It’s always with a touch of irony that I pass by cases of Bud Light that prominently advertise rice as one of their ingredients. For most brewers, it is understood that the rice is a cheap adjunct added to water down the beer making it cheaper to produce.
And yet in craft beer circles the rice lager shows up time and again. It’s always with a bit of trepidation that I enjoy one, seeing as I hope more for the flavors and nuances of a well-crafted sake, a rice wine that actually has more in connection with beer than wine. It’s that or a watered-down sparkling water beverage that you get in huge packs. Continue reading
It’s March, so it’s time for the Florida Strawberry Festival. Every spring, Plant City (about 30 minutes or so away from Tampa) hosts a celebration to the over 10,000 acres of strawberries that grow in the region annually.
The event started in 1930, but has been going strong on a regular basis ever since World War II. There’s your standard carnival fare, plus lots and lots of strawberries.
Naturally, the most famous strawberry product at the festival is their strawberry shortcake. It’s available premade or there’s a make-your-own, which I remember doing in my younger days.
It’s a bit of a drive, I understand. Cigar City, in nearby Tampa, has luckily just so happened to release a lager that closely mimics the fantastic flavors to that classic dessert, Strawberry Shortcake (Helles Lager, 5% ABV).
Strawberry Shortcake by Cigar City Brewing
This blog post is about Hollywood Brewing Co., but I need to apologize to another South Florida brewery, Islamorada Brewing Co., as I write it.
You see, I had ordered Hollywood Brewing’s Light Lager. I even put it up on my Untappd account as the Light Lager. And I looked at my tab, only to find I was drinking Islamorada’s Sandbar Sunday,
I knew that was a hefeweizen I was drinking.
I finished it, and moved on to my Light Lager (Lager, 4.2% ABV).
Denis Leary had a routine, some years ago, about wanting a ‘beer-flavored beer.’ Nothing with a story, no major lengthy explanation about the beer’s pedigree, just a straightforward beer.
There are times I agree with him. It’s easy to get lost in a world of rum-barrel aged, strawberry-chocolate, triple coffee infused, bacon laden, quadruple-fermented, 10 kinds of yeast and 20 different hops Imperial Belgian Porters only to be served in a blown glass snifter with a mouth circumference of approximately 25.33 cm.
Sometimes I just want a beer. But I want it to taste good, too.
Luckily, there are some options for Florida craft beer drinkers wanting something simple. Options that don’t involve lowering yourself to watered-down mass-marketed beer. Options like Due South’s Craft American Lager (Pilsner, 4.6% ABV, 20 IBU).
Craft American Lager by Due South Brewing
I hope that I have made it abundantly clear that I love Florida history as much as I love Florida beer. And whenever the two mix, that makes me exponentially happier. Naturally, when I found out about Two Henrys Brewing Co., and realized the two guys named Henry weren’t the owners, it was pretty cool.
I’m putting the Two Henrys logo here because I love it so much.
Quick history lesson for those of you that may be a little lost: Florida, and Florida’s tourism & transportation infrastructure, was really built up by two railroad and hotel tycoons around the turn of the century. The Atlantic coast of Florida was championed by Henry Flagler, who built a railroad stretching all the way to Key West and built up such cities as Miami and St. Augustine.