Brewery Review: Wop’s Hops, Sanford FL

IMG_9901gregYesterday was my birthday and my lovely, wonderful bride took me to lunch at the Willow Tree in Sanford, then on to experience Wop’s Hops Brewing, also in Sanford.

Greg Piecora, owner and brewer, spent quite a bit of time with us as I enjoyed my flight of 4 brews. We chatted about all things brewing, of course, and ended with a tour of the brewing operations.  Nice setup to day the least.

In the video below you can find out about the brews I enjoyed and a special treat I received from Greg.

Great place – I’ll be back!





2015 Top Ten Beers

(from Home Brewing Society)

With, literally, thousands of commercial beers to choose from, it’s difficult to really choose the best. Every year, though, the AHA and Zymurgy magazine take on the task.

This year’s results are in, and of the 6,000 different brews submitted, here are the top ten (last year’s position is in parenthesis):PTE

  1. Russian River Pliny the Elder (1)
  2. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale (2)
  3. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA (3)
  4. Stone Enjoy By IPA (8)
  5. Founders Breakfast Stout (9)
  6. The Alchemist Heady Topper (5)
  7. Bell’s Hopslam (4)
  8. Three Floyds Zombie Dust (new)
  9. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA (7)
  10. Firestone Walker Wookey Jack (new)

Two of last year’s Top Ten that didn’t make the list this year were Lagunitas Sucks, which was #6 last year and dropped to #45 this year, and Good Island Bourbon County Brand Stout, last year’s #10 didn’t even make the list top fifty this year.

Also interesting to note… Pliny the Elder has taken the top spot for the past seven years!

Read the article at American Homebrewers Association.

Porter vs Stout: What’s the Difference?


I know I have asked myself this question many a time while sipping on one or the other.

The label says Porter, but why isn’t it a stout?  Is there a difference?  Does anyone really know?

I have curated several articles on the subject for your perusal.  As you will see, some claim there isn’t a clear, definitive answer, but others say there is a distinct difference, such as a strong roasted barley presence in a stout.  You decide!

And here are the official style guides from BJCP:

Video Beer Review #319 – and a new tool


In this review I introduce a new tool from Beer Color Laboratories used by many BJCP beer judges to quantify the color (darkness) of beer.  It is my  first time using the tool, so I will refine (and correct) my technique over time.

Also, I show the Beer Color Meter which appears to be more of a novelty due to multiple variables affecting its accuracy. Still, it is fun to use.

Central Florida Breweries on the Rise

For a long time Orlando Brewing was the only dog in the hunt here in Central Florida.  They are alive and well, but more dogs are joining the pack.  (OK, I’ll dispense with the canine analogy).   Hourglass opened in Longwood a couple years ago and is growing. The very eclectic Winter Park Beer Company is certainly a destination. Sanford has a couple breweries now.  Ten10 is opening soon in Orlando.  There are others, but let me move on to two that I have visited recently.

  • Crooked Can Brewing had their Grand Opening today in Winter Garden.  I was not there for this event, but I WAS there serendipitously on St. Patrick’s Day four evenings ago.  See the review:
  • Yesterday, I visited Bowigens Beer Company in Casselberry.  They celebrated one month in business yesterday and are scrambling to keep up with demand.  Here is my review:


Serving Temperature

Depending on the particular style of beer, the temperature at which it is consumed has a significant part in the taste/aroma experience.  Here is an excerpt from Rate on the topic.

Serving Temperature Guidebeer-at-38-small

 May 18, 2005, Santa Rosa, CALIFORNIA 

With all the different styles found in the world of beer, the question of serving temperature comes up fairly often. There are, however, very few absolute truths when it comes to proper serving temperature. Individual drinkers will have individual preferences and these might vary quite a bit from the generally accepted norms. So mainly this guide will focus on the accepted norms, and you as the drinker can take them to heart to any degree you wish.

The first thing that should be addressed, however, are two very common myths. The first is that beer needs to be served very cold. The macrobrewers want you to believe this, and here’s why. The sensation of coldness inhibits the tongue’s taste receptors. Since macrobrews started positioning their products based on any feature they could imagine besides taste, the need to neutralize taste became important. An alcohol delivery system doesn’t need taste. In fact, taste usually gets in the way. A cold refresher could be anything, and in fact alternatives like soda, iced tea or water generally have a less offensive taste than macrobrew. So again, numbing those tastebuds is important. As for what beer marketers mean when they say a beer “has a cold taste”, your guess is as good as ours. So no, beer doesn’t not need to be near frozen. Good beer in fact should not be near frozen.

The other myth is that English beer is served at room temperature, or “warm”. It’s not. It is served at cellar temperature, which is between 12-14C. Room temperature is 21C. That’s a big difference.

Beer is best served in between “ice cold” and room temperature. There are a lot of generalization made about beers of different colours, most of which are false. However, when it comes to temperature, colour seems to make a big difference. Lighter-coloured beers are generally best served cold. At the warmest end are the big, dark beers like Quadrupels, Imperial Stouts and Barley Wines. At cellar temperature are English-style beers and in the middle is just about everything else.

Very cold (0-4C/32-39F): Any beer you don’t actually want to taste. Pale Lager, Malt Liquor, Canadian-style Golden Ale and Cream Ale, Low Alcohol, Canadian, American or Scandinavian-style Cider.

Cold (4-7C/39-45F): Hefeweizen, Kristalweizen, Kölsch, Premium Lager, Pilsner, Classic German Pilsner, Fruit Beer, brewpub-style Golden Ale, European Strong Lager, Berliner Weisse, Belgian White, American Dark Lager, sweetened Fruit Lambics and Gueuzes, Duvel-types

Cool (8-12C/45-54F): American Pale Ale, Amber Ale, California Common, Dunkelweizen, Sweet Stout, Stout, Dry Stout, Porter, English-style Golden Ale, unsweetened Fruit Lambics and Gueuzes, Faro, Belgian Ale, Bohemian Pilsner, Dunkel, Dortmunder/Helles, Vienna, Schwarzbier, Smoked, Altbier, Tripel, Irish Ale, French or Spanish-style Cider

Cellar (12-14C/54-57F): Bitter, Premium Bitter, Brown Ale, India Pale Ale, English Pale Ale, English Strong Ale, Old Ale, Saison, Unblended Lambic, Flemish Sour Ale, Bière de Garde, Baltic Porter, Abbey Dubbel, Belgian Strong Ale, Weizen Bock, Bock, Foreign Stout, Zwickel/Keller/Landbier, Scottish Ale, Scotch Ale, American Strong Ale, Mild, English-style Cider

Warm (14-16C/57-61F): Barley Wine, Abt/Quadrupel, Imperial Stout, Imperial/Double IPA, Doppelbock, Eisbock, Mead

Hot (70C/158F): Quelque Chose, Liefmans Glühkriek, dark, spiced winter ales like Daleside Morocco Ale.