I have had more than one conversation this week about the frustrating trend that Florida brewers do not allow their dark beers to actually stay dark beers. They always have to be fruited or dessertified or treated with some sort of adjunct that turns a beer into an ice cream sundae.
Do I enjoy those beers on occasion? Yes. I’m not going to say I don’t, because any reader can testify they come down the pipeline on my social media on occasion. Do I think that is the only way Florida can get notoriety in the in the craft beer industry? No.
I think that it is unfair to say that all dark beers in Florida are going to be like this just because we seem to be more apt to make them. It’s not just us, everybody does it, but for some reason Florida seems to get saddled with the negativity surrounding the issue. Florida is perfectly capable making a normal dark beer, and a good example is Payback Porter (Porter, 6.2% ABV, 30 IBU) from Prosperity Brewers and their award-winning new head brewer, Joel Kodner.
It’s amazing, cracking open the crowler that I had, because the only way to describe the aroma is correct.
This is the way that it should be. This is the way that a classic porter is supposed to smell and supposed to work. It’s got light roasted notes of coffee and maybe a touch of cocoa, if you hunt in the background there might be some raisin back there, but it’s clean.
The flavor is absolutely classic, using a deep roasted malt and a light Noble hop with a touch of herbal quality to allow the wonderful roasted malt to shine right through. It’s a beer so beautiful in its simplicity, so elegant in its quiet calm, that it doesn’t need marshmallows or lactose or banana peels or coffee cake or crescent rolls or whatever else is being thrown in beers right now. It’s just simple and clean, the way that this style should be.
I expected nothing less from Joel, and got exactly what I wanted, which is perfect. Will he be coming out with more beers like this? Absolutely, and my hope is that I will be able to try some. If he reaches for a box of Froot Loops and says he’s going to pour this into the next porter he makes, however, then I will know that the Joel we know is gone and the aliens have begun their assault.
Drink Florida Craft,
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