This is a brewery visit blog post. This is also a love song to a pepper.
If you’re from St Augustine, this should make sense.
St. Augustine has found itself in the middle of a brewing Renaissance. Yes, you have the debacle of Mile Marker Brewing, and you also have the recent demise of longtime establishment A1A Ale Works (I know they’re still open, but they are not brewing anymore, therefore I am not really that interested in them).
In that time, four breweries have flourished and are open for business. The one farthest removed from the tourist area is probably Bog Brewing (not counting Ancient City Brewing’s actual brewing facility out by I-95).
Bog is tucked away in the West King Street District. It’s easy enough to get to, basically just a hop, skip, and a jump away from St Augustine Distillery and San Sebastian Winery. Just go up King St. and you’ll find what used to be an old pharmacy, Coca-Cola advertisements still in the window.
Here, Head Brewer and co-owner Steve Mendoza and his friends opened up a little place in March of 2016. They’ve got a nice place going. It looks to be a 5 or 10 Barrel system, pallets of malt stored around the seating area, a particularly awesome logo, and some really quality beers. I did not have a ton of time however, so my goal was to try to find the beer I thought was going to best represent Bog Brewing.
And I ignored all of that when I found that they had a Smoked Datil Ale (Blonde Ale, 5.1% ABV, 18 IBU).
For those of you that do not know, the Minorcan Datil pepper, basically it is proof that God loves us, and wants us to be happy with spicier, tastier food. It’s not quite as brutally disgustingly hot as like a Carolina Reaper or a ghost pepper but it’s much more noticeable than your standard issue jalapeno. In terms of Scoville units, it’s equal to a good Habanero.
If you want a Datil pepper, you really need to go to St. Augustine. It’s not really found anywhere else, but it’s year round in the Nation’s Oldest City. It’s got a great meaty, almost beef equality to it. My obsession with it is just a bit on the unrealistic side.
So of course, that’s the pint I went for. Fantastic beer, definitely not an introductory beer. You can really taste the smokiness that comes from the pepper preparation in what is also a slightly malty, slightly sweet blonde ale.
All of that is completely ignored when the datil comes in, which is almost immediately. There’s a hefty amount of heat packed into each pint, showcasing everything that the Datil pepper is known for, and that I love it for, for those that dare to actually drink this beer. So worth it.
I know that Bog Brewing is known for other beers, especially a lot of their Belgian-style beers, and I am definitely excited to go back and try some more.
Of course, when I get there, my car will be full of hot sauces.
Drink Florida Craft,