Brew Review – ArchaeologicALE by Bastet Brewing

I am a sucker for all things Ancient Egypt.

There’s something about an archaic mix of gods, palm trees in the harsh desert sands, life in the cradle of civilization, all of it I find endlessly fascinating.

I also love alternative styles of beer. It’s incredibly easy for me to find a pilsner or IPA or stout, but give me something a little out of the ordinary, and I am all for it.

All that came to a head on my first visit to Bastet Brewing, just on the outskirts of Ybor City in Tampa. I’ve been following them for some time as they have been hitting the Tampa beer festival circuit hard, along with trying to find a place for their eventual brewing home.

But Bastet Brewing founders Tom and Huston did find a home, a solid stones throw away from Coppertail Brewing. And being in an unassuming strip mall next to a Subway, you wouldn’t expect much, but they have managed to squeeze in a bunch of killer beers and awesome mythology.

It would have been safe to assume that the Egyptian paintings they have on the walls were merely purchased in bulk so they could have something that looks vaguely ‘Egyptian.’ That assumption would be radically incorrect, as Tom took myself and Craft Beer Ballers co-host Johnny Crosskey on a brief tour of some of the artwork and the important aspects of Egyptian mythology they illustrate.

Needless to say, that made me very happy.

The beer list, of course, add a bunch of nods to that mythology as well (As an aside, calling calling their Imperial Stout ‘Duat’ was a master stroke if I do say myself).

Usually when I go to a new brewery, I try the lightest thing on the menu. Not because I’m a lightweight, but so I can judge exactly how good their skills (in this case, Huston) are at brewing.

All that fell to the wayside when I saw ArchaeologicALE (Old Ale, 7% ABV, 63 IBU).

It was the ‘Old Ale’ that brought me in, but it was the Medjool dates that sealed the deal. There was literally nothing else that I could order.

For an Old Ale in an ancient Egyptian-inspired brewery in a strip mall outside Ybor, this is one fantastic beer. It’s got a dark brown to copper color, almost shining a little bit which I thought was interesting.

The aroma has all the markings of a very varied grain bill, almost as if there’s a solid touch of rye or buckwheat hiding somewhere within. On top of that there is a very solid dark fruit quality, with big notes of raisin, brown sugar, and prune.

The flavor was otherworldly. That malt bill brings a deep roasted quality, with a number of nutty and cereal notes. Not quite as nutty as an English brown ale, but maybe a touch more than a standard Amber.

On top of that, the adjuncts created a very interestingly layered profile. To the dates they also added Wildflower honey and toasted almonds. The almonds accentuated the nuttiness from the malt, of course, but it also brought sweetness and a vanilla kind of touch that the honey took and ran with.

So on the back of a slightly ruff-hewn mouthfeel, you also get this crystalline quality of a honey sweetness. This is also wonderfully amplified by the dates as well, bringing brown sugar and molasses notes to the finished product.

Needless to say I love this beer. I’ve been waiting for Bastet to open for years, and my first try did not disappoint. My hope Is it will not take several more years, or a judging by Anubis, to bring me back to try them again.

Drink Florida Craft,


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