It's #FloridaBeerFridayEvery Friday, we take a look at a beer brewed in the Sunshine State, giving analysis to the burgeoning craft-beer movement of Florida.
This week we're taking a look at a humble pale ale from Delray Beach's Saltwater Brewery called Tides of the Reef.
The pale ale is a longstanding tradition among American brewers, especially since Sierra Nevada woke the sleeping giant of hop-forward beers in the '80s. It is described by the Beer Judge Certification Program (one of the country's eminent judging programs) as having "usually a moderate to high hop flavor, often showing a citrusy American hop character... may optionally show small amounts of specialty malt character (bready, toasty, biscuity)."
Major commercial examples include the aforementioned Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Stone Pale Ale, and Cigar City Brewing's Invasion Pale Ale.
The Tides of the Reef is a South Florida interpretation.
It has a crystal clear pale yellow color and emanates some grassy aromas mixed with fleshy mango and papaya. There's a distinct crispness on the palate, almost to the degree of a kolsch or lager beer, but comes around with lots of biscuit and toasted white bread flavors. There's an edge of caramel malts as well, which might be present in small quantities. It finishes drier and has a firm and mellow English-style finish. At just over 5 percent alcohol by volume, it's well-rounded in flavor and assertiveness. That's a nice way of saying it's not overly boozy.
From the website, it appears that this is their 50th batch of beer (congratulations) and is hopped up with 11 pounds of Northern Brewer, five pounds of Columbus, and dry-hopped with five pounds of Golding, which is most likely the avenue of "Englishness" that arises from this beer.
In fact, a lot of their beers have an edge of "Englishness," bringing in characteristics of a more caramel malt forward styling than is typically found in American craft brewers. Of course, that seems to be changing just a bit, so we'll see what comes of it when the new recipes make it out to the taproom.
Tides of the Reef is currently available at Saltwater Brewery.
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.