Thursday, October 13, 2016

20th Americas Food & Beverage Show, Embraces Farming

Miami Beach, Fla.—There was an indoor farm at the 20th Americas Food & Beverage Show. Located at the front of the Miami Beach Convention Center’s main hall, the double rowed, raised bed farm of many produce items took two days to erect. The staff of Nickey Gregory Company, LLC wanted to stand out from the other produce vendors at the show.

Nickey Gregory Company, LLC's indoor raised bed farm display at 20th
Americas Food & Beverage Show, Miami Beach Convention Center,
Miami Beach, Fla. Copyright 2016 by Helen A Lockey
Exotic tropical fruit displays, colorful gourds, decorative harvest corn, banana fronds, mushrooms and enormous pumpkins surrounded their vegetable rows.

Tropical fruit display at Nickey Gregory Company, LLC
indoor farm, 20th Americas Food & Beverage Show,
Miami Beach, Fla. Copyright 2016 by Helen A Lockey

At then end of the show, they offered up the produce to show attendees because they did not want to haul it back home. It took seconds for the display to be dismantled according to a neighboring company stall.

“You should have seen the frenzy of activity when the stall was dismantled, everything was gone in seconds.”

What was left over went to a local food bank in Miami-Dade County.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Beer Bloggers And Writers Conference, Tampa, Fla.

Tampa, Fla.—This is not a conference for the faint of heart or weak of liver. The Beer Blogging & Writers Conference is an emersion style conference where your every thought, sight, taste, smell and hearing sense is filled with information about beer. It has been organized by Zephyr Conferences, a branch of Zephyr Adventures, each year for the past seven.

Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference by Zephyr Conferences, Tampa, Fla.
Copyright 2016 by Helen A Lockey
This year the conference was held at the Marriott Tampa Waterside and officially started on July 8 and went through July 10th. But there was a choice of either a pre (Jacksonville) or post (Tampa/St. Pete) or both beer tours making the conference experience last five days long. I chose just to go on the post tour of St. Petersburg.

I also got to meet beer bloggers from all over the country and the world. I met beer judges, and got to see behind the scenes of local breweries and ask questions I might not have been able to ask on my own.

Night Of Many Bottles event, Beer Bloggers & Writers
Conference by Zephyr Conferences, Tampa, Fla.
Copyright 2016 by Helen A Lockey
And there was beer to be drunk everywhere, outside the conference rooms, inside the conference rooms, at lunch, at dinner, at mid-morning snack, at afternoon snack, on a bus between breweries, at breweries, and at a live beer blogging event held at J.J. Taylor Distributing Florida, Inc.

I learned a lot, possible more than I intended about the beer industry. It was still a lot of fun despite my first hangover ever.

Turns out the Tampa/St. Pete area have recently been voted the best beer area in the country with 60 breweries.

Next year, Zephyr Conferences is going to have their Beer Blogging & Writers Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from August 3-6. You can go to their website to register and find out more information.

But you won’t see me there because I’ll still be recovering from all the beer I drank at the 2016 conference.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Tomoka Brewing Company, Port Orange, Fla. Local Ingredients

Port Orange, Fla.--Tomoka Brewing Company uses Florida ingredients in both their brews and food.  This brewery, open more than four years ago near Daytona Beach, really embraces the farm-to-glass style of brewing. They use locally sourced, Florida-grown seasonal ingredients like strawberries, watermelon, blueberries, sugar cane, muscadine grape juice and more, whenever they can.

Tomoka Brewing Company bar logo, Port Orange, Fla.
Copyright 2016 by Helen A. Lockey
They have two tap room/brewery locations, their original in Ormond Beach and the one I visited was in Port Orange.

I went in earlier this year for a flight of beer ($8 for four glasses and $2 for each additional glass).

From left to right in the below picture I selected Pumpernickel Porter (6.2% ABV), Tomoka The King Elvis-Imperial Brown Ale (8.5% ABV), Tomoka Mutha Fuggle EPA (6.1% ABV) and Tomoka Tangerine Weisse (4.2% ABV).

I also got Tomoka Twist of Cane Double IPA (8.6% ABV) and Jen's Gin Saison (7.6 % ABV), not pictured below.

Tomoka Brewing Company beer flight, Port Orange, Fla.
Copyright 2016 by Helen A Lockey

My favorite was Jen's Gin Saison, made with real cucumber juice. It smelt like incense in a glass with aromas of Jamaican Hibiscus mixed with herbaceous cucumber. And the taste continued in the delicious path of the aroma with sweet honeysuckle like flavors followed by refreshing cucumber and ending with a light tartness. It was wonderfully refreshing.

I also liked the Twist of Cane Double IPA that had a light, crisp sweetness (from the real Florida sugar cane) that mellowed to a floral hops bitterness that perfectly balanced the sugar start.

The Tangerine Weisse had a nice, light, beginners sour taste and was very drinkable.

The King Elvis Imperial Brown Ale had a strong smoky, boozy smell and taste. I also detected flavors of chocolate, molasses and strangely enough pumpernickel bread.

Oddly enough the pumpernickel porter did not taste like its namesake, to me. Instead it had a crystalized brown sugar smell and taste.

Their Port Orange tasting room/brewery is open seven days a week usually opening their doors at 11 a.m. except on Sunday when they open one hour earlier and closing most days at 11 p.m.

Tomoka Brewing Company has 22 house taps and a great pizza style kitchen that uses their beer in their food.

Their selection of beers changes constantly so hurry in before your favorite is gone. They also make beer cocktails and serve wine.

Tomoka Brewing is located at 4647 S. Clyde Morris Blvd, Port Orange, FL 32129
Phone (386)352-4679