This week, we're taking a small trip down to Islamorada, where Canadian Craig McBay has settled down with Keys native Cheryl McBay and together have created the Florida Keys Brewing Co.
Open only a few short months ago, the brewery has already proved to be a favorite with locals of the surrounding islands and become a focus of the nascent Islamorada arts district.
The taproom and associated facilities are located at Mile Marker 81.6 oceanside and give off the full island vibe the Keys are known for. Giant mermaids line the walls; a beautiful landscape of Alligator Reef Lighthouse dons the interior of a storeroom; bottle caps from breweries across the country line the walls. It's a place that brings in art from both outside its walls and inside.
Which leads us to the Hog Fish Amber Ale. It's touted as a 5.4 percent alcohol-by-volume amber ale, arriving in the glass as one would expect. It pours a clear dark orange-ish brown with a lingering but minimal amount of head. Aromas are supermild but give off hints of an underlying sweetness. It hits the tongue with a very malty base, which moves from sweet honeyed bread to more nutty-forward notes. The finish ties a bow around the flavor with a well-rounded bitterness that complements the foundation of grains.
It is exciting to see a brewery open up in Islamorada to accompany the growing scene of foodies and artists, proving that not everything needs to have a marina attached to it to succeed in the Keys.
Florida Keys Brewing Co. is located at 200 Morada Way in Islamorada. Its beers are currently available onsite.
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 Clean Plate's Instagram.