Beach Blanket Bingo! Frankie and Key West Southernmost Wheat and Annette and Orange Blossom Pilsner!

September 5, 2012

Labor Day has come and gone, so I can no longer wear White Bucks nor drink Gin & Tonics, but the Autumnal Equinox has not yet arrived so I can still review summer beers. Hey, I don’t make these rules. If you have a problem, write to Emily Post.

To Have and Have Not

Florida is not exactly a hot bed of beer culture. There are precious few brewers. There are not even many beercentric bars, at least in the Fort Lauderdale area. Cigar City is Florida’s best known brewer, but my experience with them has been hit and miss. Despite this, I am always on the prowl for beers I have not tried, and I like to drink local when I can, so finding myself in Florida for an extended stay I have been exploring.

The Southernmost Wheat from Florida Beer Co. is a Belgian style witbier. It has a nice coriander aroma and flavor, with some musty funkiness from the yeast. The Florida ‘twist’ on this beer is the addition of key lime juice to the brewing process. The key lime juice introduces a nice tartness to the flavor, very muted, but it is there in the background, along with some mango flavors and some rich bread flavors from the wheat malt. I had some trepidation about this beer when I read about the key lime juice, but it was quite pleasant, as the acidity of the key lime juice helps to cut the sweetness, 6/10.

The Orange Blossom Pilsner is apparently brewed by Orange Blossom Pilsner LLC, a brewery so new they do not have a proper website yet. It is brewed with orange blossom honey, and the honey and orange aromas and flavors are prominent, with some floral hops as well. Unfortunately, there is not much else going on with this beer. It is a bit too sweet and fruity for my palate, so I will not be going back to it, 5/10, but it might serve as an introductory beer to someone who is unfamiliar with craft beer.

Well, I’m going down to Florida
Get some sand in my shoes
Or maybe California
Get some sand in my shoes


Summer’s Here and The Time is Right for Drinking in The Streets: Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils and Victory Prima Pils

August 21, 2012

What a drag it is getting old…

Mama’s Little Yella Pils from Oskar Blues is a crisp pilsner, slightly fruity smelling, mildly herbal and grassy tasting, with a pale yellow color and a quickly dissipating foamy white head. It pours crystal clear, and has a mild lemon zest flavor, with an aftertaste of mildly toasted grains. This is not a hop bomb, but no pilsners can make that claim. I popped this open after a run in the Florida sun and enjoyed this refreshing beer immensely, 7.5/10.

Prima Pils from the always excellent Victory Brewing is a bit different from the usual pilsner. Remember when I said that no pilsners can claim to be hop bombs? The Prima Pils almost makes a liar of me, as it is more aggressively hopped than is the norm for a pilsner. Beer purists probably object to this, because it fails to adhere to the standards set forth by the Great Beer Council of 1512, but I am ok with it. The flavor starts off mild and herbal before the grapefruit zest and black pepper hops kick in on the back end. I am not saying this a hop bomb beer, but it is certainly a hop bomb pilsner, making the Prima Pils a pilsner for IPA lovers. The 5.3% ABV is low enough to make this a good session beer. This is not the standard to compare other pilsners to, as it quite different, but it is delicious, 7.5/10.

Keely Smith’s Favorite Beer


108 Degrees In The Shade: Summer in Texas, Texas Summer Beers

August 7, 2012

Hans' Pils

Real Ale Hans’ Pils –  I do not know who Hans is, so I do not know why this beer is named for him, but he must be a good egg, as this is a fine beer, and I doubt Real Ale would name such a good beer after him if Hans were not a fine fellow. It is clean, crisp and dry, with some cracker like malts and mild lemon and black pepper hops for some balance, and a long lasting white head. I am generally not a fan of German style beers, but I do like this one, 7/10.

Rahr & Sons Summertime Wheat – I have not been impressed by Fort Worth’s Rahr & Sons in the past. Their beers have been spotty at best, and to my palate the problem seems to be quality control issues. They are inconsistent. As mentioned above, I am generally not a fan of German style beers, as I am an Anglophile to my core, and Rahr & Sons specializes in German style beers, which might be a contributing factor to my being less than impressed with their beers.

Rahr Summertime Wheat

On the other hand, I do love hefeweizens in the hot summer months, and Rahr has brewed themselves an excellent one with their Summertime Wheat. This has that nice wheat, yeast, banana, and clove flavors that is the hallmark of all hefeweizens, with just a touch of candy sweetness and orange peel bitterness. It pours golden blonde and cloudy with a fluffy head, and is subtly carbonated for a terrific mouthfeel. The carbonation also provides some terrific lacing which races up the side of the glass. If Rahr could maintain this standard of excellence across their beer roster, I would be a huge fan. Unfortunately, in my experience, this is a high point for them, 7.5/10.

Water Tower in Allen, Texas. This has nothing to do with beer. I just like the picture.


Victory Summer Love Ale

May 6, 2012

Fireworks, thunderstorms, the legs on that girl who worked the register at Swensen’s, baseball on the radio, fireflies in a jar, Gator taking the mound, crappy jobs that I have come to love in my later years, the smell of freshly cut grass, early mornings in the caddy shack waiting for a loop, Doc taking the mound, perpetually skinned knees and elbows, taking the afternoon bus to NYC, seeing concerts on the Pier, falafels at Mamoud’s, root beer floats from the Magic Fountain, bumblebees, helmetless bike rides, the chirping cricket thermometer, pizza from the Magic Table, pick-up baseball games at Stagg Field, skateboarding down Gavin Road, Grunning’s, getting lost in Turtle Back Rock, honeysuckles in bloom, ice cold beer.

There are not many things I’d change about the summers of my youth, but I would replace the Olympia (or whatever swill I was drinking back then) with a beer as good as Victory’s Summer Love Ale. I am not normally a fan of German style beers, but this is exceptional. It pours crystal clear, with a tangy, slightly bitter aroma. It has a mild floral hops flavor, just enough to give it some bite, but subtle enough to not be overpowering. It is crisp, refreshing, with just a touch of lemon zest in there and at only 5.2% ABV, you can have a few to quench your thirst on a hot summer day. I hope this is available all summer, as I’d like to drink it in the dog days of August, 7/10. Maybe this will be my beer when Darvish takes the mound. I doubt he will have a debut season like Doc had, but stranger things have happened. Now if I can just find some decent pizza in Texas.


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