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.
Lately it seems I'm gravitating toward beers named after jungle creatures.
It's not the name -- really. Because the Sex Panther at the Funky Buddha Lounge in Boca Raton isn't something that can be tamed in just one sitting.
The first thing I notice about the brewery's fist stab at a Black India Pale Ale (IPA) is just how black this baby really is. It pours a deep brown so rich that it could be black, but hold it up to the light and its warm amber hues shine through.
Naturally, a traditional "Black IPA" is just that: dark and hoppy. Close your eyes and taste this beer and your palate is attacked by a smooth, roasted malt flavor. There's practically no head either. It lingers briefly before settling down to a thin lace along the side of your glass.
Take a sip and it's all smoky and bitter with a strong malt aroma and flavor. The
Sex Panther is surprisingly good -- nothing like the flat, watery IPA I had been expecting from this first run brewery in Boca Raton.
No, no weakness here. Instead, what I got was a 6.7 percent ABV with IPA written all over it.
Sex Panther is the newest addition to the Funky Buddha microbrew
lineup. At any time, the brewery has more than a dozen of its own beers
on tap, with a constant rotation that includes regulars and new
additions like the Sex Panther.
But what's really special about its newest IPA is how it's brewed.
brewer Kevin Abbott explains that, rather than use a lot of hops to
create the bitterness required of an IPA, he roasts one of his favorite
New Zealand hops, Nelson Sauvin, to create the strong taste profile.
It's astonishingly good, a one-two punch with a good dose of hop buildup and roasted malt backup. Definitely sexy and smooth -- and deserving of its name.
And it's most certainly on-point as far as an IPA goes, quite impressive for a craft beer hidden gem that boasts an impressive menu of more than 50 "guest" micros on tap, nearly 50
wines, 40 loose-leaf teas -- and some 40 flavors of shisha to hit off the
So what are you waiting for? Stop in and get yourself a growler of this pretty little kitten. I'm pretty sure that once you go black, you won't go back -- to those flavorless IPAs, that is.