First Magnitude Brewing Company – Gainesville, FL

First Magnitude Brewing Company

This is the brewery I’ve been waiting MONTHS to check out.  First Magnitude Brewing Company!  Ever since Karl sent me a photo of it’s mermaid logo.  I knew I had to check it out.  I mean, mermaids and craft beer, what could be better?  On top of that, I realized it’s a major supporter of the environment and the local community.

Fun Fact – The name ‘First Magnitude’ represents the heart of what makes this part of Florida naturally great. Thanks to its unique geologic characteristics, North Central Florida has the highest density of freshwater springs in the world. First magnitude springs are the most powerful – over 100 cubic feet of water per second boils up from their limestone openings to form cool, clear pools that feed our rivers and lakes. Look up in the sky – the brightest star you can see with your naked eye is called a first magnitude star. Their mermaid logo brings together the stellar and the aquatic.

Liquid Sunshine!

Here is what we tried:

  • BATCH 200 Double Red IPA – This came as a recommendation from the guy pouring our beers.  It’s a decent IPA.  (Again – not a fan, but the boys loved it.)
  • Dark Age – Belgian Stout – You know, this goes great with the Dark Queen.  Delicious.
  • Wacahoota Wit – Belgian Wit – Classic wit.
  • Flandsome Gentleman – Flanders Red Ale – Karl and his friend, Jonathan, both loved this beer.  After our samplers, they each got a pint of this.
  • Hoppy Golden Sour – I’ve learned this week that Karl loves sour beers, so this was for him.  I honestly hated it, full on, weird face shuddering, sour.
  • Karst Belgian Pale Ale w/ Rosemary, Thyme, & Sage – This was a CLOSE second to Bee’s Knees Honey Saison.  First Magnitude has a year-round Karst without herbs that I got to try at dinner the night before.  Let me tell you, herbs make such a difference.  AMAZING!
  • Dark Queen – Jackie’s Belgian Dark Strong Ale – Hogtown Brewers Collaboration – You know me, I love a dark beer, even in sunny Florida, this was a great beer.
  • Bee’s Knees Honey Saison – This was my favorite beer (Karst was a solid second).  After our samplers, I got another pint of this while we explored the rest of the brewery.

Have you ever been to Gainesville, Florida?  Or First Magnitude Brewing Company?

Nature Coast Brewing Company – Crystal River, FL

Nature Coast Brewing Company – Crystal River, FL

Natures Coast Brewing Company – where beer and manatees meet.

I recently had the opportunity to spend a wonderful, wonderful week in Florida.  I literally went EVERYWHERE – Orlando, Naples, Gainesville, AND Crystal River.  With my amazing college buddy / tour guide / outdoor adventurer, Karl.  For those of you who don’t know, Crystal River is THE ONLY PLACE in Florida, where you can legally swim with manatees.  So this mermaid had to give it a try.  Yes, I did bring my mermaid tail.  Yes, we did see manatees.  No, we did not swim WITH the manatees, because we hung out with a mama and a calf so they needed their space, but it was still AWESOME!

After hanging out in beautiful water all day, lucky for Karl, I found the ONLY brewery in Crystal River – Nature Coast Brewing Company.  Located in the heart of Crystal River (let’s be honest – there is only like one traffic light) in an Irish pub called “Burke’s of Ireland.”  This one barrel system hosts a handful of small, hand crafted batches of beers.  One of my favorite things about the pub was the walls were covered with beer taps from around the world.  I’m happy to report back that I was able to find a few Oregon breweries taps all the way in Florida.  We made friends with the brewer’s brother and he let us try all four beers on tap.

Here is what we tried:

  • Citrus Ave IPA.  This was a classic IPA that Karl got.  Again, not a huge IPA fan personally, but after being in the sunshine all day it was refreshing.
  • Pastel De Calabaza Del Diablo.  This was my favorite of the four beers with tried.  A spiced beer with a little bit of sour that definitely stood out from the crowd.
  • Dr. Porter’s Ales What Cures You!  This beer is named after the original owner of the building, The Pharmacy and Medical office that was established in 1920 by Dr. Porter Hudson.
  • My Heart is On Fire.  This was a spicy hot beer that reminded me a lot of Burnside Brewing’s Sweet Heat.  Only the heat stuck with you a lot longer!

Another thing I loved about this brewery is they have a “Bucket List.”  This was an ongoing theme of Karl’s during the week.  Due to the nature of their brewing system, after each beer is brewed and fermented, they take 31 gallons and separate them into six different secondary fermenters.  With each bucket fermenter, they add a finishing flavor making each batch outlandishly unique.

Ever swam with manatees in Florida?  Ever been to Nature Coast Brewing Company?

Ecliptic + Gigantic Team Up on a Beer from the Darkside

Ecliptic Brewing has partnered with Gigantic Brewing on the newest addition to its Cosmic Collaboration series, Star Destroyer.  Brewed in the style of an Imperial Schwarzbier and with a nod to Star Wars, Star Destroyer is cleverly styled as an Imperial Darkside Lager.

“In 2016 I approached Van Havig of Gigantic about a collaboration for 2017.  He agreed only if we called the beer Star Destroyer,” said Owner and Brewmaster of Ecliptic Brewing, John Harris.  “Brewing with the boys from Gigantic is always a good time!”

Ecliptic and Gigantic collaborated in 2013 on TicWitTic American Sour Ale, brewed for the opening of Ecliptic.  Both breweries knew that another collaboration was bound to happen, but little did they know that a beer brewed to the tunes of The Imperial March would be it.  Check out the description of Star Destroyer below.

About Star Destroyer

Feel the power of the darkside. Bah, Bah, Bah-Bum, Ba, Bum-Bum, Da, Bum. This beer is fully operational.  Prepare the attack.

ABV 8.0% IBU 39

 

Star Destroyer Release Events:  Oregon and Washington

  • Ecliptic Brewing, 825 North Cook St. Portland, OR.  Beginning March 1st, 11am.  Draft and bottles available.  WHO WANTS TO GO?!
  • The Growlerie, 15151 Barrows Rd. Beaverton, OR.  March 13th, 5pm-7pm.  Star Destroyer Release Party.
  • Teku Tavern, 552 Denny Way, Seattle, WA.  March 1st , 7pm-9pm.  Women in Beer Trivia and Star Destroyer Release Party

About Ecliptic Brewing

Ecliptic Brewing is a venture from John Harris, an Oregon beer icon whose background is steeped in the state’s rich craft brewing history. The name Ecliptic unites Harris’ two passions: brewing and astronomy, and as such, the brewery celebrates the Earth’s yearly journey around the sun through both its beer and restaurant menus. Executive chef Michael Molitor rotates his seasonally inspired menu every six weeks in accordance with the old world calendar. Harris’ signature beers include Spectra Hoppy Pilsner, Orbiter IPA, Phobos Single Hop Red Ale, and Capella Porter. For more information, visit: www.eclipticbrewing.com.

Seriously, who wants to go grab a pint on March 1st?

Captain Jack’s Lucky 13 Championship IPA

Joe and Captain Jack

Joe and Captain Jack

This is a guest post by my friend and fellow beer drinker, Joe Coulter.

Beer, Fundraiser, and Soccer.

March 6, 2016 marked a great day in Portland.

  1. The Portland Timbers kicked off the season in an 2015 MLS Cup Final rematch against the Columbus Crew, beating them by the same margin of 2 – 1.
  2. Hopworks Urban Brewery and Jack Jewsbury, who is still one of four remaining original MLS Portland Timbers (Diego Chara, Darlington Nagbe, and Jake Gleeson), partnered up to create a NW IPA Collaboration.
  3. March 6th marked the release party of “Captain Jack’s Lucky 13 Championship IPA”
Joe and Nate

Joe and Nat

Working together since the 2015 playoffs HUB and Jack have been working together to create a new craft beer. Jack Jewsbury not only wrote the recipe, which according him is kept secret – mainly because he forgot it, but was also part of each part of the brewing process. After tasting the beer, some patrons thought once Jack retired from soccer he could pick up in a brewery. But for now he thinks we will stick with his day job and keep brewery beer as a hobby.

At 6:00pm on March 6th, in a packed HUB (standing room only), Portland Timber fans celebrated a Timbers win, a Flounders loss, and a new beer created by our very own “Old Salty Dog: (aka Jewsbury), the release party began.

hub 3

Ben, Jack and Joe

This release party was not only a celebration for the Timbers 2015 MLS Cup Championship, hence part of the name, but also to give back to the Portland community. Part of the beer proceeds will be donated to Every Child, a Portland-based foster care program and Jack’s charity of choice. It is a great beer and a great cause. This is what makes the Portland Timbers, the beer industry, and the city of Portland so great.

Along with Jack Jewsbury, Ben Zemanksi and Nat Borchers both attended and signed autographs and hung out with the fans.

As I gave up alcohol up for Lent, being Catholic can be tough sometimes, I went to the release party with my friend Nick. He said that he enjoyed the beer, it had a great after taste and a smooth IPA. Worthy of being a Portland Timbers beer.

Signed beer!

Signed beer!

You can purchase a limited release bottle of “Captain Jack’s Lucky 13 Championship IPA” at Hopworks Urban Brewery on Powell, and it will be on tap for a limited time at both location: Bike Bar NE and HUB SE.

Have you tasted this new beer? What did you think?

Also, huge shout out to Joe for getting me a bottle to enjoy after Lent as well!

Cascade Brewing Sour Fruit Fest 2016

Sour Fest 2016

Beckie and I at Sour Fest 2016

Beckie and I checked out Cascade Brewing’s Sour Fruit Fest 2016.  Since I’m not drinking for Lent, (and I’m not a huge fan of sour beers) Beckie did all the drinking.  She was kind enough to share her thoughts on the beers she tried.

Melon Melange (2013) – Sour wheat ale with over 30 pounds of Tuscan, Casaba and Santa Claus melons.  Beckie said this was really sweet.

Pineapple Wheat (2014) – Wheat and blonde ale mix, aged in white wine barrels with pineapple.  Beckie said it didn’t not have a strong pineapple flavor (it was faint) but a good amount of sour.

Nectarine Dream – Live Barrel – sour blond and quad ales aged in oak wine barrels with fresh nectarines.  This was the first time Cascade has used nectarines in their beer.  Beckie said this beer was subtle, doesn’t hit your right off the bat as a sour beer.

Honeycot (2014) – Blond ales wine barrel aged with apricots and wildflower honey.  Beckie said this beer wasn’t sour at all, but still good.

Gin Gimlet (2014) – Blond ale wine barrel aged with lime peel and juniper berries.  No actual gin!  All Beckie said about this beer was it’s not as good as the Honeycot.  And then she pointed out after drinking all these beers, the Ginger Lime (which we didn’t have that day) was still her favorite.  It’s my favorite too at Cascade Brewing.

Ever been to Cascade Brewing?  What was your favorite beer?  Like sour beers?  What is your favorite sour beer?