Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Progress and the passing of a member of the Too Much Fun Club

Hey there good people!  And you are good people, after all Hunter S. Thompson once said "Good people drink good beer."

Much much is going on at the brewery at 301 7th street east in Bradenton.  Making progress toward a fall opening and a dripping a lot of summer sweat as well.  But this entry is more about the passing of an infamous Anna Maria resident and friend of the brewery.

Mark Alonso passed away on July 12 at the respectable age of 87.  If you lived in Anna Maria you probably know him as the eccentric Spanish artist  who rode around in one of his three or four wheeled jalopy bikes while being pulled by Fritz the boxer dog.  He had his workshop in a shack at 105 Tarpon Street where the Historic Green Village now stands(they tore down the shack and plopped a historic fisherman's hotel on top).

Some of you may also know the shack was the original home of The Little Giant Brewery.  I shared the space with him which was quite a trip and about as interesting as it gets on Anna Maria.  Here you had the brewery and the birthplace of many a strange and twisted pieces of "Art." Probably the biggest debate about Mark was whether or not the birds he created were actually "art."  I choose to think so.

Mark led a really, really interesting life, especially compared to all the Fat Cats in Anna Maria who called him crazy when he ran for City Commissioner. He was born in the Basque region of Spain in a town called Guernica. He was young when Generalismo Franco gave the go ahead to his buddy Adolf Hitler to bomb the city to ashes during the Spanish revolution.  Mark was one of thousands of kids to be shipped off to England before the bombing.  

While he was working in the merchant marines he jumped ship in New York City and enlisted in the US Army where he served in both WWII and the Korean Conflict.  He was a smart and creative guy who told me a few good tales about "battlefield engineering" i.e. creating bridges over creeks using burned out automotives to move troops and supplies during the months after D Day. 

When we discussed our most recent wars he gave me a piece of insight that only he could come up with: He said "Michael, the difference between France, Belgium and Iraq is that when we liberated Europe we made love to the women and the countries. There was love! No one in Iraq is making love to the women!"  Hahaha. Truth.

After the wars he worked in remodeling in NYC. One day during Anna Maria Bayfest, Mark, I and a neighborhood kid were delivering a keg to Pine Avenue on the back of his four wheeled bicycle(while being pulled by Fritz the Wonder Boxer). We were talking about women. particularly who the famous and beautiful ladies were back in NYC during the old days. He talked about remodeling a kitchen for Rita and Refinishing cabinets for Marilyn. I was like "Rita who? Marilyn who?" Well, Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth of course! What a life this guy led!

Despite Marks vast appreciation for the beauty of women, he was happily married to one of the sweetest people I've met, Mirem who was also from the basque region. Here's a pic of them sitting by the trolley stop in front of the Rosedale cottage by the brewery.

There he is smoking his pipe full of "grass." Haha. He made these little pipes that had a closed stem that he would stuff with grass from the yard. I guess he just chewed on the stem since it wasn't a functioning piece of paraphernalia.  Good stuff, good joke, good guy. 

We spent many an afternoon in the shack, he melting Gorilla Glue onto coconut birds that had stone crab claws for beaks, me stirring the mash and filling kegs. In the end the shack was torn down and he moved back to Grand Rapids Michigan where his grandkids lived. But on the last afternoon of the brewery and art shack we had an open house with a keg of Little Giant Billabock.  He had his first drink of beer in 48 years(48 years!), and that was one of my favorite memories. Especially when he said "Michael, this is what you've been doing this whole time? This is good!" And he took one more long swig...

We lost a big bucket of "Island Flavor" this week.  Cheers to Mark Alonso!!!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Keep It Moving, Keep It Frothy.

Hey there good people,

Happy Memorial Day! Thank you to all who have served this country in places far and near.  The sacrifices you make personally, physically and in your families are much appreciated.

So, here at LGB there is much movement in a forward direction these days with construction and frothy/quaffable beverages.  

Major construction is underway at our building(301 7th Street East, Bradenton). Basically we have a new building in the area of the tasting room -- new roof, new steel walls, etc. It's the skylights I enjoy the most. Oh, and the fact that it doesn't rain inside anymore! 
We're moving through the plumbing stage now and on the flip-side of that we'll start constructing the bar and bathrooms(the real heart of any tasting room, haha).

Beer-wise we poured at The Lucky Dog Beer Festival at McKechnie Filed this past Saturday. Much fun was had and our Sunshine Mountain Saison garnered a really fun quote by a patron:
“It tastes like I'm skipping through a field of flowers on a mountaintop with my best friend,” Edel said laughing. “It's really good.”  
I couldn't have said it better myself, but then again, I am constantly climbing Sunshine Mountain. Have fun, Folks!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Them Changes

Hey there good people,

Don't get used to this picture, because them changes are about to blow through like a Polar Vortex... OK not exactly, because we are in Florida and there's a high temp of  67 here today. And there are no clouds in the sky. So Special.

The great news is: We received our construction permit from the folks down at the City of Bradenton building & planning, so you can guess what that means --- we're heading to the Florida Brewer's Guild Festival in Tampa this weekend to serve our tasty brew!!! Haha. 


But seriously, construction is majorly getting into swing next week -- and we are more than anxious to construct a fine fine beerhall for you all to enjoy some exemplary & frothy beverages of exceptional character and quality. 

So, if you're like us, you may now let out a giant-sized "YEEEEEEEHAAAAAW!" Hopefully we'll see you up(or down) in Tampa this weekend. 

And, as always, thanks for all these years of encouragement!