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Big Storm Brew ing


Get Your Holidays Growling


NYE Brew s


End of Year Beer A d v e nt


Bell’s Two Hearted Ale

Off Tap. is a bimonthly publication of ABC Fine Wine & Spirits. Copyright 2016 ABC Liquors, Inc. All rights reserved.

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If you’ve ever traveled west into Tampa,

was being built, giving him the opportunity to help

you’ve seen the huge billboard looming over

make decisions on the design of the new facility.

the interstate inviting you to Big Storm Brew-

Some of the notable features at this brewery

ing Co. And if you don’t know much about

are an automated CIP (Clean-In-Place) which

Big Storm, you would think it’s a big brewery

helps reduce the amount of wasted water

or one that—gasp!—sold out.

during cleaning; a hop gun for dry-hopping,

And that’s where you’d be mistaken. Big

which pumps beer through the rocket ship-

Storm Brewing is a smaller and way more

looking machine and spins hops around for

personable operation than their infamous

better complexity and less loss of beer; a

billboard suggests. The company began in the garage of owner Mike Bishop. The operation quickly grew to warrant a larger production area leading to the opening of Big Storm’s brewery in Pasco in 2012. A few Best Florida Beer medals later, the brewery was ready for a second expansion, this time adding another facility in Pinellas and expanding the space at their Pasco location.

is moved to the Pinellas location to keep up with demand. Big Storm Pinellas sits back off 49th Street in Clearwater, a flash of color on an otherwise unassuming roadway. Inside, a taproom with a row of handles and a wraparound bar invite you to try a few of Big Storm’s beers. The back wall is a window into a clean, shiny

The new tasting room and brewery opened

brewing facility.

its doors to the beer drinking public in

Andrew Shelton is the head brewer there and

February 2016. Both locations brew beer, though the Pasco facility is where the craftier of their craft beers are created. Small batch and unique beers are piloted and brewed there, however if they garner enough attention, production

oversees the production and canning of Big Storm’s distributed beers. With a background in physics and mathematics and a diploma in brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling at the University of California, Davis, Andrew was hired on as the Pinellas location

centrifuge for filtering; canning and kegging lines; and a lot of room for more growth. At the time of writing, Big Storm had finished canning their Oktoberfest (2016 winner of the Best Beer in Florida at the Best Florida Beer competition) and was gearing up to brew their winter seasonal, Dunder & Blixem, an 8.8% ABV winter ale so called for the original names of the fabled reindeer who pulled Santa’s sleigh, Donner and Blitzen. This brew pours a dark orange/amber color and shows floral hops and brown sugar on the nose. A medium mouthfeel carries flavors of toast, caramel and orange with a hint of sweetness tempered by bitter notes and a warming finish. Pair this 2014 Best Florida Beer silver medalist with grilled lamb and pecan pie.

Big Storm Wavemaker Amber Ale Like the wind mixes the salt air with the sea, this amber ale creates a wave of flavor with malty sweetness at the front, transforming into moderate caramel flavors further on. With year-round drinkability, Wavemaker Amber Ale is perfectly balanced with a subtle floral presence and pleasant hoppy bitterness. 4.9% ABV, 28 IBUs

Very simply, Helicity is wind and water moving together in a circular, rotating motion. The popular flavor of Helicity features lightly kilned malted barley in motion with subtle hops, creating a well-balanced, drinkable pilsner. Winner of a bronze medal at the 2016 Best Florida Beer competition, Helicity is perfect for a day at the beach or a tailgate. 4.3% ABV, 21 IBUs Big Storm Arcus IPA An Arcus is a low, horizontal cloud formation associated with a storm front. With the same gust provided by its namesake, Arcus IPA rolls in with an intense citrusy hop aroma, and is brewed with two-row American pale ale malts. The addition of locally sourced wildflower honey lends a subtle sweetness for a clean and easy finish 6.5% ABV, 56 IBUs

December/January 2017 | Page 3

Big Storm Helicity Pilsner

Get Your

Holidays Growling


‘Tis the season to go big. Your

Since no ordinary brew will do for the

keep local brews and hard-to-find

lower ABV needed for a party of

neighbor is going big with the inflat-

holidays, we’ve ensured that each

beers on tap every week.

this magnitude. Session IPAs also

able winter wonderland, and we’re

of our Brew Stop locations features an array of the rarest, freshest, most

Here are the three beer styles you

typically pair well with rich flavors

sure your workspace is going big with Secret Santa games. Why not go

local beers available. And with 64

big at home, when it’s just you and

ounces of glorious craft beer all kept

the people you love, gathered around

in a single bottle, you could keep a

good food and a warm fire?

crowd of friends happy – especially

Beer is one of the best ways to ramp

when you explore all of the options

need to fill your growlers with this season for the best holiday party this

seroles and spiced meats.

side of 2016. Just remember, our taps

American pale ale. Because the

change regularly and often, so follow

holidays are all about indulgence,

your Brew Stop beer consultant on

and that means tons of yummy,

Facebook and Twitter to keep up with

fatty foods, you’ll need a crisp beer

what’s being tapped all season long.

that slices through the heaviness of

Stout. These dark brews are made

holiday foods and provides

up the occasion, especially if you

at our Brew Stops.

partake in the blessings that are

Our growlers come in two sizes (32

ABC’s Brew Stop growler filling sta-

and 64 ounces) and the PEGAS filling

tions. Beers to be gulped at holiday

systems we use are crazy awesome.

parties have an entirely different set

You can jingle all the way home hap-

of prereqs than your average beer.

pily knowing that your growlers are

You want something that’s session-

filled, sealed and guaranteed fresh for

able so that you can sip all night

at least 14 days, as long as it remains

long – in the cold – and not lose your


warmth. You want a combination of

You also might be happy to know

fect location.

that our taps rotate frequently,

Session IPA. Holiday parties

that we thoroughly rinse your

can last for hours, especially

growler every time you

when family is around. Keep

satiety and adaptability; a liquid that links up well with casseroles, soups and pies; a brew with just enough personality to wow your friends, but enough crafted balance to keep them coming back for more.

come in for a refill and that we try our best to

found in dishes like cheesy cas-

to pair with the best of the best

some balance.

when it comes to yummy winter

Find a Brew Stop location near you

food. Stouts have the right amount

and join the growler movement. We’ll

of boldness and body to keep your

be there to fill and refill your growler

guests interested without distract-

every step of the way.

ing them from the daunting task of placing that sneaky elf in the per-

the spirit alive with a style that has all the complexity of the usual IPA, but the




A long-awaited and celebratory night like New Year’s Eve notoriously

Bell’s Java Stout

calls for bubbles, and many might be afraid to steer away from the

With a powerful coffee nose and palate, this bold beer will help you

classic toaster of Champagne. But true to craft culture, beer drinkers

stay up to watch the ball drop. No need to worry about getting the

like to do things a little differently. We say different is good and beer

jitters, but be aware of mass adoration and the fact that it might

bubbles are just as worthy as wine bubbles.

run out.

Unlike the fairly limited array of flavors exhibited in Champagne, beer

Sonoma Cider Dry Zider

offers a span of palate-pleasing fun. From stouts to ciders to IPAs,

For those seeking an out-of-the-ordinary sip or want to try something

beer drinkers are lucky to have a wide range of flavor to choose from

a little different, this dry cider aged in Zinfandel barrels is a no brainer.

when raising a glass at the stroke of midnight. Because who knows

It’s crisp and bright with a deep berry backbone.

how you’ll be feeling when the clock strikes 12? It’s just as likely

Weihenstephan Hefe Weissbier

to be prepared with both. The following are special, well-done and celebratory brews that will go down as smooth as Champagne.

Super refreshing with banana and clove. Smooth as silk. Something to sip out the old and sip in the new. Oskar Blues Pinner Session IPA New Year’s Eve is the night of all nights to have a few. And with a

Delirium Nocturnum

delicious session IPA like this one, you can have full faith that this

A little something to get you into the holiday spirit quickly. With notes

citrusy little number will keep you at the party all night.

of licorice, coriander, caramel and mocha it’s teeming with all the

Crooked Can Steam Jack

holiday spice your party craves. At 8.5% ABV it’s not exactly sessionable, but it makes for a delightful nightcap. JDub’s Bell Cow Chocolate Porter For some brew heads, dessert beers are a staple. This is for those people who love the satiating sip that a good porter always yields. It’s like chocolate milk straight from the chocolate cow.

It doesn’t get much more celebratory than our 80th anniversary beer from Crooked Can Brewery. Brewed specifically for our guests, it’s malty, crisp and balanced.

December/January 2017 | Page 5

you’ll be craving a Belgian brew as a Florida common, and it’s best

End of Year



Two days after Hanukkah begins and the day after Christmas is a Monday. That’s a total bummer if you ask me. You’re either coming down from an awesome day or you’re getting ready to really ramp up the holidays and then BAM! Just like that, it’s Monday. So to get you through this case of the blues, we suggest an End of Year Beer Advent Calendar with one beer each day leading up to the New Year. The best way— some would argue the only way—to start 2017 is to end 2016 with your favorite brews. And, with six days to count down, a 6-pack lends itself perfectly to the occasion. The question isn’t whether or not you’re going to do it. It’s which beers are you going to pick? Here are our selections for a well-rounded End of Year Beer Advent Calendar.

Night 1: Christmas Ale – Anchor Brewing

Every year Anchor Brewing releases a Christmas ale that is a liquid embodiment of the holiday spirit. And, as tradition dictates, every year the San Francisco-based brewery revises their Christmas Ale recipe. Though the ingredients are known only to the brewers themselves, this beer is always a dark, spiced ale with rich aromas and a balanced body. This year’s brew is no exception. Sip this on Monday with leftover chocolate chip cookies.

Night 2: 2Xmas – Southern Tier Brewing Co. This cheerful winter treat was inspired by the Scandinavian tradition of glogg, a warm, boozy punch reminiscent of mulled wine. 2Xmas is a double spiced ale brewed with orange peels and figs, cinnamon and ginger, cardamom and clove. The spicy, medium body is complemented by a malty sweetness and hoppy bitterness. You’ll get notes of raisins and hints of molasses, a touch of fruit cake and nuances of citrus. It’s definitely bold, complex and full-flavored. Think all things merry this time of year packed into a festively-labeled bottle of ruby red, lightly carbonated beer. This is a good pairing for rich cheeses. Night 3: Christmas Ale – St. Bernardus

This Belgian quad is hard to beat this time of the year. With mouthwatering aromas as soon as the cork is popped and a beautiful dark pour, this seasonal is a serious stunner before it even hits your lips. A delicate but robust body is enhanced by plum pudding, mulling spices, dried fruit and caramel. Though the alcohol hits 10%, it’s a smooth sipper that pairs nicely with nights by the fire.

Night 4: Celebration – Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale is a deeply flavored beer brewed with generous doses of Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops. With less winter spice and more piney hop bitterness than most other holiday beers, this brew is surprisingly fresh, satisfyingly flavorful and delightfully delicious for the season. In true Sierra Nevada fashion, Celebration Ale is bold, aromatic and complex with malt, citrus and pine nuances. It is the epitome of a winter IPA and goes well with turkey dinners.

Night 5: Delirium Noël – Brouwerij Huyghe If you don’t recognize the pink elephants pulling the sleigh on this speckled gray bottle, get familiar. A true Belgian brewery, Brouwerij Huyghe is known for their full-flavored, award-winning sipping beers. Delirium Noël is no exception. With a deep copper color and a quick-to-disperse, cream-colored head, this is a Belgian strong ale that exudes caramel malt and spice aromas upon first pour. The palate shows notes of toast, pepper, dark fruit and honey with a hint of that caramel malt that first showed in the bouquet. For a highly complex beer, it’s easy-drinking, even at 10% ABV. Try it with French toast or holiday chocolate. Night 6: Fireside Chat – 21st Amendment

Ruby in color and smooth on the palate, 21st Amendment’s Fireside Chat is an English ale brewed with all the spice you would hope to find in a winter ale. Specially made with cocoa nibs for added seasonal flavor, this 7.9% ABV beer is rich, dark and delightful. Nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice play in both the aroma and the flavor, while moderate bitterness and mild hoppiness persist throughout. Try this on cold Florida nights to keep you warm and chatty.

December/January 2017 | Page 7 December/January 2017 | Page 7





Many have seen or heard of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale on tap

Bell’s serves up eight year-round beers with a handful of

or in their local ABC, but few know why this brew is one of

seasonal and specialty brews from time to time. Among their

a handful of well-known and recognized beers in the craft

flagship few, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale is a year-round staple

industry. Larry Bell, the man behind it all, started on a beer

with a strong following. After Two Hearted Ale was released in

conquest with a mere interest in yeast and the fermentation process while working an afterschool job at a bakery in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In the early 80s he opened a homebrew supply store, and by the mid-80s Bell introduced his first commercially available beer. Within a year’s time, Bell went from brewing 15 gallons out of a soup pot to 135 barrels and has been growing in size ever since. With thousands of square feet and the addition of a bar and full service restaurant, the Eccentric Café, Bell’s has managed to stay true to its roots. Bell’s has a mission of staying family owned and sustainable as

2000, the sole use of 100% Centennial hops has become the standard for which other brewers strive when creating their own IPAs. Featuring American malts and huge Centennial hop additions, this delicious amber ale is perfect for the transition into cooler temperatures. Two Hearted Ale is golden amber in color with a higher alcohol content holding strong at 7%. Plentiful citrus and bright flavors, but also full of body and mouthfeel, this American IPA is refreshing while still remaining remarkably drinkable. Pair this delicious beer with fresh, bright-flavored dishes that contain citrus or cilantro, or even spicy dishes with an emphasis

well as an unwavering commitment to inspired brewing and pro-

on curry. Think Thai cuisine, beef tacos, and gorgonzola

ducing great beer, and that’s something worthy of raising a glass.

or cheddar cheeses.

Off Tap.: December/January 2016  

Off Tap. is a bimonthly beer publication of ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, Florida's largest family-owned wine and spirits retailer.