Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sour Love, would you have it any other way?

Ok, I'm going there. LGB is working on a Berliner Weizen. Yes, Sour Love in fermented form. After brewing a couple of traditional Hefe-Weizens I've found the inspiration to shift focus toward a classic northern German style. "Why not?" I thought as I contemplated methods of souring a beer. "What's the worse outcome?" I muttered to myself as I shuffled around the brewery late one night like some kind of confused street person. I could already see the crinkled and confused scowl of JP Taylor at the 2010 Bradenton Beer Festival as he draws the taster glass from his lips.

How to do it? I could have created a sour mash, I could have cultivated a monster lactobacillus -- Gosh Darn I could have just left the fermenter open in the brewery and let one of our home-spun Anna Maria wild beach-yeasts float in to grace/haunt the brew. Instead I thought of the infamous ChezBill Shafer, Chef of The Waterfront Restaurant, as he dutifully and lovingly creates a Tamarind puree from the raw pods -- a main component of his Bahi Ribeye marinade. Yes, folks, tamarinds are the key I think. Somewhat sweet, a lot of sour, complex. Very reminiscent of my love life.

So, let's hope for the best.


Michael Wagner

Oh yes, the 2010 Bradenton Beer Festival takes place on February 6 in downtown Bradenton. See you there.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Happy Holidays to you and yours!

December finds Little Giant Breweries' progress deep into all those things that draw a brewer away from the brewhouse, not the least of which is shopping. Which is actually the least thing that has kept me out of the brewhouse since I've done so little present-seeking thus far. Procrastination is key with a mad rush near the end of the month.

Luckily, beer IS being brewed. And even more importantly it is being kegged. Recently racked is a Little Giant Brewery Amber Ale. It's malty, it's a bit hoppy, it's alcoholic and almost Imperial by nature. Once you try it you might comment that it is "West Coast" in style. But, since we are on a West Coast ourselves, let's call it "The Other West Coast" American Amber Ale. We are on the Edge of the Beer Frontier after all. Visit the brewery and try some, who knows-- you might like it.

Also, if anyone has any advice on dealing with small, development-conscious town commissions or Planning & Zoning Boards, please feel free to weigh in. It's an adventure, if you know what I mean. That's where we are at in the ever-expanding development of our little community brewery here in Anna Maria.

Beers about ready to be tapped:
LGB OWC(Other West Coast) Amber Ale
LGB FMB(Festivus Miracle Bock)
Journeyman's Hefe-Weizen

Selah & Cheers,


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Devil's Day

Time to get a little weird for Devil's Day here at LGB. I know some folks in Sarasota are having a Spooktacular Fun time drinking the Belgian Brown Ale and the Special Reserve Imperial IPA. Me? Well, I'll be sporting my Speedo and traditional Lucha Libre wrestling mask while brewing one of my favorites-- traditional DoppelBock. Just like the monks make it over in the hills overlooking Munich. What do they wear under those tunichs anyway? A black Speedo no doubt. Have fun. Mahalo.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

BillaBock, Bay Fest, Overhead Peeler

It's been a heated season here in Anna Maria, and I'm not just talking about the 90 degree plus brewdays. The political season and the struggle for control of the five Anna Maria City Commission seats are making for some interesting dialogue as well as we are coming up on BayFest time again. This year it takes place on October 16 & 17, two days of music, crafts and lots of sweaty locals wearing jeans, no shirts and drinking nearly flavorless beer -- and that's just the women. Luckily, Little Giant Brewery will have a presence providing some all-malt love for the those who seek such. I'll be over at the brewery on Saturday the 17th where we'll quaff some Illicit Imperial IPA as well as a bit of Overhead Peeler Porter. All Island Realty is having an open house a block or so down Pine Avenue where the infamous British Strong Ale will no doubt create some dizzy mayhem -- I hear there is also a classic car exhibition there as well. If you run into anybody who knows Brent the Scuba Ace, ask them for directions to his open house where Little Giant Hefe-Weizen will be poured. And--if you are really brazen and wanting more Little Giant--you can attempt to crash a rehearsal dinner on North Shore drive where BillaBock will be enjoyed by a really nice couple and their family who will no doubt be in shock when you show up. Ok for now, tomorrow I'll brew some more Morning After Pils. Selah.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Walkin'. . . Shinin'

It's always a good move when you take a morning walk here in Anna Maria. This morning we loaded my girlfriends' dog in the truck and headed up the island to the brewery. From there we took a walk around the north end to Bean Point and soaked in the morning sun & breeze for a minute. Butch the dog was in heaven every time we walked through the shade of the palms and pines along the way. He's a hundred-ten pound beast(around 7.8 stone for all you Brits out there). Wait, hold on, to call him a beast would not do his heritage proud. You see, Butch is mostly Argentinian Dogo. His personality is more of a brutish gentleman than slobbering beast in search of small mammal blood. He is oft misunderstood and mistaken for a pitbull, and is generally given a wide berth by the local geezers. His presence in the brewery is the stuff of legend -- I find he is most at ease when attached to a pony keg which allows him to wander but not run off. For some reason this really amuses the locals including the Sheriff. An hour walk brought us back to the friendly confines of Little Giant where Butch climbed back in the truck bed and laid down, Happy as a Dogo could be.

Well, what is the purpose of this rambling and waxing? Honestly it's the fact that I quaffed around six pints of my latest brew last night. "Big Deal!" you may say. "Six pints is just lubrication for serious beer drinkers!" This may be true and I may not be as prolific a beer drinker as I try to convince myself I am, but in light of the late night pints, I felt seriously fresh and energized this morning. I think this brew definitely makes strides toward providing my people with a beer that maximizes the quasi-therapeutic nature of fresh, locally made beer. It's gotta be the hops.

In honor of Butch, we are naming this beer the the Laughing Dogo. Think about a Happy Buddha crossed with a very very large canine who wonders why you share your bacon with him but not your beer.

Laughing Dogo is:
Malts Bill:
Canada 2-row Pale
German Munich I
Belgian Cara-Pils

UK Fuggle
US Cascade

Chico Ale Yeast

Call me if you want some samples, I'll even provide a jug if you want.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Craft Brewers Savagely Thrive In Slumping Economy

Interesting growth number for our industry. Keeping up with the economic stats of the industry gives me faith that the US Standard of living is going up and that Craft Brewing is a thriving industry. Although, it is true the sub-premium beer market(Busch, Shlitz, PBR, etc.) is booming while the US economy slumps. I shouldn't complain about this too much since my first sip of beer from my Grandfather Dziadzi's mug was Old Style formerly produced by G. Heileman. Tasty! Stats courtesy of The Brewers' Association.

* Growth of the craft brewing industry in the first half of 2009 was 5% by volume and 9% by dollars.
* Craft brewers sold an estimated 4.2 million barrels of beer in the first half of 2009, up from 4 million barrels in the first half of 2008.
* Overall US beer sales are down 1.3% in the first 6 months of 2009.
* Imported beer sales are down 9.5% in the first 6 months.
* Growth of the craft brewing industry in 2008 was 5.9% by volume and 10.1% by dollars.
* The craft brewing industry produced nearly 8.6 million barrels of craft beer in the US in 2008.
* The craft brewing sales share as of December '08 was 4% by volume and 6.3% by dollars.
* Total US craft brewing industry annual dollar volume is $6.3 billion.
* The US brewery count of 1,525 on July 31, 2009 is the highest total in 100 years. (2008 total includes breweries that closed during the year, and the July 2009 count is higher than at any time in 2008.)

Last updated on 8/17/2009

Lastly, here's a reply from IRI Data Guru Dan Wendel for a more local growth number(from Brewers' Association PowerHour teleconference in August):

8. I'm looking for annual craft sales trends for my home state of Florida. Can you give me some direction?

Answer: Craft Segment Dollar Sales are +8.6% vs. Year Ago. Case Sales are +2.4% vs. YA in Florida State Supermarkets based on YTD IRI Data Ending July 12, 2009.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Hey there Folks, Mike Wagner here checking in from Little Giant Brewery. I want to thank all of you(all 89 of you to be more exact) who participated in the Waterfront Restaurants' first annual Beer, Wine & Salsa Tasting last Thursday. Not only did it include twelve outstanding salsas from the infamous, notably nefarious mind of Chef Bill Shafer it marked the outing of Lagerhead American Pilsner from Little Giant. Lagerhead combines old-world Weyermann Pilsner and Munich Malts with the beauteous Simcoe hop from Hopunion. I was happy to get positive feedback from the patrons who commented that it paired well with the salsas and the 90+ degree afternoon.

For those who lament the short hours I've spent at the brewery this summer all I can say is, "Be patient, my friends, the fall in temperature is near." If anyone wants a tour of the brewery and a few samples, just contact me through this page or at

Strange brews are on the horizon, along with some of my traditional favorites.


MP Wagner

Saturday, August 1, 2009


सो अस इ हवे एक्स्प्लैनेद आईटी तो पोपले -- "इ हवे अ नेवर एंडिंग लिस्ट ऑफ़ तस्क्स तो अच्कोम्प्लिश तो स्टार्ट थिस ब्रेवेरी अन्दिफ इ दोन'टी अच्कोम्प्लिश थेम थे दोन'टी गेट दोने। अ फमिलिअर सेंटिमेंट फॉर अन्योने व्हो हस ताकें थे दिवे इन्तो एन्त्रेपेंयूर्शिप. For some reason, unbeknownst to the author, Hindi has become the official language of the Little Giant Brewery. If, in fact you understand Hindi you would find the Brewer/Proprietors' view of the unbelievably huge pile of tasks laying between brewing up delicious liquid treats for my publicans to enjoy and actually bringing said treats to market. You can always stop by the brewery at 105 Tarpon st. Anna Maria, FL 34216 to enjoy the brews and watch me mill around the shack doing my best impression of a taskmaster on his way to running a successful business. And if you have a special event you want Little Giant Brewery to participate in, just let me know here.

Hey! It's about time to head over to my humble shed of a brewhouse and prepare for a Sunday morning brew. As long as the lager yeast has flocculated we're brewing up another ultra-enjoyable Helles-style treat to be enjoyed on these highly temperate, sometimes hellish Dog Days of Florida's summer. Let's just say it will pair well with our slip-and-slide in the beer garden.

As a side note: I apologize to all those beer-lovers who crave double-imperial-bourbon-cask-aged-espresso-infused-chickory-honey-stouts, but it's just too goddamn hot to consider at this point -- I'm sticking with quaffable brews until the fall, and then we can roll out the barrels.



Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Yeast Run

How long is too long, oh Lord? How long? When do you decide to stop re-pitching your ale yeast? Maybe, if you are a gambling man(or woman), you pitch it twenty times. If you like to play it safe maybe you propogate a new pitchable amount of our microscopic little helpers after nine or ten brews. I tend to want to keep it fresh and am cutting it off at eight brews. Without a QA/QC lab set up I have only my taste buds and fermentation log to determine how stressed my yeast might be.

So, with this in mind, it's time for me to fill up my VDub Diesel and take a trip to visit Brian & Kelly up at Southern Brewing Supply in Tampa. I'll probably just get a smack pack or two of 1056 and step it up into a pitchable amount from there.

With several special events coming up Little Giant is looking to brew some tasty delights that will make otherwise gentlemanly men slobber and seemingly classy women squirm.

Come down to Anna Maria and visit the BierGaarten, we get lonely in paradise.

Brews ready to drink right NOW:
Belgian Dubbel
Hellish Double IPA
Pine Ave. Pale Ale
Tail-End Hefe Weizen

Soon Come: Melly's Harpy Lager