Southern Comfort

Thursday, April 09, 2009

My in-laws have finished their yearly snowbird sojourn to Florida. And this year, they brought back some beer (I finally have them trained). They brought back 2 mixed 6-ers of Florida-brewed beers, so there's plenty for me to choose from.

I opened the fridge, reached in, felt around, and randomly grabbed:

Florida Beer Company's Key West Sunset Ale.This is a brewery I have never heard of before, and a quick glance over their repertoire shows a slight variety of beers, including some less-than-common German styles like Kolsch and Altbier. The bulk of their beers, though, seem to be pales, pilsners and the like. Nothing "big" or outrageous, their beers seem to suit a hot-sun-on-the-beach crowd.

And that, in a sentence, sums-up Key West Sunset Ale. Cold, refreshing, basic. Ever tried to drink an Imperial Stout in 90-degree weather with a blazing sun? Hard to do. But this light amber ale? Seems to fit the Florida motif just fine.

Now, I have nothing huge against Florida per se. All the usual stuff about being a massive retirement colony applies, etc. etc. I'm trying to gently say that my first experience with Florida beer is much of what I expected from a state that doesn't have a beer culture as pervasive as the Midwest and the coasts. It was very drinkable. I would drink it on a beach. If it was on tap next to the usual macros, I'd pick this because I like to support local breweries. But in terms of a beer that I seek out and strive to have in my fridge...not so much.

Now I will say that this was a visually appealing beer. I can see why it was called "Sunset," as cliche' as it is, because it poured a beautiful coppery-red color that one would see if one were indeed on Key West or on a cruise ship. It was crystal-clear, effervescent, and yielded a think but long-lasting eggshell-white head; a scant cloud across the setting sun (gag).

The surprisingly fruity aroma yields apricots and citrus with a big malty backbone. For an amber ale, this is really light on the hops to the point on nonexistance save for the vague citrusy aroma.

The taste yields nothing different, even proportionally different, from the aroma. Malty sweet with light dried fruits. A hint of citrus but no real hop bitterness to speak of. Very light-bodied and fizzy. Again, this beer is drinkable but average. Perfect beach beer; cool and refreshing. But if you're looking for a head-turning brew or a classic example of the American Amber Ale style, this ain't it. This is a swimsuit beach party beer. And if that's what you're after while sitting on the shores of the Gulf, the Atlantic, or Lake Michigan, then this beer will do just fine. Beer afficionados will be bored, but lawn-mowers and partygoers will be pleasantly surprised by better tastes than a plain ol' Bud.


Bob 11:39 AM  

Theursday Beer review? I am so confused. Its like jetlag.

Smitty 11:43 AM  

Yeah, I think you'll get a twofer this week. One today, one tomorrow.

George 1:36 PM  

Was that intentional--"surprisingly fruity aroma" from Key West?

You're bad.

Smitty 1:52 PM  

You're bad.

I laughed for 10 minutes.

Bob 2:10 PM  

The fruity aroma was actually emanating from Smitty’s crotch.

Smitty 2:26 PM  

The fruity aroma was actually emanating from Smitty’s crotch.

No, my feet. After cramming them directly in your ass.

Bob 2:29 PM  

"No, my feet. After cramming them directly in your ass."

Please sir, can I have some more?

Rickey Henderson 2:39 PM  

Nice stuff. And if you want to up the fruity ante, you can always add key limes to the beer.

B Mac 9:34 PM  

We just hit a 9.7 on the extremely-unsexy-gay-innuendo-o-meter

Bob 9:41 PM  

Innuendo? As if that was subtle?

Smitty 10:23 PM  

B Mac? With a Gaydar? Seriously??

You have Soon-To-Be-Mrs.-B-Mac fooled.

Rickey Henderson 5:49 AM  

Alternatively, you could just jam the key limes up your ass, since that seems to be the direction this conversation has been taking...

Bob 7:20 AM  

Rickey is right. Time to compliment Smitty on his beer review.

It doesn't have to be a great beer, to be a good beer review.


Sopor 9:13 AM  

Lol! Good times =)

See how much fun we have when you finally get back to reviewing beer Smitty?

Can't say I'm surprised about the quality of the brew... Florida truly is a beer wasteland if you ask me! But you reviewed it well, and honestly it sounds like it would be mighty refreshing sitting on the gulf coast watching the sunset or some shit like that.

Mike 9:19 AM  

Ever tried to drink an Imperial Stout in 90-degree weather with a blazing sun?

In fact, I have.

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