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.
I try to keep it South Florida local as best as I can, but sometimes you have to go out and explore the world. Such was the case this past Labor Day weekend, when a trip up to central Florida for a handful of days of rest and relaxation led to the discovery of Mount Dora Brewing.
Situated in the south end of the small lakeside town of just over 12,000 inhabitants, Mount Dora Brewing, or the Rocking Rabbit Brewery as it's alternatively known, stands in a small, seafoam green building at 405 S Highland Street. Owner Jeff Herbst has been running the place since 2010, and puts out a trio of beers from the 3 barrel system: a blonde ale, an Irish red ale, and a porter.
The brewpub is a decidedly rustic affair, with exposed wood, beams, and a variety of vintage machine tools hung about as decor. It's quite fitting for the area, which is known for its antiques.
Hang around for any amount of time, and you'll be met with the owner and brewmaster Jeff. Sit down for a pint, stay for an honest conversation.
Now that we know a little about the venue, let's take a look at the beer this week, the Pistolville Porter.
Right off the bat, I have a confession: this is one amazingly awesome porter. The malts and hops, Jeff shares, are a "special organic mix that I blended myself and added some dark brown sugar to smooth out the finish." What comes out is something akin to a chocolate imperial porter. The grain bill and sugar additions bring this porter up to a whopping 10% abv.
On pour out of the draft system, the beer comes out a thick and creamy black -- not quite Guinness thick, or nitro creamy, but it has a noticeable presence in the glass. The aroma is of a fine English chocolate, something with a heavy cream base and a hint of roasted espresso. The taste is big on the chocolate, and a bit sweet. Throw in a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you've got a bitchin' beer float. There is just enough hop bitterness to keep the malts from becoming cloying, with a hint of a roasted aftertaste when you're done.
Unfortunately, you're going to have to do some traveling to sample this one, and if you're ever in the area, it's a recommended stop for this porter alone, if not for the other beers being made.
The Mount Dora area is a pleasant getaway from the bustle of South Florida, and while there might not be too many beer spots to grab a cold craft beer besides a Publix, there's some fine work being done if you can find the right places.
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