I’m so excited right now. This post has been more effort than any other. But, it (IMHO) takes this blog to a new level. I happened to be touring breweries in South Central Pennsylvania with a good friend and he told me about a place called Bube’s Brewery that had catacombs and historic equipment that could be explored. I knew right away this would be the perfect place to bring the 360 camera. Once we got there, I met up with Jeff Woodman who arranged for the stunning Kate Hopkins to take me on an extensive tour of the whole place. This is no 30 second, unguided, walk through like I normally get. Kate gave this tour her all and explained out every room they have. I don’t even want to keep writing more because you need to see this video.
As a bonus, here are some 360 pictures from Bube’s.
If there is one thing that Mrs. UsedHair and I like as much as beer, it would have to be dogs. We have three of them ourselves. As they are all rescue dogs, I suppose you could call them UsedHair’s Used Dogs.
We’ve been very pleased to see a trend of having combined dog and beer festivals in our area. The first one we attended was too small to write about, had only giant corporation beer companies represented, and limited the beer samples with a punch card (which always cheeses me off). But, the second one we found was definitely worth writing about.
Pints and Paws in Sanford, FL is everything you would expect in a great local beer festival with over 60 breweries (local and national) represented.
Slowly but surely, I’m finding the opportunities to get to the legion of Central Florida breweries. After the last trip to Super South Georgia, I was fortunate enough to pass through Jacksonville, on my own, somewhere around dinner time. In Jacksonville, dinnertime means one thing more than any other… get off the roads and find somewhere to eat, because traffic isn’t letting you go anywhere anyway. So, I looked for breweries close to I-95 that might have some good food. Turns out that Bold City Brewery fit the bill on both counts. It was time for a detour!
Finding some breweries is a process that makes me happy that we have progressed to a point where we have GPS on our phones. Aside from the great big fermentation tank out back, I would never have guessed from the outside that this was anything other than an industrial building of some sort or other.
But, true to the kind of quirky neighborhoods in which breweries tend to reside, there was some interesting graffiti on the building across the street.
And, what quirky neighborhood would be complete without a completely random and inexplicable billboard on the other side of the parking lot?
To be honest, that’s a pretty good start to a brewery visit for me. Quirky and I get along quite well. Must be time to see what the inside looks like.
Pretty damn nice on the inside. The industrial vibe is completely gone… except for a giant window that looks out into the brewing area and the Bodega where I got some astounding fried nachos with pulled chicken. And, of course, my attention was immediately drawn to the bottle collection displayed in the tap room.
Bonus points if you spotted the Duff Beer. And, as if that isn’t enough, they have interesting beer-related products for sale, such as beer hand lotion. Crazy.
So, the quirky industrial exterior works and the interior vibe has it going on as well. What about the beer? I have to admit, I already knew about the beer as they have a great brown ale in distribution that I’ve had several times before.
But at the brewery you get to see a picture of the actual Duke for which the beer is named. He’s quite the cute sucker too.
So, I knew the beer was going to be great. What surprised me was that when the bartender noticed I was a first time customer, he immediately provided me with a free flight so I could get a feel for their full range of styles. That is the best business move I’ve seen from a brewery in many, many years.
You can also see in the picture a set of Jax Ale Trail booklets in which you can get stamps from many of the Jacksonville breweries. Another great business move. I think these guys are going to be around for a while. After the flight, I ordered a pumpkin ale and got a free pint glass because I kicked the keg.
This is definitely my kind of place. If it wasn’t a two hour drive, I would make this a regular stop.
But, let’s get down to the nitty gritty here. Did I get a bottle for the collection? Hell yes. They have growlers and I have a growler koozie that I keep handy for long return home drives. So the trip was a success on all fronts. Let’s check out a 360 video tour so you can see the whole shebang. I think you’ll be surprised at how big the whole place is based on the size of the taproom in the 360 picture.
This was definitely my kind of brewery. I knew I was going to be walking around downtown Savannah for a while, so I splurged and got two flights of beer (which happens to cover their entire beer list). I then discovered that I really like the design of their beer flight paddles.
And the discoveries just kept coming. I have to admit that I’ve seen it a few times since this visit, but this was the first time I’ve seen a pumpkin pie beer that is a pumpkin beer with pumpkin pie spices on the rim of the glass. Very unique and actually tastes pretty damn good that way.
OK. Adventure time is over. Let’s start drinking those samples. But wait… there’s more. A big group of people starts funneling in while I’m enjoying my beer and a nice conversation with the group next to me. I ask what’s going on and it turns out that Moon River Brewing Company is a stop on one of the haunted Savannah type tours because they are located in such a historic building. Crazy man, crazy.
But, you ask (I can hear you asking whether you think I can or not), is Moon River Brewing Company located on or near the actual Moon River or in the Moon River District? No. It’s located a block or two from the Savannah River. I guess Savannah River Brewing Company just doesn’t have the same ring to it, or allow for all of the excellent moon-based decor.
I did manage to get a growler, so the bottle collection is up by one. I got the pumpkin pie beer and was pleased to find that they gave me a to go container of the pumpkin pie spice so I can rim my own glass when I drink it. How very thoughtful of them.
And, if you look closely right behind the growler you will see that I was successful at getting them to take some of my world famous UsedHair’s Used Bottles coasters to get the word out to more people about the blog. Go me.
But, all good brewery visits must come to an end. So, let’s cap it all off with a 360 video tour of the haunted Moon River Brewing Company.
I’ve been living in Central Florida for nearly 8 years at this point. It’s a measly 2 – 2 1/2 hour drive to get to Tampa (depending on where in that area you go). And… I’ve only been to 2 breweries there so far. That is unacceptable considering there are WAY more breweries in Tampa than there are in the Orlando area. Well, Mrs. UsedHair and I decided to help out with that a bit when we figured we would go see Joan Jett, Heart, and Cheap Trick play in Tampa. We drove down early in the day, walked the river walk area for a while downtown and then hit Coppertail Brewing Co. on the way to the concert.
This is one of the newer breweries in the area (founded in 2014) and I have definitely had their beer in other bars and in distribution bottles long before I made it here. But, it fills out so much more of the story of the beers I drink if I can see the atmosphere of the place it came from. They run the gambit from tiny tiny Big Alice Brewing (coming soon to a blog post near you) to the gigantic Tröegs Brewing (guess what… you guessed it… also coming soon to a blog post near you). Well… Coppertail definitely has a feel all it’s own. Yet, about what I expected based on the look an feel of their bottle labels and beer descriptions.
There were a lot of water themed decorations strewn about.
And there was definitely some industrial-space type gear decor happening.
And, much to my liking, there were nice couches to lounge around on.
Most important for a breweriana collector, they had a big section of cool and interesting stuff for me to buy. I got some really nice socks and a keychain.
But, as usual, it all comes down to the bottles. They had a few 12 oz bottles that I had not seen in any store, so I had to get them.
See… I wasn’t lying about the socks. They’re right between the six packs and the key chain.
So, the trip was definitely worth taking. And it makes me want to get back to the Tampa area more and more and more. I hear great things about the breweries there. From what I’ve seen so far, I believe it.
Oh… wait! Confound it all, I nearly forgot the 360 video walk through. Don’t let me do that again.
Have I mentioned before that I have the best friends ever? I probably haven’t, but I do. One of my friends recently returned from a trip to Iceland and was nice enough to pick up a 3 pack of Stedji Brewery beer. He then shared these beers with me and… let me keep the bottles. How awesome is that?
As we were drinking the beer, I started checking out the back of the box where they have a list of all of the beer styles from Stedji Brewery.
I don’t speak Icelandic, so I was counting on the pictures to help me figure out what each style was. Let’s play a game and see if we can figure them out one by one based only on the pictures.
Pumpkin? Low hanging fruit, and Októberbjór seems an easy guess as October.
Cat skull flavored beer? Seriously, WTF? I looked up the meaning of the work and it translates as “smoked”. I still don’t see what a cat skull has to do with smoking.
Not even a need to guess for this. It’s a radler.
Bow flavored? Maybe a Christmas bow or something?
That’s easy… It’s Mjolnir (Thor’s Hammer) flavored beer. This beer must only allow you to drink it if it finds you worthy. And it probably tastes like thunder and lightning.
Pine tree? Must be an IPA.
Whale flavored? Oh my goodness… is that the famed dung-smoked whale testicle beer? Indeed it is! I sooooo wish that beer had been in the 3 pack. I do have an Icelandic friend (different friend than the one that brought back the 3 pack). Maybe if I bribe him enough, he’ll bring one back for me next time he goes.
looks suspiciously like a hop. Probably another IPA
looks like a cask or a barrel
Well that was certainly fun. What styles do you think they are?