As the Florida Craft Beer scene continues to grow, there are just some breweries that come out known for some of the magical things they do with their hops. I am not saying that only some Florida breweries know how to truly ‘use’ hops; what I’m saying is that there are just some breweries tht are very well known for the lupulin wonders that come out of their brew systems.
Swamphead Brewing in Gainesville is one of those. In the time since I first found their beers by driving well north and searching for bombers, I have experienced firsthand how well they know how to use their hops. Some time ago, they switched their focus – smartly so – from 22 oz. bottles to 6-packs, moved into a larger facility, and greatly increased their statewide distribution.
This will probably be old news to most expert beer drinkers, but for hop heads just jumping into Swamphead, the beer you will be starting with is probably going to be Big Nose (IPA, 7.3% ABV, 56 IBU).
Big Nose really is their signature year-round IPA. Spurred on by an almost Ent-like tree on the label art, I am tempted to assume some sort of mysical or folkloric meaning behind the name. The name, however, is chosen for how massive and rous the aroma of the beer is. It’s a deep and spicy earthy dankness, supported by many late addition and dry hops of Centennial, Cascade, and Columbus hops.
It comes out with a hazy golden color from healthy amounts of Pale Ale, Munich, and Crystal malts. Drinking, it has a pine and resiny flavor, almost as if the beer was almost becoming a to a West Coaster, but stopped and put up roots in Nevada, never fully making it all the way to the face melting bitterness those beers tend to be.
But Big Nose, nicely enough, is more about the experience than about a dare. And it’s a fantastic experience, as well. IPA fans, now is the time to find a six pack.
Or maybe a giant tree person will have a can or two to give.
Drink Florida Craft,