Oh, the early days of 2020, the calm before the storm that we currently find ourselves embroiled in.
I have made it relatively well known that it is tradition in our family for a visit to St. Augustine after the holidays are over & before everything ramps back up. I’ve always been a huge fan of the area, since I love history and have a soft spot for tourist cheesiness, and this time I was able to get a few interviews as well for the Florida Beer Podcast.
My interview with Ancient City didn’t quite work out due to audio issues, but I was able to speak with Doug and Courtney Murr from Dog Rose Brewing, and that you’ll hear in an upcoming episode.
It was great to finally meet them in person, especially since Doug is really the person to start with when it comes to talking about St. Augustine’s beer scene. He was the longtime brewmaster at A1A Ale Works, and even used the same equipment that currently graces Dog Rose. They have grown in size, impact, and popularity since opening up a few years ago, and it was great to talk to them about how tourism affects them and how they affect tourism.
It’s also fun to have a beer right up against the huge picture windows watching the tourist trains as they go by. Of course, you have to have a beer in hand and there was something for both my wife and I there. Actually all three of us, since they did have a root beer for our little one.
When I arrived, they had just put the Wobbly Goat (Bock, 7.2% ABV, 14 IBU) on tap. Doug is a big fan of the style, and the beer is very evident since there was a lot of care and craft put into a nicely balanced dark beer, malty but not too bready, a great hint of chocolate, and a little bit of cocoa, but still with a light body and a very easy mouthfeel. It’s one of those beers that could sneak up on you. It’s especially one that people who generally say they don’t like dark beers should try, since they don’t know what their bias against certain styles is preventing them from having.
My wife and I are definitely not biased against dark beers, and she went for Set Break (Oatmeal Stout, 5.4% ABV, 24 IBU), a beer whose name is a sneaky reference to the Murr’s love for the Grateful Dead. It’s perfect right down the line, with a creamy mouthfeel and a slightly bigger body and more roasted character than the bock, but not quite as bold.
Another fantastically smooth and easy to drink beer, but that is what Doug has been specializing in for years in the nation’s oldest city. I will say that it is great to watch him brew and get the kind of beers that he has been making since being able to brew anything and everything he wants, not to start with being forced to stick with mostly core beers on a tap list that changes very little.
Obviously I hope they are doing well with the current climate, and I can’t wait to go back there on our next trip during the holidays. It’ll be nice to watch the trains go by.
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