Islamorada Beer Company, Islamorada, FL #Islamoradabeerco

I came across this brewery on a total fluke. WineyWoman and I were in Miami Beach, FL, for a few days, visiting with friends from Germany and Holland (I know, that makes no sense, but just roll with it)…We wandered into a small hole-in-the-wall liquor store on a side street between Ocean Ave and Collins Ave, just to see what they had to offer. They had tons of generic beers, an equal amount of wine, and then a cold case of singles and 6-packs to go. In this case, we discovered a lone row of Islamorada Beer Company (IBC) Sandbar Sunday. The name rung a bell, as the following day our plan was to go to the Keys. One quick Google search (ain’t smartphones grand?) and we knew exactly where the brewery was located.

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The following morning we picked up our rental car, and headed out on the 75-minute drive south from Miami Beach. If you’ve never been to the Keys, you need to go. Once you get past some of the more built up areas, especially in Key Largo, things only get more beautiful as you go south.

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IBC is located in a small single-story building on the side of Rt1, and you’d likely miss it except that it’s the yellowest thing in the world. Seriously, Big Bird isn’t this yellow. Anyway – we arrived about ten minutes before they opened, so we took a short walk two blocks to the Atlantic Ocean and drool over the beautiful day we had.

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Upon returning to the brewery, the door was unlocked and we were welcomed in by a wonderful young lady named Crystal. Right away the conversation was easy going and the beers were being poured. That day we were offered seven tasters, including a bunch of their pilot batches.

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Every single brew we tried was off the charts awesome. From the basic Sandbar Sunday, a great brew for typical southern Florida weather (read: hot and sticky), to their Pump Key pumpkin beer. Yeah, who’d expect to find a pumpkin beer in Florida – surprised me, for sure! The one beer that stuck out in my mind – so much that after we spent the afternoon at a beach resort Crystal suggested we check out, we went back and bought a half growler to bring home – was No Wake Zone, a pilot batch ale brewed with coconut and Key Lime. I seriously thought about this beer all afternoon as we sat on the beautiful white sand, soaking up the sunshine.

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I knew it was a risk trying to get a growler home on an airplane, even in checked baggage. I was concerned that the pressure changes due to being 32,000 feet off the ground might cause the glass to break; or the TSA agents might fancy a drink while searching luggage…Luckily everything went fine – my bag wasn’t searched, the glass was strong, and the beer (over two weeks “aged” here in New Hampshire) was just as good, maybe even better, than when it was fresh.
No Wake Zone, a coconut and Key Lime ale, is incredible. I was a little unsure of how coconut would work in a beer, but I’m happy to report that IBC knows what they’re doing! The nose isn’t overly powerful, just a basic ale aroma – it smells like a beer. I can’t sense any coconut on the nose to let me know what I’m about to get into. Only a very slight hint of lime says “hey, get ready for some fun!” And what fun it is! That first sip releases all sorts of flavors. The coconut comes rushing to the front, filling my whole palate with a smoothness I’d attribute to having a beer on nitro. That superb silky mouthfeel, with the added benefit of coconut to round it out. After that, Key Lime shows up to the party – fashionably late, but still welcomed. It adds a slightly sweet tang to the finish, just so the coconut doesn’t get to hog the whole palate. Deeper into my first glass and I’m starting to pick up on a slight coconut aroma being released. It’s not strong but does allow the flavor to expand slightly – the way red wine breathes as it sits in a decanter or large glass. I’m going to be a good boy and save the rest of my 32oz bottle for tomorrow, as much as it pains me. I know I’ll enjoy the rest of it if I wait a day.

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-Beer Man

A lot to talk about!

Sorry for the lack of posts in recent weeks. Beer Man and I have been doing a lot of beer and wine related stuff, which hasn’t left us a lot of time to write about beer and wine related stuff! We plan to rectify this ASAP, so you should keep an eye out for upcoming posts that will include
-a beer class with Great Rhythm Brewing;
-a weekend of wine and beer tasting up at the Woodstock Inn and Brewery in NH;
-a review of Wine Awesomeness,  the newest and most awesome wine-of-the-month club;
-a note on our plans for growing our own Hops;
-Beer Man and Winey Woman Take Manhattan; and
-a whole bunch of reviews on brews and wines we’ve been drinking lately.

So stay tuned, we have a lot in store for you!

Winey Woman 🙂

Winey Information Resources #1

The internet is full of information, but with so much to sift through, where should you start when looking for information about wine, beer, and other alcoholic goodness? Of course, I would suggest you start with this blog (self-promotion never hurts!), but we are by no means a never-ending vessel of information. I will be doing a series of posts highlighting great resources for information, good books to read, etc. on our favorite subjects.

Our first featured resource is Pinterest.com. I was really surprised to find the great practical information available on Pinterest. Sure, knowing all of the ins and outs of what makes a good wine is important, but sometimes you just want to know the type of wine that goes best with your salmon and risotto for your dinner party or holiday meal!

Pairing Wine, Beer, and Spirits with your Thanksgiving Meal from Pinterest.com

Pairing Wine, Beer, and Spirits with your Thanksgiving Meal from Pinterest.com

Or, how about how much of each type of alcohol should you buy for your party based on the number of people you’ve invited?

How to buy the correct amount of alcohol for your party.  From Pinterest

How to buy the correct amount of alcohol for your party.
From Pinterest

Sure, all of this stuff is merely guidance. Maybe you don’t care that Pinot Grigio is the best wine for your Thanksgiving stuffing–you’re going to drink your Malbec regardless of what the little chart says. These charts and infographics are used best when you’re not sure or you need a starting place. They can also be a great place to start experimenting with your alcohol and food pairings. Having the “right” wine can often take an already delicious meal to the next level.

Happy Pinning, dear readers! Just make sure to set a time limit for yourself, or you can spend several hours surfing Pinterest and not even realize it!

Have a great resource for information? Share in the comments!

Winey Woman 🙂