Reef Donkey is not exactly a name that conjures up images of great beer. Donkey doesn’t really conjure up images of great anything, unless you’re talking about Colombian Coffee and Juan Valdez is nearby. According to Tampa Bay Brewing Company, Reef Donkey is a nickname for the Greater Amberjack, a relatively weighty game fish that lives in the Gulf waters off the Tampa Bay coast.
So it’s a fish. Okay. Let me quickly backtrack to Tampa Bay Brewing Co. They’ve been in Ybor City since 1995, and are currently in Centro Ybor. Very interestingly enough, their late founder John Doble III was memorialized as an artificial reef off the coast of Sarasota.
John Doble and family, apart from being big in brewing craft beer in Tampa, were also big into promoting and enjoying the coastal waters and the environment. This is why many of their beers and beer logos have names that reflect that love, such as the
Greater Amberjack Reef Donkey APA (American Pale Ale, 5.5% ABV, 36 IBU).
It’s one of the two beers that Tampa Bay Brewing Co. cans and distributes around the bay area. And it won a bronze medal in the American-Style Pale Ale category at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival, one of only three awards for the state that year.
It has a classically beautiful golden color, and a good amount (but not overpowering) of hop fruitiness in the aroma. The taste is where the hops really come through. It’s bitter, but not destructively so. I’d also like to know which hops they use in the beer, but Tampa Bay Brewing isn’t talking. Those monsters.
It’s also, as far as I can tell, the only 16 oz. cans of Florida-made beer. I don’t quite understand why they went for the extra 4 oz, but more power to them. (Update – Tampa Bay Brewing let me know that it’s so you get a full pint, whether you’re at home or in their tap house. Pretty cool.)
It’s nice to finally try TBBC’s beers, especially since I’ve seen them around so much. I just gotta swing by Ybor to visit them.
Or just go fishing.
Drink Florida Craft,