Hey there beer fans, this week we're going to take a look at another beer out of Lakeland, from the massive Brew Hub facility out there. This is the Diver Down Imperial Red Ale.
Brew Hub in Florida, as you may recall, opened its first brewery in Lakeland, Florida, in August 2014. St. Louis-based company, which will be opening another brewery in Missouri next year, chose Florida because of our incredible growth opportunities. Beer that's closer to where it's consumed is fresher, that's a fact.
The company also runs what some in the industry call 'Partner brewing', or 'contract brewing' or even 'gypsy brewing'. Basically, it's a process where brewers can brew and package beers at rented out space in a larger facility under the supervision of their own brewmaster. Mikkeller is famous for doing this in Europe.
So on to the beer. Diver Down is an imperial red ale which, if we're going by Beer Judge Certification Program guides, currently falls under the ubiquitous 'Category 23', a catch-all group for their program. In other words, not helpful in finding out what we should expect. However, in the current draft specs, this beer would fall under Category 22B. American Strong Ale, where we can expect to find a beer that is "a strong, full-flavored American ale that challenges and rewards the palate with full malty and hoppy flavors and substantial bitterness."
The beer pours a clear bright but deep red with quite a bit of yellowy-khaki foam that hangs around for a bit. On the nose, caramel erupts forward, with a small amount of floral to earthy hop character. It was mostly in the caramel camp, but there was that noticeable extra level. Sipping, it transitions into a beer that more reminds me a scotch ale, of which these styles can almost be cousins. Cooked sugar, soft caramel treats, an almost molasses like sulfur that mixes in, and a hint of dark dried cherries make themselves known. It has a wonderful body, appropriate carbonation, and in all these ways is a formidably crafted beer.
According to the brewer, Diver Down is brewed with two-row, caramel, and Munich barley and Magnum and Willamette hops and runs the meter at 8 percent alcohol by volume.
It's been on sale recently at Publix, and can be found at most beer retailers, but we were sent a sample bomber for review.
Brew Hub is located at 3900 Frontage Rd. S., Lakeland. Call 863-698-7600, visit brewhub.com.
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.