Beer: What Makes Coasters Pub, umm, Coasters Pub
When Coasters first entered into business some 25-ish years ago, we offered a beer selection unparalleled in the area. In days where your choices at most restaurants and bars was relegated to Bud and Miller (and maybe Heineken if you were really lucky!), Coasters offered dozens of taps of quality beers from America and around the world. It was here that countless locals and tourists received their first taste of real beer. Coasters was so THE PLACE to go that Michael Jackson, the world's best-known beer critic, even stopped into Coasters to review the beer here some 14 years ago.
Back then, Coasters was a brewpub as well, operating an extremely tiny one-and-a-half barrel brew system. Coasters Pub was one of the first five brewhouses in Central Florida. Financially, the brew system didn't make sense to keep up and running. Brewing is a business that really benefits from economies of scale, as it nearly takes the same amount of time and labor to brew 50 gallons of beer as it does 50-thousand gallons of beer, so the numbers weren't really on our side. We recently sold off our brew system to Cigar City Brewing in Tampa. They're currently using it in their brewpub at Tampa International Airport.
So, instead of splitting efforts between making and selling beer, we decided to rests on the strengths that only a retail pub has: getting great draught beer beer directly to the Beer Geeks. It was here at Coasters that the first kegs of Dogfish Head 60 and 90 Minute IPAs were poured in the Space Coast. The same goes for Stone, Victory, Cigar City, Highland, Magic Hat, and many other breweries. Thanks to niche breweries willing to take a risk to enter into a new market, and Coasters' customers willing to give their beers a shot, the Space Coasts' acceptance and demand of craft beer has put our area on the national beer map.
Today the craft beer industry is undergoing a revival of sorts. More and more people are discovering how delicious real beer can be. While the big-name MacroLagers are experiencing flat to declining sales, the craft beer market is seeing double-digit growth. Thanks to the increased demand, there are now a handful of beer bars and breweries in the Space Coast. Thanks to the increased competition (and it's friendly competition, mind you) we've been inspired to step up our game to remain the Beer Geek's refuge for Brevard County. Here are a few of the ways we try to keep ourselves as THE PLACE to go to when you want a good beer:
(most) Every Friday is Firkin Friday at Coasters!
For the uninitiated, firkins are a beer vessel that holds cask conditioned beer. Depending on size, casks can either be a 'pin' (about 5 gallons) or a 'firkin' (about 10 gallons). What makes cask ale so different than kegged beer is that the beer is still alive!
Instead of kegged beer that is often filtered, pasteurized, and artificially force-carbonated, Cask ale (aka 'Real Ale') is poured straight from the brewery's fermenters and into the cask just before fermentation is complete. This means that the beer finishes up its fermentation and conditions itself inside of the cask. Since the yeast are still alive, they're still working to create alcohol and carbon dioxide, and it's that carbon dioxide that carbonates the beer.
Cask ale is traditionally served at cellar temperature (about 55 degrees Fahrenheit) and, most traditionally, through a beer engine. That's exactly what we do at Coasters. Now, if you've never heard of a Firkin, a Beer Engine, or Cask Conditioning, you're not alone. It's such a labor intensive process that it's not commercially feasible on a large scale. Even in England, Real Ale is getting harder and harder to find.
Here in the US, serving beer properly out of firkins is such a niche market that we had to build our own cask cooler to maintain the firkin at the proper temperature, and had to outright buy expensive firkins that we ship out to select breweries to get filled by brewmasters familiar with Real Ale. Our filled firkins then ride the distributors' trucks back to our pub where they're tapped each and every Friday! (logistics permitting, of course)
We announce which Firkin we tap for the week every week on our Coasters Pub Facebook Page. Become a fan! The announcements also come through on our Twitter feed @coasterspub -- these are the best ways to find out what's happening at Coasters!
In addition to our everyday selection of great brews, we offer a few events each year that set us apart. Namely,
Belgian Beer Fest (February)
Each February we devote a three-day weekend to the country that is best described as the artisans of the beer world: Belgium. For a Friday, Saturday and Sunday each February we take down all of our regular beers and tap 35 draught lines of Belgian Beer. No fewer than 50 different Belgian Beers are tapped over the weekend, and in addition to the largest selection of Belgians in the Southeast, you can fill your belly with Belgian foods like Chimay Cheese, Chocolate Truffles from Brussles and Belgian-style Mussels steamed in witbier, leeks and other veggies. It's an event that brings out beer geeks from all over Florida and the Southeast. Hopefully we'll see you next February!
Coasters Oktoberfest (October)
Save your airfare dollars to Munich and celebrate Oktoberfest at Coasters! Each October we feature no fewer than 25 taps of German biers for the entire month, and the kitchen serves up some outstanding German fare. Schweinshaxe, Wiener Schnitzel, Weisswurst and Bratwurst are all on the menu. Das ist sehr gut!
We hope you visit us soon! Be sure to check out our Coasters Pub Facebook Page for the latest!