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    Understanding Florida’s Brewing Licenses

    I know it might be hard for many to believe but Florida can be a strange and — often times — wacky state to follow in logic. One of these particular instances is understanding the two different types of licenses that the state offers to those wishing to brew beer commercially. “Why two?” you might ask, well these two different licenses come with different restrictions on the license holder about a number of things, including but not limited to, the amount of beer the brewer can make per year along with the way the beer is served from their premise.

    The two different license types are CMB and CMBP. Think of the CMB as a commercial/production brewery while the CMBP as a brewpub. I’ll get more into the specifics of those in just a moment.

    Why am I am I writing about these besides having some spare time on my hands? Having seen some CMBP holders having bottle releases in the past number of months got me thinking, “Do they even know that they can’t do that or are they willfully disobeying the restrictions?” Wanting to see the best in people I am hoping for the earlier of those two options and start doing some research.

    Unless you’re a lawyer, reading and understanding the restrictions of certain license types can be maddening. Legal jargon is boring and worded in such a specific way that it sometimes leaves holes in your comprehension of the statement that only leads to more questions. Luckily my experience coupled with getting some help from the wonderful Executive Director of the Florida Brewers Guild, Sean Nordquist, allowed me to put together some — hopefully — easy to understand outlines of the two different licenses and what restrictions they have.

    Are you good and confused? Great, let’s get to this. Continue reading…

    Where Have I Come and Where Am I Going?

    I remember my first craft beer like it was yesterday, Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout at Isaac Newton’s in Newtown, PA. It’s silky mouthfeel coupled with a decadent, roasty sweetness was unlike anything I’d had before. I mean Guinness was good but had nothing on this. It motivated me to find great tasting beer outside of the multi-million dollar ad campaigns during football games.

    At the time this whole term — craft beer — was new on me, I didn’t really know what it meant. Fast forward to 2017 and we still as whole don’t seem to agree on what craft, or independent, beer is. Over time I learned about what was considered craft beer by the Brewer’s Association’s continually evolving definition and all I think it has done is make things a good bit cloudier, and not in the New England IPA sort of way. How much beer do you make per year? Are you more than 24.5% owned by one of the big boys? What ingredients are you using? Before a couple years ago you weren’t craft if you used corn in your beer but cartoon clad boxes of sugar coated breakfast cereal is craft to a tee? Continue reading…

    When San Francisco Heats Up Just Drink

    When thinking about climate in San Francisco our minds are usually nowhere near as foggy as the layer of of clouds that typifies what we know of the West Bay’s peninsula city. Temperatures in the mid 50s up to the low 70s are the typical highs throughout the year. When visiting the city in late August I was filled with joy in belief that I would get to wear jeans and a hoodie with brisk, mild days. But leave it to me to get the great misfortune of strolling into town and getting to experience a couple of the hottest days on record in the City by the Bay.

    Our first couple days were absolutely on point to what we expected from San Francisco’s weather, mid to high 60s during the day and low 50s at night. But as the week went on the mercury began rising. Soon days were in the 80s and by Friday and Saturday the upper 90s — even pushing 100. These types of temperatures are not something new to me. South Florida has gotten me more than acquainted with sweaty days outside but the fact that nearly no building in the city have air conditioning made this heat spell just a tad uncomfortable.

    Carrying around bottles of water —  and constantly refilling them — was an absolute must. You would judge the best side of the road to walk down based off of shadows from the buildings. You would stop into a stuffy dive bar, that would have every fan turned up to it’s “holy shit this is hot” setting trying to make for more comfort, and order a cold drink only to be on your way after that one. You’re sweaty. You’re tired. You’re feet are burnt from an ill thought of run on the beach. This sounds like utter misery but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything in the world. Continue reading…