially dangerous bottles are embossed around the bottom with the code N35 followed by OI.

Article continues here.

Hopefully the amount of beer to be recalled is small and money grubbing lawyers aren’t already hearing the sounds of cash registers.

Samuel Adams – Sharing is nice!

During this critical time of a world wide shortage of hops (partly due to the fact that farmers are growing corn for ethanol production instead of hops), it is nice to see such a wonderful gesture by the nations largest craft brewer Boston Beer Co. AKA Sam Adams.

Via SunJournal.com:

A shortage of a key ingredient in beer has shown that even business competitors can come together over a cold one now and then.

That happened last week when the nation’s largest craft brewery, Boston Beer Co., the maker of the Samuel Adams brand, agreed to share 20,000 pounds of its hops with craft brewers throughout the country, including two in Iowa.

A worldwide shortage of hops has left smaller brewers unable to buy the important perennial flower that adds some of the bitterness and aroma to beer.

About six weeks ago Boston Beer sent out letters to small brewers that it wanted to help them by making available some of its hops at cost. The company said it received 352 requests totaling about 100,000 pounds.

“It shows how great the need is and I felt really bad,” said Boston Beer Co. founder Jim Koch. “We even fudged it a little and went over the 20,000 pounds, but we just don’t have the capability of filling this hole ourselves, but we were able to fill 20 percent of it.”

More here.

Flying dog “Gaurd Dog” Beer

OK, actually it is spelled “Garde Dog” as in “a traditional French Biere de Garde”.

Via Beeradvocate:

The Biere de Garde is golden to deep copper or light brown in color. They are moderate to medium in body. This style of beer is characterized by a toasted malt aroma, slight malt sweetness in flavor, and medium hop bitterness. Noble-type hop aromas and flavors should be low to medium. Fruity esters can be light to medium in intensity. Flavor of alcohol is evident. Earthy, cellar-like, musty aromas and flavors are okay. Diacetyl should not be perceived but chill haze is okay. Often bottle conditioned with some yeast character.

This beer just hit stores shelves within the past few days. Freshly brewed during March (this month), this brew is meant to be consumed during spring and summer. It would make a very nice summer drinking beer as it is quite easy to drink. Unfortunately, this beer just doesn’t do it for me. I would describe it as almost “tasteless”. PLEASE keep in mind that I am used to drinking heavier beers (IPA’s, stouts, Imperials).

**UPDATE** I drank a Garde Dog the other night with a big plate of chicken Parmesan and spaghetti and this beer went great with it. Nice and refreshing and easy to drink! So, perhaps one should give this dog a chance.

Some specs from the brewer:

ABV: 5.8%
Plato: 14
IBU’s: 27
Specialty Malts: Malted White Wheat, Flaked Wheat, Rye Malt, Biscuit
Hops: French Strisserspalt, Saaz
Process: Spring French classic brewed with an American twist

More info and humor (always from this brewer) here.

Boulder Beer Newsletter

Always interesting reading, the latest newsletter from Boulder Beer is available online now.

Read it HERE.

Redhook’s Copperhook Spring Ale

Since Thursday was the first day of spring, I decoded to kick of the season by picking up a six pack of Copperhook. Sure I could have opted for something else, but for $6.99 a six pack I figured why not. Plus, I was going to be BBQ’ing for 10 people and I had a feeling that this would be a nice refreshing brew to drink while standing over a hot grill.

My prediction was not far from off. Each beer was consumed straight from the bottle and chilled to a very cold temperature in a tub of ice water. This beer is very easy to drink and was indeed very refreshing. Crisp and clean, I cannot comment on the color considering it went straight from the bottle into my belly.

I’ll be sure to grab more of this while it is available.


Lost Coast 8 Ball Stout

For years, this stout has been on store shelves in this area yet I have neglected to try it. Considering that the brewer also creates one of my favorite IPA’s of all time, Indica IPA, I am not quite sure what I was thinking.

Recently, I decided to toss an eight ball stout into a “mix your own” 6 pack at ABC liqueur since they give you 15% off the total price with your member card.

Appearance: Pitch black with very little head.
Taste: Malty and chocolate – Nice balance of malt and Pacific hops. Not too bitter (but I don’t mind more).
Overall: Very drinkable/enjoyable. Definitely something I will pick up again.

Beerfest 2008 – Tampa

The Florida Brewer’s Guild it getting ready for Beerfest 2008!


Once again, this event will be held in historic Ybor City, Tampa and will feature over 100 Florida craft beers!

Due to scheduling conflicts, it has been a few years since I have actually been able to make it to this event but this year I plan to attend.

Tickets are on sale now. More info on this event here. Hope to see you there!

Total Wine added to Ultimate beer guide list

Without much thought, I have decided to add Total Wine & More to my Ultimate Tampa Bay area beer guide.

Any place where I can purchase Boulder Beer’s Hazed & Infused (one of my favorite breweries) for only $6.99, certainly deserves to be on the list. Aside from that, they have a very large selection of microbrews at great prices.


Brewery sues former employee

Via TMZ.com . . .

Brewmandu Brewery in Ohio is suing a former employee. They claim that he stole their formula for healthy beer.

Brewmandu Brewery alleges that Brian Lottig jacked the idea of selling a beer that’s good for you — and took it to establish his own “The Lion Brewery.” According to documents, the brewery spent 10 years in research and development on a beer that has “vitamins and nutrients to protect the liver and offer increased nutritional content to combat the negative effects of alcohol consumption.” Let’s drink to that!

Come one. Can we stop it with these frivolous lawsuits? We all know that beer is good for you.

Bell’s HopSlam Ale

Wow wow wow wow wow wow wow! Do I really need to say anything more? The folks from Bell’s Brewery have REALLY pulled it off again with this one, delivering another outstanding brew!

For hop heads, this beer is pure heaven. Described by Bell’s as “A biting, bitter, tongue bruiser of an ale.” this beer packs in 10% alcohol. One might think that with their description, combined with the high alcohol content, would make this a hard to drink beer. This is not the case at all. This beer is so drinkable that it is scary. Perhaps the bit of honey that it is brewed with slightly offsets the bitterness from the fresh hops.

Whatever the case may be, I suggest getting this if you see it or while you still can as it is only available in limited release through February. In fact, our local beer store is down to only a few six packs. Yesterday, they said it was flying out of store!

I know where I am headed today.

More info from the brewery here.

Shock Top Belgian White

Anheuser busch has a new “craft” brew out and I have to admit it is pretty good!

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a Belgian beer connoisseur by all means. So perhaps my opinion should be taken with a grain of salt.  But I had a few of these on tap the other night at one of many local Bonefish Grill’s. This brew was tasty and refreshing and went great with seafood.

Give a “Shock Top” a try. It should be widely available (I saw it tonight at Publix). You won’t be disappointed.


ABC Fine Wines & Spirits

ABC Fine Wines & Spirits has been added to my Ultimate Tampa Bay area beer guide.

I have noticed a recently improved (and quite welcome) beer selection at ABC. In fact, they now have a whole row in front of the beer coolers to keep a multitude of American microbrews, Belgian Ales and numerous other imports. Prices are quite reasonable . . . as competitive as you will find in the area.

More here.

Cheap beer

Publix let me play the name game the other day after they were unable to locate the price for a variety 12 pack of Spanish Peaks beer. After standing around for 10 minutes while the bag boy went to check the price on the shelf and with the manager, they finally asked what I would like to pay for it.

Happily, I walked out with a case of pretty good beer for $2.00!

With the upcoming increase in beer prices, I will certainly be looking for more deals like this one

Spanish Peaks Black Dog Ale Winter Cheer

During National Adopt a Dog Month, the Spanish Peaks Brewing Company encourages you to support your local humane society. I encourage you to do the same but I also think it would be a good idea to try he Spanish Peaks Black Dog’s Winter Cheer.

I really enjoyed this beer but unfortunately, I have not been able to find anymore of it. Perhaps I am not looking hard enough? I really want to though. In fact, out of all the Winter beers I have tried this year, this one ranks as one of my favorites.  Perhaps it is the higher alcohol content and noticeable hoppiness which plays perfectly with my palate. Quite an interesting brew: it is refreshing, warming, well balanced and complexed not to mention easy to drink.

I hope to find more soon.


Two Hearted Ale mini keg party!

Very exciting. My wife stopped by whole foods in Tampa tonight to pick up some snacks and beer. To her surprise, she found a mini keg of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale!

Price paid: $25.00 (which equals out to about $2.36 per pint).

This brew ranks among my favorite IPA’s which I have mentioned before. This is great news and I am very happy to see smaller micro brew beers being distributed in miniature kegs.


Looking for hard to find beers?

Try Liquid Solutions . . .

Liquid Solutions are purveyors of World Class Beer, Tea and Coffee. So if you are having trouble finding that great beer you had while on vacation, then perhaps Liquid Solutions can solve your problem.

Bell’s Java Stout

I was excited to see three new stouts from Bell’s Brewery available in our area: Double Cream Stout, Cherry Stout, Java Stout. Everything to come out of Bell’s really has been superb, especially their Two Hearted Ale.

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for their Java Stout. It literally tastes like they brewed the beer with old coffee grounds. I caught my wife pouring the remainder of her glass down the sink. I told her not to worry because I had already done the same thing. Perhaps we had a bad batch or they just need to tweak their recipe a bit. I don’t know. I still look forward to sampling the double cream stout as well as their Cherry stout.


Rollin Oats Market & Cafe

My wife informs me that the Rollin’ Oats Market & Cafe in Saint Petersburg Florida has drastically increased their beer selection. This is great news and we are excited to have another great beer store so close to our house.

Rollin Oats has now been added to my Ultimate Beer Guide Page here.

Ultimate Guide to beer in Tampa Bay

Slowly but surely I am compiling my list of the best places to consume and purchase beer in the Tampa Bay area (Saint Petersburg, Tampa, Largo, Clearwater, Pinellas Park, Sarasota, Palm Harbor, etc).

You can view it here. PLEASE KEEP IN MIND that I am basically just adding to the list as I go. If you see something that you know of and isn’t on the list, then feel free to leave a comment.

More Pumpkin ales

Just because Halloween has already come and gone this year, that does not mean we shouldn’t continue to enjoy a nice pumpkin ale now, or any other time throughout the year for that matter.

I have sampled several more pumpkin beers since wring my first article in October. Several of those include:

  1. Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale (Anheuser-Busch)
  2. Post Road Pumpkin Ale. I was able to try PR from the Brooklyn Brewery
  3. Lakefront Brewery Pumpkin Lager
  4. Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin

Unfortunately I missed any locally brewed Pumpkin Ale’s including the one from BJ’s Brewhouse right down the road from me.

I think the Lakefront Brewery Pumpkin Lager really pulls through as the winner in this bunch. The ale has a really strong taste of pumpkin which I think imparts a very smooth almost earthy taste into the beer. I found some great information about this Lager on the Lakefront website here.

Lakefront Pumpkin Lager was one of the first pumpkin beers in the United States since Prohibition, creating an entirely new category of craft beer.

In 2007, the Great American Beer Festival has a distinct category for pumpkin beers.

Lakefront Pumpkin Lager is the only pumpkin lager beer in the world. All others are ales.

Overall, I have really like all the pumpkin beer I have samples this year. I am really looking forward to next year’s offering.


Another beer heist

It wasn’t too long ago that thieves made off with over 100,000 bottles of Moosehead beer. Now, another large heist has occurred again in Ireland.

The famed Oktoberfest in Europe is long over but beer continues to be in very high demand in Ireland – so much so that thieves stole on Wednesday 450 full kegs of beer from the Guinness brewery.

The bandit hauled away 180 kegs of Guinness stout, 90 kegs of Danish beer Carlsberg and 180 kegs of U.S. lager Budweiser, said to be the largest heist in the 248-year history of Ireland’s largest brewer.

The raiders took away a total of 22,500 liters of beer with a price tag of more than $235,000.

More here via ANH Media Corp.

One Monster Beer

The Brooklyn Brewery Monster Ale has become available in my area. I picked up two of these bad boys for my wife and I to try.

Brooklyn Monster Ale is a classic barley wine, a style of ale originally brewed by the butlers to the English and American aristocracy. It is brewed from three mashes of heirloom British malt and spiced with aromatic American Willamettem, Cascade and Fuggle hops.

All I can really say is “wow”. This is a really strong beer . . . The alcohol, at 11.8%, is almost overwhelming. This is definitely a sipping or desert beer. And sip is what I did when I consumed this. Poured into a sniffer, this monster ale pours a ruby red color with a very light head that disappears quickly. This ale will put a smile on your face and warm you during the Winter months. The Brooklyn Brewery truly has created a monster here.

Rally’s beer and wine selection

I was on my way to class this evening and stopped into a Really station/store to fill up and grab a drink. I noticed they increased their beer and wine selection. Everything looks pretty good.

What caught my eye were six packs of Dogfish Head 60 minute IPA for under $8.00! In all honesty, I am not the biggest fan of Dogfish head beer but I might have to pick one of these little buggers up on my way home tomorrow night.


2007 Anchor Steam Christmas Ale

This year, Anchor Steam is celebrating 33 years of brewing their Christmas Ale. Truthfully, I have never been a real fan of this beer in past years.

anchor_steam_christmas_2007.jpgMaybe my taste buds have changed or maybe Anchor Brewing got the recipe perfected this year. Either way, I see myself buying a few more six packs of this stuff ASAP!

I just had the chance to sample this brew after picking up a few new released and a favorite Belgian of mine that I will be talking about shortly. Usually, I like to write these entries while I am actually sampling the beer. This gives me the best idea of how to describe the beers taste, flavor, drink ability etc. I guess it is a good sign that there is nothing left in my mug as I type this. However, that won’t keep me from sharing a few notes.

I have have been looking for a very nice stout to drink for some time now. The 2007 Anchor Steam pours just like a stout with a creamy head that lasted for as long the fluid was in my glass. It is very dark in color and slightly reddish when held to the light. The balance of hops and spices is perfect. The hops are definitely noticeable which is a very important characteristic for me as a hop head.

The folk’s over at Anchor Brewing have put together a very nice web page for their Christmas Ale beers here.

Happy 33 years of brewing, Anchor! I will certainly be picking up a few more of these to enjoy throughout the Holiday Season.


Safety Harbor Wine Festival

Yes, the title is correct! My wife and I found ourselves with nothing to do this past weekend and it was suggested that we join some friends at the 6th annual Safety Harbor Wine Festival.

Wine Festival turned beer festival for me. There were the typical beer trucks with what one would expect (Bud, Bud Light), but there was also the Beer Garden! Well, it wasn’t really a beer garden rather another beer truck with some “fancier beers” on tap, two of which I have mentioned in my Winter beers list: Red Hook Winter Storm and Winter’s Bourbon Cask Ale (from Anheuser-Busch). I gave the Cask Ale a try. Actually, I had already sampled one in a bottle a week or so ago (the catchy snowman logo on the front made me buy it).

I suppose the fact that I wanted to try it on tap means that I enjoyed it the first time! Personally, I think they could use a little less vanilla the next time they brew it, but overall this is a drinkable ale. The bourbon flavor adds an extra little kick to this winter warmer.

Anyhow, it turned out to be a very nice evening with perfect weather, good food, OK wine, decent beer and good times. Oh yes . . . I must mention. I got lucky by scoring a prime parking spot right on the east end of main street, which helped start the event off right.


Bad news for beer drinkers in South Africa

I just read a report via IOL that the beer drinkers need to brace themselves for a possible shortage this season. Ouch!

Read more here.

In the meantime, out local beer stores have just received their shipments of the much awaited and anticipated Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. So, stock up while you can and I would advise anyone down in SA to do the same.