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Saturday, November 22, 2014



Bugnutty Brewing Company - This little brewery tucked away in a strip mall on Merritt Island has a surprising number of beers on tap - their own as well as "guest" brewers. We stopped in to check them out. It is a brewery with an intimate tap room. Looking at the chalk board behind the bar I saw three IPAs right at the top: Zeus Will Smite Thee IPA, Black Falcon Black IPA, and Red Falcon Red IPA. I opted for a flight of these four beers and included a beer called Snickle Fritz just because of the name (though some of the other names, particularly Mike's Milf Stout - no, that's not a typo - and Camel Toad Pils, were intriguing as well, though for altogether different reasons).

Snickle Fritz is a California Common beer, similar to Steam beer. It's a very tasty beer with a much bigger hop presence than I expected. It's 5.41% ABV and 37.4 IBU, yet the clean finish gives it a nice bitter bite you wouldn't expect.

Black Falcon Black IPA - 7.4% ABV and 82 IBUs. Nice strong flavor of dark chocolate and coffee with a very strong hops presence. It's like a nice chocolate Stout paired with an IPA. Kind of gives you the best of both worlds. ****

Red Falcon Red IPA - 6.83% ABV and 67.8 IBUs. A hopped up Red Ale. Hint of caramel and toffee. A really good beer. ***

Zeus Will Smite Thee IPA  - 7.24% ABV and 76.2 IBUs. Terrific beer brewed with Galena, Zythos, and Antanum hops and Pale and Rye malt. Really hoppy with spicy citrus hops nose. ****

You can check out their whole line up at

In case you were wondering about the name Bugnutty, here's how they define it:

Bugnutty, adj. \'bug-'nut-te\

1. To have feelings of discouragement, disappointment or frustration.
Example: "Not having a great selection of locally brewed craft beers makes me Bugnutty."

2. Being in a state of overwhelming emotion; especially: rapturous delight
Example: "I am so Bugnutty now that I have fresh craft-brewed beer right here on Merritt Island!"

Florida Beer Company - I've seen some of Florida Beer Company's beers around throughout the South and even occasionally up North. But it seems to always be their Key West Sunset Ale or their Florida Lager. Many bars seem to have the Sunset Ale on tap. I had begun to wonder if they brewed anything else. Indeed they do. We visited the Florida Beer Company for drinks (no food) and found they had a pretty  good selection. The tap room is large with an enormous circular bar. The walls are all glass looking into the working brewery.
Their beer selection is broad enough to include at least one to please any category of craft beer enthusiast from the newbie first dipping a wary tongue into something other than Bud Light to a craft-y veteran of the Beer Wars. Their beers the night we were there included: an Amber Ale, a Belgian Wheat, a Porter, a Stout, a couple of Pilsners, an Amber Lager, and a Red Lager as well as a couple of seasonals - Gourd Shorts Pumpkin Ale and Conchtoberfest (their version of an Oktoberfest). They also had a couple of hard ciders. Oh, and by the way, they had three IPAs: Devil's Triangle (a beer they called a Southern American India Pale Ale -SAIPA?), Swamp Ape,  a double IPA and Smoked Swamp Ape.
I tried the three IPAs (surprise!). Here's what I found:

Devil's Triangle  - ABV: 6.66% (Get it? - Devil - 666); IBUs: 66; SRM: 10 - A delicious IPA full of the spicy hops you would expect from an American IPA. Brewed with Cascade, Centennial, Columbus and Warrior hops, it's a beer that won't disappoint hop hounds.

Swamp Ape Double India Pale Ale - ABV:10%; IBUs: 85; SRM: 12 - A big, bold slap-you-up-side-the-head beer. Five hops: Tettnang, Chinook, Cascade, Centennial, and Amarillo give this beer a
powerful punch with a nice warming alcohol-fueled bitter finish. A great sipping beer.

Smoked Swamp Ape - Same as above with a smokey aroma and subtle smoke flavor.


While some of us got the opportunities in recent months to sample some beers from various places around the country, we decided to look close to home for this month's series of samplings. We thought it might be interesting to pick an IPA from within 100 miles of the host's (Ron) home base - Pulaski, NY.


The Beer Facts: BREWER: Brewery Ommegang , Copperstown, NY; STYLE: Belgian-Style Pale Ale; ABVs: 6.0%; IBUs: 21; HOPS: A blend of Cascade and European hops; WEBSITE:

What the Brewer Says: "Pale and hoppy with notes of citrus and tropical fruit. Our Begian-American love child."

Color: Cloudy wheat

Pour: Better than "Decent" but not quite "Guinness Class."

Aroma: Toward the malty side. Somewhat bready, but not a big aroma.

Body: Slightly less than medium

Taste: Fairly balanced. A bit spicy up front with a dry finish, notes of fresh bread

Overall Impression: I Could Drink This!

Comments: "this is the best tasting Belgian I've had; The aftertaste suffers a little bit - it's not a clean finish; This is an Ommegang I'd certainly buy; There is a bit of hops in it; Ommegang really got this one right - hops come to Cooperstown; Belgians are a little out of our wheelhouse, but his is one that crosses into the hop universe; A moderate alcohol content - maybe not quite an IPA, but definitely not a session beer; a somewhat complex taste, I like it."


The Beer Facts: BREWER: Cortland Beer Company, Cortland, NY; STYLE: IPA; ABV: 6.8%; IBUs: 79.9; WEBSITE:

What the Brewer Says: "IPA descends from the late 18th century when beer was exported from London to India. Typical of India Pale Ale, this ale is bold, assertive, and full of hop flavor. It has a medium to dry finish and a fantastic citrus overtone"

Color: 14.9 SRM, Unfiltered buckwheat honey

Pour: Better than decent off-white head with good lacing

Aroma: Grassy hops

Body: A touch more than medium

Taste: Bitter, especially on the aftertaste, it fills the mouth and is heavy. there are notes of toffee and caramel.

Overall Impression: Can't Get Enough

Comments: "It's a little sweeter than many IPAs; It has a big "industrial" taste; It's a good tailgate beer; This has a complex taste; There is a little more alcohol presence - it announces itself, but not overly; The aftertaste is almost like 'give me another taste'; This is a good local beer that rivals the national beers; It compares well with the West Coast IPAs."


The Beer Facts: BREWER: Empire Brewing, Syracuse, NY; STYLE: IPA; ABV: 7.2%; IBUs: NA; WEBSITE:

What the Brewer Says: "Our American IPA, hopped heavily w/ 6 kettle additions of Falconers Flight. It has a citrus aroma and a bright earthy flavor, with just the right amount of malt balance."

Color: Unfiltered buckwheat honey

Pour: "Guinness Class"

Aroma: Neutral

Body: Medium

Taste: fairly balanced with some bready notes

Overall Impression: I could drink this!

Comments: "There's a nice little bitter finish to it; It's a pretty good IPA; It starts out a little sweet; It has a taste like sawdust smells (in a good way); I drink it when I can find it; We say 'bottle it!'; It should be at the MBT Stadium, the Dome and at Crunch games."


The Beer Facts: BREWERY: Lake Placid Craft Brewing Company, Lake Placid, NY; STYLE:India Pale Ale; ABV: 7.0%; IBUs: 70; MALTS: Pale Munich, Carapils; HOPS: Amarillo, Simcoe, Chinook, Citra. WEBSITE:

What the Brewer Says: "Walking through the forests around the Olympic village you experience the enormity of the Adirondack Mountains. We offer this big, slightly piney brew in tribute to both the 27th High Peak and our ski jumps, which rise high above the trees. Here's to the heights!"

Color:Cloudy golden

Pour: Slightly better than Decent head

Aroma: Quite a ways toward the Hoppy end with hints of pine

Body: Between Medium and Full

Taste: Leans to the hoppy, with notes of pine resins

Overall Impression:  Can't get enough!

Comments:"It has a big nose; And a promising aroma; This is my favorite Lake Placid beer; I hope they start selling it in the Syracuse area; This is one delicious beer; It has a fireplace and easy chair written all over it; Delicious; It's full all through to the swallow; This is truly a find; It aggressively invites another sip; so far, this is the find of the day."


The Beer Facts: BREWERY: Ithaca Beer company, Ithaca, NY; STYLE: IPA; ABV: 7.5%; IBUs: NA; MALT: 2-Row Pale, Honey Malt; HOPS: Simcoe, Chinook, Citra, Ahtanum, Centennial; DRY HOPS: Simcoe, Amarillo, Centennial; AWARDS: Silver Medal - Tap NY 2008 / National IPA Championship Final Four 2008, 2010, 2011; WEBSITE:

What the Brewer Says: "Enjoy the clover honey hue and tropical nose. Simultaneously punchy and soothing with a big body and a finish that boasts pineapple and grapefruit. Flower Power is hopped and dry hopped five different times throughout the brewing and fermentation process."

Color: Cloudy pale yellow

Pour: Decent head

Aroma: Hoppy pine and grapefruit

Body: A bit beyond Medium

Taste: Well toward the expected IPA bitter end with notes of            grapefruit, citrus and pine

Overall Impression: "Can't Get Enough!"

Comments: "This is one good beer; A real no-brainer; This is always in my fridge; It (the logo design) reminds me of the late '60's; This has been a standard in the area for a very long time; In my opinion, it is the best East Coast IPA; It stacks up well to the West Coast IPAs as well; It is arguably one of the best beers on the market; It's definitely a staple."


The Beer Facts: BREWERY: Hopshire Farms and Brewery, Freeville, NY; STYLE: IPA; ABV: 7.5%; IBUs: 74; MALTS: Pale and Caramel; HOPS: A lot of them; WEBSITE:

What the Brewer Says: "A hop farm needs a big American IPA. We start with a solid malt base...and then add hops (a lot of them!) five times during the boil. We don't stop there.We add to the serving tank in a process we call 'laced with hops.' Hopheads - find your NearVarna."

Color: Unfiltered copper

Pour: Some lacing with slight head

Aroma: Quite hoppy - grapefruit and pine

Body: A bit past medium

Taste: Well toward the bitter end with notes of citrus, grapefruit, nuts and pine

Overall Impression: Just a whisker shy of "Can't Get Enough!"

Comments: "This beer has a complex flavor; The color is typical of my vision of an IPA; It's a little sweeter and fruitier than many IPAs; Lots of hops flavor throughout; It has a nice malt body as well."


The Beer Facts: BREWER: Good Nature Brewing, Hamilton, NY; STYLE: Imperial IPA; ABV: 8.5%; IBUs: 95; SRM: 5; MALT and HOPS: NA; WEBSITE:

What the Brewer Says: "Our Imperial IPA was originally brewed to celebrate our second anniversary in 2014. We were so taken with her that we decided to keep her on as one of our first bottled beers. A complex IPA that delivers on many levels. The simplicity of the grain bill allows the hops to really shine. Tropical fruits and lemon on the nose with a spicy finish that tickles the taste buds."

Color: Cloudy clover honey

Pour: Between Decent and Little Head with lacing that clings to the glass

Aroma: Hoppy with hints of citrus

Body: Well toward Full Bodied

Taste: Bitter with notes of pine resins and the "Seven C's" hops

Overall Impression: "Can't Get Enough!"

Comments: "A West Coast hops cocktail; Similar to lagunitas; Smells like a pine tar road; it's a 'let-the-designated-driver-drive' beer because you know you are going to have another one; There is a malty start, then a nice bitter hops finish; It reminds me of Malicious Intent; This is dessert; It's sweeter than most; The strong malt backbone lets the alcohol rise; It really does taste like another; The taste lingers; It's definitely West Coast style."


One of the fun things about craft brewing is the word play many of the breweries employ when naming their beers. Brewers pay homage to everything from songs (Brown Shugga') to writers (Hunter S. Thompson at Flying Dog) to athletes (Larry Bird's Haircut) to TV shows (My Other Brother Darryl)  to literature (Long John Lager, Raven Stout, Tell Tale Pale Ale), to villains (Hoptimus Prime) to heroes (Cap'n Kickass) to landmarks (Nippletop Milk Stout) to movies (Apocalypse Cow) to monsters (Nosferatu) to saints (Yeastus Christ) to devils (Arrogant Bastard, Duvil in Ms Jones).  And that really just scratches the surface. Take a look at some of these actual beer names:

William Holden Belgian Golden from Drake's Brewing
Pandora's Bock from Elysian
Live and Let Rye from Empire
Spruce Willis from Dogfish Head
Cascazilla from Ithaca
Citra Ass Down from Against the Grain
Those Candies Your Granny Loves Brown Ale from Cigar City
Groundskeeper Spilly from Sixpoint
There Will Be Black from Brooklyn
Hell and High Watermelon from 21st Amendment
Yippie Rye Aye from Sierra Nevada
Wailing Wench from Middle Ages
Gourd of the Rings from Cambridge (It's a pumpkin beer - get it?)
Fermentation Without Representation from Epic
Carl Weathers As Dillon in Predator Imperial Cascadian Dark Ale  from Fort Collins - I kid you not!

Now, I throw all this out there because of a recent situation involving Empire Brewing in Syracuse, the naming of a beer and a claim of copyright infringement. For several years now Empire has brewed a Bock beer sold only in their pub called Strikes Bock.  Now, when paired with the Empire Brewing name you get Empire Strikes Bock,  a clever homage to the Star Wars film, The Empire Strikes Back.  Now that Empire Brewing has begun to expand and is about to begin bottling, they have been charged with copyright infringement by Lucasfilms, now a division of Walt Disney Co. In the brief filed against Empire it is stated that the name could create confusion in the marketplace, due in part to the fact that George Lucas owns some vineyards. That's vineyards not hop farms!

Empire plans on striking back, but when you consider the deep pockets of their opponents, it is unlikely they will win. Which is too bad. Granted, big movie studios do need to protect their copyrighted material. Franchises such as Star Wars bring in millions to the companies on peripherals alone: action figures, book tie-ins, tee shirts, hats, toys etc. Without a tight rein on the use of names and likenesses, unscrupulous entrepreneurs could cut drastically into those profits by selling knock-offs at bargain basement prices.

But Beer? Really? Confusion in the marketplace? "Gee, I wanted to get my kid a Luke Skywalker action figure but I ended up with this six-pack of beer." I think there's a big difference between trying to bilk the public with knock-offs and a nod and a wink to a beloved icon with clever word-play. I'd hate to see craft beer names lose their edginess and fun out of fear of a lawsuit.

Good Luck to Empire. May the Force be with you on this one. Or, to reference Mel Brooks, May the Schwartzbier be with you.

The BOTB Guys   

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