Last year, my forestry professor invited me and a bunch of the forestry students out to the Brewz Crewz in Lakeland, Florida. Despite its unfortunate name (and despite that fact that it took place in Lakeland of all places; Christ!), I forked out the $35 with the promise that I’d get unlimited beer samples from a wide range of beer vendors, many of them Florida brewers. I was not disappointed! Besides all that, I got a bunch of free food, too. Oh, and I even got a free cigar, but that was simply due to my wily charms when it comes to older rich men.
Anyway, when the Brewz Crewz rolled around this year, I was of course set on going. The event was two weekends ago (February 19th), and I bought tickets for myself and two of my girl friends from Gainesville. Due to a pregnant horse giving birth, they were unable to make the drive down from the ‘ville and I found myself with three tickets to the festival about four hours before it started. However! I was fortunately able to finagle my friends Clay and Sarah into coming with me (but really — with the promise of free beer and free food… it wasn’t that difficult).
Now. I brought a notebook with me to make note of which beers I enjoyed and which ones sucked. What I should have done was sit down at my computer the next morning and immediately translated my progressively incoherent babble into blog format. However, I obviously didn’t do that, and now my then-clear notes look like a bunch of drunken scribbles. Oh wait — that’s exactly what they are.
Beer 1: Amber Beer from Palm Brewing (I don’t know where this was brewed; they have like a bazillion breweries).
Not-yet-drunken notes: ”Meh, I’d drink this at a summer bbq but it wasn’t something amazing. Not exactly complex. Nice and light.”
Translation: This tasted like bud light.
Beer 2: Red Ale from Orlando Brewing Company (Orlando, FL)
Not-yet-drunken notes: None. I was too busy talking to the owner.
Translation: THIS BEER IS AWESOME. Okay, well — the beer itself wasn’t exactly mindblowing, but it was really good. The cool thing about this brewery is that it’s totally organic. It is, in fact, Florida’s only certified organic brewery. Kudos.
Beer 3: Milk Stout from Left Hand Brewing Company (Longmont, CO)
Not-yet-drunken notes: None. I’ve had this beer several times and apparently didn’t see a need to write about it.
Translation: YUM. Come on, it’s called a Milk Stout. It has to be good.
Beer 4: Longfellow Winter Ale from Shipyard Brewing Company (Portland, ME)
Getting-a-buzz notes: ”CJ - black IPA.”
Translation: Clay, who attended the festival with me, mentioned that he thought this tasted like a black IPA. I think that’s what that my note means anyway. I just remember talking about black IPAs when we tried this beer. I don’t even know what a black IPA is.
Beer 5: Prelude Special Ale from Shipyard Brewing Company (Portland, ME)
Getting-a-buzz notes: ”A little metallic in its aftertaste. Dark and floral.”
Translation: *rolls eyes* That is so vague. I have no idea what this tasted like.
Beer 6: Jai Alai IPA from Cigar City Brewing (Tampa, FL)
Getting-a-buzz notes: “Now for an IPA it’s good, but don’t we all know that I don’t like IPAs! It’s not too overwhelming. But I mean everything from CCB is so good anyway.”
Translation: None needed. The beer’s good, ya’ll.
Beer 7: Porter from Red Brick Brewing (Atlanta, GA)
I-shouldn’t-be-driving notes: “Possibly the lightest porter I’ve ever had. Good! Not my fave but hey I like southeastern breweries.”
Translation: Uuhhh, possibly the lightest porter I’ve ever had. Red Brick is a good brewery but they aren’t superb. However, as my drunken notes stated, I dig southeastern breweries. And I usually have a Red Brick when I visit home in Birmingham.
Beer 8: Brown Ale (?) from Terrapin Beer Company (Athens, GA)
Okay-I’m-drunk notes: ”Yes well it tastes like a brown IPA. Actually it’s better toward the end.”
Translation: It tastes better toward the end? The end of what? The end of the sip? The end of the beer itself? None of that makes any sense. I don’t even know if it’s a brown ale or an IPA. I can’t find either on Terrapin’s website.
Beer 9: Turbodog Dark Brown Ale from Abita Beer (Abita Springs, LA)
Drunken notes: ”Sweet chocolate toffee flavor. Oh my god this is phenomenal. It tastes like dessert!”
Translation: All of that is true. It’s amazing.
Beer 10: Strawberry Harvest Lager from Abita Beer (Abita Springs, LA)
Drunken notes: ”Okay this tastes like a strawberry cookie. I want this everyday.”
Translation: This beer tastes like a light lager with strawberry flavoring. I don’t actually want it everyday.
Beer 11: French Saison from Southern Brewing (Tampa, FL)
Drunken notes: ”I am sad this isn’t in stores it’s my fave so far! Sour and beautiful.”
Translation: Okay, Southern Brewing is not actually a brewery. It a beer and wine brewing supply store in Tampa, and it’s actually about 10 minutes from my house. Anyway, they made about four brews and brought them to the festival. The French Saison, though I took atrociously vague notes on it, was excellent. It was a wheat beer and it was perfectly sour. I loved it.
Beer 12: Cookies and Cream from Southern Brewing (Tampa, FL)
Drunken notes: ”This was run through actual cookies and cream. Okay. I take it back. The Fr Saison is not my fave THIS ONE IS! This tastes basically like fermented cookies and cream.”
Translation: Even though it sounds like I drunkenly made it up — it’s true: They had this one on tap and they were actually running the beer through crushed up oreos or something. It was ridiculous. I loved it. And it probably was actually my favorite beer that night.
Beer 13: Berry Cider from Ace (Sebastopol, CA)
Drunken notes: ”Basically it’s like Woodchuck Cider but with berries. I approve.”
Translation: Thaaat about sums it up, actually. Cider’s cool; whatevs.
Beer 14: Special Golden Ale from Holy Mackerel (Ft. Lauderdale, FL to Greenville, SC)
Drunken notes: None. I have no recollection of drinking this beer.
Translation: According to the review on Holy Mackerel’s website, this seems like a beer I’d really like. ;-)
Beer 15: Mack N Black from Holy Mackerel (Ft. Lauderdale, FL to Greenville, SC)
Drunken notes: ”I only want”
Translation: Apparently, I really enjoyed this beer.
Boom! Fifteen beers in one evening. I think I did pretty well. (Now it may be good to note that these were all four ounce samples. Otherwise my lightweight self would have been admitted to Tampa General for alcohol poisoning).