Swamp Head Brewing is probably one of my most sought after out-of-reach Florida brewer, in the fact that very few kegs make their way down into our neck of the woods from their home base in Central Florida. Luckily, the beer gods are looking down and raising a divine thumb's up.
The Gainesville brewery just weeks ago entered the canned beer estate by placing their popular and widespread Stump Knocker American Pale Ale into 12 ounce aluminum cans for distribution. They've been slowly making their way down the panhandle, and are now locally available at select retailers.
This six-pack came from my local ABC Fine Wine and Spirits (of whom I probably need to thank Nathan for ordering, whether he knows it or not.)
The name Stump Knocker comes from "the notoriously feisty Stumpknocker fish, whose fight is so fierce you might think you've hooked into the lunker," as described by the can itself. Indeed, it is quite the native fish, and feels appropriately used graphically.
Luckily Swamp Head is the type of brewery that isn't shy about its ingredients, and lists a malt profile of Pale Ale, Munich, and Crystal 40, as well as the three hops used in the bittering process: Columbus, Centennial, and Amarillo.
The beer is a gorgeous orange-amber color with a thick white head that fades gently into the glass. Dry hopping is evident, and the Amarillo is probably what is giving this an amazingly sweet floral aroma that bursts out of the snifter. There is some light resin in there as well, but mostly floral to my nose. The taste is two fold: a small amount of malt sweetness that moves to a crisp almost dry light bitter finish. The body leans towards the thin and quaffable side.
Overall, I'm pretty impressed with this APA, especially since at first I felt the beer could lean into the not-quite-IPA camp. With the relatively low perceived bitterness, it maintains its pale ale registry, and brings a sort of 'east-coast-iness' that sets it apart from certain other mountain-themed pale ales.
At 5.6% abv, it sits in the average range for a pale ale, and will look to begin to enter the rotation for easy-to-drink everyday beers.
You can find Swamp Head's Stump Knocker American Pale Ale in 6-pack 12 ounce cans at local beer retailers.
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 Instagram.
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