There seem to be a lot, and I mean a lot, of Pittsburghers in Florida.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Pittsburgh. It’s a fine town, Kennywood is a blast, the Strip District is incredible, and it’s got a gorgeous skyline. But I am definitely a Floridian at heart.
But they’re everywhere, including my lovely wife. Every day I see a Steelers bumper sticker, we live close to a few Primanti’s, and there’s just too many Penguins fans when they come to play the Panthers and Lightning (don’t even get me started on that). And now their beer is coming, too.
It’s closer to Philly, but there’s a ton of Yuengling around. Yes, most of that is brewed in Tampa, but it’s still PA. There’s lots of Iron City at Total Wine and ABC, and now Rivertowne is starting to show up a lot. Recently Rivertowne collaborated with Bradenton-based Darwin Brewing Co. on a beer, and the link is a lot deeper than you might think.
You see, Darwin’s brewing facility is literally across the street from McKechnie Field, the spring training home of, you guessed it, the Pittsburgh Pirates. I have to assume that Rivertowne came down for a game, visited Darwin afterward, saw how good the beer was, then collaborated on Aji Limo Rojo (Red Ale, 6.9% ABV, 26 IBU).
So let’s look at everything that went into this beer, and notice that a lot of the adjuncts tend to support Darwin’s Peruvian flair. The Aji Limo pepper, otherwise known as the lemon drop pepper, is native to the Amazon, and that was blended with the eight malts (!) in the beer.
Interestingly enough, Rivertowne brewed theirs with an Ale yeast, while Darwin Brewed theirs with a Lager yeast. Even with the differences in water, the beers reportedly came out remarkably similar (cans were produced in PA, so I might not get to try the FL version).
The funny thing is, I didn’t know of any of this when I first drank the beer. All I know when I smelled the beer is it was thick and malty, with a difference. A spicy, oddly piquante aroma.
Drinking the beer was a rather delicious task, with all of those delicious malt flavors making a beer that was infinitely chewy and incredibly rich with big flavors of biscuit, molasses, and brown sugar with a touch of raisin.
Then there’s the pepper. The Aji Limo has the tendency to be sweet and lightly hot, and both came through in the flavor. The beer isn’t brutally hot; more of a light dusting of pepper, expertly controlled the way Darwin seems to have perfected. It’s enough to be heard slightly over the malts and felt on the back of the throat, but not much more.
It was a great beer and a welcome collaboration between two places that are important to our household. And if we can’t move to Pittsburgh, we can at least get their beer here.
But it snows there. Brrr. Florida, please.
Drink Florida Craft,