Saturday, June 29, 2013

Discovering Beer in Florida, Brewer Trace Caley

We continue to explore and discover beer in Florida with Brewer Trace Caley. Trace has been with Dunedin Brewery from nearly the beginning and closely manages our beers from fermentation process to finished product. Today, he shares with us his favorite Florida beers:

I have to start with our own Dunedin Brewery American Classic IPA. This beer has a great hop profile. It's a perfect Pacific coast style IPA, which is my favorite kind of IPA, but not only that, it's my own recipe, and I'm quite proud of the direction we went with it.

Another Florida beer I like is also from right here in Dunedin, 7venth Sun's Mango F*YA. First thoughts: clean and refreshing. This IPA is a good, crisp Florida beer with lots of mango essence.

Alright, one more: Cigar City's White Oak IPA. Tropical notes and a touch of vanilla makes this a great IPA.  All great Florida beers.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

What's your craft? Jon Meyers from the Dropa Stone

With rock-solid guitar skills, Jon Meyers from the Dropa Stone is no stranger to craft. His addition to this progressive rock band, well-known for their great groove and strong performances, completes an already powerful and skillful group. So we asked him, what's important to your craft? 

I think the most important parts are honesty and communication and those things can be expressed through the music. The band's name, The Dropa Stone,
comes from an ancient Tibetan legend revolving around burial stones that are alleged to be extraterrestrial communication devices. Our music has always been our form of communication with the audience, so we felt it was a perfect fit!

One of the things we have been proud of is that it is tough to put us in a musical box because each member comes from a completely different musical background, and it’s quite wonderful how it all comes together to create a new and unique sound. Our band philosophy has always been to progress and grow musically while branching out while being on the road and connecting with as many people as we can. 

The band pride's itself on making each show different from the last and improvisation plays a big role in that. We try to always mix the set up, but even if we do play some of the same songs, the improvisational aspect makes each song different. Another unique aspect is we enjoy paying homage to our favorite bands and musicians from the past and being the catalyst to pass it on to new generations. Just at the Dunedin Brewery alone, we did Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd tribute sets last year and they were a blast! 

This Saturday, we will be dedicating the first set to mostly original material, while the second set will be an "Experience Hendrix" set, which we are doing for the first time. The crowds in Dunedin are always such a treat to play for and we are stoked for this one! 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

"I pulled the map from my back pocket. It was wet and crumpled, the lines I had traced to highlight my route now faded. I stared at my markings, hoping that they might lead me out of the Amazon, rather than deeper into it.

The letter Z was still visible in the center of the map. Yet it seemed less like a signpost than like a taunt, another testament to my folly."

-- David Grann, The Lost City of Z.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Discovering Beer in Florida, Brewer Ricky Crance

Brewer Ricky Crance has been with Dunedin Brewery for seven years and is proudly known for having created our cask and treatment program. Today, he shares with us his favorite Florida beers:

For our beers, Dunedin Brewery Pale Ale because it's really refreshing and a great session beer. Anyone can get off work and have one or two drinks.

I also love Barley Mow's Common Eileen. We don't see this style of beer on this coast often, a California Common. Not only that, but it's done well. What's great is that we are seeing Florida beers like this that are exploring past IPAs.

7venth Sun Midnight Moonlight is my final choice for great Florida beer. It's tart, light, and refreshing. It's almost a beer version of lemonade, which is uncommon and perfect for this state.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Beer in Florida: a Q & A session w/ Michael Lyn Bryant

To celebrate 17 years of Florida craft beer history, we sat down with our general and promotional manager Michael Lyn a few weeks before our anniversary party to find out, where in the hell is Florida craft beer going

Q: To start out, the Florida beer scene has become more prevalent in the past five years as Florida
has become a home for great craft beer. What do you think accounts for this change?

MLB: Team-work. Breweries in Florida have collectively worked together to build the State as a proper beer destination. Our sense of community has tied us together and made us stronger.
Also, Florida’s diversity of visitors gives us a higher standard and brewers in Florida have to strive for that standard. We have to create products that are as good, if not better, than the great breweries back home for travelers and seasonal Floridians. 

There are also more distributors entering the market, bringing in more variety from outside of the State. So, we also gain more options on how our products can be handled. Stores like World of Beer also provided a platform for those options. 

We’ve also striven to bring together that unique Florida culture ranging from Key West and Miami to Tallahassee and Micanopy. The phrase "Drink Local" captures these differences by highlighting Florida’s commitment to its diverse communities and traditions. Each of our cities has its own unique style and feel. The phrase became a standard for locals & visiting tourists alike. 

Q: What do you think of the "explosion" of Florida craft beer? 

MLB: I think it's great. The culture is full of experimentation & exploration. The customers are real adventurists, hunting and searching. The "explosion" of craft beers throughout the Country has kept fuel on the fire, not allowing the culture to get bored and stagnant. It's kept us entertained and thirsty for more.

Q: Does Tampa Bay’s knack for going against style factor into the explosive growth? 

MLB: Definitely. Many of the breweries in Tampa Bay are constantly breaking style in favor of capturing new or different flavors. This is also a reaction to the explosive growth, as the brewers have to constantly create new products to keep the drinkers entertained. This is where the exploration comes back in and the type of consumer we have in Florida loves tradition but also exploration. Don’t be afraid to take us further; to give us more, that’s what I hear constantly from all our customers, even those new to craft beer.

Q: So even with Tampa Bay’s desire for exploration, what is Florida's beer style as a distinctive state? 

MLB: Sometimes you’ll hear that it’s the "Florida Weisse", a fruited variation of the berlinerweisse. But because only a fraction of the breweries actually brew this product, I prefer a broader definition. Florida's style is defined by fruit-forward beers, usually subtropical. We've brewed with fruit since 1997 when it was almost blasphemous to add anything other than basic ingredients. Now it is normal to taste fruit flavors in beer, whether added by actual fruit or by utilizing hops to achieve the flavor. This broad style has provided the guideposts for our explorations here in Dunedin.

Q: So switching gears somewhat, the Dunedin Brewery has also brought a lot of great music to Florida recently. What makes quality beer and good music go together?

MLB: All the possibilities with beer mimics music. Two players can play the same song, but they will be distinctively unique. The same is true for brewers both brewing an IPA or a porter, for example. On top of that, the spirit of music breaks your perspective and forces you into a new one. It reminds me of how an experience can be changed through hearing different songs, kind of like a filter on life. Beer is also a filter for the drinker to experience life through. 

It’s hard to capture the feeling though. I’ve personally always been captivated by the dance of beer in a glass and how it mimics our dance to music. Both are intoxicating. Both are Dionysian. Better yet, both remind us of our individuality but also how we belong to something bigger and larger than ourselves.

Q: How do those feelings factor in to your decision to brew beer in Florida?

MLB: Without question, I want to raise the demand for creativity--with our beer, with our live music venue, but also in general. For too long, Florida has lacked much with the Arts. Beer in Florida has become a major craft and art destination for both professional brewers and the layperson, be it homebrewers or general drinkers. To not encourage these things would be a disservice to our community. So here I am.

Q: What is the most important thing the average Florida drinker should know about beer in Florida? 

MLB: As odd as it sounds, quality control. It goes without saying that Florida is sunny & warm. These are the bane of beer, damaging the flavor & aroma. Not enough people are aware that beer should be maintained at 70 degrees or below and out of direct sunlight until it hits your lips. There’s far too much beer on the shelves that’s sat around in the heat and sun out back of the store or at the point of production. We have strict standards at Dunedin Brewery--both when brewing but also regarding the deliver of our products to your favorite tap house. 

Q: Well, thank you for sitting down with us, Michael Lyn. Any final thoughts to wrap this up?

MLB: Cheers & good vibes!