To Miami is to Cuba. To Cuba is to Miami. It’s inevitable.
I tend to not really read my past posts, but one that I come back to from time to time is a piece I wrote a year or so ago about La Tropical, a beer that had been brewed in Cuba for generations and was successfully resurrected at Concrete Beach by the relatives of the original owners.
I liked it, if only for the sheet amount of research and history that I was able to put into the article. But I never had it again, and I keep hoping to see it show up on store shelves. It never did, but Concrete Beach has released something similar, Havana Lager (Vienna Lager, 5.2% ABV, 20 IBU).
You ever have a beer so dark, heavy, and chewy you’re convinced it came not from a brewery in a normal Florida town (Tallahassee, in this case), but from the depths of blackest Hades itself? That maybe the tap isn’t connected to a keg but has opened a wormhole into some sort of terrible land, like Black Mesa?
That’s how I felt when I opened my crowler of Creatures In The Dark (Stout, 8% ABV, 45 IBU) from Proof Brewing. Fear. Abject fear.
Because of an innocent joke that snowballed just a bit too much, my wife and I have a thing for keys. Long before you saw them everywhere, we kinda had them as our little thing between us. They featured in our wedding, there are keys all over our home, and my wife even has a key inked on her. It’s gorgeous artwork on a beautiful woman.
Recently we, naturally accompanied by our beautiful daughter, vacationed on the Gulf Coast. We will go to a few breweries, but those breweries are always better when they operate more like brewpubs, and everyone can also get lunch/dinner while mom and dad enjoy a few. Once we saw that Bradenton had one such locale named 3 Keys, it was a foregone conclusion we had to go.
Preface – Due South’s brand marketing manager Doug Fairall and I spent a weirdly long time discussing potential puns with which to write about when discussing today’s beer. Pretty much every pun was absolutely horrible and dinosaur related; get this beer before it’s extinct, things like that.
But there were so many other puns to use. So many other ones. And as much as I don’t particularly enjoy using puns when I write, I had a really good one that popped in my brain as I drove away. Doug, I hope you enjoy.
Stegosaurus Pants is dropping today!
I apologize for sitting on this review for so long; life gets in the way sometimes.
But that’s the nice thing about crowlers (one of many); they can sit a few days longer than the average growler fill. So, after visitng Orlando’s Ten10 Brewing, the one beer I didn’t try and wanted to was Havakow (Milk Stout, 6.5% ABV), their version of the classic milk stout style.
Bradenton, Florida. It’s situated on the Gulf Coast, just north of Sarasota, and south of the Sunshine Skyway bridge and St. Pete. Originally known as Bradentown, it was named for local settler Dr. Joseph Braden.
Several notables call Bradenton home, including Snooty, who until his untimely death a few days ago was the world’s oldest manatee living in captivity. It’s where Tropicana’s juice production facility resides, and where the Pittsburgh Pirates hold spring training. Their facility, LECOM Park, is also home to the minor league Bradenton Marauders.
A long time ago (and I’m dating myself a bit), there used to be a massive lumber yard in Orlando known as Mills & Nebraska. Beginning business as Central Florida Lumber and Supply Co., it was located – quite obviously – at the then sleepy intersection of Mills Ave. and Nebraska, roughly halfway between Little Vietnam and Loch Haven Park.
The lumber portion, and the land on which it was located, was sold for redevelopment in 2005. That redevelopment became a major portion of the Mills50 district, a mixed use facility with residences, shopping, dining, etc. There are a few warehouse-looking buildings there as well. In one corner of one of those warehouses, situated along the Orlando Urban Trail and close to Mills Ave., is 1010 Virginia Drive.
At this point you should be able to guess where its tenant, Ten10 Brewing, got its name.
I am dedicating this review to my friend Javier. The first time I wrote a review of a beer inspired by the guava pastelito, he was the one to help me with the translation. I also came into work the next day to find a giant box of this Cuban guava pastries sitting on my desk.
Not that I was expecting them. It was just a nice surprise. And they’re pretty easy to source in South Florida. Not so much in Orange County, CA, apparently.