Ty Mathis just wanted a good beer.
Mathis, a Brandon resident for nearly the past two decades, called one of his buddies to make plans. His friend asked Mathis which pub they should go to.
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“I said, ‘Well, why don’t we go to …,’ ” Mathis said, his voice trailing off. “Then it hit me.”
So Mathis opened the Stein Vine at Bloomingdale and Kings avenues and joined the craft beer market that has grown into a national trend.
Craft and craft-style beer sales more than doubled from 2007 to 2012 — from $5.7 billion to $12 billion, according to a Mintel market study reported in the Nation’s Restaurant News in April.
This even though craft beer generally has higher prices.
The report also noted that the rest of the beer categories had shown flat to declining sales in the wake of the recession.
The developing following in the Tampa Bay area, reflecting the national trend, is obvious from retail to upstart independent brewers and from home-brew masters to pubs both big and small.
From our founding fathers to Homer Simpson, ales and lagers have become as much a part of America’s fabric as baseball and apple pie.
“Beer has had a place throughout history in nearly every society,” Jason Lyons, a Brandon area home brewer, said.
Through the advent of the railroads and lagering, America took its place at the top of the global beer market with megacompanies like Budweiser and Miller leading the way. But those beers, which are categorized by light flavor and body, now have to share the spotlight with craft beer.
Made on a smaller, artisan level, craft beer generally packs a more powerful punch of palate-puckering hops and sweet, roasty malt. As consumers’ appetites for these types of beers increased, so did production.
Exotic flavor combinations drew in adventurous drinkers. Searching out the newest products became chic. And the beers started becoming more prominently displayed and offered in everything from convenience stores to local bars.
“Almost any restaurant you go now, you’re going to find some good selections,” said Lindsay Nichols, a manager at the Brass Tap at Westfield Brandon.
The home brewer
Jason Lyons siphons a little beer out of a large glass container, pulls out a hydrometer and measures the alcohol content of his newest creation, an Oktoberfest. He takes a small swig of the still uncarbonated brew and approvingly nods while checking the color and clarity.
“I can’t wait for this one,” he says.
Lyons is one of many area residents who are dabbling in the world of home brewing. Startup equipment costs less than $100, and with a few ingredients and a recipe, a drinkable ale can be achieved in two weeks.
“You don’t need a degree in chemical engineering to make beer,” said Francis Booth, owner of Booth’s Brewing and Bar Supply in Brandon. “It just takes a little patience and practice.”
Of course, brewing drinkable beer and award-winning beer are two different things. Lyons mastered the first rather quickly and achieved the latter this year when he captured a gold medal at the Best Florida Beer Championships.
“It’s the Super Bowl for home brewing in the state,” he said.
His doppelbock, a dark malty sledgehammer of a beer, checked in at 7.2 percent alcohol. Most American macro lagers are less than 5 percent. (Fun fact: Doppelbock emerged in the late 18th century as a powerful lager variant of monks’ “liquid bread,” which they brewed for the Lenten fast, says the German Beer Institute.)
Lyons competes throughout Florida on the home brewers circuit and has plans to open a brewery locally within five years.
Fun with DIY
Booth’s, at 333 Falkenburg Road, and Bootleggers, at 650 Oakfield Drive, offer extensive supplies for novices and experts and classes for beginners. Booth’s will expand in the next two months to include an on-site brewery.
“Right now we are working on a Caribbean farmhouse ale that has some mango, ginger and habanero in it,” Booth said. “Beer has gone gourmet.”
Home brewing clubs are also a part of the scene. The Brandon Bootleggers Homebrew Club (no direct relation to the supply store) has seen its numbers soar in the past couple of years. The club (brandonbootleggers.com) started out with half a dozen or so members three years ago. It has nearly 100 now and offers home brewers a chance to bounce ideas and recipes off one another.
“It’s really exciting because we have people off all ages and from all walks of life,” said Bob Appleyard, director emeritus of the club. “And we have everything from serious competition brewers to people who just brew once a year.”
An arduous task
Taking the leap from making beer in the garage to a full-scale brewery is a daunting task. There is expensive, large-scale equipment to buy. A place to house all the supplies is necessary. And, of course, there are a host of zoning and permitting hoops to jump through.
“There is a lot of red tape to get through, on the state and federal level,” said Randy Reaver, owner of Three Palms Brewing.
Reaver opened Three Palms, at 1509 Hobbs St. in Tampa, about a year ago, turning out the company’s inaugural brew July 4. Local pubs like Brass Tap and Stein Vine serve some of his creations.
“But it was something I had talked about long before that,” he said. “There’s just so much that goes into making it actually happen.”
Three Palms features a compact interior, with an area dedicated to brewing and a climate-controlled room for fermenting. Heavy sacks of grain line one wall, while an ice chest holds vials of yeast. There’s a tiny room that greets patrons there for tours and an Entrepreneur magazine on one of the tables. Reaver, who brews twice every three weeks, does nearly everything himself.
“It presents a lot of challenges, and yeah, you have to wear a lot of hats,” he said. “If I’m not brewing, I’m out at accounts trying to build relationships and increase the profile of my brand.”
Reaver’s immediate goal is to get wet zoning for Three Palms, meaning he can sell beer by the pint or to-go growlers from a tasting room inside the brewery.
“I’ve already ordered all the necessary equipment, so I think there’s a good chance it goes through,” he said. “Then people could come in and try the different beers I make, and that helps with brand recognition. It would be a good source of cash flow and we could keep regular hours.”
The big guys
Big companies hoping to capitalize on the trend aren’t far behind. The Brass Tap opened at the Brandon mall nearly three years ago. World of Beer, just south of Causeway Boulevard, will open this summer. Both focus primarily on craft beer.
“We really have all type of people who come in here,” Nichols, the Brass Tap manager, said. “But what they all are is enthusiastic about beer and trying new kinds of beer.”
The Brass Tap features 60 beers on draft and hundreds more in the bottle. WOB is about the same.
“We are all about beer,” Nichols said. “Anyone who talks to me for two minutes can tell that.”
Nichols, 25, said she has noticed that younger drinkers are shying away from products like Budweiser and are leaning toward craft beer.
“People are making the choice of quality over quantity,” she said. “I think the younger generation realizes convenience isn’t better. They don’t want McDonald’s anymore.”
The little guys
Mathis has been involved with beer and food most of his life. He has cooked in a host of kitchens and worked as a sales rep at Pepin Distributing for 16 years before turning an aging bar at 827 W Bloomingdale Ave. into a beer lover’s paradise.
“I would get out of my job (at Pepin) and come work here until 3 in the morning,” he said. “It’s my baby.”
The feel inside Stein Vine is welcoming, with rich planks of wood, wrought-iron chandeliers and a bar covered in hundreds of heads-up pennies. Mathis brought the brick in from Ybor City.
In Riverview, Matt Brooks has turned the beer passion he honed in college into a friendly pub called the Talking Pint at 13428 Boyette Road. Brooks focuses on American craft beers.
“There is so much great beer going on in America,” Brooks said. “It has more character.”
Mathis said the craft beer craze has plenty of room to grow.
“This area is just starting to see the potential of where this can go,” he said. “There’s nothing I like better than giving someone a beer and they go ‘What is that? I’ve never heard of that and I want more.’ ‘
Times correspondent Eric Vician contributed to this report. Brandon Wright can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on 21 May 2013.
PRIMARY DAY MORNING REPORT: TURNOUT LIGHT – A watcher at polls in the municipal building, 2199 Buchert Rd., laughed Tuesday morning (May 21, 2013) when a news reporter asked if voter turnout so far had been slow. “It would have to pick up a lot just to be slow,” he replied with a smile. As of 8:30 a.m., Lower Pottsgrove voting lines were short or non-existent at the Buchert Road polling place, right, and elsewhere across the township and in the Pottsgrove School District, according to social media reports.
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Birmingham Budweiser will sponsor a home brewing competition in celebration of the passage of Alabama’s “Right to Brew” law, the distributor said today.
Gov. Robert Bentley signed the home brewing bill into law on May 9, ending Alabama’s reign as the only state in the union in which it was illegal to brew beer and make wine at home for your own consumption. The new law allows those 21 and older to make up to 15 gallons of beer, wine, mead or cider every three months for personal use. The law does not apply in dry counties and dry cities.
Birmingham Budweiser President Jay Dobbs said the brewing contest will be co-sponsored and sanctioned by the American Homebrewers Association.
“Many of the fine craft beers we distribute have their roots in homebrewing,” he said in a prepared statement. “The winner of this brew-off may be the next big thing to come from the state’s growing craft beer market.”
Contestants will compete for a $1,000 cash prize and for the chance to have their beer produced by a local commercial brewery.
Entries will be accepted on June 10 at Birmingham Budweiser, 141 Industrial Drive, Birmingham, AL 35211. The deadline for registration is June 28. Judging will take place July 13 at Birmingham Budweiser.
Details can be found online.
Posted on 22 May 2013.
All four challengers for four seats open during November elections for the Pottsgrove school board appear to have won party nominations in Tuesday’s primary elections. Only three of four incumbents did as well, however.
Posted on 22 May 2013.
SANATOGA PA – Incumbent James Kaiser and newcomer Shawn Watson appear to have won Republican nominations to run for two open seats on the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners in the November (2013) general elections, according to unofficial results posted Wednesday morning (May 22) by the Montgomery County Department of Voter Services.
Because there was no Democrat primary for those seats, it also seems likely Kaiser will return to office next year, and Watson will be installed as the township’s newest commissioner.
Apparently left out by primary voters was incumbent Michael McGroarty.
Also in the township, the sole candidates in Republican and Democrat primaries for tax collector, Jennifer Marsteller and Nanette Glaze, respectively, will battle in November for the seat now occupied by Marsteller.
- Find the county’s complete list of unofficial results in all primary races here. They are not considered official until certified by the county Board of Elections.
The following results are listed in descending order of votes cast, and not in the order of names as they appeared on the ballot. They are displayed with the candidate’s name, number of votes received, and percentage of votes received among those cast.
Lower Pottsgrove Township Commissioner
Results in Republican primary voting of candidates for nominations to run in November (2013) for two seats. Four of 4 precincts reporting; 100 percent tallied: 1,109 votes.
- James D. Kaiser, 387, 34.90
- Shawn Watson, 367, 33.09
- Michael J. McGroarty, 355, 32.01%
There was no Democrat primary race.
Lower Pottsgrove Township Tax Collector
Results in Republican primary voting of candidates for nominations to run in November for one seat. Four of 4 precincts reporting; 100 percent tallied: 540 votes.
- Jennifer V. Marsteller, 540, 100.00%
Results in Democrat primary voting of candidates for nominations to run in November for one seat. Four of 4 precincts reporting; 100 percent tallied: 198 votes.
- Nannette L. Glaze, 198, 100.00%
New SaveOnBrew Exclusive Interview Delves Into Beer Brewing Science
Houston, TX (PRWEB) April 26, 2013
Homebrewers and aspiring brewmasters will find the inside scoop behind what it takes to mass produce beer for a Gordon Biersch restaurant in this week’s SaveOnBrew exclusive interview with head brewmaster Dave Collins.
Unlike other brewmasters who leave their kitchens and start their own companies, Collins comes from a more formal background – which is evident by the technical details he spews effortlessly. “I had two years of structured classroom learning,” he explains. He also attended a Teaching Brewery, which is the perfect place “to make mistakes,” he adds. “Believe me, people made mistakes there – such as dropping a man-way door into a finished fermenter full of about 9 barrels of beer.”
The most interesting aspect of brewing is the hops, he tells SaveOnBrew. “Each hop variety has different essential oil,” he explains. “Oil contents break down to 4 large groups…. Citrus/grapefruit/mango/pineapple flavors… or they could taste like pine needle/cedar wood/ spicy/peppery /evergreen, or just earthy/grassy. Some flavors are still being described.”
He goes on to say that new hops coming out of New Zealand “smell and taste like sauvignon blanc grapes, gooseberry, or herbal teas.” This makes choosing the hops a fun challenge, according to Collins.
Yet, the maltier beers tend to be the biggest sellers at Gordon Biersch in Syracuse, New York. “Our most popular standard beers are the Marzen and the Golden Export,” Collins says. “The Marzen has great malt sweetness with notes of caramel and bready biscuit/graham cracker character and just enough bitterness to clear that residual sugar off of the palate.”
“The Golden Export is what I call a ‘bridge beer’. It is the lightest in flavor of all the beers we make but being a beer that is all malt (with no corn or rice adjunct) means it is a more full flavored beer than the macro-produced beers of this style…. It is a very easy-drinking, lighter lager.”
In this SaveOnBrew exclusive, Collins also discusses his best and worst beer batches, how beer compliments food in the restaurant, how to make a good session beer, how to brew in the German tradition, and a detailed description of what a typical workday is like for him.
The full interview can be read on SaveOnBrew.Com.
# # #
About SaveOnBrew.Com: Founded in 2010 to help thirsty beer drinkers across the United States find the lowest advertised prices for one of the world’s most popular beverages.
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/4/prweb10654696.htm
Posted on 22 May 2013.
Date(s) – 05/22/2013
9:15 am – 1:15 pm
East Penn AAA
Eight-hour, two-day course offered by AAA and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for insurance premium reductions for motor vehicle drivers age 55 and older. Advance registration is required. For more information or to register, call 800-564-0300.
Personal experience showed Deborah Lewis and her husband, Jim, that finding home-brewing supplies could mean a trip to Pensacola or an order via the Internet. With new-found space available to them through their other business, Computers Plus, the couple opened Hop Heads.
“My husband and I have been brewing beer for years,” Deborah Lewis said. “It’s just a great hobby.”
With Hop Heads, they offer grains, barley, hops, supplies and advice.
“We’ll have kits that all you have to do when you get home is supply water,” Lewis also said.
Since Hop Heads opened early this May, Lewis said all the inventory has yet to arrive. Some plans include the addition of a grain mill for home brewers who like to crush their own. Other plans include classes and possibly a brewer’s club.
The entire concept of Hop Heads, Lewis added, comes from the pure enjoyment of the brewing.
“I haven’t had a bad batch of beer that we’ve made,” she said. “I think there’s something about making it yourself and the satisfaction.”
LOCATION: 26-C N.W. Racetrack Road, near Choctawhatchee High School
HOURS: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays
INFINITE LASERS LLC
Very few things exist that Drew Cooper can’t engrave upon, he said.
Cooper and his daughter, Maddi Cooper, opened family-owned Infinite Lasers in April 2012, and by December they had relocated to a larger space in the McGuire’s plaza in Destin.
“When I was in the military, I handled a lot of the memorials and going-aways, and I had always been interested in the engraving aspect,” Cooper said, adding that he brings the old-school know how to the shop while Maddi brings the new-school.
“We can engrave on metal,” he continued. “It’s not the traditional engraving like an etch.”
They can also create custom awards for people, providing affordable recognition pieces for sports teams, squads and organizations as well as military memorials or honorariums. The Coopers can engrave on glass and acrylic, laptop computers and iPads, even guitars and rocks.
“It’s imagination,” Cooper said. “You bring in an idea and a piece of what you want engraved, and we’ll engrave it.”
Although Infinite Lasers did take over the phone number for the now-closed Destin Trophy shop, Cooper said “we’re a new business.”
LOCATION: 45 Harbor Blvd., Destin, near McGuire’s restaurant
HOURS: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays
Alltech founder Pearse Lyons said Monday that the Nicholasville-based nutrition company was pressing forward with plans to expand its brewery in Lexington.
“We just ordered the equipment,” he said.
The expanded brewery probably will be on Angliana Avenue, where Alltech stores its bourbon barrels.
The new 300,000-square-foot Town Branch brewery could be up and running by the end of 2014 if everything goes as planned, Lyons said.
“In 15 months from now, we’ll either have it in Angliana Avenue or another location,” he said. The brewing and bottling equipment will come from Germany in about nine months, he said.
And Alltech needs it, he said, because it needs the beer production.
The company’s Alltech Bourbon Barrel Ale has become the biggest-selling craft beer in Ohio, according to its distributor, Lyons said.
His existing brewery can produce as much as 30,000 barrels a year, but with the expansion, capacity could nearly double, Lyons said.
He predicted that within five or six years, Alltech could become the fifth-largest craft brewer in the United States.
Lyons dropped the nugget of news into his speech to more than 2,400 people from dozens of countries who are attending the annual Alltech Symposium in Lexington.
The symposium discusses everything from marketing to animal nutrition, with an eye to the global business climate.
Alltech also will host a brewing and distilling symposium in Ireland in July.
The interest in brewing, Lyons said, comes from his roots: According to family lore, one of his ancestors was an original member of the guild of coop ers, or barrel makers, founded in 1594 in Ireland.
Lyons founded Alltech on his interest in yeast, and it has been the building block of his expansion into everything from Alzheimer’s research to beer, and now bourbon with Town Branch Distillery.
“If you really want to get me excited, ask me about yeast,” Lyons said at a news conference.
“Or whisky. Or beer,” chimed in Mark Lyons, his son.
“It’s all yeast,” Pearse Lyons said with a shrug. “It has amazed me, the growth in the craft brewing industry in the United States. The beer industry in the U.S. is flat; the beer industry in the world is flat. But craft brewing is growing.”
He said he recently attended a craft brewing convention in Washington with thousands of enthusiasts.
“What you sense was a cult, but a sustainable cult,” Lyons said.
“Brewers are fun people to be around. … That’s our background. We’re in the brewing business.”
Janet Patton: (859) 231-3264. Twitter: @janetpattonhl.Janet Patton: (859) 231-3264. Twitter: @janetpattonhl.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – Stuart Carter is a bit of a craftsman, but he also loves spending time with his young son, even when he’s learning how to make his own beer at home.
“By bringing my son along, by brewing beer at home and being part of his daily life, it will give [Carter’s son] an appreciation and respect for all alcoholic beverages,” Carter said.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley recently signed a bill that legalized home brewing.
Once that happened, Birmingham business Hop City didn’t waste any time in telling people that they have everything needed to make all types of brews.
Carter is on the board of the group Free the Hops.
The group lobbied legislators to raise the limit of alcohol in beers to 13.9 percent.
As such, Carter is quick to admit that he enjoys a tasty craft beer.
However, he also thinks he can educate his son about alcohol and how to drink responsibly once he’s 21, all by brewing alcohol at home.
“When you demystify something, particularly for teenagers, it becomes boring,” Carter said. “It doesn’t become, ‘I can go slam half a keg or some mass beer,’ it becomes, ‘Oh, dad does that on the weekends. Let me go do something interesting like study.’ ”
As Carter studies the best ways to craft a beer, he’s just glad that his son has come along for the ride.
Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42
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