Category Archives: Craft Beer Brewery

Botanicals add interesting flavors to Forbidden Root brews

sublime-gingerIn an ever-expanding craft beer field, uniqueness, and originality are highly-sought qualities. Chicago’s Forbidden Root Brewery certainly qualifies on all counts. Billed as Chicago’s first botanical brewery, Forbidden Root grew from an idea founder Robert Finkel had to create a true-brewed root beer to encompass the broader idea of botanic beers.

Throughout history, beer has been a beverage that was brewed with ingredients indigenous to the locale where it is brewed. Forbidden Root takes this idea of foraging for ingredients and brings it back to the brewing industry. The brewery utilizes such ingredients as bark, stems, flowers, herbs, spices, leaves, roots, and other foraged flavors as a regular part of their brewing process.

The guiding principle at Forbidden Root is to provide a new craft beer experience to beer lovers. Their beers are built around a concept or an idea that is vetted and built upon until a unique flavor profile is developed. Brewers then assemble the required botanicals – using fresh, local ingredients whenever possible – and go to work brewing a complex, layered beer that provides an authentically new experience with roots firmly in historic recipes.

The brewer’s current line-up includes three beers all brewed to refresh as well as challenge the drinker.

Sublime Ginger is, as the name implies, a ginger-infused wheat beer with an added kick of Key Lime juice to add a bit of tartness. Reviewers at give the brew a favorable rating with most noting that the hazy wheat brew is refreshing and pleasantly unique.

Money on My Rind takes advantage of the popular flavor combination of juniper berry and grapefruit. In addition, this brew is given a spicy constitution through the addition of grains of paradise. Created as a witbier, this refresher is well-reviewed on and is a welcome addition for session drinking.

Wildflower Pale Ale or WPA, infuses the herbal qualities of elderflower, marigold, and sweet osmanthus flowers in to the citrusy character of hops. Users of the popular beer-rating app Untappd give this brew a solid rating and speak highly of the beer’s funky nature.

You can taste eachof Forbidden Root’s brews Thursday, January 12, 2017 at Coastal Wine Market & Tasting Room, 641 Crosswater Parkway Suite B, Ponte Vedra from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.



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Posted by on January 9, 2017 in Beer, Beer Releases, Craft Beer Brewery


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Bog Brewing to open in St. Augustine March 4


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Later today St. Augustine, will welcome a new brewery to its mix of eclectic restaurants and watering holes. Bog Brewing will open at 218 West King Street across the street from St. Augustine Beer Brewing Solutions and just up the street from San Sebastian Winery.

Occupying a 1,600-square-foot space, the brewery and tap room aims to be a neighborhood hangout, but also to grab some of the burgeoning tourism traffic from the Historic District. Situated just a few blocks from the hustle and bustle of St. Augustine’s tourist hot spots should work in the budding brewery’s favor.

Steven Mendoza, John France and Jeffrey Hayes began renovating the space a year ago. Gone are the tacky linoleum and carpeted floors, stucco walls and outdated furniture. In are sleek polished concrete floors, exposed brick walls and a bar and furniture made from reclaimed Okeechobee wood. The center pieces of the room are the two copper brewing vessels and fermentation tanks. The changes make the room inviting with a rustic feel.

The brewery will operate on a new philosophy in the brewing world – rotating taps rather than a few core beers with specialty beers filling out the tap selection.  Operating in this way makes it more likely that guests will be presented with new beers on each visit and encourage them to try different flavors and styles. To begin with the brewery will serve a Wheat Pale Ale, an IPA (single Pacific Jade Hop), a Cream Ale and a Smoked Chipotle Porter.

Doors open at Bog Brewing tonight at 12:00 p.m. and close at midnight. Normal business hours will be 4:00 p.m. to midnight Wednesday and Thursday, and 12 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday.


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Posted by on March 4, 2016 in Beer, Craft Beer Brewery


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Coastal Empire Beer Co. to invade Florida

Coastal_Empire_Beer_Co._logoLook for a new brewery out of Savannah, Ga. to be gracing the shelves of your local beer store soon. Coastal Empire Beer Company has partnered with Cavalier Distributing in Lakeland, Florida to open distribution for the state of Florida. The brewery began as a contract brewer, but quickly began brewing their own beers and winning medals for them.

“We have a great relationship with our distributor in Georgia with Savannah Distributing,” said co-founder Chris Haborak. “And the team at Cavalier Distributing is top notch as well. We are very excited to have partnered up with them for state wide distribution in Florida.”

Coastal Empire’s core lineup includes Southern Delight Praline Amber, Inshore Slam IPA, Tybee Island Blonde(Kolsch) and, Savannah Brown Ale.  Other releases will include Dawn Patrol Imperial Molé Stout (2014 GABF Bronze Medal winner Herb&Spiced Beer category), Barrel Aged Savannah Brown, Red Wine Barrel Midnight in the Garden ICS, and finally Coco-Piña Gose brewed with Pineapple, Coconut and Pink Himalayan Salt.

A Jacksonville launch event is planned for some time in the next few weeks. Follow me on Facebook ( or Twitter ( for more details.

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Posted by on February 2, 2016 in Beer, Craft Beer Brewery


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Engine 15 applies for Myrtle Street rezoning

E15bBeaches brewery Engine 15 opened their Myrtle Street production brewery about a year and a half ago. The idea all along has been to have a taproom and beer garden at the new brewery, but zoning laws have restricted the brewery from realizing that dream. That may changing soon as E15 applied for rezoning that will allow them to build and open a taproom to compliment the already finished outdoor beer garden.

In a recent conversation at the Myrtle Street property, owners Luch Scremin and Sean Bielman agreed that the process has been a long and sometimes frustrating one. The current zoning or the property — light industrial — prohibits the sale of product directly from the manufacturing facility. The rezoning request will alleviate that problem and make way for the planned taproom to open.

E15aIn addition to the taproom, the brewery owns an early 1900’s factory building that was once used to manufacture glass. The building is an industrial beauty with a wall of opaque blue windows along the back and airy rafters with glass windows above. When the rezoning is complete, the brewery plans to use the space for special events and rental.

Other recent news from E15 comes in the form of an announcement that the brewery is planning on expanding into making both hard ciders and meads.

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Posted by on January 14, 2016 in Craft Beer Brewery


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Brew Hub plans expansion, adds new breweries to portfolio

brewhubBrew Hub, the company that could be called a grand experiment in craft brewing is proving that the experiment is an unqualified success as it announces expansion plans and the acquisition of two more clients. The company grew from an idea conceived of by former Anhueser-Busch executive Tim Schoen and opened for business just over a year ago. It billed itself as “Where Craft Brewers Go to Grow.” And, with the growth of its own portfolio along with those of its clients, Brew Hub has certainly made good on its promise. With the addition of new partnerships with JDub’s Brewing Company of Sarasota, Fla., and M.I.A. Brewing Company of Miami, Fla., Brew Hub adds to a client list that includes Tampa’s Cigar City and Brew Bus brewing companies as well as Green Man Brewing out of Asheville, NC. And several others.

Brew Hub’s 64,000 square-foot Lakeland brewery opened September 2014. The brewery had an initial brewing capacity of 60,000 barrels, or nearly 1 million cases, annually. The expansion will increase the brewery’s capacity to 100,000 barrels, or 1.4 million cases, annually. In addition to its home brands, Brew Hub brews beer for partners Cigar City, BJ’s Restaurants, Toppling Goliath, Green Man, Orange Blossom, GolfBeer and Brew Bus.

“We designed the brewery with expansion in mind. We hoped this day would come – it just arrived sooner than we could have ever imagined,” said Tim Schoen, CEO of Brew Hub. “The expansion proves the model we built to help craft brewers grow is working. We’re excited to continue helping our partners grow as we expand, and we welcome the opportunity to add quality brewers like JDub’s and M.I.A. to our team.”

During its first 12 months of operation, Brew Hub expanded its bottling line and installed a new, state-of-the-art canning line to handle increased demand. In January, the company will install new bright beer tanks, increasing packaging capacity by 64 percent. In February, the company will add eight new fermentation tanks, increasing fermentation and conditioning capacity by 60 percent.

At the one year anniversary festival in September I was fortunate enough to get a guided tour. The brewery is a testament to modern brewing science and is immaculately clean. A massive brewhouse dominates one side of the cavernous room while fermenters line the other. As we walked, Brew Hub’s chief of brewing operations, Jim “Otto” Ottolini, hinted at the idea of expansion, but never fully revealed the plan.

“With these additions,” Ottolini said in a press release about the expansion. “Brew Hub can brew and package an additional 40,000 barrels of beer in 2016.”

Brew Hub provides full brewing, packaging, distribution and selling services for craft brands that are constrained by capacity, geography or capital. Due to high demand, Brew Hub’s brewing capacity has been sold out since July 2015. The expansion allows for an increase in production for all existing partners and the opportunity to add new partner brewers. The expansion also is needed to meet projected growth for 2016.

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Posted by on December 17, 2015 in Craft Beer Brewery


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