It's #FloridaBeerFriday, when we take a look at a beer brewed in the Sunshine State, giving analysis to the burgeoning craft-beer movement of Florida.
This week is tough, because we're going to delve into a beer that was once bottled and has since appeared only a few times in the wild. I hate to do that to you all, but then perhaps it will behoove you to head out to tap takeover events across Broward and Palm Beach.
This past Tuesday, Due South Brewing Company managed an almost complete tap takeover at Tap 42, the Fort Lauderdale craft beer favorite right across from the hospital. As part of that takeover event, the team at Due South brought along quite a few kegs of their rare, interesting, and one-off brewed beers.
One of those was the Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Caramel Cream Ale.
With this beer, the brewers and cellarmen move gallons of their flagship Caramel Cream Ale into Laird & Company Apple Brandy barrels to age over the course of months. This aging process allows the barrels to lend parts of their innards (for lack of a better term) to the beer inside them. It's the ultimate loving relationship.
Here, Caramel Cream Ale sat soaking up the goodness of those barrels, imparting a new and unique second wind to the old standby.
It pours with a reddish-orange hue that glistens in the afternoon sunlight. The beer appears lighter and more boisterous in this new outfit. There is a small border of foam that hangs about as it is sipped. The aromas are a delight with notes of butterscotch, vanilla, and sweet apple butter. There is a determined nose of 'spirits' as well, hinting at the traces of brandy that have made their way into the drink.
Flavors again reminisce of butterscotch, fresh apples, and some mild oak. The taste holds itself with a heft that makes one think twice about if this is the standard Caramel Cream or the Imperial version. I am assured it is the former. Some basic drying character imparted from the wood takes hold at the end, showing that every aspect of this familiar beer has been updated.
As this is such an uncommon treat, there are very few places in which to sample. Know someone with a bottle? Hint you darndest to try a sample. Otherwise, keep a look out for this beer at various Due South tasting events across the area. Even if you can't find it specifically, there will undoubtedly be another intriguingly crafted varietal to sample.
Follow #FloridaBeerFriday for more reviews of Sunshine State brews.
Get out there and #DrinkLocal.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Instagram.