So Saltwater Brewery was, as you might have guessed, at last week’s New Times Beerfest. It’s good that they are, since the brewery is picking up steam and starting to widen their distribution radius around South Florida. I’m happy they were at Beerfest, since I was able to try a number of their beers, especially some of their limited edition ones.
One of the limited edition beers (only available to early entrants with Brewmaster or VIP tickets) was Puffer Pumpkin Stout (Pumpkin Stout, 6.5% ABV, 27 IBU), a really dark, rich pumpkin beer. Actually, talking with Pete from Saltwater, we were discussing about how every other pumpkin beer on the market seems to be a brown ale. Why not stouts? It’s a good think they did this; the mellowness of the pumpkin blends beautifully with the creamy smoothness from the stout, with a luxurious mouthfeel and just a touch of lingering on the palate.
There were two more beers they were due to release, but the tapping didn’t take place until later in the evening, so I took the opportunity to sample their South End Session Ale (American Pale Ale, 4.5% ABV, 20 IBU). It is easily one of the best session ales I’ve ever had. It’s light, but doesn’t sacrifice any flavor by being so. It comes off as exceptionally crisp with a slight hoppiness and maltiness that are present, but muted. They never overpower the beer. Coupled with a low 4.5% ABV, South End is a perfect session ale that can be enjoyed any time. If Saltwater ever gets a canning line, and I sure hope they do, this would be the perfect six-pack to take to the beach.
My wife and I returned later in the evening to sample two additional beers they released later in the event. The first (and the one we were both eager to try) was their Sea Rhino Vanilla Coffee Milk Stout (Milk Stout, 7.1% ABV, 39 IBU). This beer is actually a collaboration with Rhino Doughnuts and Coffee, a Ft. Lauderdale place that serves handcrafted coffee and fresh, chef-made doughnuts. They were supposed to be at Beerfest, but apparently something happened with their kitchen that morning and they couldn’t make it. Sad.
Anyway, this beer pairs Saltwater’s year round Sea Cow Milk Stout with a vanilla coffee brewed by Rhino, and the results are fantastic. It’s got a big coffee flavor, paired with the smoothness of Saltwater’s milk stout, and just enough of the sweetness to get a new drinker over the fear of drinking a beer that light can’t diffuse through. This would also be a fantastic breakfast stout, maybe paired with a few doughnuts?
The other limited release Saltwater had with them was Sable Saison (Saison/Farmhouse, 4.7% ABV, 5 IBU), an incredibly light and fruity saison that is perfect for South Florida. I’ve come to realize that light, crisp beers are big business down here. It’s a shame that Sable (which is French for ‘sand’) is a limited beer, it’s a quintessentially light and fruity South Florida beer.
Saltwater is one of the big breweries in Palm Beach County, and these beers show why. It’s nice to see breweries taking such a big focus on quality and promoting Florida.
And I promise I’ll get there soon. Promise.
Drink Florida Craft,
Chris & Dave