It’s March, so it’s time for the Florida Strawberry Festival. Every spring, Plant City (about 30 minutes or so away from Tampa) hosts a celebration to the over 10,000 acres of strawberries that grow in the region annually.
The event started in 1930, but has been going strong on a regular basis ever since World War II. There’s your standard carnival fare, plus lots and lots of strawberries.
Naturally, the most famous strawberry product at the festival is their strawberry shortcake. It’s available premade or there’s a make-your-own, which I remember doing in my younger days.
It’s a bit of a drive, I understand. Cigar City, in nearby Tampa, has luckily just so happened to release a lager that closely mimics the fantastic flavors to that classic dessert, Strawberry Shortcake (Helles Lager, 5% ABV).
To start, I have to wonder if they used Hotter than Helles or Tampa-Style Lager as the base for this. My assumption would be the former, since there’s almost no hop presence in the beer.
What there is, however, is the most insanely sweet and true-to-inspiration Strawberry Shortcake flavor I’ve ever seen. It is so incredibly close to eating an actual shortcake that I really did expect to see bits of strawberry floating around.
A lot of that has to do with Cigar City letting the malt go to town on the flavor profile. It lets a lot of that cakey, bready goodness shine, with a moderately strong strawberry character only accentuating those flavors.
It’s kind of a shame that the Florida Strawberry Festival won’t allow alcohol consumption on festival grounds. A beer like this is a natural fit.
Even if there’s no whipped cream on top. Yet.
Drink Florida Craft,