Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Hoppiest Beer That Wasn't

I thought I knew a lot about beer, but after visiting a brew pub in Hollywood, Florida, I'm starting to rethink that claim.

After three days on Hollywood Beach, I finally made my way to a local brewery, and I was pleased to learn that it served food as well. Organic Brewery (I know, the name sounds generic) is located right along the Broadwalk (not Boardwalk), a strip that runs for a couple of miles along the beach. On this strip, you'll find many shops and restaurants, and to my surprise, this brewery.

Organic Brewery boasts German-styled and Austrian-styled beer, with Belgian-styled ales thrown into the mix. On the night that my family and I arrived, not all of their beer was on offer (I really wanted to try their English Porter), so I ordered one of their feature beers while Lori ordered another. I sampled both.

Stout Draft Beer

Organic Brewery, Hollywood Beach FL

11% ABV

This stout was a dark brown with hints of caramel color. One of the first things that struck me was that the beer arrived in a frosty glass with a thick bowl and stem. It's not what I expected from a stout, which has always come to me in a standard pint glass. The stout had a beige creamy head that dissipated quickly.

It was difficult to discern anything on the nose; probably, because the beer was so cold. Perhaps, because we sat on the patio and a cool ocean breeze made it a challenge in separating the aromas of the stout from the salt air. As I cupped the glass in my hand and warmed the beverage, I managed to coax a hint of cedar from the bowl.

On the palate, I detected tobacco and spices, and what I thought were hops. This was the hoppiest stout I ever tasted, I told myself. Despite the high alcohol content, I detected none of it in the mouth. I only learned of the 11-percent ABV as I finished my glass, and I was shocked that I didn't taste or feel any of it.

My second surprise was to learn that there are no hops used in the production of this stout; nor, for that matter, of any of the beers brewed here. Just malts, spices, and water.

The Stout Draft Beer (again, a generic, unoriginal name) is a nice, dry beer to enjoy on a hot beach. It's refreshing and not heavy.

The other beer at our table was their Belgium Ale. This beer, I found, was much more interesting. Served in a frosty mug (again, too cold for my liking) this ale was caramel all the way: caramel in colour; creamy caramel head that lasted; caramel nose; creamy caramel flavour in the mouth. And again, ringing in at a heady 10-percent ABV, the alcohol level could not be detected as we drank it.
Though I enjoyed the stout and would drink it again, I think my pick of the night was my wife's pick at the table.

If you find yourself in Hollywood, I recommend a stop at Organic Brewery. Try the beer. Maybe, order an appetizer. And if it's really hot outside, hold your glass against your body to cool down before you drink. That way, you'll be doubly refreshed.

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