Recently returned from a destination wedding in beautiful Marco Island, Florida. The wedding was perfect — on a beach, with gorgeous weather and spectacular scenery. A great time was had by all.
My wife was kind enough to humor me (she always does, bless her) by stopping by the local brewpub — the Marco Island Brewery. A nice place, if a bit hard to find, kind of tucked away deep inside a strip mall. At least that means it’s not too touristy.
If you can’t find a bar seat here, you’re not tryin’. The place has one long u-shaped bar inside, plus another that’s open to the front. There are also several tables outside, along with plenty of monitors everywhere. And we lucked out — the two directly in front of us had the Giants and Warriors games on. Life was good.
As for the beer, well, I’ll just say they worked well in the humid Florida evening. They brew four of their own, plus they have several more guest taps. I ordered the sampler, and got pours of their hefeweizen, pilsner, red ale, and IPA.
To their credit, the beers were served quite cold. While that may not always be optimum, they do warm quickly in the heat, so the colder the better when they first arrive (sorry, purists). To be honest, I had a tough time distinguishing between the hefe and the pils, at least until they warmed a bit. Then the cloviness of the hefe and the graininess of the pils emerged a bit. Unspectacular overall, but again, nice to pound on a warm day.
The red was just plain odd. It had a weird sort of maple-y, Capn’ Crunch-y kind of twang on the back end, and really not much else to speak of. The IPA, however, managed to hit most of the right notes. Appropriately hoppy, if not too assertive, well-balanced, and finished clean. The hit of the lineup.
I switched to a guest brew after that, the Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale, out of Atlanta — a little wink to the Waldos back home. The 420 here refers to the date it was first brewed, April 20, 1997. It’s a nice pale ale, although the hops are, shall we say, a bit green. Earlier on the trip I tried the Florida Avenue IPA from Cold Storage Craft Brewery in Tampa. Another nice, serviceable, hoppy-enough-to-be-good ale.
While this is hardly a sampling of what the Sunshine State has to offer, I was left with the impression that beers were designed for thirst-quenchiness first, and character second. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as a thick, resinous, dank, sticky bomb of a beer might not be the ticket when you’re hanging out in state-sized sauna.