This has been a difficult week emotionally. Last Saturday night, I was out at Royal Palm Wine and Tapas (which has a great craft beer selection by the way). I was socializing with co-workers from a TV station I left close to 30 years ago, yet have stayed friends. A TV version of a class reunion.

Saturday night, I was out socializing with my friends.  PHOTO:  Stephanie Danley
Saturday night, I was out socializing with my friends.  PHOTO:  Stephanie Danley

I was a news employee at that station, so I was hanging with my news friends. Some are still in the business, others have moved on to other careers. But in our core, we are still newscasters.

We live life loudly and fully. Celebrate the small things, like friendship. Probably because we've seen too much of the bad. We've covered too much of the bad. So there was a lot of laughing, hugging, joking and a photo bombing session of epic proportions.

I suspect the same must have also been going on in Orlando at the Pulse Nightclub. Before 2 AM.

I woke up late Sunday morning, armed with a cup of coffee, I hit the internet to see photos posted from our reunion. My joy turned to horror as I watched the news stories scroll by on my news feeds. I feared for friends that might have been there. I cried for those I didn't know. It made me looking for party pictures seem so trivial.

One of my reunion friends works in TV in Orlando now, so I reached out to her. The Pulse club is about 2 miles from her house. Her phone had died and she had numerous queries if she was safe. She was at work within 3 hours. A sobering finish to a fun weekend.

The City of Orlando officially created this fund to support the needs of the community and the families affected by the Pulse Nightclub shooting.  PHOTO:  OneOrlando Fund
The City of Orlando officially created this fund to support the needs of the community and the families affected by the Pulse Nightclub shooting.  PHOTO:  OneOrlando Fund

As the week passed, many Florida craft breweries have been doing fundraisers for OneOrlando.

Cigar City Brewing in Tampa is releasing "Let's Get Beers Together" Session IPA through out Orlando, with 100% of the proceeds going to OneOrlando. They are also donating $1 per beer sold in their Tampa taproom this weekend. If you are in Orlando starting next week, look for the IPA here. If you are in Tampa, there are 3 Cigar City locations. The brewery and 2 brew pubs.

If you are staying home this weekend, head out to Intuition Ale Works . They are donating $1 for every beer sold this week in the tap room to OneOrlando.

In other beer news:

Green Room Brewing in Jacksonville Beach is celebrating their 5th anniversary this Saturday, June 18. They are releasing their anniversary beer, "Secret Spot", an Imperial Stout aged in Dominican Rum barrels.

Green Room Brewing, 228 3rd Street North, Jacksonville Beach is releasing 2 special brews for their 5th Anniversary June 18th.  PHOTO:  Green Room Brewing Facebook
Green Room Brewing, 228 3rd Street North, Jacksonville Beach is releasing 2 special brews for their 5th Anniversary June 18th.  PHOTO:  Green Room Brewing Facebook

They are also celebrating their 1000th brew with "1000 Beer Storm", a triple IPA aged with local Galliberry honey and Citra hops.

There will be music from Firewater Tent Revival, a food truck and a variety of specialty brews. Look here for specifics.

Jacksonville's newest brewpub has announced a grand opening date of July 16.  The brewery is located at 4100 Baymeadows Road near San Jose, on the banks of Goodsby creek.  PHOTO:  Wicked Barley Facebook page
Jacksonville's newest brewpub has announced a grand opening date of July 16.  The brewery is located at 4100 Baymeadows Road near San Jose, on the banks of Goodsby creek.  PHOTO:  Wicked Barley Facebook page

Wicked Barley Brewing, Jacksonville's newest craft brew pub, has announced their Grand Opening will be Saturday July 16th at 11am.

They will open their facility at 4100 Baymeadows Road (at Goodsby Creek) sans their brews, as they await their final brewery license. But promise to have 20 local and regional brews on tap, as well as their food menu available. You can boat right up to their dock and check out the bier garden.

What to taste this week:

  • Brooklyn Summer Ale 5% ABV This is a light, low hops beer perfect for poolside or post yard work. So good my husband Ed had 4! Slight floral notes and good bready, yeasty punch. Found at Royal Palms Wine and Tapas
  • Victory Kirsch Gose 4.7% ABV PINK! This slightly salty, sour and sweet brew is made with fresh cherries. Ed dislikes Sour beers, but liked this one. The cherries are forward on this. Found at Engine 15 Brewing.
  • Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron 12% ABV An unfiltered, barrel aged brown that packs a wallop! Strong roasted malts with caramel and vanilla notes. Aged in South American Palo Santo wood barrels. Found at Engine 15 Brewing.

Finally, if you have an event or want to contact me, email me. Don't forget to tag your brews or events on Facebook and Twitter with #FirstCoastBrews.

Cheers!