Avery Brewing Co. Set for National Release of Double Barreled Maple Stout

Avery_A_Logo_WhiteCircleAvery Brewing Co. (Boulder, Colorado) has officially announced that it will begin the Limited Release of Double Barreled Maple Stout in late April.

Arriving as the 52nd release in Avery Brewing Co.’s Barrel-Aged Series, Double Barreled Maple Stout is an “indulgent” Imperial Stout that was “aged in Bourbon barrels THEN aged in maple syrup barrels and dosed with coffee, cinnamon, and extra maple syrup.”  Weighing in at an absolutely massive 15.3% ABV, Double Barreled Maple Stout can be easily enjoyed “for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner!”

Colin says, “Keep your pastries, we’ll have our flapjacks and black coffee.”

Double Barreled Maple Stout will officially release in Avery Brewing Co.’s Tap Room during the weekend of Friday, April 26 and is expected to enter distribution shortly after the on-site release.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering available in 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located in Florida, Colorado and throughout the rest Avery’s nationwide distribution network.  Prost!

Vital Information for Double Barreled Maple Stout from Avery Brewing Co.

Release – Limited/Barrel-Aged Series; April 26, 2019
Style – Imperial Stout
ABV – 15.3%
Treatment – “Aged in Bourbon barrels THEN aged in maple syrup barrels and dosed with coffee, cinnamon, and extra maple syrup”
Availability – 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://www.averybrewing.com/brew-finder

 

The Revitalizing Brews of Pittsburgh – Part I: The Gentlemen of Braddock

Back in late August, the incredible folks at VisitPITTSBURGH invited the Mashing In crew to their city to partake in a Brew + Brew Press Tour, a guided three-day tour of the fine breweries and coffee roasters/shops located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  We returned from the trip with the intention of writing an exhaustive, beer-travel-themed, “Where to go for a pint while in Pittsburgh”-style post, but something just did not feel right about that approach when we started putting pen to paper.  After meeting with some truly amazing people that are actively impacting and uniting Pittsburgh communities through beer culture, we just knew that our time would be better served bringing a couple of their stories to light in this two-part series.  The intention of these posts is to hopefully spark your curiosity and inspire you to go see for yourself how some amazing craft breweries are reshaping the areas in and around the city of Pittsburgh.

The Gentlemen of Braddock

BGLogoWallX600
Brew Gentlemen’s warm and inviting entry.

Our tour of Pittsburgh hit the ground running with a lengthy half day that eventually carried us out to Braddock, Pennsylvania to check out Brew Gentlemen. Since it is quite normal for breweries to be located in industrial parks or metal buildings far removed from the hustle and bustle of downtown, I was happily surprised to find myself standing on a main avenue when I exited the bus. With its inviting storefront entrance and muraled side wall, the initial impression of Brew Gentlemen from the outside was that it had the feel of more of a small-town hardware store than brewery.

Step through the front door and the surprises continue as you are greeted by an open seating area that has an incredibly clean, industrial chic motif – exposed brick, bare bulb-style lighting, metal ceiling fans, and an accent wall displaying an illuminated and stylized “BG” logo, minimalist shelves constructed from pipe and wood, and delicate floral touches. A quick right takes you into the taproom that carries on the industrial aesthetic with a long expanse of the building’s original brick proudly adorned with Braddock’s zip code (15104), a wood accented tap wall, digital tap list, vintage tin ceiling, a gorgeous L-shaped bar and additional seating at the back. The space continues as it snakes back to the left, taking you into a sitting room that has a view of the brewery and contains shelves filled with books and board games and a 3D printer that is hard at work on an undisclosed project. From the front of the building to back, everything has a sense of trend-setting style while still maintaining a high level of functionality and comforting warmth.

BGKataseX1000
Matt Katase, Co-founder of Brew Gentlemen, accounts the history of his brewery.

After a brief look around the taproom, we returned to the bar to find Brew Gentlemen’s Co-Founder Matt Katase waiting to greet us. Once everyone was settled in with a beer in hand, Matt went on to tell the story of the brewery. The inspiration for Brew Gentlemen was found in 2010 when Katase and Asa Foster, friends and students at Carnegie Mellon University who shared a love for good beer, decided to alter their college path from degrees in Art and Math to “self-defined majors” that would ultimately help them open a brewery. Despite a brush with expulsion for brewing beer on campus, the duo graduated in 2012 and immediately sought out a location for the brewery.

That search led them to Braddock, a town that quickly established itself as the soul of Brew Gentlemen. You see . . . Braddock is a town that has fallen on hard times. With a history that dates back to 1755 and the role General Edward Braddock played in the French-Indian War, Braddock did not really flourish until a little over a century later when Andrew Carnegie showed up to build the Edgar Thomson Steel Works. This move made Braddock a prominent player in the steel industry, carrying the town at a great height through the majority of the 20th century. Sadly, the steel industry collapsed during the 70’s and 80’s, and Braddock fell with it. Buildings were shuttered, the people left in search of new jobs and opportunities, and the town was left dejected and directionless. A good deal of Braddock remains in this condition at present day.

Knowing that Braddock needed them as much they needed Braddock, Katase and Foster found a home in an old electrical supply store located at 512 Braddock Avenue. To make their dream a reality, they undertook an “18-month DIY renovation project” that included exposing and restoring the brick in the building, preserving the original tin ceiling, and even collecting the pallets that littered Braddock so that they could be repurposed as wood accents in the tasting room.  Piece by piece, Brew Gentlemen gradually came together and finally opened in 2014 with a tight-knit crew dedicated to upholding the following core values:

  • MIYABI – An aesthetic ideal meaning elegance. Everything is just as it should be.
  • SHOSHIN – A concept from Zen Buddhism meaning “beginner’s mind.” Openness, eagerness to learn. Many possibilities.
  • KANSO – An aesthetic ideal defined as simplicity. Identifying that which is essential.
  • KAIZEN – A business philosophy for continual improvement. Thrive on change and making things better. Use every day as a chance for improvement.

**Core values sourced directly from Brew Gentlemen’s website**

After just ten minutes of hearing Katase speak about his brewery, it became quite clear that kaizen, or continual improvement, is at the very heart of Brew Gentlemen. Proof of this arose when a journalist in our group asked if Brew Gentlemen had any collaboration projects in the works. Collaborations are a very common, popular and lucrative practice in today’s craft beer community, and the beers coming out of Brew Gentlemen – from its flagship General Braddock’s IPA to its limited release Barrel-Aged Annuals and the experimental beers of the 15104 Series – have generated quite a bit of buzz for the brewery on a national level. This degree of hype would certainly have dozens of breweries from across the country clamoring for the chance to work with Brew Gentlemen, but Katase simply responded by saying that they do their best to avoid collaborations because they feel that their time could be better spent improving their brewery, their craft and their community.

Kaizen certainly drives everything at Brew Gentlemen, but we soon learned that it is not just limited to what is found within its walls.  This realization came gradually as Katase led us into the brewery for a tour – a small to medium-sized operation that includes a couple small foeders and a space for barrel-aging – and then behind the building where he outlined some ideas concerning future expansion.  Despite this portion of the visit being somewhat abbreviated, an excitement could be seen growing on Katase’s face and all made sense when he finally asked, “Do you guys want to go for a walk?”  Katase explained that this is a walk that he attempts to do every day so that not only can he be seen taking an interest in Braddock but also so that he can be constantly reminded of its existing beauty and growing potential.  After a long day on the bus, a chance to stretch our legs sounded fantastic to all of us, so we placed our beer glasses on the brewery floor and off we went.

Starting on the cobblestone side street that runs behind the brewery, our adventure took us southeast for several blocks.  The industrial might of Braddock’s past dominated the skyline while numerous abandoned buildings adorned with elaborate graffiti displays were at our left and massive storage lots for construction materials sat to the right.  Each building had a story – ranging from being once proud businesses to the offices of prominent figures in town to even a respected newspaper entity – and Katase was happy to tell them all.  After about a half mile, the scenery morphed into an expansive green space that houses Braddock Farms, an urban farm that grows produce literally in the shadow of the area’s last remaining steel mill.  After walking the farm, we looped back around to Braddock Avenue so that Katase could show us The Hollander Project, an innovative coworking space that offers local female business owners the crucial resources needed to succeed.  He then took us by scaffolding-lined stately buildings that were having their facades – blackened after years of exposure to the soot supplied by local industry – restored to their original bright white.  Eventually, as we drew closer to the brewery, this uplifting stretch that showed so much potential and improvement gave way to more desolation as abandoned buildings once again began to pile up on both sides of the avenue.

For so many, a situation such as this could easily be perceived as bleak and impossible, but it honestly looks like nothing but hope when seen through the eyes of Katase.  He chooses to fixate on the positive things happening in Braddock and forces anything negative to translate as a blank canvas full of potential. It is obvious that he only sees a chance for improvement. He only sees another opportunity for kaizen.

It was then, in that moment, that everything suddenly became clear.  Brew Gentlemen, from the high quality of its beer to the facility’s pristine appearance, is a physical embodiment of what Braddock once was and could be again. Hard work, dedication to a craft, and a vision of excellence – all noble attributes that so many steel workers once carried through that town – have earned this brewery a prestigious level of hype in the beer community.  This buzz is powerful, and it is now making people across the country talk about Brew Gentlemen.  It is making people talk about Braddock again.  Now that beer tourism is a very real thing and at an all-time high, this tiny little brewery could just be the spark that lures visitors back to Braddock. Craft beer could replace steel and support this community.

Absolutely mesmerized by Katase’s passion for Braddock, I got back on the press bus with my mind already made up that I will be returning to Brew Gentlemen in the very near future.  Sure, some of the motivation for a return trip is to enjoy more of this brewery’s world-class beer, but the majority of it is rooted in the chance to take that walk again and see how Braddock has thrived with the help of Katase, everyone else at Brew Gentlemen, and all the other like-minded visionaries determined to create change in that community.  I left convinced that Braddock will recover from its lows. I left knowing that Brew Gentlemen will somehow find a way to fuel that rise.

Field Trip: 6th Annual Florida Tap Invitational at Proof Brewing Co.

FLTAPLogoLast month, we were lucky enough to receive an invite to the 6th Annual Florida Tap Invitational at Proof Brewing Co. (Tallahassee, Florida) and we have returned – after a bit of a delay – to provide you with a recap and photographic account of our experience at this truly special beer festival.

Taking place each year at Proof Brewing Co. in Tallahassee, the Florida Tap Invitational is an exclusive beer festival that aims to collect the finest and most interesting/innovative beers being produced in Florida so that craft beer fans can experience them all in one spot.  Beyond just being a celebration of the state’s craft beer community, this year’s event went an extra mile by serving as a fundraiser for Proof Brewing Co.’s neighbors in the Florida Panhandle that were affected by Hurricane Michael.

The description of the event that we received was very similar to the paragraph above, but we had no idea how intimate this beer festival would be until we turned the corner to the parking lot to get in line.  The entirety of the Florida Tap Invitational takes place in Proof Brewing Co.’s parking lot, beer garden and tasting room – none of which are incredibly large.  Despite that fact, someone who undoubtedly was a savant at Tetris found ample space to set up pour stations – most of them housed under tents – for 45 or so breweries and still had room for food vendors, a stage for musical entertainment and areas for attendees to congregate.

We entered with the VIP ticket holders, and the ID check/ticket redemption process was speedy and efficient.  As soon as we received our glass and got through the gate, our worries of over-crowding – a very real occurrence at many beer festivals – were quickly put at ease.  The amount of tickets allotted for this event was nearly perfect, and the layout basically kept the crowd moving at a slowly churning pace.  Even after General Admission was let in and attendance was at its peak, we never felt rushed or crowded and always had somewhere to go to hang out and have a conversation.  At times, many pour stations were wide open and allowed guests plenty of time to chat with representatives from their favorite breweries.

As far as the beer goes, the level of quality at the Florida Tap Invitational was as advertised.  Nearly every brewery came with the intention to show you their absolute best, and the event was utterly awash with countless one-off, rare, and limited release beers.  To give you an idea of the insane brews that graced our glasses during this event, here are our “Top 5 Most Memorable Beers of the 6th Annual Florida Tap Invitational” (list is in no particular order):

  • Magnanimous Brewing | Flourish – New England-style Wheat.  A new brewery coming to Tampa, Magnanimous made quite the first impression with a Wheat Ale that was bright, hoppy, luscious and refreshing.
  • Deep Brewing Co. | Bourbon Barrel CYNNICAL – Imperial Stout with cinnamon, ancho chile, cacao & vanilla.  CYNNICAL blew us away with big notes of brownie batter, dark chocolate, bourbon and just the right pop of heat.
  • Aardwolf Brewing Company | Bearer of the Cup of the Blood of the Ancients – Barrel-aged Raspberry Sour.  The name immediately captured our attention, and the beer itself delivered a wonderfully complex experience filled with tart raspberry goodness.
  • Invasive Species Brewing | Malkovich Malkovich – Hazy IPA double dry-hopped with Mosaic, Citra & Cashmere hops.  This IPA was ridiculously juicy and had just the right amount of delightful dankness. Oh, and the label artwork on the can is just stunning.
  • Proof Brewing Co. | Coffee Vanilla Hazelnut Bourbon Barrel-aged Glass Emperor – Bourbon Barrel-aged Imperial Stout.  The home team stood up and showed out with a tap list comprised of over 30 beers, but this one set itself apart by nailing every descriptor in its name.  Pronounced and impactful but not overly cloying, this was THE dessert stout of the festival for us.

In addition to all the amazing beer, the Florida Tap Invitational also featured an incredibly solid lineup of food trucks/vendors and an unforgettable musical performance from Tallahassee’s Catfish Alliance and their majestic hype man “Sex Manatee”.  Once all the pieces of this event – from the beer to the food to the band – started functioning as a whole, the Florida Tap Invitational was then able to go next level and become a true celebration filled with nothing but good times and vibes.

Absolutely everything mentioned above was truly fantastic, but the coolest and most interesting part of the Florida Tap Invitational was how the brewers/brewery representatives behaved while at the event.  It was very clear that they were all there to talk to fans and properly showcase what makes their breweries special, but throughout the event we noticed that almost every single one of them found a moment to disappear into the crowd in search of a beer they were excited about. Sure, the “I need a beer, I’ll be right back” kind of moment happens at all beer festivals, but this was something different.  We ran into countless of them at other breweries’ tables and they were just as giddy as the ticket-holders surrounding them for the chance to try these beers.  They were talking shop, catching a laugh with old friends, and just genuinely stoked to be there.  At times it had the air of a company holiday party and showed that a very real camaraderie exists in Florida’s brewing community.

This speaks volumes for the Florida Tap Invitational because if the brewers and brewery reps – people who are at beer fests/events constantly all year long – are clearly having a great time and genuinely want to be there, that means you, the beer lover, need to be there.  There is no better endorsement for a beer festival than that, so check out the photos below and go ahead and make a note that you will need to be in Tallahassee in 2019 for the 7th Annual Florida Tap Invitational.  Prost!

Field Trip: 8th Annual Brews With Attitude Beer Fest

2xFBPour
The Funky Buddha crew serving the thirsty masses at Brews With Attitude.

Not too long ago, the folks at Pepin Distributing Company graciously offered us the opportunity to attend their 8th Annual Brews with Attitude Beer Fest.  Here’s a recap and photographic account of our experience at the event.

As soon as you make it through the entrance gate at Brews With Attitude, you walk into an expansive circle drive that is absolutely packed with a substantial selection of food trucks, a random spread of merchandise vendors, and a plethora of beer stations that are pouring from brewery branded trucks, under tents and in elaborate trailers.  As you work through the crowd, the event has the feel of a pretty standard beer festival . . . well, that is until you make it to the massive, fire-adorned fountain and step foot into Tpepin’s Hospitality Centre.

With outer corridors that display countless pieces of antique breweriana and house lavish billiards and trophy rooms, the core of this gorgeous space is comprised of a grand ballroom that is lined on one side by a stunning bar.  Once the grandiose nature of the space has been fully realized and appreciated, it becomes quite clear that this event is just as much a trade show as it is a beer festival.  The tables occupying the ballroom are all fully stocked with literature on their respective breweries, point of sale items and swag, newsletter sign-up sheets, detailed descriptions of each beer being poured, and various other informative items.  If all that were somehow not impressive enough, almost every brewery – whether from down the street or across the world – had at least one representative in attendance to answer questions and mingle with the crowd.  It is an incredibly professional display that was set up so that each brewery could easily engage its audience and establish long-lasting relationships with its customers.

With that said, we do not want you to think this was just a stodgy affair only meant for the exchange of business cards because that is not at all the case.  The attendees and brewery representatives seamlessly shifted from establishing contacts to doling out high-fives and “WOO” moments.  The overall focus was the beer, but the experience was more choose your own adventure.  If you were there to learn more about your favorite breweries and beers, there were dozens of people there ready to share that information with you over a brew.  If you were just after a night out with friends, you could engage full-on beer fest mode and sample a vast array of tasty beers from open to close.  You had the option to fully immerse yourself in one extreme or the other . . . or a healthy mix of the two.  Because of this level of versatility, Brews With Attitude firmly establishes itself as a unique event and one hell of a good time.

Want further proof? Well, just go ahead and check out the photos below and hopefully they will inspire you to join us at next year’s installment of Brews With Attitude.  Prost!

 

**Click on any image above to enlarge and launch a slide show**

Field Trip: Media Reception & Beer Launch at New Realm Brewing Company

radegastLast week, we had the pleasure of attending a VIP Media Reception and Beer Launch event at New Realm Brewing Company (Atlanta, Georgia) and we have returned to supply you with a photographic account of our experience at this newly established craft beer institution that is sure to have a huge impact on Atlanta’s beer scene.

Established by Carey Falcone, Bob Powers and IPA whisperer Mitch Steele, New Realm Brewing Company is a 20,000 square-foot facility located on Atlanta’s Beltline.  This game-changing destination brewery houses a 25hl, four vessel brewhouse and 50hl tank farm from Krones Steinecker, a stunning taproom and restaurant, multiple multipurpose rooms that can act as event space or additional seating, several bars, a dedicated growler station, and a rooftop deck featuring a breathtaking view of the Atlanta skyline.  The brewery’s main system will be focused on creating world-class, regular rotation offerings while a pilot system will be dedicated to churning out a regular stream of creative and innovative one-offs and experimental batches.  Helmed by General Manager Don Mioton and Executive Chef Julio Delgado, New Realm’s restaurant “[blends] global flavors and southern techniques” to offer a delicious menu that pairs beautifully with the house beers.  Speaking of those beers, New Realm offerings will span the style spectrum, but you can rest assured that you will see many hop-laden brews from Mitch Steele.

New Realm Brewing Company officially opened to the public on Monday (January 8), but we were lucky enough to get a first look at the facility last week.  Although part of me wishes that we returned home with a notebook full of technical data on the brewery and the beers, it was kind of refreshing to hear that this event was meant to have more of a relaxed, hangout atmosphere rather than that of a formal interview.  When I say refreshing, I mean that more so from the perspective of the New Realm team that was facing an opening week that would be full of photo ops, interviews, and the intense scrutiny of being a new brewery and restaurant in a major U.S. city.  This was the crew’s last chance to take a breath and a moment to celebrate before that coming storm. It was a needed break disguised as a soft opening and media event.

We wanted to respect that, so our conversations with Mitch Steele and everyone else at New Realm were limited to small talk about our personal lives, the beer industry in general, hobbies, and good food.  Although fun for us, we realized that those discussions would not produce interesting copy.  So . . . we adjusted our approach to the event and instead decided to document our experience through photos.  We want you to experience this place through our eyes, and hopefully that will inspire you to visit New Realm, sample the beers, have a meal, take the tour, and experience something truly special.  We hope that you enjoy the gallery and, above all, realize that you need to experience all that can be found in New Realm.  Prost!

 

Click any image to enlarge

Field Trip: An Evening with Lord Hobo Brewing Co.

On Monday, July 31, Cavalier Distributing welcomed Lord Hobo Brewing Co. (Woburn, Massachusetts) to the Florida beer scene with an industry-only event at The Dalí Museum.  We were lucky enough to score an invite to the event, and you know we took plenty of photos to document the festivities for you.

Just last week, we let you all know the exciting news that Lord Hobo Brewing Co. was arriving in Florida with a series of launch events set to take place from August 2 to August 12 (click here to read that post).  The party got off to an early start on Monday as representatives from Tampa-area breweries and craft beer establishments got together at The Dalí to introduce themselves to the crew and brews of Lord Hobo.  The evening was filled with damn good beer, tasty eats, great tunes and even better conversation held against a backdrop of Salvador Dalí’s artistic masterpieces.  It was a truly unique, craft beer experience that is probably best conveyed in a visual format.  Check out photos of the festivities below, and be sure to hit up one of the remaining launch events so that you too can get to know the amazing folks of Lord Hobo Brewing Co. while they are in town.  Prost!

 

**Click any photo below to enlarge, read descriptions, and/or view the gallery as a slideshow**

 

Field Trip: VIP Night at Noble Crust – Wesley Chapel

1SignOutdoor_editedOn Saturday, July 15, the Noble Crust hosted a VIP Night and Preview Party for their new location in Wesley Chapel, and we were fortunate enough to receive an invitation to cover the festivities.  Here’s your first look at this fantastic new restaurant taking up residence at the Shops at Wiregrass.

Serving as a benefit for The Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel Foundation, this VIP Night event acted as the perfect platform to introduce the community to Noble Crust and its philosophy that is clearly built on generosity and hospitality.  From the hostess at the door to the proud ownership mingling with the crowd, the entire crew at Noble Crust does absolutely everything they can to make you feel at ease and at home when you visit their restaurant.

And what a beautiful restaurant it is.  Before you enter the restaurant proper, you easily glide through a cozy patio space that has been designed with the ability to tame the Florida heat with breezy fans and a gentle misting system.  As you walk through the front door, your eyes feast on a gorgeous space that includes comfy social dining areas, an immaculate open kitchen, clever lighting that provides a warm ambiance, and one of the most stunning bars in the area.

Take a seat and your attention suddenly shifts to the alluring aromas wafting from the kitchen.  With a menu comprised of seasonal Italian dishes that retain a Southern soul, your options are many.  You can nosh on tasty appetizers such as Deviled Crab Arancini and Ricotta Gnocchi before selecting a main course that could range from one of several of Noble Crust’s incredibly balanced and delicious pizzas to Rigatoni & Short Rib Ragu or some Southern Fried Chicken.  After polishing off your first two courses, be sure to look over the dessert menu because you are definitely going to want to finish off your meal with a slice of Lemon-Buttermilk Pie or a jar of Warm Chocolate Budino.  Finally, and this goes for your entire meal, your Noble Crust experience is not complete unless you pair these delectable dishes with something from the bar.  It could be a of glass wine, a tasty brew from their carefully curated beer list, or one of their many ambrosial house cocktails.  Just find the flavor that best suits you, settle in, sip away and fully savor the complete dining experience that Noble Crust provides.

We could go on and on about our time at Noble Crust, but it is probably best to let our photos do the talking from here on out.  Check out the photos below and, most importantly, be sure to check out Noble Crust – Wesley Chapel as soon as possible.  The restaurant opens to the public this week, and their staff is polished and ready to go.  Make it happen and enjoy what may just be the finest dining option now available in Wesley Chapel.  Prost!

 

**Click any photo below to enlarge, read descriptions, and/or view the gallery as a slideshow**

Field Trip: Cavalier Distributing Trade Show – Tampa

Just a few weeks ago, Cavalier Distributing (Lakeland, Florida) held a fantastic and informative trade show at The Vault, a beautiful venue located in the heart of Tampa’s Downtown Arts District.  Cavalier used this industry-only event as an opportunity to introduce the area’s restaurants, bars, retailers, and media members to their vast portfolio of fine craft beers, meads, ciders and spirits.  The best way to capture all that this event had to offer was through a visual medium, so check out the photos below (click to enlarge) so that you too can get the inside scoop on the exciting beverages headed our way this year from Cavalier Distributing.  Prost!

cavbeerglasses1000

Field Trip: SweetWater Brewing Company 20th Anniversary Party

On Sunday, February 19, SweetWater Brewing Company (Atlanta, Georgia) celebrated “20 Years of Heady Beers” with a 20th Anniversary Party that featured a ridiculously awesome tap list and a musical performance from moe.  We were fortunate enough to receive an invite to cover this event, and the only way to do this spectacle justice is to provide a visual account of the day.  Check out the photos below, and be sure to raise a glass in the near future to recognize SweetWater Brewing Company’s two decades of brewing excellence.   Prost!

**Click any photo above to enlarge and view captions**