The bar is filled with the aroma of fresh hops. The brew team is hard at work and in full force, making additions to one of the massive fermenters that dominates the rear of the space. Locals already line the bar at 3 p.m. in the afternoon; part of me wonders if they ever left from the previous days, or if they're just as permanent a fixture as the wooden bar and floating tap.
Wednesday is cask day at Tequesta Brewing Company, where curious beer seekers make pilgrimage to this inconspicuous strip mall off of US-1 and Tequesta Drive, just 8/10ths of a mile from the northernmost delineation of Palm Beach County.
Every week, TBC taps a 10.8 gallon 'firkin' cask, held up on a stillage to dispense the beer by gravity, and gives locals a chance to sample an upcoming brew or something quite experimental. This week, it was an advance on an upcoming Double IPA with whiskey oak chips and dry hopped with Simcoe, Citra, and El Dorado.
Kenny, the assistant brewer, details the process. "We allow the cask to sit out at room temperature in our brewery for about five to seven days to let the conditioning finish.
"We then cool it down for a couple of days to let the yeast settle out."
"The Double IPA will run out in about three to four hours... there's about 75-80 drinkable pints, and it's pretty popular."
With grace and precision (is it just me, or are all bartenders in the craft beer scene the best in the business?), a glass is poured and sat in front of me.
The first thing that struck me was the color. It is cloudy and unfiltered, with a pinkness to the hue. There was very little in terms of head or lacing, something due to the fact that it has been cask conditioned. No extra carbon dioxide to get it out of the conditioning vessel. The aroma was amazingly candy-like, akin to grapefruit, bubble gum and Jolly Rancher. The high alphas of the Citra and El Dorado really show themselves on the nose.
Taste is as complex as required for a double IPA, with a front of hop sweetness and Chardonnay notes, followed by the sought after IPA bitterness that lingered on the palate for a while. Without a high carbonation, the hop flavors really hung around, so you hop heads better get in on the action.
Overall, this is a complex and enjoyable style. The full fledged release on the 29th of April will be a worthwhile drink to pour and savor, as at around 8.5% abv, it's a whammy on the liver.
The other six beers on tap, while not as complicated in terms of style, are nonetheless the huge foundation upon which Jupiter area residents make home.
Gnarly Barley, an American style pale ale, won gold in 2009 at the Florida Beer Competition. Their kolsch, The Kaiser, is a great alternative to standard summer wheat beers.
"It's local, it's good beer, and the price point's right," Kenny continues. "There's no secrets here. That's why the brewery is wide open... we're not trying to hide anything."
So get your ass to Tequesta on Wednesdays, or you'll miss out on some fun beers. If you don't, someone else will drink your pint, and it might be me.
Beer things in your Twitter feed. Follow me @DougFairall
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