Follow the journey
There are a lot of craft beer happenings on the FL Gulf Coast each week. Ever wish you had a single place to see what is going on? Well, look no further!
I built the Maps & Events page to be a place for people to go to find breweries, distilleries, craft beer bars, and homebrew shops on the FL Gulf Coast as well as any major events they are hosting. The Maps & Events page focuses on the craft beer scene from the Tampa Bay area down to Naples. In that area there are currently 96 breweries with at least 5 more in the works, 11 distilleries, 5 homebrew stores, and countless craft beer-centric bars!
The Craft Beer Social started out as a fun hobby but as time has progressed I've decided to put the time and effort into making it a legitimate business venture. I hope that one day I can financially sustain myself from my blog/social media and eventually a brewery I plan to open. I'm in the very early stages of this journey and even though I make zero to little money from my blog I have decided to form an actual company. This will build my motivation, keep me focused, and make this journey even more real!
As I mentioned in my post about the National Homebrew Competition, I'm brewing as often as I can and entering as many competitions as possible to get feedback. Feedback from people that don't know you brewed the beer and from professional brewers/BJCP judges are invaluable. I want to improve my brewing techniques and the quality of my home brews and while friends and family can be encouraging it's not always the most honest. So, when I saw that Tampa Bay Brewing Co was hosting the inaugural Summer Home Brew Classic I contacted the competition organizer immediately about entering. I had 5 weeks to design, brew, and keg my two beers I decided to enter.
I decided that 2018 would be the year I take homebrewing more seriously. I've upgraded my brewing system (review coming soon), increased fermentation temperature control, and am brewing on a more consistent basis. Brewing more doesn't do much if you're not getting feedback and so I'm attempting to enter as many homebrew competitions as I can. This year's first competition was the National Homebrew Competition hosted by the American Homebrewers Association. Go BIG or go HOME!
What I love most about the craft beer community is the support for one another! I've seen breweries lend grain and hops to others in need. I've never seen a brewer not answer questions of a local home-brewer. And breweries are always fundraising for charities in their communities. In keeping with the craft beer community spirit I have decided to open up an online store that meshes support for the local community, education, and the promotion of home-brewing.
So far, I have partnered with two local craft beer businesses to offer products through my store.
The Craft Beer Social is all about getting you out to support your local breweries. So, TCBS has teamed up with breweries from Tampa to Naples, FL to offer you a chance at FREE BEER every week with my social media campaign, Free Beer Friday! Breweries have donated everything from two free pints to free growler/crowler fills to gift cards that I will then giveaway to one lucky winner every Friday. Each Friday at 10 am EST a random brewery that has donated free beer will be featured on TCBS's Instagram page. All you have to do to enter is the following:
1. Follow the featured brewery on Instagram
2. Follow The Craft Beer Social on Instagram
3. Like the Free Beer Friday post
A lucky random winner will be selected at 10 pm EST that same Friday and the prize will be mailed the following morning! Most prizes will be in the form of a gift card and can be easily mailed BUT this first giveaway is going to require the winner to pick it up.
3 Daughters Brewery has graciously donated a gift basket to help kick off the first Free Beer Friday on March 2nd as well as Tampa Bay Beer Week (March 3-11)! Their gift basket includes:
One of my biggest goals for the last year has been networking and growing the social media footprint of The Craft Beer Social. Some areas have been growing faster than others, especially Instagram. Over the course of the last year The Craft Beer Social Instagram page has grown by over 2,000 followers, more than a 300% increase! I’ve made some great connections in the craft beer industry through Instagram, but my favorite so far has been with Tampa Bay Food Tours.
The first week of 2018 is in the books and it's been a time to reflect on all of the beers from last year! Here is a list of my top beers of 2017 according to Untappd! I've compiled two lists..
1) Top 10 Beers I've tried in 2017 in order of my personal Untappd Rating
2) Top 10 Beers I've tried in 2017 in order of their Global Untappd Rating
Comment below to let me know which are your favorite beers or ones I should try in 2018!
The saying goes that brewers only make the wort, it's the yeast that makes beer. Brewers have been making wort for millennia and the practice has literally become a science in the modern era of brewing. Fermentation, on the other hand, is a lot more guess work especially for the simple homebrewer. You have an idea of how much yeast to pitch, what temperature to keep during fermentation, and what you want your final gravity to be but other than that there's no more information to know or gain during fermentation. Even most of that information can be quite inaccurate as most homebrewers are using stick on thermometers that don't give a true reading of wort temperature and in order to check the gravity throughout fermentation you will either lose some volume of beer and/or expose the wort to the air which can be a source of infection.
Then the PLAATO Airlock was invented.
Back in July, I was continuously seeing Facebook ads for a new Kickstarter campaign for PLAATO "The Digital Airlock" and after a few ads I finally clicked on the link to see what was so special. I was immediately intrigued when I started reading up about this airlock!
Here's the run down from the PLAATO website:
Few people are aware but at the end of this month I will be relocating to St. Petersburg, FL for a new full-time job opportunity. Currently, I teach middle school math and science as my full-time gig and tend bar at Momentum Brewhouse a couple days a week on the side. Though I will not be teaching full-time after this school year or tending bar anymore, I will be continuing building The Craft Beer Social! I am moving to the Tampa Bay Area with my girlfriend who has accepted a full-time accounting job that will start in September and so I began my job search soon after. It didn't take long to get a couple of job offers. After about three months of searching I landed a job that I am more than excited to start as I will be transitioning into the engineering field. My new job will begin on May 31st so I will lose my teacher's summer vacation but will be gaining not only a great new career but also direct access to a new craft beer community.