Keel and Curley is a winery and cidery based in Plant City, about half an hour or so east of Tampa. Some of their fruit wines were available by me for some time now, but their ciders are now available here as well.
If you’re a particularly eagle-eyed reader of mine, you will know I have mentioned them before. In essence, I’ve written about them quite a bit.
You see, there are two important things you need to realize about Florida liquor laws, things I didn’t realize until I spoke to another brewer looking to open a cidery:
1 – Florida does not allow brewers to produce beer and wine at the same company. They must be different corporate entities in different buildings.
2 – Florida considers cider to be a wine product.
Because of this, Schnebly Winery has their brewing arm as Miami Brewing, Cigar City Brewing also has the separate organization Cigar City Cider and Mead, and if you ever see Keel and Curley’s Madman series of ciders, keep in mind the beer they produce.
A line known to you and me as Two Henry’s Brewing Co.
There’s a railroad motif on the Madman cans, to be sure, but laws dictate that the ciders go under a completely different name. Hence the Keel and Curley moniker the cider is released under. And they’re releasing Madman in a number of different flavors, but to start we’re going to look at the standard Madman Hard Apple Cider (Cider, 6.2% ABV).
Which might have the distinction of being the best bottled/canned cider I’ve ever tasted.
Seriously. There are so many ciders on the market, and they all feel cloying and syrupy, as if they didn’t use real apples but an apple syrup that was mixed with water at the bottling plant.
Madman isn’t like that at all. Just looking at how golden, clear, and clean the cider is lets you know this is not any ordinary cider, but something incredibly delicious and wonderful.
The flavor is like biting into a fresh Fuji apple or something; it’s incredibly crips with just the right amount of residual sweetness from fresh Pennsylvania apples to give it big apple flavor. It wasn’t finished too dry or too sweet; it really is a perfect amount between the two.
It also isn’t so syrupy or so strong that you can’t have more than one. Obviously don’t drink an entire six pack since they may not be quite as healthy as actual apples, but it’s a fantastic brew.
There are a lot of variations of Madman on the market, and I have my hands on both Peach and Strawberry which I am looking forward to reviewing in the coming months.
And maybe I can change those pesky laws at the same time.
Drink Florida Craft,