There are craft beer bars that annoy me, considering themselves to be amazing with 400 taps of the same macro beers I could get at the grocery store, all horribly out of date and uninteresting.
And then there are the craft beer bars with tap lineups that shouldn’t exist in this universe. They have to have some sort a portal to another dimension where they are able to get anything and everything they want. Fat Tap Beer Bar in Oakland Park is the latter.
It’s tucked away in a very charming little section of Oakland Park Boulevard (yes, there are some), and proprietor Rob Robayna prides himself on obtaining the most amazing and eclectic combination of beers from around the state and the country. I want to have him on the Florida Beer Podcast very soon, since it’ll be interesting to pick his brain about operating an place like his during the quarantine we are still experiencing.
I did swing by to take a few photos and say hi and pick up a few crowlers, which he is thankfully able to do. One of the crowlers I found, something I had no idea existed down here, was Mango Napoleon Bonaparty (Berliner Weisse, 4.2% ABV, 3 IBU) from Swan Brewing in Lakeland.
I have to start the review part of this article with a question: Is it just me, or does anybody else tend to get peanut butter-like notes from a strong Berliner Weisse? I know it sounds odd, but I get those nutty notes from a lot of berliners.
Traditionally this is not supposed to be the case. A berliner tends to have a very light malt bill with a touch of kettle sour that lends itself very easily to fruity adjuncts. If you go to Europe (and I have 26 Degree Brewing to thank for learning this), they will serve a blank, non-fruited Berliner Weisse with an array of syrups for you to use in flavoring the beer.
Here in the US, we don’t have any cultural norms standing in the way of flavoring our berliners, and so you get beers with flavors such as the mango that Swan Brewing added to theirs. It’s a little tough to find in the flavor, since mango is a fruit that requires a lot of substance to get the flavors across.
With the excellent, overpowering qualities that a good Berliner has, and yes, this was a good traditional Berliner, the electric tanginess that comes from the yeast and souring tends to win over the fruit.
If you are a fan of berliners, this is an excellent entry into what Florida berliners can be like. If you are looking for a sweet, fruity cocktail beer, this is not it, and I’m actually very impressed with Swan Brewing for being able to not want to head down this route.
Hopefully soon I will be able to head back to Swan Brewing. I went there once and had a great time. However, if I don’t, and a few more kegs of theirs find their way down here, I’ll know where to go to find it.
Drink Florida Craft,
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