Beer Beer Beer

In The Tasting Room: Panic Attack From Holy Mackerel Brewing

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.

When a beer is sold in a 4-pack, one can extrapolate a few things: one, that the case will cost about the same as a regular 6-pack, and two, that the beer contained within will pack something of a wallop.

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This theory was confirmed again, when we picked up some Panic Attack from Fort Lauderdale's Holy Mackerel Brewing. At 10% abv, this belgian styled "trippel and saison fusion" is made from Canadian malted barley, Goldings hops, and "a unique flavorful Belgian yeast strain". The packaging states that this beer is vintage dated, and ours just have a year marking, 2013, on the label. Couldn't find a month or day bottling number, so the dating is only precise to the year of brewing. We hid a bottle in the back of our beer cellar, so hopefully in a year there'll be another tasting and we'll see how it progresses.

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Meanwhile, we want to taste this beer now, in the present. So I grab a bottle of this 2013 dated Panic Attack and get to work. Now, I have to say first off, that this is a contract brew fulfilled in South Carolina. We touched on that a bit in our look at Monk in the Trunk, the quagmire and confusions of contract brewing. Some people have strong feelings on this, so I wanted to point it out before we proceed.

Kicking off the crown, I pour the Belgian-styled brew into my designated heavy beer snifter. It comes out a slightly hazy copper-orange with a hint of grapefruit pink to the hue. Aromas of clove and plum were evident, even a little citrus. Taste is dark candi sugar (a Belgian specialty sugar that's added to Trippels and Quads to heavily boost the alcohol content) or something akin to the family of Nerds candies, a bit of licorice, and some syrupy caramel. Without the carbonation, this would be a fairly cloying beer, but the bubbles help to take the mouthfeel into an acceptable level. The alcohol is fairly evident, with that boozy heat apparent when you swallow. Not overbearing, but definitely noticeable. Hop levels are adequate for a Belgian.

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I miss the saison aspect, in all honesty. There's a lack of farmhouse funk or a spicy and dry character to it. Perhaps it's being masked by the sweetness?

The beer itself may be pretty good, but intrepid owners of the Mack House in Davie take your Panic Attack experience even further with special on-premises treatments -- including gems like Psycho Phish, a blend of Panic Attack and Special Golden Ale with the addition of Florida navel oranges, or Panic con Pablo, where Panic Attack meets fresh roasted coffee from Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee in Miami. The guys there love to setup special treatments, they're well worth going out for.

Drinking a local beer at its local nanobrewery? What better way to celebrate Florida Beer Friday?

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Doug Fairall
Contact: Doug Fairall