I have to start with an explanation of the name, because it’s not everyday that someone releases beers under a name that’s reminiscent of a fight scene in the old Batman television series.
Damian Ramos is a brewer that is originally from up north, likes movies, and has the same problem that almost everyone in the brewing industry is having: naming. It’s getting harder to find names since everyone has taken everything already. So what does he do? He watches his favorite film, the 90’s cyberpunk cheesetacular Hackers. You remember Hackers, right?
Anyway, in between Jonny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie ‘hacking’ into computers and whatever was going on with Matthew Lillard’s hair, two of the characters greet each other with a half-hearted impromptu kung-fu fight, exclaiming with gusto the half-hearted onomatopoeia “Ooka-pow!”
Damian immediately took to the internet, found absolutely no one had taken that, and voila! Ookapow Brewing. Soon to be based in what is the most booming brewtown of South Florida, namely Boynton Beach.
Hopefully they will be open soon, but in the meantime, they are making quite the impact on the brewfest circuit. I caught up with them at the New Times Beerfest in Ft. Lauderdale. While I didn’t try everything, I tried most of it:
Mango Cream Ale (Cream Ale, 5.2% ABV) – Aah, how Florida is really starting to embrace the cream ale. It makes me happy. It’s a clean, lightly malty and lightly hoppy style that you can do so much with. With Damian, that ‘something’ was fresh mango. It’s lightly sweet, just a touch meaty, and intensely refreshing. A fantastic beer.
Double IPA (Imperial IPA, 8.5% ABV) – Mercifully, Ookapow is joining a growing force of brewers that are making IPAs to showcase hops, not to scorch taste buds. They used a good, healthy amount of a different variety o hops, some noble, and the result is a clean drinking, moderately bitter but very flavorful beer. Very much a simpler, more inviting alternative to big West Coast IPAs.
Rum Barrel Aged Porter (Porter, 6% ABV) – Damian was very adamant in his pride in using a Brazilian rum (not cachaca) in the beer. This was because the rum used isn’t harsh, rough astringent. It’s smooth, gentle, and full of a delightful flavor that blends well with a moderate, creamy, dark and roasty porter. There are so many ways they can continue to treat a beer like this, such as…
Cinnamon Roll Coffee Porter (Porter, 7% ABV) – This is yummy stuff. A lot of the cinnamon occurs in the nose, mixing with that wonderful dark roasted malt flavor. The coffee, however, is more prominent on the tongue. Rich, sweet, and they used a wonderful local blend that isn’t bitter at all (thank goodness). There’s an almost toffee quality to the flavor with the roast malt interacting with the light cinnamon.
All bizarre karate references aside, I want to see Ookapow get into a location soon. Damian has a good set of beers on hand, and it’ll be nice to see him capitalize on that investment.
Well, short of having Sick Boy from Trainspotting hack into the Federal Reserve and steal something…
Drink Florida Craft,