Brew Review – SS Sapona by Lauderale

On occasion, I will start to research a blog post and come up with much more detail and interesting tidbits than I had originally expected. This happened in reviewing the next release in Lauderale’s fantastic shipwreck series, named for the SS Sapona.

I did not expect much from this wreck located about 60 miles west of Miami in the Bahamas. Lauderdale’s co-owner Kyle Jones had told me that this was a favorite spot of he and his friends, and they’ve gone diving there more than once. Enough of this wreck is outside of the water that it’s also used as a popular recreation spot. If you check back on social media, you should be able to find pictures of them jumping off like a sort of Bahamian summer camp.

Kyle had told me, this ship was not made strictly of steel as is customary. The hull was made steel and concrete, built in North Carolina during World War 1 as part of a push by then President Woodrow Wilson to build ships out of concrete as a result of steel shortages.

It never saw military action, After a little while, the ship changed hands and saw usage as a casino, then a storehouse for illegal booze during prohibition. There were plans to turn the boat into a floating nightclub, but it ran aground in its present location in 1926. The usual culprits of time and weather took their toll, aided by regular target practice by the US Military during World War 2, resulting in the fantastical skeleton of a shipwreck that you see today.

Considering their history with the wreck, it was an easy choice for Kyle and his team to christen their next Shipwreck Series beer SS Sapona (Porter, 8.5% ABV, 45 IBU). As for the beer itself, this is their beloved and award-winning C Porter, a fantastically rich coconut porter with a strong, roasted malt quality with slight notes of cocoa to blend in with the great addition of coconut.

Sapona however was further aged in Bahamian rum barrels. That is quite a get, since more than one brewer has told me it is very difficult to get rum barrels in which to age their beers. But a rum-aged coconut porter is nothing short of fantastic. It’s got a great vanilla and brown sugar kick coming from the rum, without excessive booziness that you get from aging beers in barrels of other liquors.

I was very happy to get one of these bottles, as I am a particular fan of Lauderale and a fan of C Porter in general. As for what’s coming next in the Shipwreck series, unfortunately I cannot tell you that. My hope is that it will be coming soon, only because I know the beer is going to be great, but I’m excited to see what new shipwreck I am able to learn about as well.

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