Friday's here, so it's time for beer.
Every Friday, so long as the creek don't rise, this beer enthusiast will take a look at a Florida beer that, hopefully, should be readily available in a local shop or on tap at your favorite bar.
On a rainy weekday afternoon, the bar section of the Boca Raton Brewzzi location is practically empty. An office worker finishes his lunch at a table just off to the side. The bartender stocks wine cabinets. For this brewpub, which has a sister location in West Palm Beach's CityPlace, the afternoons are seemingly unexciting. Beer enthusiasts have much to be excited about, however; brewer Matt Manthe has a constant stream of rotating beer releases to satisfy interested palates.
Checking out the beer specials, which included a Biere de Mars (a malty French-style beer that gives out notes of honey and toffee) and a low ABV smoked wheat ale (dry and smoky for sure), the beer finally settled upon was the current offering of Unmitigated Hoptimism Double IPA.
The beer was poured into a tulip glass and comes out an opaque orangey-brown color. This is an unfiltered brew. "I wanted to keep it unfiltered so as not to lose any of the hop flavors," Manthe says. It has a huge aroma of citrus: pineapple, passionfruit, almost some lemon scents. Sticking your face in the glass and breathing in heavily is an experience. You might get awkward stares, but it's worth it.
The flavor hits you with a hop spiciness and a leafy bitterness. It has a crisp body and a good amount of carbonation. Alone, it's an amazing hop experience, but this is also a beer to pair with food that has a high fat content; burgers come to mind. After that burst of hops, a bit of pine flavor lingers on the back of the throat. This DIPA rocks out at 8.5 percent ABV and is well worth the sipping time.
So what goes into this thing anyways?
This beer features three high-alpha hops: Nelson Sauvin, Rakau, and Galaxy. These Southern Hemisphere hop varietals impart a distinct fruitiness to the beer's aroma (especially when dry hopped, which this DIPA is).
The malt used is strictly Golden Promise, a Scottish grown barley that's a bit lighter than the popular Marris Otter. "It doesn't have a lot of the toasty flavor that [Marris Otter] has and does very well as the base of this hoppy beer," Manthe says. "It doesn't distract from the hops.
"Hoppy beers are enjoyable... I appreciate the hop flavor and aromas over straight bitterness."
Manthe brings a wealth of academic knowledge to his brewing process. Not only does he possess a BS in microbiology from Clemson University but he also has a brewmaster diploma from the Berlin Institute for Fermentation and Biotechnology. "If you want to follow the Reinheitsgebot [German beer purity law], you can't really make an interesting IPA," he said. "You can't add hops after the boil, which makes it pretty difficult." He admits that the Germans are pretty precise when it comes to beer styles. "If you want to make a pilsner, it's going to follow the same steps as it has for hundreds of years."
But luckily for us Americans, the culture of experimentation and "trying something new" is ingrained into our food scene. That makes beer styles like the double IPA popular.
So for hopheads looking for something else to satisfy that bitterness quota or for people looking to get into the DIPA game, the Brewzzi Unmitigated Hoptimisim Double IPA is a refreshing choice to the standard West Coast-styled bitter brews. It may be available for only a month or so more, as it's part of Brewzzi's "Reserve" series. Once it's gone, it's gone -- replaced with another interesting beer style. "We'll have it until it's done," Manthe says.
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