by Regina Heffington – the Jax Brew Bitch
Big hair! Big shoulders! Big bushy eyebrows! No, I’m not describing the model of the latest romance novel cover. I’m talking about the popular fashion styles of the 80s. In keeping with what I absorbed in that decade as I sat mesmerized in front of my state-of-the-art, boxy television set watching MTV, I adopted the popular trends at that time.
I brushed, teased and sprayed my hair into several orders of magnitude of radii around my head, pumped up the shoulders of my blouses, jackets and coats with chunks of preformed padding and did my best to encourage my eyebrows to mimic those of Brooke Shields. I HAD to, of course: I had a social standing I needed to maintain. There was NO way I was going to be considered “unconsidered.” By golly, I had a statement to make, and it was certainly going to be made in lockstep with the popular caste of fellow students–but with a little different touch (here and there) which was allowed by the ruling social class of my school.
Gag me with a spoon! There is NO way I would go through all that hassle now. I don’t have to, of course. I have a social standing I need to maintain. Styles change, and we grow and morph with them. The same holds true in the beer industry, and we craft beer lovers are living through an exciting trend at this very moment.
Currently, the trend of microbreweries around the country is to produce a new product using some “off-the-wall,” “out-of-left-field,” “why-didn’t-I-think-of-that?” ingredients and treatments that will inspire the legion of dedicated craft beer aficionados to make their weekly pilgrimage to the taprooms.
However, sailing the tradewinds of this national movement toward exotic beer recipes comes with a price. The microbrewing process on a commercial level requires at least one powerboat of a beer on which the microbrewery relies to pay the bills and hopefully provides enough financial resources to experiment with crazy additives and treatments on smaller batches. These are sometimes heralded as “one-off brews” if their “Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog” manipulations of the beer resulted in something palatable–or as “test batches” if after tasting, the brewer would have rather eaten the whole frog, toes and all.
Boatloads of water, costly buckets and shovels of ingredients and gobs of precious never-to-be-recovered time go into batching any beer at a brewery. As a result, trend-following brewers around the country are weighing the investment of their tangible and intangible goods, assets and resources against the anticipated payback. Making it more difficult in the background is the axiom, “If there is a cost for doing it, there is definitely a cost for NOT doing it.”
In and around Jacksonville, the microbreweries we are blessed to have in our community are answering the call of sophisticated craft beer hounds by making the commitment of their treasured resources to produce and offer some special releases for the enjoyment of and continued funding by their patrons.
Intuition Ale Works The Ladies of Intuition created The Eleanor, a Belgian Blonde Ale infused with 90% black and 10% oolong tea. A dollar from each pint goes to support Girls Rock Jacksonville. I’ll be doing a special, treated cask in the next couple of weeks for “One-Off Wednesday’s.” One night only!
Pinglehead Brewery For easy-drinking summer days, they have created the crystal-clear bodied Marley’s IPA.
Bold City Brewery Already a huge hit is the limited release of a Woodford Reserve Bourbon Barrel aged Imperial Cream Ale named Roxy’s Finest.
Engine 15 Brewing Every Thursday is “Tap 42” where a unique and limited “pilot batch” is tapped and offered for sale – it goes quickly, so be there this Thursday and get there early!
Green Room Brewing A special release to mark their second anniversary on June 15 is a Second Edition of the Secret Spot, an Imperial Stout aged six months in Jamaican rum barrels.
Aardwolf Brewing Look for some upcoming collaborations with other breweries and their own line of brews coming soon as they have recently obtained the necessary permits.
Mile Marker Brewing Can you say coconut and pecan? Check out their popular Palm Beach Coconut Porter and the Pecan de Leon Nut Brown Ale.
Head out to one of our local microbreweries to sample the latest trend in craft beer creations! I’ll be doing just that as soon as I slap on some blue eye-shadow and don my fingerless gloves and legwarmers…HEY! Haven’t you heard? That style is making a comeback!