It’s one of the many, many reasons why I love Two Henrys Brewing so very much.
It was built by railroad magnate Henry Plant (one of the two Henrys) in 1897 to boost tourism on his railroads along Florida’s Gulf Coast. During World War II, it was one site of lodging for servicemen stating at nearby MacDill AFB in Tampa.
In it’s heyday, the resort was host to a spate of foreign dignitaries, U.S. presidents, businessmen, and sports heroes. Bob Dylan played two concerts in the Starlight Ballroom preparing for a tour in the mid-1970’s.
By the turn of the 21st century, a rotating spate of owners and developers tried to modernize some parts of the facility, leaving most of it to decay. After impassioned pleas and a prolonged legal battle, the grand Belleview-Biltmore was slated for demolition to make way for condominiums. Part of it will be kept and restored as a small boutique hotel.
As an enthusiast of Florida history, it always hurts to see pieces of our past being whittled away. Part of the legacy of this wondrous resort has been kept by Two Henrys Brewing Co. as one of their newer canned beer releases, Belleview-Biltmore Blueberry Vanilla Wheat (Hefeweizen, 5.3% ABV).
If staying at the resort was half as good as this beer, it must have been an incredible place to stay. And if you want to know what this beer is like, bake a tray of blueberry muffins and open one up the moment it gets out of the oven.
That’s exactly what it’s like. The aroma gives you a good idea of what the entire experience is going to be like, with a heady rush of blueberries and malty sweetness.
The taste of the beer is just as wonderful, especially with the vanilla strongly enhancing the bready qualities of the malt, making it very pastry-like.
Folding the big, plump blueberry flavors only enhance this dessert-like beer further. It’s very fruity, and remarkably not syrupy at all. It’s also clear they used a much less potent, less flavorful hefeweizen yeast, so the overwhelming aromas of things like clove or banana aren’t present.
And, thanks to luck, this is now available by me. Makes me happy; I can easily see getting 6-packs of this on a regular basis.
May it last longer than its namesake.
Drink Florida Craft,