Brew Review – Purple Drank by Coppertail Brewing @coppertail

There’s a little known musical genre I’m fond of called Chopped and Screwed. It’s a method of remixing wherein the track, usually hip hop or R&B, is slowed down dramatically and cut in (or ‘Chopped’) on itself, allowing key notes or phrases to be repeated. 

Take, for example, Alexander O’Neal’s If You Were Here Tonight. Listen to the original, then to the Chopped and Screwed version. This will give you an idea of the genre. 

The ‘Screwed’ part is actually a reference to the late Houston DJ Screw, who originated the style in the early 90’s. DJ Screw, otherwise known as Robert Earl Davis, Jr., found that showing down the music a great deal lent a heavy, sedated air to the song.

This worked really well with the drug of choice making the rounds in Houston at that time, Purple Drank. This drink, known as sizzurp, dirty Sprite, drank, etc., is basically prescription-level cough syrup – containing codeine and promethazine – mixed in a soda, usually Sprite or similar. A Jolly Rancher candy was sometimes added as well.

Those two drugs are sedatives in the nervious system, making them a perfect and lethal accompaniment to the new slowed down style of music. They supress coughing and pain, to be sure, but in larger doses can shut down breathing altogether. This, alongside other drugs, is what finally took the life of DJ Screw in 2000.

So that’s a lengthy and dark intro to the decidedly safer and more legal Purple Drank (Berliner Weisse, 3.5% ABV) being brewed by Coppertail Brewing in Tampa.

The beer, an almost quintessential example of the Florida Weisse style, is a classic weisse with a tart, face-puckering amount of tartness in an extremely light, almost buoyant brew. It’s a beer where the yeast is allowed to shine, and shine it does.

The purple color in this particular drank comes from a copious amount of boysenberry thrown into the mix. The berries bring the color, as well as a light fruity flaor to add to the lemon-forward citrus qualities of the Berliner. They help out the tang a bit as well, but this isn’t a beer that really needed help there.

Not going to lie, I had a pint while floating in my pool on a hot Florida day, and it was absolutely perfect. Perfect, I tell you. Light, fruity, and delicious.

Coppertail has been releasing bottles of Purple Drank periodically, but it’s not totally widespread as of yet. It’s easier to find it on tap, and worth the find.

At least the legal one is.

Drink Florida Craft,


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