Florida is continuing its rise into the craft beer world, showing that we have the talent to be recognized as a 'craft beer state'. Earlier this month, the 2013 U.S. Open Beer Championships were held in Atlanta, Georgia for the fifth time, and Florida breweries represented in the top three of seven different style categories. For a contest that had 2,500 beers entered, that puts them in the top eight percent.
For us down here in South Florida, longtime brewpub in Boca Raton, Brewzzi, stepped away from the competition with a silver medal in the fruit/vegetable beer category with their Passionfruit Saison. Lucky for us, it was brought back on tap this week.
Brewer Matt Manthe, who has been running the fermenters at the Boca Raton location for the past year, describes it as "an easy drinking summer beer". The beer is brewed following their standard saison recipe, which contains a base of all Belgian pilsner malt, some wheat, rye and oats, and two different saison yeast strains to really give it that yeasty character that saisons require. There's also a smidgen of brettanomyces thrown in for good measure. After primary fermentation, it's put into secondary with loads of fresh passionfruit to up the game on flavor. It comes out at 5.8% abv and 33 IBU's.
So how does this silver-medal-winning beer taste? The aroma has tons of banana esters and that yeasty saison smell. Drinking, it's not too spicy, in fact it's very clean with a tinge of tartness and a lingering European hop bitterness at the end.
With all of the awards the Brewzzi has picked up in its more than decade in business, how does another one stack up? "It's always great to win medals," Matt said. "Especially at a national competition, but I want to make beer that people want to drink."
As tastes expand, and the locals demand more locally produced beer, that's not too high of a bar to get to. "I find there's generally two types of people who come in looking for our beers. The people who are aware of the craft beer market and all that it offers, and the people who are new and looking to explore new things."
If you want to come in and sample the Passionfruit Saison, do it soon, as Matt will continue to rotate through different styles as the months progress. "This current batch of saison was 434 gallons, and we put a portion of that aside to undergo secondary."
Beyond the core beers that are offered (City Fest, for example, is an amazing Vienna Lager that is just slightly toffee sweet; fans of Sam Adams Boston Lager will be all over this), Matt is a playful brewer who enjoys seeing what can be done.
"With the extra tap lines we have now, I get to brew a few more experimental/uncommon beers, like a Polish Grodziskie (a smoked wheat beer), or a Belgian quad."
So, congratulations to Matt and the Brewzzi team for their win!
In addition to Brewzzi's accomplishments, Florida Lager from Florida Beer Company took gold in the American Premium Lager category, while Cigar City took top honors in the Chocolate/Cocoa Beer category for their Hunahpu's Imperial Stout. The whole list of Florida wins are below.
GOLD - Nectar Ales Black Xantus - Firestone Walker Brewing - California
SILVER - Giant Slayer - Tri City Brewing - Michigan
BRONZE - Zhukov's Imperial Stout - Cigar City Brewing - Florida
American Premium Lager
GOLD - Florida Lager - Florida Beer Co. - Florida
SILVER - Lager - Neustadt Brewing - Canada
BRONZE - Kraftig Lager - William K Busch Brewing - Missouri
GOLD - LTD Bohemian Pilsner - Full Sail Brewing - Oregon
SILVER - Hurricane Reef Caribbean Pilsner - Florida Beer - Florida
BRONZE - Mama's Little Yella Pils - Oskar Blues Brewing - Colorado
BRONZE - Golden Pilsner - Morgan Brewing - Missouri
Fruit / Vegetable beer
GOLD - Maui CoCoNut PorTeR - Maui Brewing Company - Hawaii
SILVER - Passion Fruit Saison - Brewzzi Brewing - Florida
BRONZE - Son of a Peach - RJ Rockers Brewing Company - South Carolina
BRONZE - Maracuy - Cerveceria Brumar - Columbia
Chocolate / Cocoa Beer
GOLD - Hunahpu's Imperial Stout - Cigar City Brewing - Florida
SILVER - Chocolate Porter Rabbits Reserve Series - Red Hare Brewing - Georgia
BRONZE - Sex Panther Double Chocolate Porter - SanTan Brewing - Arizona
Out of Bounds Pale Ale
GOLD - Our Dark Secret - Moylans Brewing - California
SILVER - Macho - Proof Brewing Company - Florida
BRONZE - Hazed and Infused Pale Ale - Boulder Beer Company - Colorado
Best of Show Organic
GOLD - Organic Strawberry - Samuel Smith's Brewing - England
SILVER - Bare Scott - Pagosa Brewing - Colorado
BRONZE - Doble Imperial IPA - Orlando Brewing - Florida
Beer things in your Twitter feed -- Follow me @DougFairall
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