I’m always very happy when breweries take time to celebrate and honor great local people with their beers. One such beer I the chance to sample was Concrete Beach Brewing’s Julia (Barleywine, 9% ABV), named for the indomitable Julia Tuttle.
Ms. Tuttle’s story is a remarkable one of perseverance, business savvy, and forward thinking. Thanks to her, we now have the city of Miami.
Born in Ohio in 1849, Julia first experienced the joys of South Florida on a trip to visit her father’s orange groves in 1875. Her father passed in 1890 and Tuttle, at this time a widower renting her house to young ladies, sold the house and moved to what was then known as Fort Dallas.
Tuttle knew that, to create a great city, they needed transportation. At that time, the transportation of choice was the railroad, especially Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway. After a few years of lobbying (and a massive freeze that hit citrus interests hard in northern and central Florida), Flagler agreed.
The railroad arrived in April 1896, and the city of Miami was incorporated in July of that year. Ill with meningitis, Julia Tuttle passed away in her new Miami in Sept. 1898.
Tuttle’s memory lives on in the Tuttle Causeway, a statue in Bayfront Park, and beers at other breweries in the area. Concrete Beach’s brewing celebration of Ms. Tuttle is a wonderfully heady barleywine, a really good example of the style.
It’s sweet, with an interesting blend of malty caramel notes along with a bouquet of plum and raisin. It’s definitely strong, and skirts dangerously close to a double-digit ABV, but it’s remarkable in that it doesn’t have the biting alcohol astringency that many other barleywines tend to have.
It has a nice, orange color and a faint whiff of malt on the nose. It’s very pretty and incredibly delicious, something I would love to see Concrete Beach bottle and release on a regular basis.
It’s a fitting tribute to an amazing and important woman.
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