Last week Phil from Gold Coast Beverage Distributors invited Beer In Focus to take part in a private monthly tasting at the Doral branch of Gold Coast. There were two breweries represented in the tasting - Bell’s Brewery and Florida Beer Company.
First up was Corey for Florida Beer Company out of Melbourne, Florida. Corey brought three brews to sample. The Key West Sunset Ale, Key West Southernmost Wheat and Florida Beer’s latest creation, the yet to be released, Swamp Ape IPA- expected to be available early December.
The Sunset Ale is an American style amber ale with a nice amber color. A malty brew with a bright aroma and softly sweet flavor anyone can enjoy.
The Southernmost Wheat is a Belgian style witbier brewed with key lime. It has got the classic cloudy pale blond color associated with witbiers. The smell is dominantly coriander with a nice dose of citrus in the background. It tastes pretty much like it smells, with a kiss of lime in the mix.
Finally, we have the monster double IPA, the Florida Beer Swamp Ape.
Appearance: Pours a beautiful copper color with amber hues. The head is a light cream color, less than an inch thick and dissipates into thin cream colored sticky lacing.
Smell: This brew has big aromas with hops being predominant. Floral hops, as well as a touch of citrus and some raw hop aromas. There is a faint scent of ripe fruit in the background. Past the hops there is a sweet butterscotch smell from the roasted malts and a pronounced smell of alcohol.
Taste: The taste is as big as the smell. The hops are first to hit the palate. Floral and citrusy hops, as well as a dry hop flavor. The hops are strong but not overly bitter. The alcohol flavor is present throughout and intensifies as it warms. The flavor is immediately taken over by the malts. This brew has a heavy malt character which gives it its sweetness and body. Fruity esters, a soft biscuit flavor, and a hint of bubblegum come through, I assume mostly from the yeast. The malts almost steal the show but there is a slight bitterness to the finish from the hops, keeping it from being overly sweet.
The Swamp Ape is a bold, full bodied, continually hopped IPA with 10% ABV. It has a creamy mouthfeel. Heavy on both the hops and the malts. Maltier and less bitter than might be expected from a double IPA, but then again, it’s hard to predict a wild animal.
Up next was Cindi for Bell’s Brewery out of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Cindi brought two brews to sample. The Oberon Ale and the Two Hearted Ale.
The Oberon Ale- named after a character in Shakespear’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is an American style wheat beer. It has a hazy gold color with orange hues, a citrus smell with faint spice. A smooth, refreshing and easy drinking wheat beer.
Next was the Two Hearted Ale, an American style IPA which got its name from Hemingway’s Big Two-Hearted River.
Appearance: Pours a light golden copper color with a foamy cream colored head which becomes a nice lacing that sticks to the sides of the glass.
Smell: The first sniff reveals a beautiful hoppy aroma, floral upfront with strong citrus and a gentle earthyness in the background. Underneath the hops there is a light bready scent and a faint sweetness from the malts which becomes more detectable as it warms.
Taste: Crisp and oh so clean. The character of this brew is carried by the citric hops. There is a bready, sourdough flavor from the yeast with a kiss of sweetness form the malts. It finishes slightly dry with a bitter grapefruit bite.
The Two Hearted Ale is a clean, refined IPA. In keeping with its name, it is smooth and easy to drink, yet with a strong character, bitterness, and depth of flavor to please the most discerning palates. I could drink this brew all day long. In fact it has instantly become one of my favorite IPA’s.
Thanks to Corey and Cindi for sharing their quality brews with us, and of course a big thanks to Phil for inviting Beer In Focus to be a part of the Gold Coast tasting.