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MA Breweries: Rapscallion & Tree House

10 Aug

IMG_20150802_133953While I was vising family in Massachusetts, I had the opportunity to check out two local breweries. Tree House Brewing Co. in Monson is not a place you go to drink beer, but a place you go to buy beer. And the locals love it. We had to come back a few days after we tried the first time because it was a 2 hour wait. You basically go there to buy a growler and fill it, bring your growler to be filled, or buy some cans or swag. You can not drink on the premises but they do have corn hole outside for patrons while they wait 30 minutes for their growler to be filled. I think it was a little over-hyped for the few beers they actually had on tap, but they were good. I bought a few cans of their current IPA Julius and a growler of That’s What She Said Milk Stout. 

Rapscallion Brewery in Fiskdale is on a cute farm in an old barn building at Hyland Orchard and it just so happened that when we went they were IMG_1831setting up for a wedding in their event facility. It was really cool to see hops growing outside like vines since you don’t usually see that in Florida’s climate. They offer a sampler which includes four tastes for $8. Their tap list was much longer than Tree House with about 12 brews available where the latter had about 4. Everything from a honey ale to a super IPA was available. After my sampler tray I went with a pint of the Black IPA which was a interested stout/IPA blend that I really enjoyed. These scenic spots are definitely worth checking out if you’re ever in the MA area.

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3 Daughters Brewing

29 Jun

IMG_7377Last week The Nicoles went to 3 Daughters Brewing for our final Travels, Tours & Tales column while working together at the Osprey Observer. We took home a six-pack of each of their three most popular brews: Beach Blonde Ale, Bimini Twist IPA &  Rod Bender Red Ale. They are all higher in ABV with 5%, 7% and 5.9% respectively.  I think my favorite was the Beach Blonde Ale that had this really pretty yellow color to it. Although they were all different styles, they were all fairly hoppy, more so than I expected. The prices are reasonable at about $8 a six-pack and they are available at most grocery and convenient stores.

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While we were at the brewery we also got a flight for $6.50 which included four 6 oz. pours from the tap line-up. I don’t remember exactly which four I picked, I think it included El Hefe, Saison Lafayette and Belgian Dark Strong, but I remember liking them all more than the three canned styles we IMG_7419took home. I believe they have over 64 different styles of beer, not all of which are in bottles.

It was a really cute place in the art district of St. Pete with homemade pieces around the bar including a mural from local artists the Vitale Brothers. I love that the couple named the business for their three young daughters since they will be using the proceeds to put them through college. It makes me feel like i’m supporting a noble cause when I purchase their beer. They have a ton of board games, ping pong, darts and more right in the storehouse where they brew and host live music on the weekends plus food trucks. I will definitely have to make my way over there on a Friday night sIMG_7392ometime soon.

Israeli Beer: Goldstar, Maccabee & More

15 Jun

11414366_1072972539397218_1315347034_nI recently had the opportunity to go on a tour for 15 days in Israel. The tour was packed full of events but I still found a few moments to try two of the main beers they had at the hotels.

The first was called Goldstar, which is Israel’s best-selling beer. It was not bad, but not my favorite beer ever. It’s a red lager at 4.9% and straight off the tap from the bar at the Olive Tree Hotel in Jerusalem was nice after a long, hot day.

The second beer we had ordered up to the room on the last night in Jerusalem at the Leonardo Hotel was the 11324070_1072972549397217_1317242675_nMaccabee beer. This is a pale Israeli lager and is apparently dubbed as “Israeli’s official alternative beer,” whatever that means. It reminded me a lot of Heineken. It’s 7.9% abv and if I remember correctly it cost 12 or 20 shekels, which was about $5. I believe it was about the same for the Goldstar, maybe a little more because it was 24 ounces.

Then when we were at a spice shop one day I decided to buy three beers to take home and try. I think they came out to about $5 or $3 a beer. Check them out below:

Bazelet Amber Ale at 6.4% from the Golan Brewery.

Bazelet Amber Ale at 6.4% from the Golan Brewery. This really wasn’t anything special.

 

Bazelet Double Bock from the Golan Brewery. Very smooth and complex.

Bazelet Double Bock from the Golan Brewery. Very smooth and complex.

 

Bazelet OG Blonde Wheat. The sign at the store said it was seasonal. It had a great buttery smoothness, it was wonderful.

Bazelet OG Blonde Wheat. The sign at the store said it was seasonal. It had a great buttery smoothness, it was wonderful.

Recanati Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

4 Apr

IMG_5445We opened the other bottle of Israeli wine from my birthday for our Passover dinner since it is kosher wine from Galilee. This Recanati 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon was $15.99 from Total Wine at 14.5% ABV. It says on the label it’s aged in French oak barrels for five months and it adds a nice smoky flavor to this bold wine. It’s full of flavor, dry, but not with a harsh tannin after taste. The scent of blackberries and plumb add a nice touch. This is definitely one of my favorite Cabs yet. IMG_5443

Two Henrys Brewing Company

17 Jul

IMG_20140713_131458I recently purchased an Amazon Local deal for $20 that included a five beer flight at Two Henrys Brewing Company in Plant City as well as a growler (large resealable glass container) with a gallon of beer to take home. I went this last Sunday with a coworker and we had an awesome time. Two Henrys Brewing Company is owned and operated by the same owners of Keel and Curley Winery and is run on the same facility. There are two separate bars inside, one geared toward wine and one with the taps, but you can taste the beer or wine from either.

The flight consisted of five separate 5 fl oz glasses, which I believe is normally priced at $7.50. There is a fairly large menu of about seven brews and their cider to choose from, but that changes IMG_4266seasonally. My favorite was the Slow Boat to Cuba which was a stout brewed with Cafe Bustelo. My least favorite was the cider; it tasted very earthy, almost like dirt.

I ended up taking home the Saison in my growler that had notes of raspberry in it because the Slow Boat to Cuba couldn’t be bottled due to sediment, which I was very sad about. The growler, which I think was normally $17.50, is a good deal if you’re planning on taking it to a party or drinking it that day, but because it doesn’t hold carbonation it’s best to drink it as soon as possible. Obviously I had to get a Two Henrys glass for $2.50 to drink my Saison in, which was totally worth every penny.

Tours of the winery and brewery are available on the hour from 1-4 p.m. on the weekends. It’s $5 and you get a little history and science lesson. The brewery is about a year old and was named after Henry M. Flagler, who helped develop the east coast of Florida with his railroads and oil industry, and Henry B. Plant, who helped develop the west 20140713_153456coast of Florida with his railroads and hotels. Quite a few restaurants and retailers carry some of their beers (check out their website for a full listing) but our tour guide mentioned they will have a canning machine soon which will make their products much more accessible to consumers.

This brew hub is definitely an up and comer to be noted and worth the try.

 

Cooper’s Hawk Raspberry Sparkling Wine

12 May

IMG_4192Even though i’m not a mother I had the most relaxing Mother’s Day yesterday. Nothing beats laying by the pool with a book and a glass of champagne, especially if it’s raspberry flavored. My mom wanted to crack open the bottle of sparkling wine her and my dad bought from Cooper’s Hawk at their anniversary dinner a few months ago. I’ve heard great things about this winery/restaurant and have been itching to go, but this wine was the clincher. It was the best sparkling wine I have yet to taste. Not too sweet,IMG_4191 not too dry with just the right amount of tart from the raspberry flavoring. From their website it looks like a bottle is $14.99 and I would definitely pay that, if it wasn’t so far away. Once I get around to visiting this place myself I will be sure to report back on the rest of their wines.

What Your Style Of Beer Says About You

4 Apr

I saw this on Facebook the other day and thought it was worth a share.

Happy Friday, cheers!

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