Yes, Virginia. There are cows in Florida. Lots of them.
More than 1 million of them, to be exact. That’s good enough to be 9th in the nation in terms of head of cattle, according to the Florida Beef Council.
That organization is part of the larger umbrella Florida Cattlemen’s Association, an organization intended to help promote Florida beef and dairy and the people that depend on this over $600 million industry.
The cultural arm of the group is the Florida Cattlemen’s Foundation. This group is exclusively dedicated to the promotion of the rich ranching heritage our state enjoys, educational programs, cattle industry research, and rodeos.
It was this group that Tampa’s Cigar City partnered with when it came time to create a beer that celebrated the cattle industry in the state. Part of the proceeds of the beer sales was given back to the FCF to further their activities.
That beer was named for the ‘head cowboy’ if you will, the person in charge of controlling cattle and cowboys on a ranch: the Cow Boss (Imperial Stout, 9% ABV, 40 IBU).
It’s more Imperial than it is milk,, truth be told. It’s got a very strong, bold malt character, thick and rich with notes of chocolate, molasses, and some coffee.
There is a light sweetness in the beer, present but well-overshadowed by the big roasted notes present in the beer. Alcoholic milkshake this is not. This is definitely a strong beer meant to be enjoyed as an experience, not sessioned over time.
The beer was aged on cypress wood, and I feel horrible that I’m not familiar enough with cypress to readily define that character. According to the bottle, it brings a chocolate cake-esque quality to the beer. I had already identified those flavors as probably coming from the lactose and malt, so maybe I’m wrong. I would like to try more beers aged on cypress, though. That flavor profile does sound interesting.
It’s a great beer, and it’s wonderful to see local breweries reaching out to embrace various cultural organizations from around the state.
It also makes me want a steak. And to thank a rancher for it, too.
Drink Florida Craft,