SF Beer Week 2019: Anchor Brewing Battle of the Bands

Today I had the pleasure of attending the Anchor Brewing Battle of the Bands at SoMa StrEat Food Park for the Battle of the Bands, a part of San Francisco Beer Week 2019.

Today was my first at the SoMa StrEat Food Park and I was impressed with all the food trucks and the park itself which was well-positioned for some terrible weather that mostly included cold winds and rain. There were heaters and plenty of covering from the wet weather…I have not seen this done in Florida.

Street Meet Tacos Truck at SoMa StrEat Food Park in San Francisco.
Carne Asada Super Taco from Street Meet Taco Truck in San Francisco at SoMa StrEat Food Park.

I tried the Street Meet Taco Truck which is originally from San Bruno. They were selling some a super taco with rice and beans for just $5 and I couldn’t say no to that. The carne asada was tasty and it was a great meal. I always appreciate when food trucks offer lite items that can allow you to visit other trucks and see what they have.

The Sarap Shop, Filino-American Food Truck food at SoMa StrEat Food Park in San Francisco.

My friend tried The Sarap Shop, which is a Filipino-American food truck with a number of unique offerings including vegan sisig. Their Why You Laing dish features Taro leaves with coconut milk sauce and looked really good. You can an egg to anything in true Filipino fashion.

Anchor Brewing was serving a number of their beers at the event. I had the California Lager (4.9% ABV) which certainly matched its description as crisp and clean in flavor. It was a great beer to enjoy on a cold day. Anchor Brewing is San Francisco and America’s oldest craft brewery that goes back to 1896 an was sold in 2017 to Sapporo Holdings for $85 million.

The best part of the whole event though was going over where the crowd was rocking out to a number of bands though with your beer and having an excellent time. People in San Francisco love to dance everywhere and this was no exception.

It was a good day.

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SF Beer Week 2019: The Brew Coop x Faction Brewing

Faction Brewing at The Brew Coop for SF Beer Week 2019.

It’s SF Beer Week 2019 and although I appeared to arrive too late to attend most events, there are a few that I am able to check out. Tonight – I checked out an event with The Brew Coop and Faction Brewing.

The Brew Coop opened recently off Valencia and 19th Street in the Mission District. The concept is a pour-your-own beer concept, think The Pub, but instead of having British beers it has craft beers from around California. Customers can get their own beer cards and load them with cash to use at the beer stations, pouring as much or as little as beer as they want.

Tonight was very lively at The Brew Coop with many customers coming in and out to drink and watch sports….mainly basketball on television. It certainly had that sports bar vibe with some hip-hop backdrops.

Faction Brewing held a trivia contest for some complimentary beer and the crowd was busy playing games and catching up with friends.

Winter Pilsner from Faction Brewing at The Brew Coop

I had a chance to chat for some time with the Sales & Marketing rep from Faction Brewing, Corey Hennegan. We talked about craft beer, the many differences between beer in Florida and California, and the history and mission behind Faction Brewing. I then tried Faction Brewing’s Winter Pilsner beer (7.2% ABV) which was so incredibly smooth, I was blown away by it.

I drink pilsners at most breweries, but none taste quite as good as this Winter Pilsner. Hennegan mentioned that it is one of the pride and joys of Faction Brewing. I highly recommend it and could easily drink it all day.

The Owner and Head Brewer of Faction Brewing, Rodger Davis, has been in the West Coast beer scene for at least 20 years and it shows. Brewers carry their experiences like chefs into their craft brews. I always notice subtle differences at Leaven Brewing in Riverview from KJ Lynch’s experiences at The Brew Hub and Ft. Lauderdale Brewing. It’s noticeable. Rodger Davis worked at Drake’s Brewing in San Leandro in the past as well as Triple Rock Brewery in Berkeley.

After the Winter Pilsner, I needed some food so I ordered the Carne Asada Fries at The Brew Coop. When perusing reviews online, most people seemed to mention the Carne Asada Fries and I’m previously a fan of that dish from California Tacos-To-Go, which previously hailed from San Diego before their sale.

The style of the Carne Asada fries at The Brew Coop isn’t the same as SoCal style fries. It’s still good though. Their bar food is savory, flavorful, and filling without being greasy which is great. It truly went down well with the beer. You can’t say that about most dive-bars selling food.

Triple IPA from Faction Brewing

I enjoyed a Triple IPA from Faction Brewing with my Carne Asada fries and I was impressed that despite the hops – I enjoyed every last sip. I finally found an IPA I can love…not a small feat. It went really great with the fries as well. Beer pairing is a slight hobby of mine.

Brew Coop Owner, Gore Song, told me the idea was to create food that can be enjoyed by customers with their beer without the harsh after-effects of bar food and I completely agree that this was the case. Prices will run you about $10-$20 total which is about standard for bar eats.

The menu was created by Tim Luym, a James Beard Rising Chef Nominee from Alchemy Bar. Chef Ronnie Taylor is also a part of Brew Coop, him and I are both acquainted from his work over at where I have eaten at in the past with my friend Jo from JBKollaborations.

I still have plenty of things to try on the menu, but I think repeat visits would be necessary. The Brew Coop is perfect to visit with some friends to split a few dishes and enjoy some brews, maybe watch a sports game. The noise level certainly spikes when it gets busy, but what sports bar doesn’t?

The location in the Mission District is next to many other San Francisco popular shop names like Boba Guys and Stonemill Matcha. Watching the transformation of the Mission District as former SF resident in the 90s is intriguing and also quite exciting.

I’ll be back.

Event Name: SF Beer Week: Wings x Faction Brewing

Bar Name: The Brew Coop

Neighborhood: Mission District

Address: 819 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA 94110

Website: http://www.thebrewcoop.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thebrewcoop/

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/thebrewcoop/

Cigar City Brewing at TPA in running for Best Local Dining award by USA Today

USA Today‘s 10Best Reader’s Choice Awards currently has Cigar City Brewing at TPA (Tampa International Airport) in the running for two categories: Best Airport Bar/Restaurant Atmosphere and Best Airport Bar.

Cigar City Brewing opened last year in the Airside C of Tampa International Airport and is serving and brewing local craft beer to airport visitors daily with Cuban food. Popular crafts such as Jai Alai, Invasion Pale Ale, Maduro, and Florida Cracker can be found at the airport brewery along with other selections.

Votes are accepted daily and Cigar City and TPA is looking for locals in Tampa and fans of the craft beer success story to help spread the word.

How to vote:

Best Airport Bar/Restaurant Atmosphere: http://bit.ly/cigar2019

Best Airport Bar: http://bit.ly/cigarcity2019

Cigar City Brewing was founded by Joey Redner in 2007 in Tampa and pays homage to the rich history of Tampa and Ybor City. It is one of the biggest supports of Tampa Bay’s craft beer scene that now includes over 100 breweries. Cigar City produces over 60,000 barrels of beer a year and has released over 6,000 individual brands of beer. Their annual Hunapu’s Day release party is one of the most popular and exclusive craft beer events in the country.

10 Great Local Craft Breweries in Tampa Bay

It’s American Craft Beer Week 2018. There are 6,000 breweries in the U.S.A. and 98% are small and independent craft brewers. Small and independent brewers also grew by 6% in 2016.

Tampa Bay has an awesome and growing craft beer scene with over 60 breweries. Here are 10 places that I recommend in the bay area.

Note: Just because I didn’t put a place on the list that doesn’t mean it isn’t great, I haven’t been to every brewery in town yet or tried everyone’s beer – these are some of my favorites though.

1. Arkane Aleworks: When I went to the Brewer’s Ball I fell in love with Arkane’s Gimme Swelter and Mezcal Blackbird. I finally visited the actually brewery this past week and loved almost everything I tried. The brewery isn’t too big, but can still handle some parties. Sour beer is my current favorite type and they have plenty of it. The Wry Ask Rye was excellent during my last visit. 2480 E Bay Dr #23, Largo, FL 33771. (727) 270-7117. http://www.arkanebeer.com/tap-list/

2. Coppertail Brewing Co.: Living in Brandon has always made Coppertail a convenient drive for me. The facility is beautiful and historic. True to its roots in Ybor. Coppertail always had a wide-range of beers and also great food as well from Stein & Vine. The Slam Piece Berliner Weissbier is my current favorite there but another fave is The BOMP. I love hanging out with a friend and chatting on the second floor of the brewery. 2601 E. 2nd Ave., Tampa, FL 33605. (813) 247-1500. http://coppertailbrewing.com/

3. Hidden Springs Ale Works: I randomly wandered into Hidden Springs one day during a Commune & Co. pop-up long before Tampa Heights was even a thing, but Hidden Springs has grown beautifully. I continue to be impressed with their new beers popping and especially their new cans. The bartenders are usually chill and they have their own parking lot, which is a luxury in Tampa Heights. The last great beer I had from them was their Riot Juice – a Berliner Weisse. 1631 N Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602. (813) 226-2739. http://hiddenspringsaleworks.com/

4. Crooked Thumb Brewery: If I find myself over near Safety Harbor, Crooked Thumb has a beautiful tasting room and nice outdoor space, occasionally they also have food trucks there serving food. Their Grapefruit Gose is a solid beer. Their beers can get a little darker for those who like that as well. 3821, 555 10th Ave S, Safety Harbor, FL 34695. (727) 724-5953. http://crookedthumbbrew.com/

5. Leaven Brewing: Leaven Brewing has a special place in my heart as the first brewery in Riverview. They have so much passion and potential, I truly believe they will be one of the top breweries of the future. The owners and staff have also been really great to talk to. They are still growing so the tap list is a little limited, but the Is Good Kölsch is great. Show them love if you come out to the east side of town. 11238 Boyette Rd, Riverview, FL 33569. (813) 677-7023. https://www.leavenbrewing.com/

6. 81Bay Brewing Company: 81Bay is one of the few breweries that I haven’t been to that I can confidently recommend. I constantly see them out at events and participating in the community and their beer is excellent. They can take a beer type I wouldn’t normally drink and make me a fan. Their brewers and employees are also super cool and I have enjoyed meeting them on various occasions. I do plan to eventually make it to Gandy to visit them in the not too distant future, but either way that shouldn’t stop you! Their beer list is constantly rotating so check their website for more. 4465 W Gandy Blvd #600, Tampa, FL 33611. (813) 837-2739. http://81baybrewco.com/

7. Cycle Brewing: I visited Cycle Brewing one First Friday in Downtown St. Pete for a drink and became a fan. Their beers tend to be darker, but I like the vibe there. It captures that feeling of St. Petersburg, kinda grungy – but filled with soul. I like the Hazelnut Cream + Sugar coffee porter. It’s black like my soul. 534 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. (727) 320-7954.

8. Dunedin Brewing: One wild trip around Dunedin ended at Dunedin Brewing. The brewery is quaint. The staff kinda reminded me of being at a dive bar and the beer and food were both great (pro-tip: get the cheese curds). I liked the Apricot Peach Fruit Wheat Beer the most out of my flight. 937 Douglas Ave, Dunedin, FL 34698. (727) 736-0606. http://www.dunedinbrewery.com/

9. Brew Bus Brewing: I had tried Brew Bus beers and the accompanying Florida Ave. Brewing beers for years, but hadn’t made it over to the tasting room and brewery until a few weeks ago and I have been missing out. Besides the Brew Bus which can shuttle you around the city to different breweries (a place for a place with tight parking like Tampa), Brew Bus also has an Executive Chef and quite an extensive beer menu.

I liked both the Brew Bus beers and the sours that are heavily present on the Florida Ave. Brewing list. The Cucumber Berliner Weisse is completely refreshing in this sticky Florida weather. There is plenty to see at Brew Bus and they are certainly growing in the Seminole Heights area. 4101 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33603. (813) 990-7310. https://www.brewbususa.com/

10. Cigar City Brewing: You can’t really write a craft beer list in Tampa and exclude Cigar City. The biggest player in town that helped start a movement here in Tampa. Cigar City regularly offers tours that I highly recommend and all their events that I have attended have been great experiences. My favorite beer at Cigar City is the Florida Cracker Ale and the Guava Grove (I actually love everything guava..being a Hispanic).

Cigar City has great beer and a great brand and has helped to make Tampa a great place for beer that we can all enjoy. It’s also located minutes from the Tampa International Airport, making it convenient for any traveler to stop at. 3924 W Spruce St, Tampa, FL 33607. (813) 348-6363. http://cigarcitybrewing.com

Leaven Brewing Co. opening March 30th in Riverview

Riverview’s first brewery, Leaven Brewing Co., will have its Grand Opening on Friday, March 30th, 2018. The project has been years in the making and represents the next step for the Brandon/Riverview area.

Participants can enjoy a ribbon cutting from 5PM-6PM and local food trucks from 6PM-9PM. CLE Eats, Up North Doggs, and The Revolution Ice Cream Co. will be serving up the good eats. Live music can be enjoyed starting at 7:30PM by BABYL.

The owners have vigilantly updated their Instagram and social media channels to keep the community updated as they prepared for their journey and it is finally going to pay off with the opening.

Their history with craft beer goes back to Fort Myers Brewing Co. where head brewer and owner KJ Lynch had his start. KJ was originally a photographer for a media event and then started volunteering at the brewery until he was eventually hired full-time and worked his way up to head brewer.

He then started working at Brew Hub in Lakeland where he brewed for 17 different breweries and brewed up to 98,000 barrels of beer in his final year working there before KJ and his wife Jillian decided to open their own brewery: Leaven Brewing Co. in Riverview.

The two are big craft beer supporters and were married at Coppertail Brewing Co. in Ybor City.

Riverview reminds the couple of suburban Fort Myers and helped them to decide on their location with some luck from a friend.

They plan to book live music on the weekends and have plenty of fun planned for the residents of Riverview and visitors coming in for some local craft beer.

The craft brewery will be located at 11238 Boyette Road Riverview, FL 33569 just off US 301.

Don’t miss it.

Event name: Grand Opening / Ribbon Cutting

Neighborhood: Riverview

Venue: Leaven Brewing Co.

Address: 11238 Boyette Rd., Riverview, FL 33569

Date & Time: Friday, March 30th, 2018, 5PM-10PM

Phone Number: (813) 677-7023

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/1309507465821876/

 

Brewer’s Ball 2018 Winners + Recap

The Brewer’s Ball 2018 presented by Best Florida Beer was quite the beer affair. The weather that day was perfect and there were a number of incredible entries that day at the event by breweries both near and far.

I have to say that my favorite beers that day came from Arkane Aleworks. I was a big fan of Gimme Swelter Mango Habanero Florida Weisse and Mezkin Blackbird Blackberry Sage Gose.

Here are the winners in different categories at the event:

Best Brewpub In Florida: Big Blue Brewing, Cape Coral, FL

Best Cider/Mead In Florida: Can’t You Hear The Thunder, Garagiste Meadery, Tampa, FL

Best Small Brewery In Florida: Arkane Aleworks, Largo, FL

Best Large Brewery In Florida: Infinite Ale Works, Ocala, FL

Second Runner Up Best Small Batch Beer In Florida: Yarmouth, Arkane Aleworks, Largo, FL

Runner Up Best Small Batch Beer In Florida: The Passionate Mango, Wicked Barley Brewing Company, Jacksonville, FL

Best Small Batch Beer In Florida: (Presented by Country Malt Group & Brewcraft USA) Chocolate Stout, Fort Myers Brewing Company, Fort Myers, FL

Second Runner Up Best Beer In Florida: Guayabera, Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, FL

Runner Up Best Beer In Florida: West Floridian, Infinite Ale Works, Ocala FL

Best Beer In Florida: (presented by Brewer’s Supply Group) Lightest Thing Ya Got, Big Blue Brewing, Cape Coral, FL

Full competition results page: http://bestfloridabeer.org/2018-medal-winners/

TBBW: 81Bay Brewing Co. and American Social Beer Dinner – 3/7

Join 81Bay Brewing Co. and American Social Tampa for a special craft beer dinner this Wednesday, March 7th, 2018 at 7:30PM for Tampa Bay Beer Week 2018.

Tickets cost $50 and includes 4 courses of food and 5 craft beers as well as hors d’oeuvres paired by American Social Chef Jay Jones and 81Bay Head Brewer Hayley Brown. Enjoy dining on the waterfront of Tampa Bay at this event.

Buy tickets: www.eventliveus.com/purchase/event/752422

TBBW: Sons of CANarchy Pub Crawl – 3/7

Ready to drink your way around Ybor City? Head out for the Sons of CANarchy Pub Crawl on Wednesday, March 7th, 2018 for Tampa Bay Beer Week 2018. 11 breweries, both national and local brands, will participate and serve 11 beers at 5 different bars around Ybor City. The event is FREE to attend.

The events kick off at 6PM at The Bricks of Ybor. The schedule is as follows:

6PM: The Bricks (1327 East 7th Ave., Tampa, FL 33706): Brew Hub, Sierra Nevada

7PM: Reservoir Bar (1518 East 7th Ave., Tampa, FL 33605): Bell’s Brewery, Two Henry’s Brewing Co.

8PM: The Brass Tap (1600 East 7th Ave. E-113, Tampa, FL 33605): Dogfish Head Brewery, Crooked Thumb

9PM: Boneyard (1823 East 7th Ave., Tampa, FL 33605): New Belgium Brewing, Brew Bus Brewing

10PM: The Dirty Shame (1929 East 7th Ave., Tampa, FL 33605): Terrapin Beer Co., Cigar City Brewing, Lagunitas Brewing

Tampa Bay Beer Week 2018 Guide

Tampa Bay Beer Week 2018 is going to be one for the books. There are tons of events lined up to enjoy for the celebration of Tampa’s growing craft beer scene.

Per the website “The inaugural Tampa Bay Beer Week was established in 2012, and has since hosted thousands of events ranging from large-scale festivals to beer tastings, beer dinners and more”.

“The success of TBBW has been a major factor in the continuing growth of the Tampa Bay area craft beer community. Tampa Bay Beer Week begins on the first Saturday of March and ends 8 days later. It has become the premier Beer Week destination in the Southeast”.

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This is my guide to the events going on and my recommendations:

Visit them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TampaBayBeerWeek/

Brewer’s Ball 2018 – 3/4

Craft beer fans should get excited for the 2018 Brewer’s Ball happening on Sunday, March 4th, 2018 from 12PM-5PM at Water Works Park (1710 North Highland Avenue, Tampa, FL 33602) during Tampa Bay Beer Week.

The event is presented by Best Florida Beer.

Guests can roam the park and drink and talk with the brewery owners and brewers during the event.

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The Brewer’s Ball festival is a celebration of the best beers in Florida. The top three beers in each category of beer, mead, and cider will be served up for your enjoyment. The Brewer’s Ball has been held for over 11 years celebrating the breweries, the brewers, and the beer they make right here in Florida.

This festival features over 100 of Florida’s Best Beers on tap. East Coast Catering will be on-site serving food from 12PM to 4PM.

Buy tickets: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/brewers-ball-2018-tickets-42330646102

The event is rain or shine. Lawnchairs are allowed. Service animals are permitted, but other canine friends should be left at home.

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The purpose of Best Florida Beer is to aid in the development and promotion of both home and commercial Florida brewers, their craft beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts.

BFB accomplishes this by organizing fair and credible competitions that distinguish excellence in beer with qualified judges. In addition they increase awareness of commercial breweries through consumer education, marketing, events and competitions.

BFB strives to serve as a model of cooperation in its effort to unify the Florida brewing community by establishing partnerships and cultivating resources with like organizations statewide.