Cool artwork across from Bold City BreweryI wasn’t expecting a whole lot when I first pulled up to Bold City Brewery. It’s a non-descript building in a cluster of small warehouses along the railroad tracks in an older section of Jacksonville. The buildings across the street were all painted up all up with highly artistic grafitti. A group of folks was sitting around in the parking lot drinking beer just outside the roll-up door.

I figured this was going to be a quick, one-time visit. Was I ever mistaken.

For starters, we learned that the painted up buildings across the road are actually some sort of an art school-studio. These weren't middle of the night tag-jobs but rather well thought out murals by very talented artists.

Once you go thru the door, you’re in a lively room with about a half-dozen tables and a bar at the end of the room. Each time that I’ve been there, the crowd has been a cross-section of Jacksonville, a mixture of college-aged kids as well as middle-aged people from all walks of life. It seems to be a place for everyone. Everyone seems friendly and we’ve had several interesting conversations with folks at the bar and the surrounding tables. The restrooms were surprisingly clean too!

Since it is a real brewery, they don’t serve food but there is a catering company that uses some of the excess space in their warehouse area to cook up brats, burgers, wings and pulled pork. The food prices are reasonable too. Six bucks for a burger, beans and slaw and it’s good. Vernon does it up right. What more can you ask for?

Beer Flight Tray at Bold City BreweryIf you are a newbie to Bold City, they offer you a sampler tray of the 8 or so beers that they have on tap for FREE providing you buy something. These aren’t little shots but rather a couple of ounces each, just like what you buy elsewhere when you do the sampler flights. The guy told us the first time that you visit, as long as you at least try each of the samples and if you buy either a pint or a growler, the sampler tray is free. That’s a first for me. Who was I to argue about free beer?

The beers that I’ve seen there on tap are all relatively solid, straight-forward beers. They haven’t had anything like a bacon maple porter when I’ve been there but if you are looking for a good pale ale, wheat or brown ale, etc, you’ve come to the right place.

The Killer Whale Cream Ale is a nice, smooth, lighter beer that is easy to drink and is a good place to start for the American macro crowd. Duke’s Cold Nose Brown Ale is pretty mild and not that heavy so even on a hot day, you can enough a brown.

Their 1901 Red Ale is “not your standard Red Ale. This is a very ‘malty’, ‘roasty’ and complex Red Ale. The roasted flavor comes from the high presence of roasted barley.” It could easily be mistaken for a porter. Besides having it in the tasting room, I’ve enjoyed it around town too.

The also have a hefeweizen, a pair of IPA’s as well as an amber ale and an English ale. Some of these are available in stores around town in bottles too.

Besides beer, they have limited wines available too as well as soda for your DD.

My only gripe about Bold City Brewery is that their tap room is only open three days a week – Thursday – Saturday. That means I can only stop by once when I’m in town for work.

Check ‘em out, you’ll have a good time.

 

Holy Mackerel Brewing makes big, bold, flavorful beers meant to be savored not rushed. Holy mackerel was created by Robert Gordash, a Fort Lauderdale area native and award winning brewer of the Samuel Adams World Homebrew Contest of 1996. Although, originally founded and brewed in Fort Lauderdale, Florida these beers are now brewed with his friends at a small batch brewery in Greenville, South Carolina.

How did you become so interested in beer?
I have always loved beer since I was thirteen ( sorry to say) by the time I was 18 I was trying all sorts of imports to see what was new and exciting. My first craft beer was a Samuel Adams lager at a country western bar in the early 90s then an Anchor Steam not long after that. I did not care for either one at the time because of the abundance of hops that I was not used to. Things have changed since then and Samuel Adams is now still my favorite all around lager.

What inspired you to open a brewery?
When I discovered I could make beer and good beer at that and I won many contests including the Samuel Adams world homebrew contest in 1996 then all my friends loved my beer and they encouraged me to take it to the next level.

What's the story behind the Holy Mackerel name?
I like the name for several reasons , One it is a an exclamation of surprise and very fitting for a stronger beer, Second we use a Yeast from a Belgian Trappist Monastery and so the word Holy I thought was fitting. Third Mackerel is a popular fish being caught in Florida and it helps with the local feel.

Are you mainly self-taught or were you mentored by anyone? If so, what did they teach you that stands out in what you do today?
Actually both. I read volumes and volumes of books but I also entered many contest and received much constructive criticism. I would also take my beer to local brewpubs such as the now defunct Independence Brewery in Fort Lauderdale and get great advice on the brewing of beers. I toured breweries in Colorado, NY, Scotland, and England and learned much from what I saw. One thing that really standout to me is the need to aerate a beer three days into fermentation something I learned at the Black Sheep brewery in England.

Tell us about your first batch of brew...
It was a simple batch on the sharper image small kit and it turned out like well beer? Nothing great but not bad at all. I think it was a Canadian lager. Then there was no stopping me.

Are there any plans to expand the Holy Mackerel selection in place?
Yes, we are doing test batches all the time. But we really like to focus on our flagship brands - the SPECIAL GOLDEN ALE AND PANIC ATTACK

Why is your distribution so limited?
Actually it depends what you mean my distribution. We have distributors in 5 states now and we are authorized in ABC fine wine, Crown Wine, Wholefoods, Total Wine, and even Publix. We also have draft available in many craft beer bars. However we as other brewers do as well have to deal with getting lost in the distributors portfolio, we have to deal with them pushing other beers not ours.

We are seeing more and more collaborative efforts between breweries. What's your take on them and do you have any projects in the plans (that you can share) that we might see in the future? I think it’s a cool idea and it really highlights that we are united even though we are competitors. However at the same time I feel it is beginning to become a bit faddish. We have done some collaborative beer dinners though and they were great.

Pairing dinners are becoming more wide-spread. What foods would you suggest pairing your beers with?
Special Golden Ale with any citrus accented dish or cheddar cheese (Perhaps a salad with tangerines)
Panic Attack With any Asian dish with ginger also any grapefruit accented dish
Mack in Black with dark chocolates, Brie cheese with pomegranate jam.

If we were to open your fridge, what beers might we find?
Westmalle Tripple
Allagash Tripple
Lachoufe Gnomegang
Orval
Chimay Cinc Cents
Avery Salvation
Avery Majaraja
Smuttynose IPA
And the list goes on....

Learn more about Holy Mackeral on their website.

Two Deep Brewing Co.

TwoDeep Brewing Co. will not only be a production brewery serving the Indianapolis area with expansion (hopefully, quick expansion) into the outlying areas in the form of stores, restaurants, bars, etc., but also a destination for craft beer enthusiasts of all levels.

What inspired your initial interest in beer?
Like many of us out there my idea of “beer” was solely learned during my years in college…a.k.a…mass quantities of ‘yellow fizzy beer’. After school, I moved to Chicago (of which I lived there for a little over 7 years) where I was introduced to places like The Map Room, Goose Island (before ABI takeover), Piece Brewing, and many others. I started trying beers that I had barely heard of back in the early 2000’s like 312, Honkers, Fat Tire and many more. Once I started trying these I realized that beer really does taste good and I didn’t have to convince myself that a Miller-Coors-Bud was flavorful anymore. Haha I started visiting these Chicago landmarks more and more and kept dreaming of how cool it was to be able to make beer – not at all thinking I could do it. Oddly enough, one day I was flipping through the channels and came across a show called “Good Eats” on the Food Network hosted by Alton Brown. Not kidding you, as I turned to the channel he said that today he was going to make a brown ale and demonstrate the steps needed to make beer. Obviously my ears perked up, the remote stopped surfing and I was hooked. I ended up recording that episode on my DVR and probably watched it 20+ times. From the first 30 seconds of the episode, I was in love. I then started searching the internet about homebrewing, reading posts by fellow homebrewers, buying any and every book I could get my hands on at the bookstore that was related to beer and beer making. About a month later, my first set of equipment showed up in the mail along with two recipes worth of ingredients and I was off and brewing!

What was your first homebrew, and how did it turn out?
My first batch was actually two batches. Not that my reasoning is sound but I figured if I do two, one of them should turn out right. Thankfully, I was (still am) pretty anal about my procedures and cleaning/sanitizing regime that things went pretty well. I used to wear latex gloves and change them during every step of the process…lol!!! (a little OCD, I know) One of the batches was a Amber Ale (recipe kit from Midwest Supplies called Autumn Amber Ale) and the other was the recipe from the “Good Eats” episode, an English Ale called Good Brew. Both turned out well and after I popped them both open, drank them I realized that this was what I wanted to do in life. I was so excited that I was able to take these raw ingredients (raw for the most part…was using extract and specialty grains at that point) and create something that tasted good! Thus, I was TwoDeep when I realized this was my passion and I wanted to do this as my career someday. It was literally like a light bulb went off. I can also say that while in school, I was lucky to finish a book that was required reading….with brewing books, I couldn’t put them down!

Who ispired you? Is there a particular brewer who you would consider as your mentor?
While they don’t know it, I would say that I have looked up to Greg Koch from Stone and Sam Calagione from Dogfish (like many others). I have read and heard them also tell their stories of how and why they got into this industry and I really have connected with that. I went to the CBC this past March and numerous times crossed paths with both Greg and Sam and was literally tongue tied and couldn’t muster the ability to say “Hi” and introduce myself. I’m a chicken-sh*t, I know. I look to a lot of these guys – them – Vinnie Cilurzo, the Widmer brothers, Fritz Maytag, Jack Joyce, Bill Covaleski, Adam Avery and MANY others (Papazian, my instructors from Seibel Institute, etc.) as celebrities. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have watched the “I am a Craft Brewer” and “I am a Craft beer drinker” videos…haha

What challenges have you faced getting started?
So many challenges, so hard to list them all. I would say some of the bigger challenges are getting the seed money to do what I have envisioned for the brewery and the brand. Making the beer is the easy part now it’s getting everything in line to take this to the next step. We have had some issues with the building that we are going in to – some disagreements on what should be considered landlord responsibilities vs. us taking of, etc. but all that is pretty much ironed out now. I guess I would say the biggest thing is getting the capital we need to open the doors and because of that we can’t do our build out, order the equipment and setup so that we can then apply for our brewers permit. Somewhat backwards in regards to the federal application process but what can you do. Another challenge would be the fact that it’s hard to get your beer into people’s hands…legally…that you hope to acquire as accounts (i.e. bars & restaurants, retail locations, etc.). Until you are a licensed brewery you are somewhat restricted from doing so. We have done tasting events at my home where we have had up to 80-90 people come and sample the beer and generate interest but it only takes you so far.

Where will people beable to get your beer?
The brewery is being designed to be more than just a production plant. We want it to be a destination but without it feeling like a typical brewpub. Our location is key to the downtown Indianapolis area and will provide residents and tourists a place to come “hang out” while enjoying some fresh, great tasting beer. I want people to come and be there to not only raise a pint with their friends but experience the brewery in its raw form…smell it, feel it, see it, hear it. Gone will be the plasma TV’s and 800 other distractions typical bars utilize. Here, you will get to actually hear what your friend is saying to you while soaking in breathtaking views of the city and feeling like you are part of history inside our brick walls. The building itself was built around 1900 and boasts an incredible atmosphere with the original brick and timber ceilings.

Will it be draught only or will you be bottling too?
Initially, everything will be in draught that is self-distributed along with growlers and six-packs for to-go packaging from the brewery.

Can you tell us what beers you plan to start out with?
Our list of refined and solid recipes is about 12 brews deep. The beers that will be on tap…almost year round will be a Helles Bock, Dunkelweizen, Dortmunder Export and an Amber Ale. I love German based beers hence the first three. Its hard to find a lot of craft breweries doing lagers (which I totally understand why) and I want to show the average consumer that a lager does not have to be a Miller Coors or Bud. You can have a lager that is complex and great tasting too!

Will your selection be relatively traditional and consistent or do you plan on experimenting with "unique brews" too?
I know the unique thing is huge right now and I applaud those that do it. I just don’t know if its in my blood. I enjoy trying to unique non-traditional beers but I also like to make what I like to drink. Who know’s, maybe someday I will be bored with the “regular” brews and start throwing in anything I can find in the kitchen!

What beers do you typically enjoy drinking when you’re not at work? I am always a sucker for Great Lakes Elliot Ness, Stone Levitation, Ommegang’s Tripel Perfection….

So what beers would we find in you refrigerator at Casa De Andy?
Haha – right now, you would find a 6 pack of Three Floyds Robert The Bruce, six pack of Three Floyds Alpha King and two bottles of Rogue Dead Guy Ale.

You can learn more about Two Deep Brewing Co. on their website.

What inspired your initial interest in beer?
I was never much of a beer drinker. For years I thought beer was the yellow watery stuff. Years ago a friend of mine poured me a Sam Adams and I realized beer could be different. It started my exploration into different beer styles.

What was your first homebrew, and how did it turn out?
My first homebrew was actually a Sam Adams clone. It was the only kit the homebrew store had that I had tasted and I wanted to compare what I made to a commercial example. I liked the homebrew better. I then realized the kits were mostly clone beers and decided to study the different ingredients and come up with my own flavors. I've always been very interested in cooking so it was a natural progression.

How did Due South Brewing come about?
After years of making beer for friends and family because they liked mine better than what they bought in the store the decision was made to go commercial. I've owned a handful of small businesses so I had the business experience and since I'd rather make beer than do just about anything else it seemed like a good idea. Everyone has been very supportive as well so it reinforces our confidence in the decision.

Is there a particular brewer who you would consider as your mentor? What did they share with you?
I can't say that I've had a relationship with someone that I would consider a mentor. Most of my learning has come from books and experimenting with my own brews. I can say that I've been fortunate enough to meet some great folks in the past year that have made a big difference in my progression to opening the brewery. Matt Webster from Tequesta Brewing Co. has been a tremendous help. Fran Andrewlevich from Brewzzi's has also been a great source of information. I've brewed with Matt Cox from Big Bear Brewing which was a great experience. Brewing with the guys from The Funky Buddha was a lot of fun too. I'm also on my way up to brew with Brian Miller at Bold City in Jacksonville. Joey Redner and Justin Clarke from Cigar City came and walked through our space with me and gave some great suggestions. It's amazing to me how open and forthcoming all of these folks have been and I'm thrilled to be a part of what these guys are doing.

Where will your beer initially be available?
Our beer will be available on draft in our tap room right from the start. We'll also be sending kegs out to the distributor from day one. Initially our beer will be on tap around Palm Beach County and we hope to expand as quickly as possible. It shouldn't take long to get our beer out from Jupiter to Key West. We've built in expansion plans to have our beer all over Florida as quickly as possible.

Will you be bottling too?
Initially we'll be kegging exclusively but we hope to start bottling in the summer of 2012.

Do you have an estimate of when you'll be up and running?
Right now we're shooting for mid-December 2011. It's difficult to predict what situations may arise between now and then so it's an estimate. We'll do our best though.

What beers do you plan to offer?
We're narrowing down the beers we'll initially produce right now. We have quite a few beers in the running but we're going to knock it down to two or three to come out of the gate with for distribution. We have a cream ale that folks seem to like a lot. We also have our roasted cocoa stout which is a competition winner. Our honey wheat is a great hot weather beer and it's usually hot in south Florida so it's being considered. I'm finishing up an IPA recipe now that will probably be in the initial lineup as well. Our tap room will have anywhere from five to eight styles at any given time and we'll do special releases as often as possible.

Will your selection be relatively traditional and consistent or do you plan on experimenting with "unique brews" too?
We tend to be somewhat traditional but we like our beers to have a little extra something to set them apart. For example, our honey wheat is dry hopped with vanilla beans to round off the finish. We use real cold-pressed espresso in our porter. We like to differentiate our beer from the basic styles while maintaining beer's most important quality: it tastes so good you want to drink more of it. We will be doing some experimenting on our pilot system and many of those beers will only be available at the brewery.

What beers do you typically enjoy drinking when you’re not at work?
While there are lots of great beers available right now from brewers all over the country, my preference is to keep it local if possible. If I walk into a restaurant or bar and there's a beer from Florida on draft, I'm drinking it. As far as styles go, I'm a big IPA fan. I certainly like to try different beers and styles that I've never had before but IPA's are my go to beers if I'm just hanging out.

What beers would we find in you refrigerator at home?
I try to keep Cigar City's Jai Alai in the house at all times. I will admit to drinking quite a bit of Dale's Pale Ale. Great Divide's Titan is great for the golf course or boat. If I'm looking for a bigger, special beer it will usually come from Cigar City. I was able to get some of the Hopscotch from Tequesta Brewing Co. and really enjoyed that. Considering how hot it is down here, good drinkable IPA's and pale ales are my preference. I look for refreshing and flavorful.

Do you have any advice for someone considering starting their own brewery?
Raise twice as much money as you think you need, expect it to take twice as long as you think it will, get in good with your local zoning officials and make friends with every brewer you can as quickly as possible. And above all else, make good beer.

Learn more about Due South Brewing Co.

Soon Florida will have another brewery when Naples Beach Brewery opens in the Spring of 2012. Brewmaster Will Lawson recently took the time to answer a few questions and give us a hint of what's to come.

What inspired your initial interest in beer?
My initial interest in beer came about when I was in college (like millions of others) at Michigan State University. Breweries like Bells and Michigan Brewing Co. were just started to gain good momentum so I can recall the selection in stores becoming more diverse.

What was your first homebrew, and how did it turn out?
My first homebrew was done here in Naples in 2005. The beer selection around town was pretty boring (it is now much, much better) compared to what I was used to in Michigan so my wife encouraged me to homebrew by buying me my first equipment kit. We drove up to Ft. Myers to a wine making shop where I bought a Cali Common extract kit. I'd say knowing what I do now that the brew was a 6.5 on a scale of 10. I don't have specific details but from what I remember it was under attenuated and most likely oxidized as well. I can say with confidence that we had no major infection issues which was good. Best of all we had fun brewing together and little did we know we'd be where we are today from that experience.

How did Naples Beach Brewery come about?
After discovering my passion for brewing science along with having moved back to Michigan I decided to ditch my career in Turfgrass Management and enroll in the Diploma Program at Siebel Institute in the fall of 2007. After completing the program I went to work in a brewpub in Ann Arbor, MI as an assistant brewer. From day 1 at Siebel our goal (my wife and I) was for me to get a solid education as well as a sound hands on brewery work experience in order for us to own and operate our own brewery in the future. Fast forward to today and here we are back in Naples ready to share our beer with this great community and the whole state alike.

Is there a particular brewer who you would consider as your mentor? What did they share with you?
Obviously the brewer I worked under in Ann Arbor I would consider a mentor. Not only is he a fine brewer but he is an even better person. I also listen to a lot of brewer interview podcasts (www.thebrewingnetwork.com) and read a lot of brewing books so I have picked up many good tips from respected brewers worldwide.

Where will your beer be available?
We plan to start small as far as production is concerned so our initial goal is to supply a dozen or so local establishments with our beer(s). We also hope to gain approval and licensing to fill growlers and sell bottled beer straight from the brewery.

Will it be draught only or will you be bottling too?
Our startup operation will be predominantly draught however I do plan on bottling our Xmas beer and maybe a barrel aged beer for purchase at the brewery and/or a local bottle shop.

What beers do you plan to offer?
We will begin operation with 4 year round beer's which will be our spin on the following styles: Cream Ale, Dortmunder, Amber Ale, and American Wheat.
I also have plans to brew a monthly "one off" beer which will be either a specialty or seasonal recipe. These beer's will be our spin on the following styles: IPA, DIPA, Black IPA, Bavarian Weizen, Imperial Stout, Brown Ale, Robust Porter, Belgian Dark Strong, Belgian Pale Ale, Belgian Tripel, English Bitter, and Barleywine. My ultimate goal for the brewery is to brew at minimum 30 different rotating beer's per year.

Will your selection be relatively traditional and consistent or do you plan on experimenting with "unique brews" too?
I would say my intention is to be as close to the middle between traditional and experimental as possible. I'm a big believer in style guidelines and I try to create recipes that fall within the specs as much as possible. With that said the creative aspect of brewing is forever linked to experimentation and pushing those style boundaries. The recent acceptance of the Black IPA is a prime example. We'll try to cover it all as much as possible but consistency and style parameters mean a lot to us at Naples Beach Brewery.

What beers do you typically enjoy drinking when you’re not at work?
I tell everyone there is a place for all beer in my refrigerator. No joke, when I'm poolside you will see me drinking a macro 8 out of 10 times. I think too many people too often either don't realize or lose sight of how hard it is to consistently produce a light lager on the scale that the big brewers do. On the other hand you will ALWAYS find me drinking a favorite craft beer when I'm out on the town and/or the moment is special or celebratory. Some of my "go to" styles are IPA, DIPA, Porter, Stout, Imperial Stout, Amber Ales, Bo Pils, Weizen, and Belgians.

We look forward to trying their beers.

For more information on Naples Beach Brewery, visit their website at www.naplesbeachbrewery.com

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