This week we're checking in to see what's been brewing up in Cape Canaveral. No, it's not Elon Musk's latest rocket design, it's the Swamp Ape Double Black IPA from Florida Beer Company.
We ventured out to the quaint little town of Lake Park to visit The Brewhouse Gallery, where South Florida beer veteran Bobby Gordash and FBC rep Corey Brysman were hanging out with kegs of the beer.
Known for beers like Key West Sunset Ale and Florida Lager, the Florida Beer Company has been working on new brews in the past few years, including a highly floral saison that's available only at Epcot Center in Orlando,
This double black IPA is part of the "Friends of Swamp Ape" series that the brewery is putting out, which aims to showcase some of the more creative sides of the brewers. It's a 10% abv. double IPA that's also a black IPA. Hence the double black IPA moniker. A lot of that darkness comes from the use of chocolate and black malt (with some other undisclosed varieties), while the bittering comes from a multitude of popular American hops: Columbus, Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, and Amarillo.
Here, as the beer was poured into an snifter glass, it arrived with an almost jet black color and a large two fingers of foam. The head retention was intense, and it took a while to settle down. After that, aromas of fresh whole cone hops effused from the glass, with a woody and tree heavy character. As I took a sip, I noticed the creamy and full mouthfeel, consisting of chocolate bitterness, more of those woody and grassy flavors, with a final lingering hop bitterness at the end. The beastly alcoholic nature of this beverage is well masked by the flavors, and if I didn't know any better I would think that the swamp ape is trying to get a little too friendly here.
It's an overall exciting new beer from the brewery, and a direction I hope they continue to go down. Experimentation is the key to progress, even for breweries.
Double Black IPA is available on draft at some local bars, which will or already do include Riverside Market, Tap 42, World of Beer, and the bars at Whole Foods across the area. It will also be available in 12-ounce bottle four-packs where you would normally find FBC products.
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.