It’s always fun when I get to write about a brewery I haven’t written about before. Today, that brewery is Darwin Brewing Co., based in the Tampa Bay area in Bradenton.
Yep, that looks distinctly Peruvian for a Florida brewer. What’s the story?
Well, the Darwin in Darwin Brewing is Darwin Santa Maria, who was born in Peru and brought to the U.S. when he was a child. He opened a restaurant in Sarasota, Darwin’s on 4th, that soon started brewing their own beers. A couple of awards and the landing of Cuban-born co-founder Jorge Rosabal, and they decided to build a second location focusing solely on their brewing operation. All of this is how a highly-regarded, South American-influenced brewery lands in the Tampa Bay area.
One that immediately names one of their standard beers after a highly hallucinogenic medicinal drink.
Ayawasca (alterlnately spelled ayahuasca) is a drink, brewed by specialized shamans in the Amazon river basin in Peru, for ages. It’s used as medicine, as a window into the soul, and as some particularly frightening nightmare fuel. It’s an interesting set of side effects, and (unfortunately) not nearly as present in Darwin Brewing’s Belgian dubbel version of Ayawasca (Dubbel, 8% ABV).
It has a beautiful caramel color, maybe a tiny bit deeper than other Belgian-style ales from the area. The aroma has a nice bubblegum note to it, but without the strong ‘wet sock’ notes that I kinda expect from a lot of Belgian ales.
Ayawasca is so all about the traditional Belgian sweetness with this beer. It has a strong malt profile that brings strong caramel and toffee notes, with just a touch of coffee and chocolate notes any good Belgian has. A lot of that is from the big additions of Marris Otter, caramel, Special B, and chocolate malts. Colombus, Tomahark, and Zeus hops round out the brewing profile.
It’s also 8% ABV, so you’ll feel this beer. It’s noticeable and sort of stays with you for a while. Just like any good Peruvian shamanistic concoction.
And I don’t have to venture deep into the jungle for this one.
Drink Florida Craft,