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Most beer drinkers will be familiar with the more desserty types of beers that frequent top-ten lists across the country: chocolate barrel-aged this or crème brûlée that... even previous offerings from the Mack House have been in that range. During South Florida Beer Week, it put out a maple chipotle brown ale and a chocolate coconut porter.
But this time, Miles wanted to bring some of his love of the culinary world into the glass.
"An idea comes from either Larry [Hatfield] or Kyle [Hatfield]," he says. The Hatfields are the current proprietors of the Mack House. "It's then my job to figure it out."
The idea of a sausage beer came up, and Miles ran with it. "I needed to come up with a recipe that was suited to the idea of sausage in it. It had to be good, and it had to almost drink like a meal."
In the end, Miles decided to go in the route of the Cajun-style sausage, something that would tie in with the then-upcoming holiday of Mardi Gras. The process involved simply boiling fresh sausage in the wort (sorry, kids; this is definitely not vegan-friendly) and proceeding normally from there. The addition of some fresh thyme and bay leaves at the end made this akin to making a pot of "sauce" rather than a barrel of beer.
What came out surprised even Miles. "Usually I'm my own worst critic, but this one, after tasting the first samples... it was really good."
The beer went on tap last week, and I decided to try it out for myself. I would say I was skeptical: Beers with bacon I've enjoyed, because, well, bacon. But sausage? It just seemed too over-the-top.
Turns out I was wrong.
The beer is a dark brown, mildly transparent, with a tight off-white layer of foam that hangs around in wisps as you drink. The aroma is decidedly herbal, with the thyme and bay leaf really coming out. On the palate, it's a mildly roasty beer with that same thyme and bay leaf flavor, but there are also hints of fennel and green pepper. It finishes cleaner than expected. Beyond some of the flavorings traditionally used in sausage, the meaty flavors don't come out too much, which leaves this beer working with the herbs as its main show.
If oddities are your thing, head down to the Mack House. Only 20 gallons were produced, so get it while the gettin' is good.