I’m happy to be able to go as often as I wish to Coral Springs’ longtime brewpub Big Bear Brewing Company. I just don’t want to go too often since I want to give it time for their taps to rotate with their big seasonal beers.
And I’m lucky that I was able to wait for Smokey the Bear (Stout, 5.5% ABV, 35 IBU) to come around.
There’s a lot going on in this beer and a lot going for it, too. First, it’s a porter. And I do so love porters. They’re always robust and flavorful, but not too heavy and chewy. This porter has all of that, plus a bit more. It’s very woodsy and (as the name would imply) smoky, since the malts used were peat smoked. That smoking gives it a touch of the smoky ‘spice,’ but not so much that it would be a Rauchbier. It’s just a touch, and it’s just right.
The beer was then aged on American oak and served on nitro, which makes for a clean, creamy presentation. I am a sucker for nitro. Always have been.
With all of that, the beer is incredibly complex, since the smoke gives it a little kick that is promptly mellowed a bit by the oak. There some wonderfully roasted coffee flavors present, and the nitro complements the beer spectacularly. It’s also not too strong, so it could be sessioned if you want.
But this is a beer meant to be savored. Take it slow. When drinking, of course; get to Big Bear fast. I don’t know if this beer will be around a long time.
Drink Florida Craft (And Prevent Forest Fires),