It’s one of those names that I have seen and heard pronounced and I still can’t figure it out. I’m going to have to hear it again a few more times for me to finally get it right.
I have come to the conclusion that one of the best unsung breweries in the state of Florida is Eight Foot Brewing in Cape Coral. Roger Phelps has a gift, with a wealth of talent and knowledge and an ever rotating, ever adventurous lineup of beers posted at a little brewery tucked away off the main drag in their city.
If you saw their weekly quarantine happy hour that he hosted, you got to listen to a fantastic sampling a variety of beers that he made or were sent to him from other breweries. I was fortunate enough to participate in an episode with my producer Steve, and ended up hosting it on my equipment for the Sunshine State Happy Hour due to bizarre technical issues that popped up at the last minute.
In advance, however, he sent me a variety of some of the newest beers that he had just released to patrons. I’ve mentioned a few others of those that we tried on the show, but one of the other cans that he sent was Oaxacan Imperial Stout (Imperial Stout, 10% ABV, 60 IBU), his version of the fun new style of Mexican Hot Chocolate-inspired beers the industry is fond of.
When it comes to this style in the state of Florida, obviously Cigar City’s version has the most hype. Mixing a tough Imperial Stout with vanilla, cocoa, and peppers it seems to be a difficult recipe, but I think Roger pulls it off the best of the versions I’ve tasted so far.
He used authentic Madagascar vanilla beans (which I know wasn’t cheap), cinnamon, and roasted peppers. What he ended up with was an amazing beer with a thick, chewy mouthfeel and contained giant notes of espresso and maybe some raisin. There’s an interesting piquant sweetness that electrified and illuminated the biscuity notes from the malt, delivered with a moderate heat that wasn’t there on the initial sip, but tended to linger just 10 seconds or so on the finish.
It was just the right symphony of flavors delivered at just the right time. The entire drinking experience was balanced and told a story of everything that Roger had put into the beer with just enough balance, just enough heat, and just enough malt to where it all flowed very smoothly together.
What’s funny is that Eight Foot, as a brewery, does not seem to be a heavily dessert stout sort of brewery. Roger can and has brewed everything, which is a testament to his skill that he can pull them all off so well. There is, to no surprise, no telling if or when this will be back. Part of me wants to come back, but the other part of me wants to see what else he can make.
But if this in the other beers that I have sampled from him are any indication, they are all going to be absolutely wonderful.
Drink Florida Craft,
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