Some days I research and plan a visit to a brewery, and some days they just fall into your lap.
Driving down from North Florida, my wife and I decided to stop at Yellow Dog Eats in historic downtown New Smyrna Beach. It’s really cute downtown, and ordinarily this is where the story would end. But here’s where we parked our car:
I hate to say it, but I was completely unaware of where I was. So we went to dinner, right around the corner.
First of all, Yellow Dog Eats is fantastic and has some great BBQ. Great desserts as well. And a really nice, predominately local draft list. One of those drafts, interestingly enough, was Indian River Root Beer (Root Beer, non-alcoholic) from New Smyrna Beach Brewing, which ended up being that brewery around the corner.
I love it when breweries make their own root beer, because it ends up like this: intensely flavorful and really delicious. It had a nice bit of creamy taste and one heck of a spick kick, too. I’m sure it would be absolutely fantastic in a float.
Speaking to the manager at Yellow Dog, he mentioned his preference for what NSBB is doing, being one of his favorite two breweries in Volusia County (the other being my friends at Central 28). But, as he mentioned, they’re small and really produce beers only for their tasting room.
We had kind of a tight timetable, so I swung by the brewery for a growler while my wife and daughter stayed warm inside the car. The brewery was opened by two local boys and New Smyrna Beach High graduates. Their brewmaster, Chris Coyle, brewed and gave away beer for free before opening just off Canal St. in 2014.
While deciding on what my growler should be, I enjoyed a little bit of their Coronado Beach Cream Ale (Cream Ale, 5.2% ABV). I’m becoming kinda partial to a good cream ale, and this is definitely a good, quality example. Light and crisp, maybe a bit of floral aftertaste. Quite refreshing on a hot day in one of the top 20 surf towns in the nation.
But I kinda enjoy interesting beers, so I had to get a growler of the Eggnog Pale Milk Stout (Milk Stout, 7.1% ABV). I just had to. It was too unique to pass up.
It’s beyond paler than the normal stout, being just a few shades of orange darker than the cream ale. On the aroma, however, it has a moderate aroma of roasted malt, a touch of coffee, some lactose, and that creamy-nutmeggy tang from eggnog.
Assume no real eggnog was used in the brewing of this beer, if you were actually concerned. To be honest, the eggnog flavors came a lot from the lactose in the beer and a dash of spices mulled during fermentation. It’s nowhere near overpowering and is actually rather delicate. The headiness from the base malts tend to be a bit stronger than the eggnog flavor.
I think it will be safe to assume this is no longer on tap, which is a shame. Apparently they served each pint with a dash of cinnamon. But the manager at yellow dog was right: they’ve got a great little brewery on their hands, and it’s worth going back to check out more.
I may even plan the visit in advance this time.
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