"We’ve hit a 125-year high in brewery numbers and, of the 2,126 breweries currently operating in the United States, 2,075 of them are classified as craft brewers. Is it possible that we’re living in a beer bubble?" Beer is hip and craft beer creates nice revenue streams. That said it will attract entrepreneurs that are neither interested in boosting the local economy, nor community or are passionate about beer. I have seen Beer Bars open where the owners do not like beer and small breweries where the owners have never brewed. They just see this as a money and it shows. The result are seedlings of mass produced beer that typically lack in quality. You would think those breweries would die off quickly but the beauty of a hype is that decisions and actions are not rational. The beer hype draws consumers into beer consumption that have no interest in the quality of food or beverage that they consume. How many people have a palate that discerns hop aromas and ester profiles and would live off a diet of fast food and microwaveables? This combination of pseudo craft breweries and consumers that simply follow a trend will create a bubble that will burst. I hope that the passionate brewers will be strong enough to absorb the shock wave. Also, there are a limited number of tap handles out there, so every time a new beer goes up another comes down or goes in to a longer rotation. The better beers should survive as long as "We the Consumer / Beer Lovers" support the quality beers. If you know of a small brewery where the owners are passionate and the beers are great, please support them. It doesn't take much to increase the presence of those beers in your community. Tell the bar owner, wear the Shirt, post on Facebook, All of things help and when the bubble pops it might make the difference. Thank You GK and ETS Please read the following article from Lorna Juett via the Chicagoist. Photo By Gary Eckstein http://chicagoist.com/2012/08/28/richard_florida_of_the_atlantic.php
125 E. Court Square, Decatur, GA 30030. The Brick Store Pub is located in a quaint section of Decatur. The area is very walkable (even in a light rain) and for all appearances is a good mix of eclectic shops and restaurants, mixed in with more mundane businesses. We probably just beat the crowds on a Tuesday after a short jaunt from Marrieta. It was busy but not packed. We didn't have to wait for a table. The theme is very rustic with bare brick and aged wood stairs and tables. Ir is comfortable, for lack of a better term. The upstairs has a belgian bar, but I didn't have an opportunity to spend any time up there. Brick Store has an honest good pub food menu. It's has a southern twist, but they don't stray too far. The food is cooked to order. I can say that everyone was pleased with their decision, be it a burgers, the shepherd's daughter's pie, a cast-iron pot pie, chicken fingers and chips, or the veggie sammy. Unfortunately for me, although the beer selection was very broad, I had to settle for the second choice. Of the 21st Amendment beers listed, only Brew Free or Die was available. The web site listed Jever, but wasn't on the list at the restaurant, which is understandable, but wish the two were in synch. I haven't had Jever since visiting Germany in the 90s and was getting all sentimental about it. I did manage to survive. The Hitochino Nest went well with my Pimento Cheeseburger and I finished off the dinner with a Reissdorf Kolsch. I would have also like to see local breweries supported more. Just two taps dedicated to Georgia breweries. Finally the service was interesting, to say the least. We got a table for six right away. As I said it was full, but not packed. Our waitress was slow and impatient at the same time which is an interesting combination. Whenever she stopped by (which wasn't too often), she couldn't get away fast enough. She took 5 drink orders and then took off before the sixth person could order a diet coke. Weird. But this is just one experience on a rainy Tuesday in July, so I'll leave the service as a aberration for now. The food was perfect, the beer selection was good and I do recommend visiting if you are in the area.
I Made a trip to Orlando recently and had the opportunity to stop by the Ravenous Pig Gastro Pub in Winter Park. The owners describe it as a traditional pub with an elevated dining experience. They have brought on Brewer Ron Raike to help run their soon to be open Nano brewery, also in the Winter Park area, called the “Cask and Larder”. Ron was previously with Shipyard Emporium up the road a few blocks. The shipyard is also worth a stop. They only have 8 beers on tap but they do rotate. It appeared to me that some thought was taken to have food that would pair with the beers or I guess beers that pair with the food. I choose the Ravenous Ruby Red, a collaboration brew between Green Room and Ron. This is a red ale brewed with local orange and grapefruit juice and peels with coriander spice. A clean beer with a definite note of grapefruit. The coriander added a nice balance and was very mild. I have said this before “ I am not a fan of Ambers and Reds but I had two of these with dinner. I paired this with the Grilled Lamb Ribs that also had coriander and honey gastrique with tzatziki for dipping. The lamb was awesome and it really matched well with the coriander in the beer. Also the grapefruit note in the beer accentuated the honey on the lamb. We shared a side of thin cut fries coated in truffle oil, so I snuck in a Swamp Head Stump Knocker IPA. I should have taken a picture of the food but I was too distracted by actually enjoying food and forgot. You should check their website I expected more beers to be available but the distribution was nice, Coney island Mermaid Pilsner, Lost coast white wit, Swamp Head Wild night, Dogfish Festina Peche, Terrapin Rye Pale Ale, Brooklyn Lager, and the two beer I drank. They have a large wine selection but no bombers, but then again this is a Gastro pub, not a Brewpub. If the food at the “Cask and Lauder” is half as good and the beers are of the same quality as the Ruby Red it should be a must visit. If you have the chance I highly recommend the Rav Pig but make reservations or get to the bar at opening. The place was packed before I ordered my second beer. Yeah, that fast. Here is a link to an Article from Florida Beers about Ron Raike.
Ok, this is bugging me a bit. When I walk into my favorite beers spots lately I have been seeing Pumpkin Beers. It feels like shopping for Halloween costumes and seeing the Christmas decoration out. Its too damn early. I understand the breweries generate a large revenue from the pumpkin seasonals but its too hot to enjoy them. There is no where in the US , well maybe the micro Kelvin lab at UF, that has the temperatures that would call for this type of beer. Are we going to start seeing winter beers in July? Summers in January? So, due to the popularity of some of the pumpkins we will have to buy them now before they are gone. Make sure they are stored properly and then enjoy near Halloween or better yet December. Of course, we get a little screwed here in Florida with the heat sticking around, making it harder to enjoy certain seasonal beers but we all have to make sacrifices. Maybe someone can have a walk in cooler party, or better yet... bring in some snow machines and pile it up. Crap, now I am actually craving a SoutherTier PUMKing and a Dogfish Head Punkin.
So, Becks has a new series of bottles that are designed by various artist from around the world. You can check out the website for greater detail. The bottles are pretty cool. To collect or not to collect..... Hmmm... its beer..... Collect?
Finally, here in St. Petersburg we have a new offering from Pensacola Bay Brewing, Deluna Extra Pale Ale. The only place I have found it is at Pete's Wood Fired Pizza. Basically it reminds me of a Kolsch beer. I like Kolsch Beers, and I am good with this one. It pours a clear golden color with a decent head. It has a slight Pilsner finish. If I remember right from the 2011 GABF, the brewer uses true German ingredients, so Noble Hops, Hallertau,, Saaz, Spalz and/or Tettnang. If any one knows which are used please comment.