The Jupiter Craft Brewers Festival
is less than a week away, and with it comes over a hundred amazing craft beers from Florida as well as nationwide. With that many brews on tap, making your way from booth to booth sampling will be something like a scavenger hunt. To cross everything off your list will take patience, a rock-solid gut, and plenty of planning.
Luckily, Charlie's got the inside scoop on some of the best beers the festival has to offer. We spoke with JCBF organizer and head brewmaster at Brewzzi restaurants, Fran Andrewlevich, and he pointed us in the direction of these ten must-try beers at the festival. So grab your sampling cups and get ready to drink.
10. Sublimely Self Righteous Ale - Stone Brewing Co.
Stone, out of Escondido, California, is well-known for producing big beers with a ton of hop and malt character. This batch is fresh off the pipeline in Escondido and promises to be full of smoky, roasted chocolate notes reminiscent of a black ale, with plenty of piney, bitter hops backing it up.
9. Coffee Porter - Liberty Steakhouse
This South Carolina brewpub has a South Florida lineage: The head brewmaster got his start at Brewzzi in Boca Raton. In this coffee porter, Liberty uses the same artisan-roasted coffee from Jupiter that made last year's coffee porter from Brewzzi such a hit.
8. Arsenal English IPA - Tequesta Brewing Co.
Newcomer Tequesta Brewing Co. recently debuted a brand-spanking-new tap house next door to its precursor, the amazingly delicious Corner Cafe in Tequesta
. For the fest, owner/brewmaster Matt Webster is debuting an authentic English IPA made with whole-leaf Challenger and East Kent Golding hops for a taste that's straight out of a London pub. Also check out TBC's Chancellor, a golden Kolsch beer that's light on body but features a pilsner-like dose of dry hops.
7. Helios - Victory Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania's Victory is known for the dry, peppery hop quality its beers sport thanks to the whole hops it uses. Helios is no different -- it pairs that spicy profile with a farmhouse ale backbone that's citrusy and malty.
6. Jah*Va - Southern Tier
New York State's Southern Tier is bringing one helluva big imperial coffee stout to the fest in Jah*Va. This 10.6 percent alcohol bad boy is made with deep chocolate malt and roasted black malt for a sweet, dark, complex flavor.
Brewzzi does it big each year for the festival, and this year is no different. Key among its special additions is a beer known as a the SIPA, a hoppy IPA made with spelt. Spelt is a wheat-like grain that sports a dry and spicy character similar to rye. Expect a strong IPA with the aromas of Citra and Colombus hops. (Also on tap: a chocolate-brown farmhouse ale made with Brettanomyces, a yeast strain known for its tangy Belgian characteristics.)
4. Imperial Stout - Big Bear Brewing Co.
This stout from Coral Springs' Big Bear is big, black, and proud, with deep roasty notes and a creamy, chocolaty finish. It's been aging happily for a few months now and is really hitting its peak just in time for the fest. Also from Big Bear -- Decade, a wood-aged double IPA that clocks in around 10 percent and is surprisingly smooth and drinkable.
3. Brother's Reserve Brrrbon - Widmer
This winter seasonal ale is a malty, caramel ale aged for four months in Kentucky bourbon barrels. With dark malt, vanilla, and plenty of hop complexity, Brrrbon is as compelling a winter beer as you'll find. (This beer may only be available at the Field of Beers portion of the festival on Friday night.)
2. Maple Bacon Coffee Porter/Ginger Lemongrass Wheat Beer - Funky Buddha
Funky Buddha will have two of their favorites on tap (Hop Gun, an IPA, and the Floridian, a vanilla-orange wheat that tastes just like a creamsicle). But they'll also be tapping a specialty keg every hour at the fest starting at 1 p.m. First up is their much buzzed about
Maple Bacon Coffee Porter, a convergence of breakfast and craft wackyness. Also expect a ginger lemongrass wheat beer called "So Thank You Music" -- a tribute to South Florida's favorite ginger, Jeff Lloyd of the Heavy Pets.
1. White Oak Jai Alai IPA - Cigar City Brewing Co.
Like Cigar City's award-winning Humidor, this beer takes the company's trademark Jai Alai IPA and ages it on wood. The white oak used here imparts vanilla and creamy aromas on to the already honeyed, hop-forward brew.
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