Brew Reviews – 32958 by Pareidolia and Lavender Ale by Motorworks at HopCat Port St. Lucie @PareidoliaBrew @MotorworksBrew @hopcatpsl

Based in Michigan, HopCat is a restaurant and pub concept that brings in an extensive and varied menu with a very large selection of taps to deliver an exciting a dining experience to beer aficionados.

Heard that before, haven’t you?

To be honest, I had originally dismissed HopCat because I have been burned so many times by restaurants with disturbingly huge tap lists. Generally, there’s only so many beers from places that ‘used to be craft but sold out’ that I can really stand. Plus, if they do anything local, it’s a local beer so ubiquitous that I could go to any Publix to grab the cans off the shelf.

I will say, however, after visiting the HopCat in Port St Lucie, I was very pleasantly surprised. First of all, the facility is gorgeous and has an absolutely stunning back wall painting that needs to be seen to be believed. Heck, it’s even on some of the shirts that I saw available for sale there.

Second, the lake behind the restaurant seriously has wild gators, and one was eating a freshly caught fish because restaurant.

Finally, we need to talk about the beer list.

Yes, you’re going to have some of the standards. There are a couple of contractually obligated macros on tap, and you’ve got Sam Adams of course, and Bell’s Two Hearted, and so on.

But I was really, really shocked by some of the other beers that they had. Being in the middle of St. Lucie County, I did not expect beers from Lee or Pasco counties. Heck, I didn’t realize that Escape Brewing was even over on the east coast.

But I didn’t try those. I hadn’t tried anything from Paredolia Brewing in Sebastian, just north of Port St. Lucie. They had 32958 (IPA, 5.8% ABV) on tap, so that was immediately what I ordered.

So, guess what their zip code is. Done? Moving on.

32958 is Paredolia’s biggest beer, more along the lines of a New Englander than a West Coaster. It has a very pretty, deeply golden color with a slight haze in the body that is sure to appease the beer snobs.

There’s a healthy dose of Citra and Mosaic hops, bringing a juicy citrus bouquet of grapefruit, lemon, and orange along with a light earthy note on the bottom. It’s nicely easy to drink, and alpha acids are present but remarkable smoother. They do tend to open up a bit more as the beer warms up, so order a draft and let it sit for a bit if you are so inclined.

My wife is a big fan of lavender, so it was also great to see Motorworks Brewing’s Lavender Ale (Scottish Ale, 6% ABV) on tap. As expected, she loved it.

Interestingly enough, being a Scottish Ale, the body is thicker and chewier than the IPA from Paredolia. That’s just the style, but this Wee Heavy isn’t nearly as heavy as most others in the Scottish Ale arena. It’s a bit more drinkable.

While the copious amount of Golden Promise malts from Scotland bring a great caramel quality to the color and flavor of the beer, it feels a bit dialed back so as not to lose the delicate balance between the malt and the soft kiss of French lavender that dances on the tongue and sticks around just a bit.

It’s the right move. Too much lavender, and the beer will taste like soap. Too much malt, and you won’t know the lavender is there at all. There’s no wonder the beer has won awards.

I am intrigued to see how often the beers at HopCat rotate. I will probably not be able to get there as often as I would like, so there’s no telling what is going to be on draft. But I will definitely be back there again.

Then again, it looks like the gators will be as well.

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