I’ve been trying to make it fairly well known that I’ve been brewing a beer with my new buddies at Miami’s Concrete Beach Brewery. They’ve been noticeable around South Florida for a little while due to their six-packs of Rica and Stiltsville. The brewery, and head brewer Chris McGrath, have considerable leeway in what they want to brew for the social hall in Wynwood.
C.R.E.A.M. (Cream Ale, 4.2% ABV) -This is actually the test batch of cream ale that was brewed to get ready for brewing Mojito Cream Ale. It just so happens to be a pretty big hit with guests at the social hall. It stays pretty true to style with a soft, not hoppy and not malty flavor. It’s very approachable and even has a slight residual corn sweetness from the flaked corn used (which is indicative of the style). On its own, it’s an excellent beer. Now to fully unleash it…
Tropic of Passion (Pale Wheat Ale, 4.9% ABV) – On the surface, it’s a pale wheat ale, maybe a bit less malty than Stiltsville. But when you taste it, you get a big, sharp, tart flavor. That comes from the passionfruit used to give the beer a kick. It’s fresh passionfruit, too, so don’t expect the beer to be pink. But the fruit adjunct makes the beer a bit more aggressive and noticeable than a standard wheat ale would be.
Black Lager (Schwarzbier, 4.8% ABV) – Yes, Concrete Beach can lager. If you’re not familiar with that, layering requires special tanks and double the fermentation time of an ale. It’s well worth it, as lagers tend to be much smoother and softer. That’s exactly what you get with Concrete Beach’s Black Lager. Sure, it has strong flavors of heavy malts and coffee (think pumpernickel), but it’s still remarkably light and approachable. It doesn’t feel watery, but very smooth and full of complexities.
Pale Ale (Pale Ale, 5% ABV) – It’s like an IPA with water wings. There are noticeable hops in the beer, and they definitely bring a bitter and floral edge to the beer. They’re just not brutal, which is nice. It’s a very balanced beer, with just enough hop character to give it an edge, but not so much that you have to prepare.
Helles Lager (Helles Lager, 5% ABV) – I enjoy a good Helles (two syllables, please) Lager. They tend to be what a mass-produced beer would be if they actually had some flavor to them. Their Helles is robust and flavorful with a buttery, bready flavor that feels rounded and meaty. There isn’t a ton of malty sweetness to the beer, it’s more mature and mellow than that. But it’s bright and it sure is tasty.
Rye Porter (Porter, 5.2% ABV) – This was a beer Chris was very excited about, and for good reason. It’s a dark, foreboding porter, with a lot of rough and roasted malt notes of bread and coffee, but with the added spice from rye. The rye gives the beer an almost floral flavor, big with earthy qualities. It’s not overly alcoholic, but it’s broad and warm.