My knowledge of St. Pete far exceeds what I know of Sanford. And if you asked me for a city in Florida that has an authentic German dining experience, the recently permanently shuttered Hofbrauhaus in St. Pete would probably be second or third on the list, behind the obvious Epcot tag and Black Forest in Naples.
But I need to add Sanford to that list, and Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe. Opened in 2001, the award-winning restaurant is the brainchild of Theo and Linda Hollerback, and was greatly inspired by Theo’s time in Germany in the 1970’s.
Let’s pause for a moment and be honest about how awesome German food is. It’s tubular meat and pretzels and a liter stein of beer and I love it all. But the beer, the beer is important.
Critical, even. So what does Hollerback do? They get their own beer brewed especially for them, of course, Hollerback Kolsch (Kolsch, 4.6% ABV) from our friends at 3 Daughters Brewing.
Of course, I still haven’t made it to Sanford, so my first time sampling the beer was at the 3 Daughters brewery in St. Pete.
For needing a light, crisp, German-style beer made for them, it’s perfect. This kolsch is crystal clear with a bright happy flavor of biscuits, honey, and a little bit of lemon and lime.
The taste is perfectly down the line with that beautiful kiss of Florida orange blossom honey flavor (which I know is not in the beer, but still feels like it a bit), and the addition of lemon and brioche.
It’s nicely sweet, just a bit malty, and very, very tasty. It’s a great example of why I love the style, and 3 Daughters as well.
I can’t imagine how good this is going to be at Willow Tree Cafe, though. I should get there sometime soon.
Drink Florida Craft,
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