Tag Archives: SARASOTA FL


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Just north of downtown Sarasota in a light Industrial setting, ambitiously bohemian brewpub, JDUB’S BREWING COMPANY, opened in 2014. Inside a pale green aluminum warehouse with two overhead doors guarding large brew tanks and a hauntingly Transylvanian-arched wood entrance leading to the patio-fronted pub, JDub’s innovative recipes range from a creamsicled Berliner Weisse to a wintry barrel-aged stout.

Jdub’s basically a cartoonish hippie-esque wonderland perfect for any casually fun event or High Times party. The relatively small graffiti-filled cement-floored interior features interesting front-walled painted pix of its flagship beers, four stormtrooper-related beer posters, five community tables and a right side serving station with 1 TV and a refrigerator (plus other paraphernalic ephemera).

But what really makes this Sunshine State brewpub so special is its three separate backspace patios. A backdoored Jdub’s insignia leads to a covered back deck with two community tables, hanging Edison lights and red tiled pavers. Then, there’s an open air furnished yard with plastic furnishings and a trellis-enclosed side deck. It’s truly a handy party-spirited expanse.

Nerdy owner shows his love for modern popular culture, comedic films and rock music by pasting the bathroom wall with Goonies, Big Lebowski, Wayne’s World and Prince art.

Brewer Vince Falcone, lover of pilsners and West Coast IPA’s, tries to push the limits just a little with his consistent, rangy brews.

On my inspirational April ’19 afternoon journey, my wife, Karen, and I gather at the bar to consume some sassy suds.

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First up were the four flagship brews.

The most straightforward year-rounder, Poolside Kolsch, brought dry lemon-dropped orange rot and tannic green grape tartness to bready pale malts, leaving gentle mandarin orange, bergamot orange, tangelo and marmalade illusions in the sweetly soured citric recess.

Perfumed passionfruit and mango stayed subtle for light-bodied fruit ale, Passion Wheat, caressing its pale-malted cracked wheat spine before phenol hop tannins arrive.

Sharp grapefruit bittering and tangy orange peel juicing brightened Up Top! IPA, a brisk medium body picking up floral-daubed lemon zesting and lingered herbal hop resin.

Fudgy milk chocolate-sugared Bell Cow, a soothingly creamed dessert-bound porter, promoted Yoo-Hoo, Hershey’s chocolate, mud pie and chocolate cake sweetness over slightly charred hop bitterness.

After these permanent offerings I settled into the whole gamut of stylishly challenging elixirs.

Tart rose raspberry and lemony hibiscus adjuncts delicately affected hybridized Berliner Weisse, Mellow Pucker, leaving lightly acidic lime salting and sour lemongrass oiling on its vinous back end.

Another innovative Berliner Weisse, Cream-Sick Ale, sprinkled lemon-limed coriander saltiness upon zesty orange-peeled vanilla sweetness, embracing its Creamsicle likeness without dismissing the stylish acidic sourness.

Dry-hopped wheat ale, Psychedelic Sunday, grafted grassy-hopped lemony grapefruit bittering to its mildly sugar-spiced white wheat backbone.

Tranquil white-peppered floral spicing serenaded orange-bruised lemon zesting and ripe banana-peach subsidy above honeyed Graham Cracker sweetness for Buffalo Smile Saison.

Easygoing dry moderation, Dirty Bong H2O Double IPA, let rustic wet grain dankness seep into yellow grapefruit and navel orange tartness as well as wispy herbal spicing.

Sweet-tart Blueberry IPA loaded syrupy blueberries atop light citrus pining and sugared wheat malting for a frolicsome fruitful delight.

Lovely tropical fruited New England-styled IPA, Pastel Daydream Milkshake, regaled milk-soured lemon yogurt acidity with barley-floured gooseberry, melon rind, kiwi and mango tartness while retaining a creamy vanilla center.       

Soothingly soft-toned Bourbon Barrel-aged Damb Good Wee Heavy (with unassuming 13% ABV) fortified its dry bourbon foundation with oaken vanilla tannins and roasted chocolate malting, leaving rum-spiced burgundy and port tones to linger below the surface alongside tobacco leaf crisping.

Milk chocolate goodness draped bourbon vanilla sweetness and wintry nutmeg-anise spicing for decadent Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, an oaken rum-fermented full body deepened by molasses, cocoa, dark cherry, hazelnut and cola subsidies.



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Taking up an entire gray warehouse a few miles off Sarasota’s bustling Route 75, CALUSA BREWING opened up in 2016. Utilizing a large left space for a silver tank-dominated 15 barrel system and several oak barrels (for sour ales and wood-aged elixirs), head brewer Jason Thompson crafts a veritable cornucopia of amazingly consistent and totally iconic traditional styles.

Entering the separate right side drive-in doored taproom in late April ’19, my wife and I take a seat at one of the seven tables serviced by the 12-seat U-shaped bar. Many oak barrles line the back wall while a beautiful mural with an octopus attacking a shipwrecked pirate takes up the aquamarine front wall. There’s even a billiard table.

During our one-hour pre-dinner sojourn, the NHL playoffs are shown on the back-walled TV as I imbibe four fine IPA’s and two contrasting stouts.

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Briskly hopped yellow grapefruit juicing led zestful moderate-medium body, Minus Zero IPA, letting barley-floured sourdough malting scour limey pineapple, mango, guava and melon rind tropicalia.

Perfectly centrist in appeal, stylishly straightforward V.I.B.E. Eagle IPA, connected tangy citric-pined Mosaic hop aromatics to bittersweet mango-peach-nectarine-influenced El Dorado hop niceties and lemony gooseberry-soured Moteuka hop tartness.

Zesty grapefruit and orange peel tanginess thrusted forth for cleanly refreshing Mosaic-Galaxy-hopped Naked Villainy Triple IPA, a surprisingly strong (10.5 ABV) medium body with barley-floured haze and light sugared spicing.

Its rival triple IPA, Mind Burst, employed new hop varieties (Sabro/ Denali 105) to sharpen its Citra grapefruit-peeled orange rind bittering, leaving wet-grained herbal dankness at the back end.

Tarry black chocolate bittering and light wood tones gathered for King’s Creature English Export Stout, a dry espresso-finishing dark ale.

For dessert, outstanding Caribbean-styled Mountain & Sea Imperial Sweet Stout wrapped its richly creamed dark chocolate malting around toasted coconut, vanilla, hazelnut, sugared coffee and Graham Cracker alacrity. A perfect Floridian nightcap!


These are only a few of the 70-plus beers Calusa has created since its initial setup merely three years hence.



While on hiatus at brother-in-law (and ex-Connecticut beer distributor) Rob Neuner’s Gulf Coast summer retreat in Naples during November ‘08, plowed local Dunedin Pipers Pale Ale while relaxing at nearby Sanibel Island and Siesta Key beaches with wife and kids. 100 miles north of Naples in strip mall-lined Gulf Gate section of Sarasota lied cozy restaurant-sportsbar, SARASOTA BREWING COMPANY.

Windowed silver brew kettles greeted customers to stone-walled wood-sided low-ceilinged pub, where multiple TV’s, sports banners, and beer mugs adorn interior. Left bar opposes right dining area behind separate smaller center bar with private balcony above. A stone hearth added warmth. Guest tap beers included Guinness, Lagunitas, Sierra Nevada, and Lost Coast brews. Besides decent homemade root beer, vats contained six average-to-good selections.

Quaffed light Saaz-hopped citric-sweet floral-tinged Sarasota Gold and brisk lemon-zipped coriander-spiced acerbity Coriander Wheat with Cobb Salad and mushroom soup while Sunday NFL games started.

After lunch, imbibed musty lemon-bruised grass-hopped Old Prague Pilsner (boasting phenol alcohol pungency), diacetyl-laden caramel-coated orange-dried hop-embittered Sequoia Amber Lager, and dry fig-prune-soured red-fruited dark-spiced Sunset Red (subsumed by dank honeyed malts). For dessert, tried licorice-laced fig-dried cherry-pureed coffee-burnt Midnight Pass Porter.

On the way out, discovered Sarasota-based Norman’s Liquors, the best import-microbrew store in area. Sorry I couldn’t go one-hour north to TAMPA BAY BREWING COMPANY in Ybor City’s historic district, which is reminiscent of New Orleans’ Bourbon Street with its bohemian attitude and snug balcony.