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.
Those who are unfamiliar with the northern Florida brewing scene might not know of Engine 15 Brewing Company, which operates a brewpub in Jacksonville Beach and a production brewery in Jacksonville proper. That ignorance is about to change, as the brewery's products are now making their way down to our humble home of South Florida.
The original brewpub started off in 2009 with Jacksonville locals Luciano Scremin and Sean Bielman getting together to start a beer-oriented business after lamenting that there were no good craft options in the area. Since then, the operation has grown tremendously, helping to fill the void in this state of locally produced beer. This year, the brewey opened up their 20 barrel production facility, which is part of the reason why we're able to see these beers make it our way.
Old Battle Axe IPA is, as the name suggests, an American India Pale Ale. Technical specs call it out as having a moderate alcohol by volume of 6.4% with 62 IBUs.
The beer pours a light amber color, perfectly clear with a small cap of foam that subsides fairly quickly. The aroma is big on sweet mango and honeydew melon, with a bit of honey coming out as well. For flavor, it starts sweet with a strong malty body of caramel or honey malts. In fact, this is the dominating feature of the IPA, which comes out with a subdued hop character. Though the front is sweet, it moves to a mild bitterness in the middle, and even stronger generic bitterness at the end that waltzes with this caramel malt.
The body is average and the carbonation levels are appropriate.
The bottle declares Summit, Northern Brewer, and Glacier hops, which is one of the reasons for a unique and experimental hop profile. Glacier was first developed at Washington State University in 2000, with Summit being introduced the year before and is noted for its whopping alpha acid content (the main determiner of bittering potential of a hop) of 16.0%-18.0%.
Overall, this is an IPA that will challenge perceptions as to what an IPA can bring to the table. This is not your uncle's resin-heavy Seattle rainwater IPA. Instead, it's a malt-forward beer with enough tropical hop flavors to liven up the party.
For us in South Florida, this beer can be found in 22 ounce bottle form at local beer stores, and this writer in particular sourced it at a local ABC Fine Wine & Spirits for $7.99 a bottle.
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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 Instagram.