Let’s talk for a moment about Ale Trails.
I’m sure you’ve seen them, it’s when a region or group of breweries in one geographic area team up to create some sort of a passport, in the expectation of getting you to visit all of the locations that have partnered to get a pint glass or something.
I’m actually a big fan of them. I think that it’s a great way to get the word out, and to promote tourism, the exceptionally awesome side effect of opening breweries.
I am embarrassed to say it, but I have not gotten too many stamps on my Treasure Coast Wine & Ale Trail passport yet. For those of you that don’t know, the Treasure Coast is on the Atlantic side of Florida, south of Cape Canaveral, but north of West Palm Beach. It was named for the relative tendency for ships to shipwreck off the shore, leaving their treasure all over the bottom of the Atlantic.
Several of the breweries, along with County tourism boards, have banded together to create the Treasure Coast Wine & Ale Trail in an effort to boost tourism. All you have to do is go to any of the breweries involved, grab one of the large, pirate-themed maps, and start stamping.
Of all of them, the Elder Statesman has to be Sailfish Brewing in Fort Pierce. Here’s the funny thing about Sailfish, I have been there before, when they were in their old digs. Those old digs, when I first reviewed them, were located in two canary yellow houses, not too far removed from downtown Fort Pierce.
It was absolutely adorable, they had the largest back patio area I’ve ever seen, and it was a great time. They have since moved, and to a warehouse sized space very close to the water and several restaurants that my family and I particularly enjoy in Fort Pierce. If you know P.P. Cobb, they’re pretty much across the street.
Herein lies the rub, and I will readily admit that I was a little disappointed in not having access to that massive backyard area anymore. What they lack for in playspace, they make up for in brewing capacity, which is why you’re starting to see cans show up from time to time on store shelves in the South and Central Florida areas.
You’re also seeing a much bigger selection of beers available during a visit, which we shall start with Moore’s Creek Milk Stout (Milk Stout, 5.1% ABV, 36 IBU), a beer named for an almost 100-year old concrete arch bridge very close to the brewery. The beer is a nice, medium-bodied, slightly sweet Stout that goes down just a touch too easily.
From there, as is my modus operandi, here is the flight that I got while completely ignoring the fact that I should have gotten my map stamped. From left to right:
Drescher Dunkel Lager (Dunkel, 5.25% ABV, 21 IBU) – I’m a big fan of Dunkels, even though they tend to knock me out just a little bit. This one has a big, heady flavor with a slightly boozy undercurrent.
Mondfisch Marzen (Marzen, 5.64% ABV, 22 IBU) – As an Oktoberfest/Marzen, this one wasn’t necessarily as sweet as some of the traditional ones are. Sure, it’s got a nice caramel feel from the Bavarian malts, but it’s nowhere near as syrupy sweet.
Don’t Poke The Bees (Blonde Ale, 8% ABV, 20 IBU) – This was beyond fantastic. But I will have to explain the name just a little bit. This starts off as their Don’t Poke the Bear Imperial Blonde Ale, but with fresh blackberries and locally sourced bee pollen that comes from their own local apiary. I can’t emphasize enough how amazingly fruity this is. Yes, there is honey to it, and if you know honey sweetness vs. sugar sweetness, you’ll understand when I say that it wasn’t necessarily candy bar like, but still there was a meaty feel to it.
First Light Amber (Red Ale, 5.4% ABV) – This is their Tag & Release Amber with the addition of Trader Jim’s coffee and cacao nibs. It was an interesting thing to take an Amber ale and darken it up with some very creative adjuncts that I necessarily don’t see in Amber ales as much as I do in porters and stouts. But what they ended up with was a deep, very nuanced, very flavorful beer.
As much as I hated to see the old facility go, it is exciting to see Sailfish growing into new digs. This is exactly what they needed to grow their footprint here in Central and South Florida. Don’t worry, the old digs are still around, and I’ll tell you about it in a later post.
In the meantime, I have to go get my map stamped.
Drink Florida Craft,