Spring Break calls for a cooler of cold brew! Sure, I visited five different brewpubs during Spring Break 2011 and enjoyed some mighty-fine locally-brewed draft beer. But I also had my cooler stocked with the best bottled beer from Florida breweries.
The beers from Cigar City Brewery were easily my favorite. This brewery is located in Tampa, just north from where we were spending Spring Break with my family in Ruskin. One of my Spring Break regrets was not visiting the tasting room at the Cigar City Brewery while we were in Tampa! It’s definitely on my to-do list for our next visit.
From Cigar City Brewery, I had bottles of (pictured right):
- Jai Alai India Pale Ale (7.5%), a very strong interpretation of an American IPA. This is a tasty and strong, but well-balanced IPA. I liked this one so much that I brought home a six-pack. I also had this on draft at 400 Beach Seafood & Tap House in St. Pete – delicious! Named for a once-popular sport played in Tampa.
- Maduro Brown Ale (5.5%), a Northern English-style Brown Ale. This is a flavorful session brown.
I also enjoyed the Florida Avenue line of beers from Cold Storage Craft Brewery in Tampa. These beers included:
- Florida Avenue Ale (4.7%), an American wheat ale with a hint of lemon. A light and refreshing summer brew perfect for Florida weather. (pictured below)
- Florida Avenue Blueberry (4.5%), an American wheat ale with a hint of blueberry. Nice and light blueberry flavor, another thirst-quencher.
- Florida Avenue IPA (5.6%), an American IPA designed for the hot and humid Florida climate. A decent IPA. Not close to Cigar City’s IPA, but not bad overall.
Finally, I also had bottles of (pictured below from left to right):
- Orange Blossom Pilsner, Florida’s Honey Beer. A crisp, refreshing light beer. The 2.3 teaspoons of orange blossom honey in each bottle imparts an interesting citrus-honey flavor.
- Key West Sunset Ale, a basic, drinkable, American Amber Ale from the Florida Beer Company in Melbourne.
- Ybor Gold Amber Lager, a basic, drinkable American Amber Lager, also from the Florida Beer Company.
These last three weren’t anything special, though I did like the unique flavor profile of the Orange Blossom Pilsner.
I enjoyed these brews at my parent’s house, hanging out by the pool during lazy Spring Break afternoons. I bought all of my six-packs of Florida bottles at Publix Super Markets. I love shopping at Publix when I’m in Florida and it is so convenient to be able to buy beer at the grocery store. My least favorite thing about living in Maryland – no beer in the grocery stores. That’s why I buy my beer in Virginia or DC! Get with it, Montgomery County and the State of Maryland!