WHEW!  I don't know about you, but I have had some really awesome beers in the past couple of weeks!  The next few weeks look like there will be even more to try!

Southern Swells will be serving up their own beers starting Saturday April 8.  I missed the preview events for them, work...the thing I do to buy more beer!  So this weekend, I am excited to be seeing what the buzz is all about.  Congratulations to everyone at Southern Swells for the big weekend!

Atlantic Beach Brewing is rocking along on their construction.  If you don't get by there, the signs are out in the shopping center off Atlantic Boulevard at Royal Palm Drive.  But before we hit Atlantic Beach's opening, we have Hyperion Brewing's grand opening May 19.  

Hyperion will be Jacksonville's first "Nano-Brewery".  So what does that mean?  First they are operating on a smaller system than say Intuition, which distributes beer statewide.  Second they will offer a variety of rotating brews, instead of a core selection.

Alexandra McKeown, owner of Hyperion says, "Our goal is to let the public decide what our core beers should be.  We will use our POS system data and feedback from guests in the taproom to determine which beers to distribute in the future."

On Friday May 19, the Springfield brewery will have a ribbon cutting ceremony at 4:30 pm.  Doors officially open at 5 p.m.  The first fifty in will receive a free branded flight glass and a ticket for a free beer after May 19. Eddis and Sons Food Truck will be on site serving up Philly style cheese steaks.  The Historic Springfield Tour of Homes is that weekend and Hyperion will be open during this time.

Expect 15 taps, however there is a limited amount of any one beer.  They are offering a Crowler system for take out brewswith an opening weekend limit of two Crowlers per person.  If you live Beachside, The Jax Beer Bus is running a shuttle from Green Room Brewing to Hyperion, leaving at 4:30, 6:15 and 7:30 pm.  Tickets are $15 and include a future free beer from Hyperion.  So make sure you save that date!

So onto my beer notes for the past couple of weeks!

  • 81Bay Ramble On Raspberry ABV 5.5%.  81Bay is a new to us Brewery out of Tampa.  I'm told they are South Tampa's only brewery.  This Raspberry Belgian was tart, with a strong raspberry nose.  It was not sweet and would be perfect on a hot day.
  • Maui Brewing La Perouse White ABV 5.2%  This is a Belgian style with some citrus notes.  It is unfiltered and I was tasting yeasty notes like a Hefe, Ed thought it was more lemon citrus. Regardless, it was a great beer.  It is a limited release, we had it at Really Good Beer Stop recently.
  • Evil Twin Even More Jesus ABV 12%.  It is a big honking Imperial Stout!  Big coffee, dried fruits and a touch of chocolate.  You can taste the booziness (is that word?) of this brew.  I'd drink this when I am looking for a one beer night.  Any more than that and I'd need to be carried home!
  • Darwin Brewing Big Deal ABV 10.3%.  This is a beer that you can only get at Lucky's Market (Atlantic Boulevard just west of A1A/3rd Street).  Its like eating dark chocolate covered tart cherries.  I bought two bombers at Lucky's after a free tasting at the store.  Its really rich.
  • Ballast Point Red Velvet ABV 5.5%  First don't wrinkle your nose, there are beets in this brew.   It is an oatmeal stout, but the beer is not dark, it is bright pink with a creamy white head.  On the nose, it is pure Red Velvet cake.  There are chocolate notes but don't expect a sugary sweet beer, it is not.
  • Avery Liliko'i Kepolo ABV 5.4%  I'm glad I was at Brewz and could order by number. This one is a tongue twister for me!  However this Belgian Witbier is a tongue pleaser!  It is brewed with passionfruit and is unfiltered.  It was like Juicy Fruit gum!  Tart, not overly sweet.  A nice sessionable beer for the warmer months ahead.
Moving into Spring and Summer, unfiltered Witbiers make a great addition to your beer drinking.  Beers like Avery's Liliko'i Kepolo.  PHOTO:  Stephanie Danley
  • Perrin Collaboration Triangulation ABV 9%.  This brew is from Perrin Brewing, with assist from Cigar City and Oskar Blues.  The label even shows the 3 breweries forming a triangle over the map.  Its an Imperial Oatmeal Stout that is available in a 4 pack (cans).  It is light for the ABV, chocolate notes but not heavy.  Its a good winter/spring transition beer!  LOL!
  • Wicked Barley Ocean County Lager ABV 6.4%.  We hit the RGBS Jax Beach party for Wicked Barley.  This beer is the gold medal winner at Best Florida Beer competition last month.  It has been renamed from Dortmunder Export, in honor of the Ocean County Purveyors, a group of local business owners who raise money for charitable organizations by having Parties for a Purpose.  This is an awesome lager.  Full of flavor and quite suited for hot summer nights.
  • Wicked Barley Token Black Rye ABV 7.9%  I am slowly coming around to the Cascadian Dark Ales.  This reminds me of unsweetened black licorice or Sambucca liqueur.  There is a piney, resinous quality to this beer.  Enough hops to satisfy the IPA drinker.
Wicked Barley's beers, like the Ocean County Lager are popping up at your favorite tap room  PHOTO:  Stephanie Danley
  • Sixpoint Orange Alligator ABV ?? but low.  Awesome Berliner Weiss, it is a little cloudy.  Tart with orange essence.  Not sweet at all.  Another great beer for the summer.
  • Sonoma The Anvil Bourbon Cider ABV 6%.  This addition of Bourbon Barrel aging and flavoring tempers the normally sweet ciders!  The smooth undercurrent of Bourbon and oak really meld into the apple flavor.  You could probably make a cocktail with this and additional bourbon, a Cider Mule perhaps?

In case your don't know, First Coast Brews has a Facebook page.  I post events from around the area, places we are sampling beer, videos and other notes.  Like our page and join the conversation.  What are you drinking?  Have a favorite spot?  Let us know what you'd like us to profile!  You can email me if you have an event you'd like to share or a special brew to talk about.

Cheers y'all!

Summer time is good for lighter beer options.  PHOTO:  Stephanie Danley