January 14, 2011 | 6:20am
Unrepentant beer drinkers, rejoice! Each week, Clean Plate Charlie will select one craft or import beer and give you the lowdown on it: How does it taste? What should you drink it with? Where can you find it? But mostly, it's all about the love of the brew. If you have a beer you'd like featured in Beer of the Week, let us know via a comment.
Not just any beer will do for me. I've developed a taste for the bitterness of hops and the strength that comes with a higher alcohol by volume (ABV) content - much to the chagrin of my friends, whom I tote to some of South Florida's most ridiculously obscure bars in search of the my new favorite craft beer.
That's why I especially like drinking beer at The Office, one of Delray's best watering holes off Atlantic Ave.
There, I've found a healthy selection from a menu that
includes a seasonally-rotating list of more than 20 micro-batches by both bottle and tap.
Better yet, it has a pretty amazing selection of finger foods and entrees made for matching with beer. But, more importantly, it also
sports an atmosphere more conducive for those who aren't brew fanatics. Beer-phobic friends, rejoice!
It's an overachieving beer menu that tries to be radical and familiar at the same time, with various staples like Stella Artois and Magic Hat alongside random never-heard-that-one-before types.
Like my new favorite, the Swamp Ape India Pale Ale (IPA) from Melbourne's Florida Beer Company.
The bar has quite a few strong brews on tap, but the Swamp Ape is even more special - in Palm Beach County, at least.
"We're the only place you can find it in [Palm Beach] county right now," says Oliver Morales, the restaurant's director of operations.
And this is one American Double Imperial IPA that packs a whallop. Anything with an ABV under 6% doesn't usually impress me, but the Swamp Ape's 10% is nothing to mess with. I found that out rather quickly after downing two pints, too fast.
Basically, it's like an IPA on steroids. And although it has a flavor profile similar to that of a regular IPA, the Swamp Ape also boasts a robust, malty and - of course - extra hoppy kick (thanks, in part, to five different types of hops). With a deep amber pour and thick, cream-colored head, it's citrusy-sweet with strong fruit aromas (pineapple and mango) that help to balance out the potent aroma and slightly bitter after-taste.
You can thank Florida Beer Company for making one hell of an animal with Swamp Ape.
Stop by The Office while they have it on tap and try it out for yourself. Just make sure you have a designated driver when a single pint of this IPA is like double-fisting your average lightweight lager.
201 E. Atlantic Ave.
Delray Beach, FL
Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.