Banana Beer: Savannah Bananas and Service Team Up

In no time at all the Savannah Bananas have proven themselves to be active participants in craft beer. Last season they had a well stocked craft beer bar in the stadium and just a few weeks ago hosted a double-header craft beer festival. This season the Savannah Bananas are at it again, teaming up with Service Brewing Company to create the appropriately named Savannah Banana Beer, the official beer of the Savannah Bananas.

These two paired up last year for a very limited release of a similar beer. This year, however, the Bananas and Service are stepping things up and producing enough to be canned for local distribution.  In fact you’ll be able to get your hands on The Savannah Banana Beer several ways around town. Let’s talk about the beer first and why you might want to seek it out.

You might guess that any beer related to the Savannah Bananas would have a banana flavor and in this case you would be right. Combining bananas and great craft beer was meant to be. “It’s absolutely delicious and the demand for the beer has been amazing” says Jesse Cole, the Savannah Bananas Owner. Typically banana flavors can be added to a beer in two ways. The first is to brew or rest a beer on bananas. This generally adds a nice subtle flavor of bananas, as some flavor is lost in the brewing process. The second way is to use yeast that imparts a banana flavor. This is a practice used in many Belgian beers and is seen as a defining characteristic in many beers hailing from Belgium or mimicking those beers. In this case both techniques were used. Service used 360 pounds of real bananas to brew this beer and them fermented it using Belgian yeast.

Despite the double whammy of banana in the brewing process and the hazy, straw color, reminiscent of a ripe banana peel, Service promises that the Savannah Banana Beer is not overwhelmingly banana flavored. The beer maintains a subtle flavor that will appeal to banana lovers but should not scare away the discerning craft beer, or baseball, lover. This Savannah Banana Beer is a session beer, always a good choice when at the ballpark and promises to be very easy to drink on a hot summer day.

The Savannah Banana Beer will be available at Grayson Stadium when the Bananas season kicks off on June 1 of course but will also be available in very sharp looking cans at Habersham Beverage Company starting May 8. Seriously Service Brewing has stepped up its design game in the last few months and this beer is a great example of the new economical but striking designs Service is now using.

If you want to try the Savannah Banana Beer prior to first pitch or May 8 you can run by the Service brewing release party this Saturday, May 6 at brewery. The release party will run from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. The party is open to the public (21+ please) but requires a $12.00 brewery tour (yes, I know but the new laws don’t kick in until September 1). In addition to a great new beer, Blown’ Smoke will be serving food from their mobile kitchen and A Squad Bake Shop is providing sweets. A beer party isn’t a party without music so DJ OB-1 Benobi will be providing the tunes.

Savannah Banana games are selling out which means a run to Habersham or stopping by the brewery may be your only chance to try the Savannah Banana Beer so drop by one, or both. In any case you are supporting local beer, a local store, and local baseball. Cheers!

The Savannah Bananas to Host Two Beer Fests

savannah bananas beer fests

A beer festival can be a great thing. Two beer festivals on the same day? Well that’s just bananas. No, really – the Savannah Bananas are holding two beer festivals on the same day. Hosting a morning beer fest and then an afternoon beer fest immediately after it was the crazy thing.  “We thought why not?  Savannah can handle it,” says Savannah Bananas owner Jesse Cole.

Tap of the Morning, as the AM version of the April 1 beer fest is called, and Afternoon Delight, the PM version, are the next great marketing events from the Savannah Bananas. Each will feature numerous breweries serving up over a hundred beers, food trucks to keep you fed (and sober) and some music to keep you entertained.

Here is the run down: Tap of the Morning opens April 1st  at 9:30 AM for you early birds. The food truck Big Cheese Legend will be serving up breakfast sandwiches. The first of five bands scheduled through day will begin playing and the beers will start pouring. Tap of the Morning closes up at 12:30 allowing everyone to take a breather, or a nap, and enjoy some between festival music. Afternoon Delight starts up at 2:00 and runs until 5:00. The Squeaky Beaver food truck will be on hand for afternoon snacking and the full slate of breweries will continue to pour. Entry for each festival is $35 but $50 VIP tickets earn you admission to both festivals and a few reserved beers samples.

The full brewery list has not been released yet but expect all your local favorites like Service, Moon River and Coastal Empire, some of the usual larger craft breweries, Lagunitas and Oskar Blues and plenty of the hotter breweries like Bell’s, and Cigar City.

An all day beer fest can take its toll so here my tried and true beer festival survival guide

Eat: Food will help you make it through the day. Take advantage of those food trucks and eat before you go. Have a nice big breakfast or lunch and your full belly will help keep the pace of your drinking level. Bonus pro tip: Avoid palate killing spicy foods.

Drink Water:  Hydrate before you enter the festival.  Hydrate while at the festival. Drink a glass of water for every glass of beer you drink.

Pace yourself: The day is about quality beer, not quantity. Sip and enjoy your beer. Pay attention to the flavors in every beer you sample. Make comparisons and talk them over with your buddies. If you don’t like a beer, that’s OK, don’t drink it. Take a break every now and then to enjoy the music and talk to a beer rep.

Talk to the brewery representatives: The reps aren’t there just to pour you a drink. Beer representatives all love beer and beer lovers love to talk beer so ask questions, these guys are pros, you’ll get good answers.

Have a plan: Brewery participants for the Duel Fests are not listed yet but will be posted online before festival. Go in knowing what breweries you want to sample. Feel free to wander from time to time but stick to your plan.

Take your phone: You are certain to find a great beer you’ll want to revisit later. There are several beer apps available that usually have a rating system, a means to record photographs and a means to take beer notes. You may also need it to call a for a ride.

Upgrade to VIP tickets: VIP tickets to beer festivals always have several perks that are usually worth it for the craft beer enthusiast. 

Have a safe ride home: NO ONE wants you driving home after drinking. Have a ride ready to pick you up or plan for a cab. The Savannah Bananas have $10 designated driver tickets. Your ride can enjoy the music while you drink up.

The Tap of the Morning and Afternoon Delight beer fests both take place April 1st on the grounds of Grayson Stadium. Tickets to the individual fests are $35. A VIP ticket will set you back $50 but gives you access to both festivals. More information and tickets can be found at thesavannahbananas.com/beerfest or by calling 912-712-2482. Cheers!

Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Beer Guide 2017

st patrick's day c3po coastal empire

St. Patrick’s Day…

I’m not sure when or why the people in the United States decided to celebrate the death of Ireland’s patron saint with heavy drinking and parades. Whatever the reason it’s that time of year again. The green beer will be flowing as freely as the green water in Savannah’s fountains.

There may actually be a reason to connect St. Patrick with beer but that doesn’t mean he would be too happy about the way we celebrate in his name. St. Patrick used beer as a means to spread Christianity. It is thought that as St. Patrick seeded monasteries throughout Ireland he would use beer as a way to insure the stability of those monasteries. Patrick would send his “head brewer,” a priest by the name of Mescan, to set up the beer production facilities at each of the monasteries. Beer production provided a safe drink for the monks and a source of income for the monastery.

In the years between Patrick’s 5th century activities and the 1700’s, Ireland’s breweries flourished to include over 200 breweries. That number dropped to 12 over the next 300 years, mostly due to the dominance of Guinness, everyone’s favorite St. Patrick’s day drink. According to the brewery around 7.5 million pints of Guinness are consumed on St. Patrick’s Day, twice their normal daily consumption rates. Fortunately Ireland is seeing resurgence in beer growth, influenced largely by the US craft beer movement.

Guinness is good but Brew/Drink/Run loves to support local which is a little hard around St. Patrick’s Day. Most local breweries just hunker down and do their best to keep from running out of beer. But one local brewery did brew up something special to mark Savannah’s biggest holiday.

This is the Beer You’re Looking For

Coastal Empire paired up with local eatery and craft beer hotspot Crystal Beer Parlor for an Irish inspired beer. Chris Haborak, co-founder for Coastal Empire, tells Brew/Drink/Run that “some team members (from Crystal) came over about three weeks ago and brewed with us on our pilot system.” This 5.2% ABV Irish red has a fun name, Coastal Celtic Crystal Parlor Original, shortened to C3PO. C3PO will be released on March 16 at the brewery and will remain on until it kicks. Irish reds are pale ales brewed with a little roasted barley to get the distinctive red tone to the beer. While there is some debate as to whether Irish Red Ale is a style on it’s own or just a variation on an English Bitter, there is no doubt that it will be tasty. Coastal like the other local breweries will be closed on Friday for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities so ne sure to drop in the night before to insure you have a taste of the c3po.

C3PO is worth hunting down but there is another seasonal out there also worth seeking out. Moon River Brewing has their version of a Irish style dry stout dubbed The Bomb!. Dry Irish stouts, like Guinness, are brewed with un-malted barley. The malting process gives barley a sweeter taste; un-malted barley does not have that sweetness and is “dryer.” This style came about when importing malted barley into Ireland to make the Irish’s sweet stouts was taxed. Un-malted barley was not taxed but changed the beer dramatically and created an entirely new style.

Seek out these local beers and remember green beer is not a thing you should be drinking, just don’t do it. There are so many better drinking options out there on St. Patrick’s Day. Give C3PO and the Bomb! A try and support the local guys at the same time.

Craft Brew Race Returns to Savannah

craft brew races

Brew / Drink / Run was founded on the concept that good beer and a healthy lifestyle can, and should, go hand in hand. The combination of fun 5k run with a craft beer festival is the Brew/Drink/Run dream.

Fortunately Matt Grey, the man behind the Craft Brew Race Series, had a similar vision.

“As beer fans, runners and event producers we love the idea of combing passions. We feel that craft beer and running go hand in hand. Enjoying a cold, well-craft beer following a workout is a great way to recover.”

Billing itself as a “a celebration of local craft brewing, an active lifestyle, and the surrounding community” the Craft Brew Race Series has two of the things BDR was founded on, good craft beer and running.

The 2017 event happens on March 11.

Craft Brew Races started as five events spread out around New England. As the concept has grown the number of events and their locations has expanded. Savannah was chosen as a run location three years ago and now serves as the first run of the Craft Brew Race series Season.

“We come back because the event has been a success. In the past two years we have seen steady growth and we know that people really enjoy this event” says Grey, who is also the President of Grey Matter Marketing, the organizer of the Craft Brew Race series.

“We anticipate 1200+ runners and attendees (in 2017). That would be 100 more than last year.”

Quite a success especially since the first year of the Savannah race hosted around 500 runners.

The race and festival take place at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. The route is a straight forward, flat and if you want it fast out and back. The start/finish line is adjacent to the Trade Center, so parking and the festival are easily accessible. The route takes you out along the west end of Hutchinson Island.

It’s not the most scenic of routes but there is beer waiting at the end.

Once your run is over the festival will be waiting at the finish line for you. The Craft Brew Races Beer festival starts at 12:30 and runs until 4 p.m. (last call 3:50).

This year’s version includes more breweries than previous years, more than thirty. Many of these breweries are local, most are located here in Georgia but there are some national favorites thrown in. Expect to see all four of the Savannah breweries represented as well as a number of regional breweries.

If beer isn’t your thing there are a few cider breweries as well. Food vendors will be available and live music will be playing on the esplanade by the river.

A portion of all proceeds will go towards The Georgia Craft Brewers Guild so by running and drinking you’ll be helping the Guild create a better beer environment throughout Georgia.

Grey puts it this way:

“We are proud to support the Georgia Brewers Guild in their efforts to expand the brewing industry in Georgia. Since our event features local brewers in each state, our first call when looking for a charity partner was to the Guild. We have proudly supported them each of the past three years and look forward to continuing that for future years. In several states where we host these events, the local brewers guild is our non-profit partner. We like the idea of supporting a group that can further the brewery businesses that exist and assist new brewers in the future. Local beer means local jobs and who can’t get behind that?” he asks.

Both the race and festival are located at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. The run on March 11 has a nice late start, noon while the festival gates open at 12:30 p.m. Both events are strictly 21+ (bring your ID). Tickets come in several flavors; there is a run and festival combined registration for $60.00, the 5K/designated driver ticket and the festival only ticket are both $50 and a designated driver ticket is $15. Race day registration is available but prices go up by $5. All runners receive finisher medals and everyone goes home with a pint glass. You can register at craftbrewraces.com/savannah.

Georgia Beer Day 2017: Savannah Events

Georgia Beer Day is a day-long series of fundraisers meant to support the Georgia Craft Brewer’s Guild. Breweries and brew pubs throughout the state are donating a portion of January 28, 2017’s profits to the GCBG, an organization that lobbies on behalf of Georgia’s beer makers. With SB 85 being introduced this session, we’re closer than ever to allowing breweries and brew pubs the chance to sell directly to consumers.

In Savannah, you can participate in Georgia Beer Day by visiting Coastal Empire Beer Co, Moon River Brewing Co, Service Brewing and Southbound Brewing Co.

Full details about each brewery’s events, hours and participation levels are available in our calendar. Click here for the info.