I’m sure Persimmon Hollow has a better backstory for this beer, but there’s only one I can think of when i see the label artwork for their Paddle Wheeler Red.
And for that, we have to go over an hour west and 30 years back in time.
If you’re like me, you remember Walt Disney World Village Marketplace back when is was a lot more quaint and nowhere near as overdone and corporate.
The centerpiece of the area was the Empress Lilly, a massive recreation of an old paddlewheel steamship, named for and christened by Walt’s late wife Lillian in 1977.
It was mostly a few restaurants and bars, including the incredibly pricey Empress Room at the very top. The paddles always moved, and the lush interior invoked a classic Deep South romance.
Contrary to popular belief, it did not move. It couldn’t move. There was very little effort required in looking below the water line to see the foundations of the building descending straight into Bay Lake.
That is exactly what my mind first goes to when I pick up a can of Persimmon Hollow’s Paddle Wheeler Red Ale (American Amber Ale, 6% ABV, 20.8 IBU).
What’s interesting about this beer is the whopping 5 roasted barley malts that give the beer it’s characteristic color and nice redness. And with all of that malt, there is a moderate amount of caramel flavor you can feel when drinking this.
Just keep in mind, Persimmon brought the hops out in full force, and the beer tends to favor an earthy hop flavor over the malty goodness. Not that it’s bad, but I would have liked to feel more of the bready sweetness from that much roasted barley goodness.
It’s still a good porch swingin’, balmy summer evening beer. Indicative of a time when the image of a gleaming white paddle wheeler was still a thing of awe.
Unfortunately steamboats are all but gone and the Empress Lilly has been corporatized, nothing but a shadow of her former self.
But with beers like this, maybe the grand dame can rise again.
Drink Florida Craft,