It's #FloridaBeerFriday. Every Friday, we take a look at a beer brewed in the Sunshine State, giving analysis to the burgeoning craft beer movement of Florida.
Ken Rosenthal has been pretty busy for the last nine months since opening Pair O' Dice Brewing Company in Clearwater, Florida with his wife Julia. Since then, this former Anheuser-Busch production supervisor has been brewing up a storm in this part of the St. Pete - Tampa Bay area.
"It's all about balance," he said of his recipes, delving into what types of beers he creates at his brewhouse. "I brew what I like to drink, a balanced beer. It takes no skill to destroy the palate with hops."
Pair O' Dice Brewing Co. opened in October, and now produces beer on a 15 barrel brewhouse, distributing out to bars and restaurants across Pinellas County, including Tropicana Field. "We can't produce enough beer," he admitted, adding that out of all of the beer he sells, his red ale is the highest seller.
On this day, I opted for the Little Joe Stout, a modest looking dark oatmeal stout at 6.3% abv. It pours out into the standard Pair O' Dice Brewing Co. tulip glass with a gorgeous tan head. Why 'standard tulip'? "We serve it on a pedestal," Rosenthal explained. "It keeps the aromatics in."
The American stout category is one of the wide-open ones, stylistically. With such a variety of grain and flavor combinations it can be difficult to pin down, but one thing I've discovered it's that for an American stout, it should generally not contain much on the 'acrid' side of flavors.
As the crown of tan foam slowly dissipates, I'm greeted with aromas of caramel and dark chocolate. Drinking it, there are flavors of toffee, some mild roastiness, bitter chocolate, and some vanilla character. It's not overly bitter and definitely has an American stout feel to it over a more roast-bitter English stout. The mouthfeel and carbonation are at moderate and appropriate levels.
Though it might not be their best seller by volume, the Little Joe Stout is a great interpretation of a stout that isn't over-the-top with massive chocolate additions or adjuncts.
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 Clean Plate's Instagram.
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