By Joni Williams
Coffee, music, beer. Sounds like heaven to us, and it can be found in a shop next to Publix in Santa Rosa Beach.
We’re talking about 30A Songwriter Radio’s new Music & Coffee shop where many local—even celebrity—artists have been known to hang out and sometimes even perform impromptu. All regularly scheduled broadcast shows—a mix of music and engaging interviews—are also conducted onsite before a live audience.
Even when the live performances aren’t happening, the vibe is relaxed and the people friendly and refreshingly unpretentious. Hang out for an hour and you’ll feel like you just took a Yoga or transcendental meditation class. Only instead of contorting on a hard floor you can sink into one of the shop’s comfy sofas or chairs, or leisurely browse their expansive vinyl record collection and other interesting items for sale. We like that so much better. Especially since food and drink is involved.
Their menu brims with tempting chai, juice, sandwiches, and huge slices of house made coffee cake that beckon in a pastry display case. As the name implies, they’re all about coffee and they take it seriously, with the roasts timed precisely for optimal brewing. Though they have an impressive selection that includes latte and espresso, we just had to sample the cold brewed, nitrogen-infused draft coffee. It was downright exquisite.
But that wasn’t our only foray into brews here. They do have beers, and they rock. Really. This is one of the few local places that stocks those signature rock band beers we’ve been dying to try. Talk about nirvana. We got busy with the Queen Bohemian Rhapsody. Touted as a handcrafted pilsner and made in Czechoslovakia with a mere three ingredients—water, Czech Saaz hops and barley malt, Our advice? Don’t expect this Euro brew to taste, or even smell, like an American pilsner. Miller Lite it ain’t.
The first sip hits pretty sweet, malty for sure, but has an almost anise-like twist to it. Though it’s not a heavy beer, the flavor is deep, hoppy and tempered with bitters. If you’re like us and are always up for something out of the ordinary, then this is the brew for you. Plus, the legendary Freddie Mercury himself designed the artsy label crest. Just try throwing one of those empty bottles away. We couldn’t. You know what they say—one man’s trash is another woman’s Boho flower vase. Or something like that.
Iron Maiden’s Trooper Ale was also sporting some impressive label artwork — another keeper, for sure. Brewed with a trifecta of hops, smooth malt, a slight twist of citrus and a hit of bitters, it’s clear the tasty Trooper isn’t just a marketing gimmick. Hands down, our fave of the night.
What do you get when a sometimes outrageous Australian hard rock band known for naughty lyrics teams up with a German brewer? A beer that tastes a lot like Stella or maybe even Heineken, with the flavor taken up a notch or two. Oddly enough, AC/DC’s Rock or Bust signature pale lager (sold in beach-friendly, big boy cans) proved to be the most traditional tasting of our three rock beers. It wasn’t overly bready or sweet, medium carbonation, mild hops and malt—nothing quirky or over the top. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We like Stella and Heineken, as do most people we know. And that huge can is pretty cool, too.
The Music & Coffee shop also has a small yet stellar offering of local brews plus Golden Monkey, wine by the glass and Maine Root handcrafted beverages. You can find their menu and performance calendar—and listen in—at 30asongwriterradio.com.
Or stop by Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Except for Monday, Feb. 29. They’ll be closing early at 4 p.m. to attend the Beachcomber Music Awards later that evening. We’re looking forward to seeing them—and you—there.