I am Gruut

While in Ghent I visited the funky brewery called Gruut and lost an hour or two sampling their beers

I liked all the beers I sampled but I really liked the Bruin and the Inferno. The Inferno had good flavor, but watch out since it is 9%!

What was also cool is that the brewer is a female who comes from a long line of brewers. It is good to see women out there making good beer. In addition, her take on using herbs instead of hops is spot on. I’m a fan.

Playalinda Brewing Company

With nothing planned one weekend some friends invited us to go with them to check out the Playalinda Brewing Company in Titusville, Florida.
It is not a long drive from Orlando and perfect for a day trip.
We arrive to a clean and friendly tasting room in a quiet town. A few patrons were enjoying a lazy Sunday.
We had no problem finding a table in the front of the tasting room with a nice view of the street outside.
We ordered flights of beer, some snacks and played the games provided by the tasting room.
We were familiar with Ron Raike’s beers (the brewer) from when he brewed at Shipyard in Orlando (now closed brewery/restaurant). Some interesting brews. My favorite of the day was the strong “Go Big”.
If you are happening to look for a nice short day trip from Orlando I suggest you stop on by.

Singelcut Beersmiths

While wandering around Astoria one day we decided to check out the local brewery Singlecut Beersmiths.

Singlecut is located in a fairly residential area across the street from a grocery store.
We had a nice time trying a few of the beers and sitting at table close to the entrance.
The decor is typical of most new breweries: metal chairs, wooden tables, warehouse feel.

I highly recommend stopping by if you are in the neighborhood.

Highland games

Once a year a time comes in Central Florida where there is a celebration of all that is Scottish. It is called the Central Florida Scottish Highland Games. Every year it comes and every year I miss it because it is always scheduled on a weekend I have to work. Luck would have it that I was able to arrange my schedule to have this day off work so I could attend this year.
I am glad I finally got to attend.

The first task was to find my clan. I recently became aware of my Scottish heritage so I spent some time trying to locate the clan I hail from. There are a series of tents set up that talk about each of the different clans. Locating my tent proved harder than I thought because a name could possibly be part of a couple different clans. What matters is the area that your relative lived in. I wasn’t 100% sure so it was back to the drawing board to figure that out later.

Along with the clan tents, there were tents set up to purchases things to represent your Scottish pride.

I really wanted to buy a tartan that represents my heritage but not being 100% sure of the clan I held out this time.

Next it was on to the snacks. I started off with a haggis taco from tijuana flats. It was decent. The toppings masked the haggis flavor quite a bit. It was no haggies, neeps and tatties but it would suffice.

 I love Sticky Toffee Pudding. But I didn’t get any; too much food to try and I didn’t leave room.

Later on I had a craving for a meat pie. I shared a meat pie and sausage roll with my husband. MMMMM meat in bread, yummmm!

One of the highlights of the festival is the beer vendor Dunedin Brewery. This Florida brewery provides all the tasty beer beverages for the festival.
The only bad thing about the process is the 2 separate line process that these festivals like to do. You wait in one long line for a ticket to buy and beer and then another long line to get served the beer.

They do have these handy pitchers that can be reused year after year. It saves line time.

After gathering food and beverage they have a limited number of tables under tents, or you can sit on the lawn and watch the entertainment.

We ate quickly and went out to watch the entertainment.
I got to listen to some talented bagpipers.

There is an area with highland animals. These two hairy coo’s must have been hot here in Florida.

Finally it is time for the manly man games. We spent some time watching feats of strength.

And my husband tried his hand at archery.

And more manly games.

We finished the night watching a Scottish modern rock band play. I can say it was a very entertaining day and worth the wait.

Here is a short video of some of the nighttime entertainment,

Savannah Night

We had one extra night to spend on our trip to the south last year and decided we would return to Savannah to spend the evening. Savannah is the location of the first out of town trip my husband and I took when we first started dating. We had fond memories of walking around the historic town and going on a haunted pub tour. 
We like to stay in vacation  rentals but since our visit was limited to one night we decided upon a historic hotel. East Bay Inn was a perfect place to rest. We were in walking distance to pretty much every where we wanted to go. We were also lucky that there was a free parking space available for us to keep our car. 
After checking in we walked down to Moon River Brewing Company to begin some beer drinking. My husband and I first visited Moon River on our trip to Savannah in 2005 and remembered it fondly. Our second time around we were perhaps more educated on beers and not impressed like before. A good time was still had trying their brews. 
Later on we had dinner at a.lure. I chose a.lure because I wanted to try some low country specialities and my first choice, The Olde Pink House, was booked for the evening. It proved to be a great choice.
We started our dinner with some fruity cocktails.

I decided on the pork shank for dinner. It was one of the best meals I have ever had. The pork easily fell off the bone and was cooked perfectly. The sauce complemented it very well. The garlic goat cheese grits provided a tasty bed for the shank to rest upon.

NIMAN RANCH PORK SHANK

(slow braised, roasted garlic goat cheese grits, charred tomato demi glaze, haricots verts

We finished it off with an interesting goat cheese frozen dessert. It was perfect for my taste because it was only slightly sweet but creamy. If you like your desserts super sweet you might want to chose another.

Frozen Goat cheese dessert

After dinner we decided to walk along the water. My husband and I remember a line of bars up and down the water on our previous trip; the economy must to hit many of them hard because many places were no longer open. We still had a nice walk that started by going down these steep, wet, slippery stairs.

When we got closer to the action there were performers and live music to entertain the masses after dinner.

Some were also entertained, as I, by watching the large barges come in. It is impressive how much cargo comes into that port.

We weren’t ready to go the bed yet so we walked around looking for a bar with some live music. We found a few with good sounds however the volume was so loud that neither one us thought we would have a good time in a bar with those noise levels. We people watched and listened to music from one bar from across the street instead. We soon found that we were not the only ones doing that.
We still wanted another drink before we called it a night so we headed over to the The Distillery to check out their craft beer selection. They had some interesting regional choices to try.

We finished off the evening with a cheese plate and then headed back to the hotel for bed. It was a perfect evening for a couple in their late 30’s.

St Pete Breweries Day 2

We started off our second day of St. Pete with brunch at Peg’s Cantina. It was a good time on the patio enjoying food beer and friends.

I thoroughly enjoyed this cheese appetizer. It didn’t last long.

Blueberry goat cheese pancakes

The bill comes in this fun box.

Soon after Peg’s we headed over to 3 Daughters for our first beer tasting of the day.

The 3 Daughters tasting room was attractively decorated there. We spent quite a bit of time sipping our samples there. I soon realized that they had an outdoors activity area. You can play games with a view of the brewing facilities.

Our next stop was Cycling Brewing. Their cream & sugar, please was all the rage. We had fun hanging at their tasting room but soon it was time to head back home.

Not quite done yet. We decided to stop at Rapp Brewing Company heading out of Tampa. It proved to be the best stop of the day. You can tell they love what they do, you can taste it in their beers.

So the trip comes to an end. I will return someday. However next on the list is all the great breweries in Dunedin. See you soon!

St Pete Breweries Day 1

Last fall I went on a brewery road trip with some friends from the Orlando Lady Crafters to St. Petersburg, Florida. St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay area in general is a burgeoning location for the craft beer scene in Florida. There are a number of breweries in a short distance.
My friends have had craft beer road trips before but this is the first one I was able to attend.
Only a few of our events are opening to the men behind the ladies; this is one of them.
Our first stop on our brewery road trip was the Green Bench Brewing Co. Green Bench hosted a one year anniversary party. We stuck around a while to try some of their beers.

It was very crowded so they decided to discontinue beer flights for the day. I was disappointed I was unable to try more of their selections.
However we did get a free can of their anniversary beer.

They had the brewery open to visitors. We took a tour around.

They even had food trucks and live music outside.

When I cashed out I was happy to discover that they give you one additional anniversary beer for every pint you purchased. We almost had enough for a six pack!

Second stop on our brewery tour was St. Pete Brewing Company.

We were happy to discover that flights were available here.

We passed the time with games while we enjoyed our samples.

After touring the breweries we grabbed dinner at Engine No 9. The Saganaki burger was probably one of the best burgers I have ever had. The restaurant is small and has limited seating. We got lucky out and spread our large group across the bar; we only had to wait around 40 minutes.
Not quite wanting the evening to end we visited the The Ale & The Witch to keep the night going on. They had a great beer selection and live music. However we all got tired quickly and called it a night after one drink. We planned to meet up the next day for more beer-ploring St. Pete.

What a fun day in the city!