I hate that I had this article on the back burner for so long and am finally getting around to publishing it.
One thing that provided the impetus in doing so was their recent shipment of their traditional Ambar Lager to the US Embassy in Havana, Cuba.
La Tropical is a brewery that not only embraces its Cuban heritage, but doubles down on it in a way few other breweries can. Going to the brewery is almost like a step back in time, as they recreated (as faithfully as they could while still being in the heart of Wynwood) the original La Tropical brewery experience, long since gone from Havana.
There’s plenty of artifacts and photos of the original location, and there’s a good possibility you’ll be surrounded by callbacks and recreations more than you’ll ever truly realize.
It’s also a hopping facility. We were there for several hours and not once did it ever let up. And while they have an extensive liquor bar (and several in my group decided to live on their mixed drinks), you know what you’re there for.
You’re there for the beer.
And while I love the original Ambar Lager, and had a pint of course, there are some new things that Manny Portuondo and his team had been itching for us to try.
Noche Tropical (Schwarzbier, 4.6% ABV) – Beautiful color, so dark red that it’s almost black. A nose that has heavy notes of roasted malt with twinges of prune and raisin. The flavor is interesting with heavy qualities of orange, papaya, and plum, with endings of raisin and molasses.
Tropiflaca (Light Lager, 3.9% ABV) – If you’ve been watching their social media recently, you’ve been seeing a lot of info around the release of this beer. Plus, it’s a cool 12 IBU and only 80 calories! Interestingly enough, this comes out as very tropical. With a lighter caramel color than the original Vienna Lager, this beer has some amazing notes of tangerine, papaya, guava, and lime. Very light and refreshing with a very light body as well.
Tropical 58 La Negra (Stout, 5.5% ABV, 28 IBU) – P.S. I’m a horrible blogger that deleted the photo before I took a picture…
With a recipe that hearkens back to stouts brewed in Havana in 1938, this nitro stout has an amazing coffee quality and a silky smooth flavor that has big chicory, coffee, caramel, and raisin flavors. Absolutely decadent, the Nitro really helps bring a smooth, creamy sweet quality to the beer.
It is definitely an experience to go. Not one that I do with regular frequency, which is sad, but it’s definitely worth the trip to head down and get a little bit of history with your beer.
Now if they could send me a pallet of Ambar Lager to my house, that would be pretty awesome.
Drink Florida Craft,
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