Sunday, May 17, 2009

Central Florida Beer Festivals

With the weather warming up here in Central Florida, beer festivals are in full swing. Two events in the Orlando area featured unlimited samples from some of the biggest names in craft beer. Dogfish Head, Avery, Boulder, Brooklyn, Rogue, Bells, Oscar Blues, Wolaver's, Flying Dog, Harpoon, Abita, Jolly Pumpkin, Chimay, Stone, Sierra Nevada, Terrapan, Anchor, and Orange Blossom Pilsner were just a few of the breweries represented.

Sampling highlights from the most recent event were the debut of Rogue's "Captain Sig's Northwestern Ale". This is an India Red Ale, deep red in color with a floral, slightly citrus hop nose. As the hop flavor dissipates you are left to savour a unique malt blending of 2-Row Pale, Munich, Carastan and Chocolate. This is another offering in Rogue's 22oz. pounder line-up.
The longest line was at the Dogfish Head tent where they were sampling two of the brewery's limited 750ml beers. "Black and Blue" is a 10% ABV Belgian Strong Ale brewed with blackberries and blueberries. 'Red and White' is another 10% ABV beer, Wit brewed with coriander and orange peel fermented with Pinot Noir juice. But the biggest attraction was their seasonal Aprihop on draft filtered through a randall filled with fresh cascade hops. The addition of fresh hops added a new taste dimension to an already wonderful seasonal beer. At the end of the event I was fortunate to sample some of the beer directly from the unconnected randall and all I can say is WOW!

If you have never been to one of these festivals I strongly urge you to check one out. It's a prime opportunity to sample some of the most interesting and creative beers currently on the market.

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