If it wasn’t for my good friend Mike at At the Bar Podcast, I’m not totally sure I would have ever figured out how to pronounce the name of Casselberry’s Bowegens Beer Co.
(It’s three syllables, accent on the second syllable. Bow as in bow and arrow, we as in We the People, and ginz with a hard G.)
It’s an odd name, made significantly less so when you realize that the brewery was created by two former musician friends, Bobby Bowen and Kevin Wigen. From there, it’s just a simple mashup to create the name of the brewery.
They’ve been getting a ton of attention in the Central Florida craft beer scene, and I know on several occasions Mike has let me know how highly he regards their brews. I, on the other hand, haven’t traveled to Castleberry in many, many years, and haven’t needed to, which has prevented me from getting out there and trying some of what they have.
It was Bowigens themselves, and their awesome marketing manager Lola, who reached out to me and sent a few bottles my way so I could see what all the hubbub was about. As if she read my mind, I got big Stouts, which I love to drink.
Their collaboration cookie stout will be coming in a future post, but for this first round I had their Seven Layer Milk Stout (Stout, 5.5 ABV, 33 IBU).
It’s always nice when a pedigree precedes the beer you’re drinking, and Seven Layer definitely has it in the name of gold medals from both the US Open Beer Championship and 2017 Best Florida Beer, plus a silver medal at the Best of Craft Beer Awards in 2018.
The ‘Seven Layer’ in the name does not reference cake, as I had originally thought it would. Apparently, when making the beer, Bowigens used their specialty base malt blend, plus six additional malts to create the very bold and decadent blend that the beer enjoys.
According to their spec sheet, this beer wants to bounce between a milk stout, Oatmeal Stout, and English Stout. I tend to disagree. For only being 5.5% ABV, this almost drinks like Bourbon County. It is incredibly thick and heavy, with a strong bourbon quality to it, and you can feel all those malts working together to create a deliriously decadent malt explosion of deep roasted coffee, heavy Dutch cocoa, and maybe even a hint of raison and plum somewhere in the back.
It has a color reminiscent of your deepest, darkest nightmares, and a soothing mouthfeel that gently coaxes your taste buds into willingness to go further and further into this malty nether region.
If you’ve ever seen Anne Rice vampires, and you know how seductive they are even as they’re big and frightening. That’s sort of how this beer is. It’s both massive and comforting at the same time, giving a very interesting experience to what would be a very light and standard style in the hands of others.
I am glad that Lola sent two bottles, and I cannot wait to see how the other one will taste. Once it comes out, I will let you know. And if I manage to find myself in Casselberry, I will let you know as well.
In the meantime, I can’t exactly be upset when packages like this show up on my doorstep.
Special thank you to Lola Rigdon and the entire team at Bowigens for their hospitality.