On April 25th, SaltWater held their Mass Confusion event, centering on 27 different treatments of their Don’t Get Confused Belgian tripel, plus three treatments of South End and two of Screamin’ Reels. All but one of these treatments were completely original.
Thanks to Katelyn, SaltWater’s PR person, my lovely and pregnant wife and I were able to go. Head Brewer Dustin Jeffers gave me some details of what to expect before the event started. I also find it interesting that, if you read the interview, he mentions his girlfriend. In the few days between the interview and the event, they got engaged. Yay! So congrats to them.I’ll come back to him a little later. In the meantime, beer. Glorious beer.
Oddly enough, when I was there, I did not attempt to try the original Don’t Get Confused. I still can’t tell you why. What I did start with was No Te Confudas Dos (Belgian Tripel, 9.5% ABV), the mojito version of Don’t Get Confused.
According to Dustin, this was treated with some freshly crushed mint leaves and a little mojito mix. It was a great start to the event. This was very lightly sweet, but nice and drinkable. You still get some of the maltiness from the tripel, but it’s still very light and refreshing from the mojito treatment. It also hides the incredible strength of the tripel nicely.
Afterward, I did a little wandering around, and then went back for the 5 PM tapping of Rum Oaked Don’t Get Confused (Belgian Tripel, 10.8% ABV).
Whereas the mojito was light and sweet, the rum oaked version hits like a ton of bricks. You can really feel the high alcohol content of the tripel here, and that is only amplified by a dark, woodsy rum flavor from the barrel. It’s incredibly potent and not for the faint of heart. Quite yummy.
But, being South Florida, you definitely need the big fruit flavors in your beer, and this event did not skimp on any of that. First up on the tropical fruit treatments was Passionfruit Don’t Get Confused (Belgian Tripel, 10% ABV), a collaboration with 3 Sons Brewing.
This new brewer, based out of Davie, has been making a big splash in the South Florida beer scene. One of the things SaltWater was happy to do during the event was to introduce beer drinkers in the area to hot new breweries such as this. The beer itself was nicely sweet, almost a candied flavor between the juicy passionfruit and the malt of the beer. Nice, light, and fruity.
In contrast with that was the more meaty Guava Don’t Get Confused (Belgian Tripel, 9.5% ABV).
Much like a guava has more of a darker, less outwardly fruity and more caramel-fruit taste than your average passionfruit, this beer was a lot less of a Juicy Fruit bomb than the passionfruit one. But the guava was a nice fit with the heavy malt of Don’t Get Confused, and I think it lent itself to a nicely meaty, rounded mouthfeel and taste.
Dustin took my wife and I inside for a quick tour of the brewery (which was wonderful, since the back was nice and cool and devoid of crowds). The facility, for those of you that haven’t gone, is an old barn built out of gorgeous and now-unfindable Dade County Pine, which hardens to the strength of concrete after a while. Most of the barn is intact, but they took some of the wood and built SaltWater’s beautiful bar top and picnic tables out of it, at the cost of many a drill bit.
Also in the back are the barrels pictured above. Wine barrels, to be exact. Two of them were used for Pinot Noir and two for Cabernet. Just to be on the cure side, the barrels were named after the significant others for the principals at SaltWater Brewery: The two barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon are named Kayleigh and Katelyn, after Head Brewer Dustin and President Chris’ new fiancees (Katelyn being the same Katelyn that is the head of PR and invited us to the event. Took me two days to figure that one out. And congrats!). The Pinot Noir barrels are Chelsea for Bo’s new fiancee and and Lauren, the cousin of Head Brewer Dustin and Pete’s wife. I know that’s a lot to remember. All you really need to know is when you put a Belgian dubbel in them to age, then blend the result, then you get Double Barreled (Belgian Dubbel, 8.5% ABV).
And it’s fantastic. SaltWater is riding the wave of aging beers in wine barrels, and does so beautifully. The big wine flavors really come out and accentuate the high alcohol content and relative darkness of the dubbel. It’s also not hoppy, which only serves to help promote the blended wine flavor more.
Fast forward to 7 PM. There were other beers consumed in between, including their Black Current, but I’m saving those for other write ups. But I was waiting for 7 PM since they were tapping two very intriguing treatments that I wanted to try. And, thanks to Chris at SaltWater who is good people as well, I got to try both. I’m going to start with Amaretto Oaked Don’t Get Confused (Belgian Tripel, 10.8% ABV), a collaboration with Micro-Mammoth Brewing.
To be honest, I was expecting a big, sweet amaretto experiences, kind of like drinking an amaretto sour or something. I didn’t get that, and looking back I think I’m happy about it. The amaretto sweetness is very light and restrained, and ever so gently compliments the sweetness of the malt. It’s very refined and exceptionally smooth.
But I had never heard of Micro-Mammoth Brewing. Which was to be expected, I guess. See, Micro-Mammoth is the brewery-in-planning from SaltWater’s General Manager Cameron and two of his homebrewing buddies. I am sure we’ll be hearing a lot from them in the near future.
The Amaretto Oak DGC was a great beer that Leanne, one of the marketing people from Delray Beach Center For the Arts, also liked a lot. I mention her since in about a week and a half they are holding their annual Delray Beach Craft Beer Fest, which is going to highlight a lot of breweries from across the region . And wouldn’t you know, but SaltWater will be there with a few treatments of Don’t Get Confused!
Synergy is a wonderful thing. But then again, so was Confused At Night (Belgian Tripel, 10.5% ABV).
Of all the beers my wife wanted to try, this one tops the list. It was also one of the beers that ran out the fastest. That’s because this was a batch of Don’t Get Confused treated with Belgian chocolate, raspberries, and Belgian waffles from Frosty Point. And it is just as sweet and rich as it sounds. Incredibly complex and sugary, this is basically dessert in a glass. Wonderful.
But, as we headed for the door, I got one more treatment in, courtesy of my buds at Descarga Brewing. They were there giving out samples of their brews, and I’ll be writing about them very soon. At this time, however, they had packet up and were enjoying some Dragon Pepper and Mango Don’t Get Confused (Belgian Tripel, 9.5% ABV). No picture, sorry.
I’ve always been a little afraid of pepper beers, since I’ve had my fair share of beers that are more hot sauce than beer. This one was a bit more rounded than that, thankfully. It had a pepper burn, and sure ticked your throat, but the mango sweetness was able to calm that down a bit. It could have been a scorcher, and it mercifully wasn’t.
This was a great event. It seemed to run pretty smoothly, and it looked like everyone was having a great time. Of course, it’s great to see events like this celebrating Florida craft beer. I would have loved to try all of the treatments, but I’m not sure I could have walked away if that was the case.
Here’s to hoping we get an event like this at SaltWater soon. Thank you to Dustin, Katelyn, Chris, and the entire SaltWater team for their hospitality.
Now I want to see if any special beers are going to be made for the upcoming weddings…
Drink Florida Craft,