Tag Archives: ccb

Cigar City Brewing

Eggs and Kegs Series

Egg and Kegs is a beer-based brunch served at Tampa’s Cigar City brewery on the third Sunday of every month. A recent menu included: country ham and espresso red-eye gravy made with CCB’s Cubano Espresso brown ale; southern cajun shrimp; jalapeno cheese grits; baked french toast with CCB rum barrel aged Caffe Americano double stout caramel sauce. The meals usually include pours of well-paired beers and additional related beers are available on draught.

Tampa chef-cum-entrepreneur John Loscalzo created the Eggs and Kegs series in 2009. John writes:

In 2009, I needed a creative outlet for my love of food, cooking, and community. Being a special education teacher, I knew it was nearly impossible to add a full time cooking gig to my plate.
My motivation was to create social events and dinners that were designed to showcase unique businesses and incorporate local ingredients and beverages while providing an awareness of sustainability within the community. After talking with local business owners about my concept and researching shared kitchen spaces, LOKO Cuisine was created. I was able to support local businesses through food featuring my culinary creations. I have collaborated with businesses such as Cigar City Brewing, Yuengling Brewery, Bells Brewery, Highland Brewery, The Wild Rover Brewery, Late Start Brewing, Brewers’ Tasting Room, Jonathan Wakefield Brewing, Florida Avenue Ales, Rock Brothers Brewing, Hideaway Café, Felicitous Tea & Coffee Shop, World of Beer, The Florida Aquarium, Exalted Warrior Foundation & Yogani, Mr. Empanada, Cappy’s Pizza, Cork & Olive, Lit Lounge and Tampa Street Market.

John’s Eggs and Kegs events are a staple of local Tampa beer culture. Look for them on the third Sunday of each and every month, usually at Cigar City.

See also: BEE-B-Q events; a 4-course dinner series hosted by Cigar City Cider and Meadery.

Check out the Loko Cuisine website at: http://www.lokocuisine.com/

  • When: usually the third Sunday of the Month, brunch-o’clock
  • Where: Cigar City
  • How much: $25/head

Rare beer night with Cigar City Brewing and Schmaltz Brewing

CIGAR CITY BREWING AND SCHMALTZ BREWING are teaming up for a night of RARE BEERS. We will have a selection of their rare beers on draft and brewery owners and representatives will be on hand to discuss these brews and mingle with all of you beer aficionados! Don’t miss your chance to try these amazing one-offs!

From Cigar City Brewing, we will have several special drafts including the 5 for 5 New Zealand Double IPA, Humidor Sour, 5 for 5 Imperial Oatmeal Porter and Peach IPA.

On draft from Shmaltz Brewing Co.: MAZEL HOPS!! Brewed for their 20th Anniversary as a dry hopped imperial IPA, this is certainly the most aggressively-hopped beer they have featured in a long while. The aroma is intoxicating — luscious, fruity hops practically jump out of the glass! The massive 81 IBUs of this big brew grab the palate and linger on the tongue well after the sip is complete.

Also featured: JEWBELATION QUINCEANERA 15, a lifetime new limited-edition release, 15 malts, 15 hops, 15% ABV aged for 5 months in Siembra Azul Tequila barrels. Siembra Azul is a small-batch, artisanally crafted, super premium tequila made from 100% of only the finest blue agave, grown and produced in the town of Aran-das, in the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. It is a kosher and double distilled spirit of unparalleled quality.

Mingle with Shmaltz Brewing proprietor Jeremy Cowan – no cover, cash bar, 7-9 p

My take on Hunahpu’s Day and the Business Approach of CCB

My take on Hunahpu’s Day and the business approach of CCB:

Things did not go smoothly for the brewery’s first attempt at running Hunahpu’s Day as a beer festival. The event ended up with over double the ticketed number of people. The beer however, was world class; A-game brews from some of the legends of the industry.

To those who believe CCB is a greedy corporation who flooded their own event:
Cigar City was caught in a tough position with ticket reading issues and false claims over who had rights to tickets. Here’s the thing; if you tried to make people happy every single step of the way and that makes you greedy, then I’m going to need to fix my definition. The central issue revolves around the choice to let people in despite finding duplicate tickets. This would have never happened if the ticketing situation wasn’t taken advantage of, and if everyone didn’t provide some variation of a sob story about being swindled. This was the defining moment and a lose/lose situation for the brewery. Damned if they turn people away because CCB was so mean and damned because they didn’t and the event overfilled. It is because of these shady people bottles sold out early. For the brewery there was no advantage to overfilling the event, what was to be gained? If it had been just the promised 3,500 attendees, those bottles which were reserved for the event, would sell out anyway without the extra people that scammed their way in, they have every year. There was no shady illuminati plan to admit everyone and break the promised bottle allotment.

While people should not have been able to pick up cases before 4pm, it happened. What happened after was SHAMEFUL; the reactions of attendees forced the breweries hands to clear the lot. Empty bottles were being thrown and some people behaved like animals. But to sell the day to our fellow beer enthusiasts as a complete disaster is a bit much. Five and a half hours of drinking samples and bottle sharing some of the whales of craft beer, while crowded and a bit hot, came before the breakdown of the crowd.

There are those who would claim the brewery to have orchestrated the event for some sort of nefarious plan to crush the souls of the Hunahopeful. How can you say that though when you see the lengths Joey Redner has gone to make it up to the loyal customers who purchased tickets for themselves? Consolatory moves began with the announcing that a free beer day would follow Hunahpu’s Day, mere hours after the closing down of the event. This resulted, that Sunday, in giving out over $10,000 dollars of beer. Soon after it was decided to just take the hit of over $200,000 in losses through the reimbursement of tickets and keg purchases from some of the world’s best beers from all over the country. All the way to promising an additional batch for those who didn’t get to purchase their beer; I must say that Cigar City Brewing more than made it up.

They have given us our money back (or are in the process of doing so), so if you didn’t get enough samples then you were compensated.

They gave you free beer the next day just to make sure you came for something (as long as you were still in the area).

They promised a new batch to those who retained their silver bracelet, even if you were one of the assholes who took advantage of volunteers and good will.

To top it off they even canceled further Hunahpu’s days due to the overwhelming hatefulness of bridge burners.

Joey Redner, who I have never met, has gone beyond anything any company I have ever dealt with in my everyday life would EVER, ever do, just to make up for the madness that was only partially Cigar City Brewing’s fault. What company would do this for their customers? If you had a bad time and do not feel like this was adequate than I’m sorry. Lose sleep over bigger issues because THIS is world class customer service.

To those who have social anxiety and were emotionally overwhelmed:

I respect your devotion to good craft beer and I believe that Cigar City does as well. I hope that the event wasn’t too overwhelming and I respect your courage to put up with the crowds you expected and beyond.

To those who waited in line for hours to get in, I did too:

A professional might have better ideas of how to fix this but I was in line with some of the best people in the world, Passionate ones. People who love good beer and people who know that if you like something; you love it, learn it, and dedicate some part of yourself to experiencing more.

To those that think this somehow lowers the quality of Cigar City’s beers or puts them on the same level as those who manufacture those commercial beers we see all over bars and tv’s nationwide:

This year’s Hunahpu was by far the best batch and while the events that unfolded were unfortunate and the lines could have been more strictly enforced (I’d have been pissed to have been funneled into bank teller lines); it is clear that they are only increasing in skill and quality.

Finally:

I will be sad to see the loss of Hunahpu’s day. I hope that Cigar City can move past the trauma as I hope we all can (to those who were traumatized). I believe, with all my taste buds, that this year was to be the birth of something glorious. It succeeded in terms of Tap. This was a mind-blowing buildup of 5 years’ worth of networking and collaborating. In terms of experience I had an amazing time, it was crowded as hell but I expected it to be. I’m sorry if you don’t feel like Cigar City has made it up to you but they have more than made it up to me. I know that my LOCAL breweries have got my back and my friend’s backs. They know when things could have been better and they have enough respect to admit it. In another day or so I’ll write up about my experiences at Hunahpu’s day, once the blood is out the water.

Jupiter Craft Brewer's Festival 2014

2014 Jupiter Craft Brewers Festival

Join us Saturday, January 25, 2014, from 1-5:00 pm at  Roger Dean Stadium located in beautiful Jupiter, FL. There’s no better way to experience the ever-growing world of craft brewing. Guests will sample and savor brews from some of South Florida’s as well as the nation’s finest breweries. With paid admission and proper identification (stating you are 21 years of age or older) guests will enjoy unlimited samples of the brews. All this while listening to some of the best local entertainment around!

2014 South Florida Beer Week

South Florida Beer Week

Sure it’s far away, and sure it’s not all about Tampa beer, but Cigar City will be there so there’s your Tampa Connection. For more information on the events, check out the event website.

TIA WAS ROBBED

Tampa Airport Named #6 Best Airport for Beer Snobs

TIA WAS ROBBED

A woman pours a drink in mourning of the incredible loss TIA faced in December 2013. Image from the Thrillist.

Tampa International Airport was ROBBED last month when the title of #1 best airport for beer snobs was given to San Diego International Airport. Robbed, I tell you. We have the ONLY AIRPORT IN THE COUNTRY with an active brewery within it. How could we not win? I mean, there is no fresher beer out there than beer brewed in the same place it is intended to be consumed!

http://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/best-american-airports-for-beer-lovers-thrillist-nation

Next year – I say we gun for #1. Maybe that means we need another brewery on premises?

2014: A Year in Preview

More Thoughts on Volume and Predictions for 2014

There’s talk – always talk – about a bubble in the “craft beer” industry. Heck, even Greg Koch calls this a time of “irrational exuberance”.

The Stone founder, always quick with a metaphor, compares the craft industry to a young San Diego tree, one that came of age during one of those rare years when the usually fierce Santa Ana winds fail to materialize. “There’s no headwind at all,” he says. “In order for a tree to grow strong, there has to be wind. Otherwise, when we have a season of severe Santa Anas, there will be toppled trees all over the place. A lot of small brewers right now are growing up with no headwind. Chain stores are asking them before they open if they can get in line to buy some of their beer. This is an unusual thing that they think is normal. This won’t continue.”

But really is there a bubble? Are our breweries operating in an environment devoid of any headwind?

I’ve already written my thoughts on the addition of  3 Daughters Brewing capacity to our fair local market. One of the things I missed was the impact of tourism – the transient population will drive up the volume of beer consumed here. Here’s a few more thoughts in the form of predictions for Tampa’s local beer economy, triggered by Koch’s doomsday premonitions. In my opinion – we’re gonna be just fine, but there may be some growing pains.

We will lose some local breweries

The growth in craft beer is not coming because people stopped drinking wine or other spirits, or because there are a lot of new beer drinkers in the marketplace – it’s coming at the expense of other breweries – you know, the big three.

There will be a point at which the market of early adopters and people who like beer but not “that beer” has been “tapped”, and without significant growth in the overall market of beer drinkers or Joe Sixpack upping his beer budget by 50%, one doesn’t have to wonder long to know what the result will be: a bunch of small businesses which are highly leveraged and/or under capitalized will likely get tapped out.

Established breweries with better financial footing will likely survive this culling – think Cigar City with its debt-averse owner Joey Redner, big new heavily capitalized breweries like Motorworks or Coppertail, or little guys with tiny capital footprints that are still bootstrapping but are beer purists and dedicated to the craft – call them artisinal breweries, like Three Palms.

Mind you, at last count there are about 30 breweries open or planned making beer for sale either on or off-premises. That’s a lot of breweries and a lot of beer. Among these 30 there are some unique concepts serving sub-markets of the beer industry – and they will likely be just fine – like Saint Somewhere and their unique blend of beers (not to mention that most of their distribution is outside of the state!). But the breweries that are focusing on just plain old ales with nothing special about them – they’ll likely find an untimely end. I’m not naming names, but I suspect there are at least a dozen that won’t make it in their current format. Maybe they’ll be merged into brewpubs. Maybe they’ll be consolidated and their equipment merged into other small breweries or brew pubs, or gasp! it may go to a brewery in another part of the state or country.

We will grow to be a Mecca on the East coast for beer

We continue to surface brave, creative, and intelligent people into this industry. We have a fantastic local home brew club circuit, numbering at least 8 counting only Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. We’re getting a world-class contract brewing facility in Polk County. Our local breweries are getting national and international attention for their creativity and style. And, we have two father-figures in Cigar City and Yuengling. We may not be Asheville, but what they have in volume we make up in charm. We have a theme park that was built on beer for crying out loud.

Look for groups like Tampa Bay Beer Week, Alan C. Shaw, Florida Beer Guy, Tom Scherberger, and yours truly to keep pushing the local angle and upping the tourism ante. One way to grow that demand for Tampa Bay Brews is to get people here drinking it and having a good time doing so. We already have a signature non-brewery event – Tampa Bay Beer Week – and one more that is brewery specific – Hunahpu’s Day. Other parts of the state will look to us for distribution and representation we build up the critical mass of eyeballs and visitors required to become a beer destination. Heck, San Diego did it.

Furthermore, there are talks among the local beer geeks that we need to do a better job of publicizing what we’re all doing around here: making great beer and building a great community. Look for some action on this side – a new organization representing local breweries and doing their charitable good deeds. I suspect at least one more of these will open in 2014 in addition to the great work that Tampa Bay Beer Week is doing.

Big beer will fight hard

The efforts of those representing the current three-tier system will come to light this legislative session and the next. Something has to be done – everyone is looking for resolution to the tasting room loophole and whole the #growlergate thing just makes us look dumb. Big Breweries will continue to use the tools at their disposal – no silly, not their research labs and incredibly bright brewmeisters, I’m talking about their lobbyists and deep pocketbooks – to maintain their dominant position on grocery store shelves. Without access to shelf space, growth beyond beer geeks for little guys will be hard to come by. (Did you ever wonder why we have dozens different varieties of watery lager, but only a handful of ales on the shelves, even with such incredible local variety?) This is where I believe the battle will be fought and won. Retailers can’t carry beer except that which has traversed the distributor networks. Distribution contracts are opaque, one-sided, and not always in the brewery’s favor.

With local breweries like Intuition Ale Works stepping up to the lobbying plate and additional pressure coming from the likes of the Florida Brewers Guild, I suspect that we’ll see some forward motion but not a resolution in 2014.

Its all about the gemutlicheit

We’ll soon realize that there are a lot of really great breweries around here, and taking the time to drive to one and sufficiently enjoy their offerings makes for a long unwinding time before you can actually drive home. Getting people into your tasting room for more than an occasional pint will require something more than the latest imperial sour double-dry-hopped goodness – it will require mug clubs, cornhole, dart boards, board games, shuffleboard, pinball machines, good food, and … dare I say it … a sense of community and warmth. You’re not just selling beer here folks, you’re selling a state of being. Breweries that focus on this – on being a destination – will succeed, in this guy’s opinion.

But it really doesn’t matter

… because these kinds of predictions are only worth the bits they’re written in, and these days that’s worth less than a cup of coffee. These predictions are my own – your mileage may vary. I hope that you at least have a good chuckle at them and that you convince your officemate, roommate, mother-in-law, or postal worker to drop by your local brewery for a pint and a growler to take to that New Year’s Eve party you’re hosting.

Happy Holidays from TBBN.

CCB Tap Takeover at Paddywagon Pub, Tampa, FL, December 2 2013.

Cigar City Tap Takeover at Tampa’s Paddywagon

Tampa residents in the arts district were treated to a Cigar City tap takeover at Paddywaggon Pub on Monday this week (December 2, 2013).

Looks like they had:

— Matt A. (@matta_jjtaylor) December 3, 2013