I continue to surprise people with the knowledge that a place like Half Barrel Beer Project exists. It is such a fantastic little place tucked away in a section of Orlando that I don’t think anybody would expect something like them to be.
As usual, I’m going to plug the Florida Beer Podcast, as we had a great interview with co-owners Josh and Scott about their location, brewing in the area, and Orlando beer as a whole that got published in Episode 20.
As they continue to operate, their output is getting much, much bigger. I had a chance to see their system and some of the fermenters they have, plus was shown some space for the additional fermenters that they have in stock right now. This has enabled them to, for the first time, release a flight of beers brewed completely in house.
It’s exciting, and they are just crazy enough to make a wide variety of really inventive beers work. Owing to the small batch size, realize the beers that are in this review are probably not on tap, and unless you live on Universal Boulevard and are heading there this afternoon, the beers they have listed may not be there tomorrow.
And yes, that is very exciting.
Ain’t Nothen But a WHEAT Thang (Wheat Ale, 6.1% ABV) is very simple stylistically, a gently beer that was brewed intentionally to be crowd pleasing and approachable. They did a good job with it, as the beer has a lot of flavor, but is still soft and unassuming.
Things get a bit more adventurous with their Strawberry Lemonade NEIPA (IPA, 5.3% ABV). This was the second NEIPA they released after a triple dry hopped beer. With this one, they wanted a smooth IPA with a little hint of strawberry, so it wasn’t overfruited. To do this, they added 6 lbs. of fresh strawberry to a brew already laden with Lemon Drop, Citra, and Belma hops.
Those hops do a great job bringing bright, brassy citrus notes to a beer that keeps IBUs intentionally low. The strawberry comes in a bit at the end, just tangy enough to be noticeable and lend that touch of garden sweetness to an already complex and flavorful brew.
They round out the rest of the taps with a very impressive slate of beers from around the region and on through the country. One of the beers they were happy to have on tap and share was Rise of the Resistance (Sour, 4.3% ABV, 5 IBU) from Bowigens.
This was a sour, liberally fruited with blood orange and further dry hopped. Past ogling the gorgeous deep red color, the beer ends up being a meaty beverage with a bold, fruit-forward flavor. If you could take the sourness from a Sour Patch Kid and inject it into a blood orange itself, you get a sense of the vibrant flavors contained in this beer.
I continue to be very impressed with the beers this place churns out or sources magically, and it’s a shame I don’t live closer. There are a number of beer people I know that would easily set up a second home in the brewery just to live and be closer.
Then again, there are condos directly above them. It wouldn’t be too hard.
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