Beer # 93 Victory Wild Devil

Victory Wild Devil Ale

Name: Wild Devil Ale

Style: Belgian IPA

Brewery: Victory Brewing Company website

Country: USA

Region: Downingtown, Pennsylvania

ABV: 6.7% Abv

How served: 750ml caged and corked bottle poured into an Oerbier glass.        

My Overall Opinion: Very Good.

I paired this beer with: Publix lemon pepper rotisserie chicken (chicken in a bag).

Tasted on: Wednesday March 31th, 2010. 

Note: This beer was bottled on Jun 11 2009. This is a great twist on HopDevil, and reminded me a little of Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel, but with a bit more “funk”.  Victory hit a home run on this Belgian style ale. 

On the Label:  It’s arguable that our menacingly delicious HopDevil has always been ‘wild’.  Though the India Pale Ale style that he represents was born in Great Britain, we approached the style with German malts and whole flower American hops, making a unique ale of him, indeed.  But what has made him truly wild is a change of yeast.  Brettanomyces yeast has given many a Belgian ale its soulful character of sharp tang and deep funk.  Fermented completely with brettanomyces, WildDevil features the greatest flavors of Europe and America combined.  Floral, aromatic hops still leap from this amber ale, but a whole host of new flavors are intertwined with the citrus and pine flavors of these hops, making WildDevil a sensation that is wild, worldly and wonderful!

From their website:

ABOUT: Bold, spicy, menacingly delicious HopDevil takes on an entirely new dimension when subjected to a ‘wild’ yeast fermentation. A sharp, tart edge has been added by this fermentation that plays into the caramel sweet malt deliciously and creates complex interplay with the citrus accented hops.

Malts:Imported, 2 row German malts
Hops:Whole flower American hops
Yeast: 100% laboratory grown Brettanomyces
Alcohol by Vol: 6.8%

750 ml bottle conditioned bottles year round; limited draft times

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Beer #92 Southampton Biere De Mars

Southampton Biere De Mars

Name: Biere De Mars

Style: Bière de Garde

Brewery: Southampton Publick House website

Country: USA

Region: Southampton, New York

ABV: 6.5% Abv

How served: 12oz bottle poured into a Duvel glass.        

My Overall Opinion: Good.

I paired this beer with: Grilled turkey burgers topped with grilled portabella mushrooms.

Tasted on: Tuesday March 30th, 2010. 

Note: This is a very drinkable beer.  I didn’t find much wrong with it, but nothing stood out to make me give it more than a good rating, as I have had many Bière de Garde’s which I’ve liked better.   I believe this beer would be a great cross over beer for craft beer novices or for you to offer to someone that you would like to introduce to the craft beer scene.   

On the Label:  Biere de Mars (French for “March beer”) is a special style of beer created at farmhouse breweries in northern France.  Brewed in winter with a fresh crop of malt and hops.  It was always the brewer’s favorite.  True to tradition, Southampton Biere de Mars is an artfully crafted amber ale with subtle complexity and a crisp finish..

From their website: Southampton’s Biere de Mars is brewmaster Phil Markowski’s classic interpretation of an authentic French farmhouse-style Biere de Mars. Our version is brewed with a blend of wheat and barley malts and a generous amount of continental hops. It is cool fermented and aged to give it a clean, smooth, lager-like character.

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Beer #91 Lost Abbey Red Poppy Ale

Lost Abbey Red Poppy Ale

Name: Red Poppy Ale

Style: Flanders Oud Bruin

Brewery: Port Brewing Company. website

Country: USA

Region: San Marcos, California

ABV: 5.0% Abv

How served: 375ml caged and corked bottle poured into a La Chouffe glass.        

My Overall Opinion: Amazing.

I paired this beer with: nothing.

Tasted on: Monday March 29th, 2010. 

Note: Well a Flanders Oud Briun is one of my favorite styles and Red Poppy Ale did not disappoint me!  This beer is tart, but not over the top tart. You get a sour cherry flavor without the cherries being in your face.  A very refreshing beer.   I will age my other bottles as I am sure this will age very very well.   This was a 2010 vintage & this  bottle states a 5.0%abv while the website states a 5.5%abv.

On the Label:  Malt Beverage Brewed with Cherries Aged in Oak Barrels.

From their website: Perhaps no country embraces the use of fruit in beers more so than Belgium. Numerous traditional as well as regional specialty ales are infused with every sort of fruit imaginable. In this way, the flavor of the fruit becomes especially prominent.

Red Poppy Ale is a veritable celebration of Sour Cherries in an explosion of aromas and tastes. Brewed from a brown ale base and aged in our oak barrels for over 6 months, this beer is not for the faint of heart.

The Golden Poppy is the state flower of California and the Red Poppy is found in Flanders Fields where our inspiration for this beer comes from. This beer is 5.5% ABV and is available in 375 and 750 ml bottles and on draft at inspired locations.

ABV: 5.5%

Availability: Mid-winter release

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Beer # 90 Flying Dog Road Dog Porter

Flying Dog Road Dog Porter

Name: Road Dog Porter

Style: Porter


Brewery: Flying Dog Brewery. website

Country: USA

Region: Frederick, Maryland

ABV: 6.0% Abv

How served: 12oz capped bottle poured into a Chimay chalice.         

My Overall Opinion: Very Good. 

I paired this beer with: Smoked grilled tilapia.   The smoked tilapia paired very well with this porter.

Tasted on:  Wednesday March 25th, 2010. 

Note: This is one of the easiest drinking porters you can find.  I picked up a slight chocolate taste to go with a hint of smoke, which made it a good match with the smoked tilapia I had with it.

On the Label:  We spent four long years in court fighting for our first amendment right to display the phrase “Good Beer, No Shit” on every bottle of Road Dog.  In honor of sticking it to the man… This shit is some dark, rich and malty shit.  The best shit you’ll ever try and that’s no bullshit.

From their website: Blessed by Hunter S. Thompson… Road Dog Porter was our first beer to be illustrated by Ralph Steadman. This is a dark, rich and malty beer, with hints of chocolate and licorice resulting from the use of four prized malts. We also defended Road Dog’s honor when the Colorado state liquor board tried to ban us from selling it because “Good Beer, No Shit” was on the label. It took 5 years, but we won.

Brewers Breakdown:

ABV: 6.0%

Plato: 14

IBU’s: 31

Specialty Malts: 120L Crystal, Chocolate, Black

Hops: Warrior, Cascade

Process: A swam of bats often hovers over the brewhouse during brewing!

Road Dog Goes Well With:

  • · Grilled steak and salmon
  • · Desserts
  • · Anything with chocolate
  • · Dried fruits
  • · Dark and rich food

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Beer #89 Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye

Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye

Name: Hop Rod Rye

Style: Rye IPA

Brewery: Bear Republic Brewing Co. website

Country: USA

Region:  Healdsburg, California

ABV: 8.0% Abv

How served: 22oz capped bomber poured into a Boulevard Smokestack Series glass.        

My Overall Opinion: Amazing.

I paired this beer with: Nothing.

Tasted on:  Wednesday March 24th, 2010. 

Note: To keep it simple…THIS BEER IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Great nose, tastes starts off with a heavy dose of hops then is balanced quickly by the malt or should I say the rye. 

On the Label:  Hop Rod Rye is a high performance, turbo charged, alcohol burnin’ monster ale with dual overhead hop injection, made with 18% rye.

BREW MASTER NOTES: Don’t drink & drag. Sediment at bottom of bottle may be a result of the truckload of hops in this non-filtered ale.

From their website: Rye IPA   ABV: 8.0% IBU: 80 Color: Amber
A high gravity IPA brewed with 18% rye malt. Hop Rod Rye has a floral hop aroma and subtle caramel notes with a slightly earthy and spicy rye character.
2009 California State Fair – GOLD
2003 California State Fair – GOLD
2002 Real Ale Festival (Chicago) – GOLD

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Beer # 88 Hair of the Dog Blue Dot


Hair of the Dog Blue Dot

Name: Blue Dot

Style: Imperial IPA

Brewery: Hair of the Dog Brewing Company website

Country: USA

Region:  Portland, Oregon

ABV: 7.0% Abv

How served: 22oz capped bomber poured into a Samuel Adams perfect pint glass.       

My Overall Opinion: Amazing. 

I paired this beer with: Grilled and smoked turkey breast.

Tasted on:  Wednesday March 17th, 2010. 

Note: This bottle is a winter 2010 release.  WOW!! Blue dot drinks like Pliny the Elder.  Until today Pliny the Elder was my favorite DIPA (Imperial IPA), mostly because of its lower ABV of 8%abv, its great nose and its amazing flavor.  Well at 7.00% Blue Dot is more drinkable with as good of a nose and maybe even a bit more flavor.  Just to be sure, I pulled out what was my 2nd favorite DIPA, Hop Slam, and drank it immediately after.  Well as much of a Hop Slam fan I am, I thought Blue Dot was better!!! It is a different beer, at different abv’s, but IMHO Blue Dot is just the beer to have it you want a DIPA and then another.  GET SOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  But as with any hoppy beer,  freshness might be an issue.

My new favorite DIPA is Blue Dot??

Remember I just had within the last few days: Hop Slam; Pure Hoppiness; Exponential Hoppiness; Nugget Nectar & IMHO Blue Dot is better!!

On the Label:  Blue Dot is named after our planet:  we are only a pale blue dot in this universe.  Made with Organic Pilsner malt, Rye malt and s combination of intense hop varieties.  Pour slowly to allow the sediment to remain in the bottle.  Make every day Earth Day.  Do something nice for your mother.

Hair of the Dog Brewing Company is dedicated to providing the beer lover with new and unusual beer styles.  To learn more about the Dog Brewing Company and our beers styles, please visit us at http://www.hairof the

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Beer # 87 Alpine Pure Hoppiness

Alpine Pure Hoppiness

Name: Pure Hoppiness

Style: Imperial IPA

Brewery: Alpine Beer Company website

Country: USA

Region:  Alpine, California

ABV: 8.0% Abv

How served: 22oz capped bomber poured into a Duvel glass.       

My Overall Opinion: Very Good.

I paired this beer with: Fish taco’s made with grilled & smoked tilapia with a spicy salsa.  This beer matches very well with the spiciness of the fish taco.

Tasted on:  Sunday March 14th, 2010. 

Note:  This drinks more like an IPA then an Imperial IPA.  It is a very good Imperial IPA, but I’ve had better, including Alpine’s Exponential Hoppiness which I had yesterday.   Drinkability wise, Pure Hoppiness is more drinkable then Exponential Hoppiness, so if you’re going to have more then one, drink Pure Hoppiness over Exponential Hoppiness.

On the Label: This mega-hopped, west-coast style India Pale Ale will take you to hop heaven!  We’ve used hops in the boil, more hops in giant hopback, and added to that, an incredible amount of dry-hopping for that cutting edge “hop bite”.  Once you’ve tasted this unique beer, all others pale in comparison.   Drink better beer so.. DRINK ALPINE ALE or GO TO BED!

From their website: West Coast Double IPA.  So mega-hopped it will take you to hop heaven. We’ve used hops in the boil, more hops in the giant hopback, and added to that, an incredible amount of dry-hopping for that cutting-edge “hop bite.” Once you’ve tasted this unique beer, all others pale in comparison. 1.072 OG Classified IBU 8%ABV

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Beer # 86 Alpine Exponential Hoppiness

Alpine Exponential Hoppiness

Name: Exponential Hoppiness

Style: Imperial IPA

Brewery: Alpine Beer Company  website

Country: USA

Region:  Alpine, California

ABV: 11.0% Abv

How served: 22oz capped bomber poured into a Stone IPA glass.       

My Overall Opinion: Amazing.

I paired this beer with: Pasta and shrimp in a butter, olive oil & white wine sauce with artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes & garlic.   The hops of this beer overpowered this meal.  It would have been better paired with a Belgium Strong Plae Ale, Belgium Pale ale or a Triple.

Tasted on:  Saturday March 13th, 2010. 

Note:  The hops hit you very hard on this beer.  1st you get a beautiful hop aroma, then the hops hit you hard up front from the first sip to the after taste.  This beer is not for the faint of heart, BUT if you’re a hop head, well then you’re in heaven!!!

On the Label: A triple IPA which is deceptively mild for its strength. This Hop Monster starts by using multiple kettle hop additions, with each addition doubling the amount of the previous addition (exponentially). Add in the giant hop back and the two dry hopping sessions and you’re almost there.   The beer is finished off with a couple of “body-bag” sized hop-sacks full of hop flavors and oak chips. Then it ages and mellows, disguising the alcohol content for a strong, incredibly hoppy, yet truly enjoyable beer. DRINK ALPINE BEER or GO TO BED!

From their website: A West Coast Triple IPA. Very popular. A complex hopping method where each hop addition is double the previous amount. More hops in the hopback and then two dry-hop sessions. The second dry-hop session is with whole hops and oak chips. 1.093 OG 10.75%ABV

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Beer # 85 Tröegs Nugget Nectar


Tröegs Nugget Nectar

Name: Nugget Nectar

Style: Imperial Amber

Brewery: Tröegs Brewing Company  website

Country: USA

Region:  Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

ABV: 7.50% Abv

How served: 22oz capped bomber poured into a Gruut glass.       

My Overall Opinion: Amazing.

I paired this beer with: Homemade pizza with pepperoni, anchovies, green olives and garlic.  Great pizza & great pairing!!!!  

Tasted on:  Friday March 12th, 2010. 

Note:  Bottled on 01/04/10 Track # 091214.  I could drink this beer 6 days a week (I need to have some variety, so I will not drink this 7 days a week).  As for the 93ish IBU’s of this beer, it doesn’t hit you like an extreme hop bomb.  You know the hops are there, but it’s not in your face and very very drinkable.  The dichotomy of this beer is such that…If you don’t like hoppy beers or if you do like a hoppy beer, well this one is for you.  Too bad this is not a regular beer in S Florida. 

On the Label: Hopheads Nirvana.  Experience a heady Trifecta of Nugget, Warrior and Tomahawk hops.  93ish I.B.U.’s.  

From their website:

Alcohol by Volume: 7.5%

Hop Bitterness (IBU’s): 93ish

Color (SRM): Straw/ Orange

 Availability: Seasonal

Malts: Pilsner, Vienna, Munich

Hops: Nugget, Warrior, Tomahawk, Simcoe, Palisade

HopBack Hops: Whole leaf Nugget

Dry Hops: Nugget, Warrior

Yeast: Ale

 Seasonal Brew (February)


Squeeze those hops for all they’re worth and prepare to pucker up: Nugget Nectar Ale, will take hopheads to nirvana with a heady collection of Nugget, Warrior and Tomahawk hops. Starting with the same base ingredients of our flagship HopBack Amber Ale, Nugget Nectar intensifies the malt and hop flavors to create an explosive hop experience.


Cheese (Sharp, Blue, and Cheddar); Meat (Beef and Poultry)

Serving Suggestions:
Temp: 45-50° F  Glassware:  Pint Glass

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Interview with Bob Sylvester, brewer & owner of Saint Somewhere Brewing Company

Here is a video we made in December 2009 when we met Bob Sylvester, the brewer & owner of Saint Somewhere Brewing Company in Tarpon Springs.    In this interview he talks about his latest creation, Pays Du Soleil. 


 We will be visiting Bob again on Saturday March 20th, as Saint Somewhere is one of our stops on our exciting Tampa Beer Safari Weekend tour.  For more information about that tour go to

Itinerary for Bon Beer Voyage Tampa Beer Safari March 19th-21st, 2010

 Friday March 19, 2010

 3:00pm   The Hampton Inn and Suites Ybor City

No tents on this Safari! Our accommodations are the Hampton Inn & Suites Ybor City Tampa/Downtown-the best location right in the historic district in downtown Ybor! The colorful Cuban influences of Ybor City with its authentic restaurants and shops are just steps from our hotel in Tampa. If you are driving in, we have arranged for free parking at the hotel. There are also refrigerators, microwaves and complimentary high speed internet access in all rooms, so you can email your friends back home to tell them what they’re missing!

5:30 pm : Please join your tour director for a welcome reception and get to know your fellow beer travelers.  We will meet in the lobby by the tables (breakfast area) and enjoy the first of the weekends many brews!

6:45pm:  We’re off to enjoy the “spirited sights” of Ybor City on Secret Ybor: Scandals, Crimes, and Shady Ladies’, a one-hour ghost walk tour of one of North America’s most interesting – and haunted – neighborhoods. Our guide will be Miss Prudence Fipwhistle (born 1855 – died 1899), a charming (and hair-raising) mistress of the macabre!  Please make sure to wear your walking shoes and dress appropriately for whatever weather we may encounter.  We will be heading directly to our dinner from the tour, but dinner tonight is casual, so just make sure you are comfortable!

7:45pm: Beer Paired Dinner at the delicious Tampa Bay Brewing Company.    

Founded in 1996, the Tampa Bay Brewing Company is a family business, with mother and son serving as general manager and brewmaster respectively. Their on-site brewery is equipped to produce up to twelve tap beers (they generally have nine on tap, more than twice as many as most microbreweries) and several cask-conditioned ales on a 10bbl step-infusion brewing system. As a matter of fact, 12 of their 16 serving tanks used to hold the beer at the famous Bass Ale Brewery in England.

They take great pride in using only the freshest water, barley, hops and yeast from around the world. The same great care that goes into their beer goes into their great menu items as well. And actually, some of their beer even goes into some menu items, like the Iron Rat Stout Crab Cakes, Stout N Honey Glazed Atlantic Salmon, and Jalapeno Beer Cheese Soup.

Get ready to enjoy food made to go with beer by people who have a passion and talent for creating both!

After dinner you are free to walk off some of tonight’s calories and enjoy Ybor’s nightlife, or follow Mike, your beer guide to a local watering hole for some more of what’s good to drink in Ybor! (And of course, the hotel is only a few blocks away if you’d rather just call it a night!)

Saturday March 20th, 2010

 6-9am Enjoy breakfast at your leisure, it is served in the breakfast area of the hotel.

9:10am Meet your tour director in the lobby to leave for today’s adventures!  We will be out all day until about 3:30pm, so bring anything with you that you will need for the day- i.e. camera, jacket, etc…

First stop this morning is Tarpon Springs. Tarpon Springs, Florida’s own Greek village is known as the Sponge Capital of the World. Here you will find authentic Greek restaurants, bakeries with mouth watering pastries and shops full of jewelry, hand-rolled cigars, Greek and Florida Souvenirs and of course, sponges! Take a stroll along the waterfront and see the sponge boats with sponges strung out to dry, or take a short cruise to learn about the sponge trade and how professional sponge divers operate.

We will spend about an hour here before heading off to meet our friend Bob Silvester and see his brewing set up at Saint Somewhere Brewing Company

Saint Somewhere is a small batch brewery, located in Tarpon Springs, Florida, which specializes in traditionally brewed, hand-crafted Belgian-style ales. All of their ales are bottle-conditioned and unfiltered and receive a dose of Brettanomyces at bottling.

Despite the homage to Belgium by the strict use of Belgian malt & wheat and whole noble hops, Bob Sylvester, owner and brewer, adds a little bit of Florida by open fermentation as well as by using old Florida advertising art on his labels. The stuff inside the bottles is as much art as the labels though, especially his latest creation, Pays Du Soleil.        

And of course, the name Saint Somewhere comes from a Jimmy Buffett song, so let’s be real, Belgian may be at the heart of it, but this beer has Florida soul!

After visiting with Bob, we will be leaving Tarpon Springs to head over to Florida’s Scottish heritage town, Dunedin.  Here we will be visiting Dunedin Brewery, tasting their beers and enjoying lunch.

Fermenting since 1996 and still going strong, Dunedin Brewery handcrafts all of their ales for your enjoyment from their Piper’s Pale Ale to their Apricot Wheat. They also have a great menu including the most awesome Pacific Coast Fish Tacos you will find east of Baja!  With great atmosphere, great food and 9 ales brewed year round as well as 5 or more seasonal offerings throughout the year, this is our kind of lunch stop!

Having fortified ourselves, we will set off to Cigar City Brewery (who incidentally just added 5 gold medals along with a silver and bronze to their growing collection of awards!) for a tour and tasting in their new tasting room.

Cigar City Brewery was founded by beer columnist and Tampa native Joey Redner in the summer of 2007. Since its inception CCB has been guided by Joey’s passion for both great beer and the city of his birth.

With the creative input and expertise of Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup award winning brewer Wayne Wambles, Cigar City Brewing endeavors to make world class ales and lagers which celebrate the rich heritage and traditions that make Tampa one of the world’s most unique cities.

With this goal in mind Cigar City Brewing incorporates local ingredients in the brewing process and always considers, during recipe creation, the local foods CCB beers are likely to be paired with. The result of this dedication is handcrafted beer that imparts a sense of place and pairs as well with gourmet cheeses as hearty Cuban sandwiches.

After our tastings, we will head back to the hotel for some free time to relax or check out Ybor’s sites on your own.

Ybor City is known as Tampa’s Latin Quarter for over a century, Ybor City is an exotic blend of aromas, flavors, sights and sounds.  From the scent of roasting Cuban coffee early in the morning to the rhythms of Latin music late into the night, Ybor is a feast for the senses.  Browse eclectic shops and art galleries or visit one of the museums.  See a “hand-rolled cigar” being made or just relax and “people watch” with a cup of Ybor’s famous cafe con leche. Listen to the music of the night – jazz, blues, salsa, reggae and even hip-hop emanate from a selection of pubs, patio bars and nightclubs.  Ybor is alive with a variety of entertainment that makes it one of Florida’s top-ranked nightspots.

Founded by Vicente Martinez-Ybor as a cigar-manufacturing center, Ybor City today is one of only two National Historic Landmark Districts in Florida.  Red brick buildings, wrought iron balconies and narrow brick streets give it an old-world charm that is a refreshing change of pace from the beach and the mall.

7:05pm. We will be ready to leave for our gourmet dining experience at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse.  Stylish, contemporary dining is the hallmark of Fleming’s. The menu features the finest in prime beef, augmented by a tempting variety of chops, seafood, chicken, generous salads, inventive side orders and indulgent desserts.

We have the good fortune of having a 4 course beer paired gourmet dinner created especially for our Beer Safari by the chef at Fleming’s, who, as luck would have it, is a beer enthusiast himself!

Our specially prepared and paired dinner at this award winning steakhouse will be an experience you won’t soon forget. 

Sunday March 21, 2010

Enjoy breakfast at our hotel anytime from 6 am to 10 am.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end.  Check out of hotel by noon. 

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