Every Friday, we take a look at a beer brewed in the Sunshine State, giving analysis to the burgeoning craft beer movement of Florida.
This week we're taking a look at a surprising hybrid beer created by brewers Bill Taylor and Dustin Jeffers of Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, called the Deep Drop Dubbel / Bock.
Wait, I read 'dubbel / bock' on the board. Is that a typo? Should it be reading 'doppelbock'? To unravel the mystery, I found brewer Dustin and posed the question.
"It's actually a hybrid of two styles: the Belgian dubbel and the Bock. They share a lot of similar features," he said. "With the Belgian yeast, as it warms you'll get some more of that coming out."
Bock beers, as a style, are generally higher strength and low hopped lagers (naturally brewed with lager yeast), with an increase of caramel and flavor malts to give it a darker color than traditional straw lagers. The Belgian dubbel is relatively similar: chocolate, caramel and/or toast flavors and some fruity esters, though brewed with a Belgian yeast.
This entry from Saltwater attempts to combine some of the best characters of each style into this single glass and... it works pretty well.
The beer pours a dark and lager-thin merlot purple-red color that is hard to see unless you tip the glass and catch a glimpse of this amazing color through a thinner part of the beer. The nose is very reminiscent of a bock: wet sugar and that clean dark bread sweetness. The taste starts with brown sugar, creme brule and minor custard flavors. Mouthfeel is thin and carbonation is moderate. As it warms, though, the Belgian characters start to come out in full force, with dark fruits peeking out and a hint of spiciness from the yeast making itself known on the aftertaste. This is a beer that doesn't need to be slowly savored because of its alcohol content (it's at a nominal 8% abv.) but because of its complexity over temperatures. In other words, drink it slow and savor the moments.
Speaking of Belgian styled beers, as a bonus, we can say that Saltwater has some of their trippel currently being aged in bourbon barrels. Expect this monstrous brew to hit around Saint Patrick's day.
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.