I have, from time to time, written about Big Bear Brewing Co., a brew pub in Coral Springs that I particularly enjoy for excellent beer and great nosh. Heck, I had no problems going there the night before a recent surgery (it was nothing. The surgery, I mean).
And even though they recently lost brewer Matt Cox, who is opening his new brewery Coppertop in Boynton Beach soon, Big Bear still adheres to an excellent lineup of great craft beer and interesting new seasonals.
I’m going to focus on the seasonals today. I’ve written about some of their standards before, and I have another post about standards that will be coming soon. As for right now, here’s what they have:
Caramel Apple Ale (Pale Ale, 4.9% ABV, 10 IBU) is a beer I never really thought I’d see from Big Bear. As for the beer base, it’s very light and airy, with a very pale golden color. The malt is very subdued, and there’s a slight hoppy bite to the beer. Easily accessible to most newbie drinkers. But the caramel apple qualities are not expected from them; I just assumed that Big Bear was a more traditionalist sort of brewery. Past that, it’s an inventive and well-flavored beer. The caramel comes on strong when you drink it, but the aftertaste is a very Granny Smith, Jolly Rancher-style of apple sweetness. A little sharp, a little sour, and very candy-like.
NovemBear Imperial Porter (Imperial Porter, 7.4% ABV, 27 IBU) is thankfully not nearly as strong and brutal as many Imperial Stouts I’ve had. T’is a porter. It’s a bit softer. And infinitely more flavorful. It has big, dark malt aromas and a deep roasted flavor, but Big Bear added a healthy amount of cocoa nibs during brewing. That addition brings the malt sweetness out just a touch more, improving the taste and the richness of the beer, too. It’s not really an overly chocolatey beer; the cocoa merely helps to accentuate things a bit.
I tend to have bad luck with winter warmers. These heavily spiced, brutally dark, and high alcohol always tend to be way too much for me. So I approached their Bear Hug Winter Warmer (Belgian Brown, 9.3% ABV, 15 IBU) with a little trepidation. Luckily, the beer was a lot more accessible than I feared. It’s got a nice sweetness to it, almost as if they used a hefeweizen yeast or a big, really sweet belgian yeast (I’m almost sure of the latter). Do not tempt fate with this beer, however. It’s very strong, and I’m not sure I could drink more than two and drive home.
I’m a huge fan of Big Bear Brewing. So is the rest of the community, judging by the hour wait I had to get in. But, once you’re in, it is worth it. I would suggest getting there soon, as all of these beers are seasonal, and not likely to be around for very long.
But you’ll probably feel that winter warmer for a little while after you leave.
Drink Florida Craft,