Situated along A1A on Anastasia Island, right across the Bridge of Lions from everything tourist that is downtown St. Augustine, is a nifty little building partially obscured by a ton of nifty little tropical foliage. You might see the taqueria first, but the majority of the space there is Old Coast Ales.
Open for a few years now, Old Coast owners Jon Boisclair and Matt Hooker brew up in-house batches on a 7 BBL system, smartly showcased in front of a huge picture window right at the entrance.
Inside is fairly standard, with a cozy patio area separated from the busy thoroughfare by the aforementioned foliage. Bar games are there, including a foosball table involved in quite the heated match when I was there. In terms of taps, there are several, but at least a third are currently guests. They had about 5 of their beers on tap during my visit, most of which I was able to try.
But before mentioning those, this is the second year of Nights of Pints. This event, which runs through Feb. 3rd, is an event hosted by all four breweries in St Augustine. For $30, you get a t-shirt and a punch card good for a beer at each brewery. This year, the breweries decided to collaborate with each other, so that each brewery features one beer that was brewed on their system along with the brewers from one of the other breweries.
This year, Old Coast Ales made their Nights of Pints 2018 (Belgian Dubbel, 6.9% ABV), a Dubbel partnering with Dog Rose Brewing. It’s got a great, classic nose with a little bit of bubblegum sweetness and maybe a tiny bit of funk (like what is coming from my socks after walking around old town all day). On the flavor, where’s a good, meaty malt with a touch of caramel and the slightest notes of raisin and fig.
Tugboat Smoke (Strong Ale, 6.6% ABV) is close to a rauchbier without going quite all the way. If you’re a fan of that style, this may be a little bit disappointing. If you’re like the other 90% of beer drinkers, this is a good thing. When you smell the aroma, there is a lightly smoky malt that mixes with an almost brown sugar-esque quality.
It’s interesting, the first couple times I tasted it, I got the brown sugar and I got a lot of dark fruity notes similar to the dubbel. I was about to write off the smoky qualities, but then they showed up. Ever so quiet and unassuming on the back end, but once they were there they did not go away at all. Nice and light and unassuming and absolutely perfect.
Kookaburra (Brown Ale, 4.7% ABV) is an experience that needs to be tasted to be believed. I’ve had more than my share of coffee beers; It’s fairly easy to get one at this point. What’s interesting, however, is that the coffee is not necessarily pronounced in most of them. It’s there, but as a very low supporting player. The coffee in this beer, named for the Kookaburra coffee roasters here in St. Augustine from which they sourced their beans, is the strongest and most undeniable coffee aroma I’ve ever had.
This is not a ‘putting coffee in the beer’ aroma. This is going to an actual roaster and smelling the fresh grounds sort of an aroma. It is amazingly fresh & incredibly inviting. And that’s what you get with the beer. A flavor so coffee forward what’s a great nutty base backing it up, I almost wanted cream and sugar to go along with it. It was that intense.
Winters Rye (Rye Ale 6.6% ABV) is a little bit less intense. It’s got a very clean and crisp aroma and drinking it gives a good solid bready base with a light sweetness, reminiscent of candy sugar, maybe with a touch of cinnamon. A tried and true, solid beer, very unassuming and easy to drink.
I’m excited to see what is going to be coming down the pipe for Old Coast. I always end up making it here for the Nights of Lights festivities, so I am definitely looking forward to what 2019 will have in store.
In the meantime, I can’t wait to see more of their beers on tap and see what else is coming from this great little place on the other side of the bay.
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