It's been a while since we talked about all the great beer coming into town, so let's chat!

Brand new to North Florida is Winter Park's Red Cypress Brewery. Started in 2016 by Central Florida natives (and UCF alumni), they are trying to bring the West Coast Beer culture to Central Florida. There have been kickoff events all over town to welcome Red Cypress and more this coming this weekend.

Central Florida's Red Cypress Brewery has arrived in Jacksonville, bars and stores. PHOTO: Stephanie Danley

Red Cypress uses locally sourced ingredients in their beer and names them specific to Florida. I'm fond of their names, Devil's Chair, Death Roll, Spook Hill, I mean Spook Hill! Awesome!

Also Awesome is the beer. We hit the first tasting event at Engine 15 this week and tried 5 Red Cypress Beers. As you many know I am not a huge fan of IPA's but lately have been trying everyone I come across so I can learn more about them. Red Cypress offered 2 at the Engine 15 tasting event. I was pleasantly surprised by my reaction to them. I liked 'em!

Devil's Chair with an appropriate ABV of 6.66 percent (according to Untappd), is a classic West Coast style IPA. Big fruity hops with a bitter finish, light enough to be great during the summertime. Carl, a NE style IPA is maltier and like all NE styles, cloudy. I think Orange Juice when I see one! I liked the balance of the hops (Mosaic, Galaxy and Azacca for those of you with hop knowledge) and malt (wheat, oat and pilsner) in this beer. I liked it nearly as much as I like Southern Swells Karate in the Garage (nothing tops SS Truth Juice, but I'll get to that in a bit).

Death Roll Stout ABV 6 percent is a fantastic milk stout. Engine 15 had this on Nitro and I think it elevated it! It was creamy and smooth with sweet dark chocolate notes. The ABV is lower on this than a lot of milk stouts I've had, which really shows me Red Cypress understands Florida and our temperatures!

Deep Roots, ABV 4.5 percent is a smooth Red Ale. It surprised me with the hops upfront, malts on the finish. A smooth sessionable red, perfect for the summer.

Stoned Fruit is a specialty beer, ABV 6.6 percent. It is an oak aged Belgian pale ale, brewed with apricots. Honestly this was my favorite of the bunch. I got a Juicy Fruit gum flavor, a bit tart (probably the apricots) and smooth finish. I hope this is a beer they continue to brew, I'd drink a lot of it!

Clown Shoes Brewing (Ipswich MA) is also brand new to Jacksonville. Well more new to statewide distribution. Previously you could only get it at Total Wine in a direct from Brewery deal. Now it has statewide distribution, so you'll see it outside Total Wine. Beer:30-San Marco has a large selection of their bottles already on the shelf. They had a couple on tap as well this week.

Enjoying a flight of Southern Swells core beers  PHOTO: Stephanie Danley

Southern Swells in Jacksonville Beach is becoming one of my favorite places in town. I love the tap room, the people and more importantly the beer. I recently tried Karate in the Garage ABV 6.3 percent NE style IPA. Yes, I know I am late to the game, but they ran out before I got some. I'm told this is the most popular beer, they are brewing this weekly! I get it. I really like this beer.

It is juicy and fruity, looks like orange juice, hoppy but not overly bitter. This tells me what to look for when I seek IPA's, I prefer the NE style. Since I like that, it was recommended that I try Truth Juice ABV 8 percent, the Imperial version of Karate. I like this one equally as much! Its a bit bigger and truly tasty. Most of my Untappd friends love this beer. Me included.

Before last week's Mead Beer School at Alewife, I had a great summer beer from Golden Road Brewing called Tart Mango Cart ABV 3.2 percent. I wanted something low and a bit fruity since I'd be drinking Mead later. It was a great beer! Tart with that muskiness of Mango. It really is a great poolside beer for the summer.

We've been sampling beer all over town, flight sipping at Really Good Beer Stop for some new brews. PHOTO: Stephanie Danley

Elysian Brewing's Split Shot ABV 5.6 percent is a great milk stout. It is more chocolate than coffee, smooth and creamy. Sessionable and if you like dark beers, good for the summer time!

At Brewz, I tried Anderson Valley's Barrel Aged G&T Gose ABV 8 percent. This was a special keg of the standard G&T (Gin and tonic) that had been aged in barrels they used to make their bourbon barrel stout. The basic Gose was good, I had never tried a bourbon barrel aged Gose before, Green Room has a special Tequila barrel aged Lime Gose that is ultimately my favorite of all time, they might even have it for their anniversary party this weekend. The bourbon flavor was just a hint, since the barrel had held stout since it held bourbon. It was a woody notes that highlighted the juniper spice notes. Very tasty. If you can find it barrel aged, grab one. the regular is a solid salty gose.

Another tasty Summer beer is Left Hand Brewing Travelin' Light ABV 4.8 percent. Best description is Light and crisp. This is a German Kolsch style beer. I found is lighter than other Kolsch styles I have had, but this makes it a great BBQ poolside beer.

We have some interesting events coming up next week, I'll highlight a couple.

  • Wednesday June 21 (or as I call it, the Hubby's birthday) One of three kegs sent to Florida of Forbidden Root Brewing's Fernetic is tapped at The Ice Plant in St Augustine. This is a collaboration between Forbidden Root and Fernet-Blanca, which makes a popular Italian digestif. The flavor profile is coffee and peppermint, coming from a variety of spices that are in Fernet. At 3 p.m. the bartenders at the Ice Plant will have a cocktail competition. At 5 p.m. the keg of Fernetic will be tapped. The first 100 purchases will receive a free souvenir snifter.
  • Thursday June 22 is the Engine 15 Chupacabra Vertical tasting event. There are still a very few tickets left for this event. Email David to see if there are spots available. I've been to these in the past (and will again this year) and it is a must on my yearly beer to do list. Chupacabra is E15's Russian imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels. Luch and Sean have been squirreling away this yearly anniversary beer to do this comparison. Years 2013 through 2017 will be sampled. Light appetizers, a reception beer and commemorative glass as well as generous samples of each year are included. The cost is $40.
  • Thursday June 29 Engine 15 will be tapping a keg of the 2016 Chupacabra at 4 p.m. if you can't make the Vertical and Saturday July 1 at 11 a.m. is the 2017 Bottle release and anniversary party for Engine 15.

Have you been to our Facebook page yet? I post events and beer announcements there daily. Feel free to post what you like or have tried lately!

Cheers y'all!