I say this lightly, but if Coral Springs’ Sawgrass Brewing doesn’t have a true signature beer, they might just have it in their Gin Oak IPA (American Pale Ale, 5.5% ABV).
It would just be better if it didn’t take so darn long to make…
I’ve talked about Sawgrass Brewing before, and I’m a big fan of the experimental direction their owner and head brewer Norm is taking. He’s incredibly knowledgeable about his beer, and does a lot of tweaking around with some pretty inventive stuff.
Such as this Gin Oak IPA. It’s the gin and the oak that takes some time to get started. Apparently, Florida laws prohibit adding distilled spirits directly to beer. Which is bizarre. So Norm took oak chips and soaked them in a small batch gin (I’ll update this once I remember the exact gin used). Once the oak had completely soaked up the gin, the chips were added to what is a lightly malty, moderately hopped Pale Ale. The beer was allowed to sit and absorb all of those wonderful gin and oak flavors. And sit. And sit. The longer the beer sits, the better the flavor, apparently.
Which is good, because the beer is a real treat. It’s beautifully mild for a pale ale, and has an incredible depth of flavor, sort of mellow and meaty. The gin is very prominent on the nose of the beer and present in the taste, but not overpowering. And while it is hoppy, it’s not an excruciating hop bomb. It’s still easily drinkable. And light, too. I expected the gin addition to greatly increase the alcohol content, but it never really happened.
Gin Oak IPA takes some time to brew, and it’s excellent. Basically, if you see it on that day’s beer listing, grab it. It may not last forever.
Drink Florida Craft,