Slowly sipping my way through the Beer Camps. Here’s a couple more.
Yonder Bock Tropical Maibock w/Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, FL
After establishing his beer creed with a column in the St. Petersburg Times, Joe Radner realized his dream of owning his own brewery in 2009 with the opening of Cigar City Brewing in Tampa.
He quickly developed a reputation of brewing great beers with a nod to Florida’s history, such as Jai Alai IPA and Florida Cracker White Ale (early Florida cowboys were called Crackers, for the sound of their whips).
Again, this is another beer I approached with trepidation. I’ve never been a fan of Bocks in general, as I’ve never liked the caramel/charry malt sweetness to my liking.
But, as I’m finding with these beers, the Beer Camp version is one I can enjoy.
Pours a deep amber color. A sugar-cane sweetness moderates the malt (perhaps from the honey malt?), with just enough bitterness to make it interesting. Experimental hops were used in both bittering and finishing, which may contribute to the sweet fruit notes. Very interesting, and quite good.
Chico King Pale Ale w/3 Floyds Brewing, Munster, IN
If nothing else, 3 Floyds excels in personality, with beers to match. With gothic, tattoo-inspired label designs, “in your face” doesn’t really do them justice.
3 Floyds launched in 1996, with one mantra — “It’s Not Normal.” It has since achieved near cult-like status (check Rate Beer’s ratings, yikes!), and it’s Dark Lord day (the release day for the entire year’s production of Dark Lord Imperial Stout) is likened to a state holiday. Think Pliny the Younger condensed to one day.
Chico King is a takeoff of Alpha King, 3 Floyds’ flagship Pale Ale, and a tribute to Chico, CA, where the flag for American Pale Ales was first raised.
This is an assertive Pale Ale, with hops front and center. But, this copper-colored brew also has a substantial malt backbone, with tangy caramel malt being the most pronounced. Although I’m not a caramel malt fan by any means, the aggressive hops keep it in check. This is a substantial, flavorful brew, start to finish.