From day one of the Great American Beer Festival 2016 (GABF 2016), I had the chance to sample all types of beers. There was everything from simple lagers to complex IPAs and sours. Craft beer has a seemingly unending number of breweries and beers, however, I narrowed things down a bit.
While there are dozens and dozens of beers worth trying at GABF, here are nine ales you may not have heard about (these are listed in no specific order). First up is the Mounds Chocolate Coconut, which is a porter from Brew Bus Brewing located in Tampa, FL. While I don’t believe this is a year round release for the brewery, it is a delicious example of balance. Mounds features potentially overwhelming ingredients like chocolate and coconut and blends them together masterfully. Particularly with colder months checking in, this is one porter I highly recommend.
Second is a beer from Bubba Brew’s Brewing Company, which calls Bonnerdale, AK its home. They have a number of year round selections, but the one that stands out to me is the 10-Point Buck. This traditional german-style bock is a warm, yet crisp ale. For those who enjoy ambers, this is a great way to try something new, while not stepping too far out of your palate’s comfort zone.
Third up on our GABF 2016 list is Coppertail Brewing Co., and they also reside in Tampa, FL. Sour beers are a big time trend in American craft beer these days, and Coppertail has a great one. Whoops is the name of their sour, berliner weisse. It is a very sour brew that starts with a delicious cranberry and hibiscus body, and eventually finishes with a hefty bite.
Fourth up is Due South Brewing and this brewery calls Boynton Beach, FL home. As many GABF goers were flocking to it, Due South’s Category 5 IPA is an absolutely hit. I must warn those who aren’t necessarily hop heads because Category 5 IPA hammers the palate with a whopping 95 IBUs (International Bitter Units). The Category 5 IPA still stands out as an intense take on a popular style.
Checking in at over the halfway mark in the fifth spot is Grayton Beer Company, and they have set up shop in Santa Rosa Beach, FL. What could be considered their flagship ale, 1890 Founder’s Ale is a spot on amber that masterfully toes the line between hop and malt. It has a very high level of drinkability. Founder’s presents itself as a beer you can enjoy multiple pints of in one sitting.
Sixth is Little Harpeth Brewing and they are nestled in Nashville, TN. Lagers are the brewery’s specialty and I was able to sample the Chicken Scratch American Pilsner. Like any great pils, it was very clean and smooth from start to finish. While beers like IPAs and sours are nice, I absolutely can appreciate a precisely made pilsner, which Chicken Scratch is.
Seventh up on our GABF 2016 list is M.I.A. Beer Company and they are located in, you guesses it, Miami, FL. Their Babalu was at the show and so I was able to sample some of the Berliner Weisse beer. As a serious fan of sour and this one in particular, the Babalu hit my palate with a sour introduction and finished up nicely with ginger and carrots notes.
Second to last is Nantahala Brewing Company, and they call Bryson City, NC home. Their Swallowtail Summer Ale is one of the many beers Nantahala brought with them. Session IPAs can be a nice way for hop newcomers to join the IPA craze. Swallowtail stands nicely with even balance and is a great place for prospect-hop heads to start off.
Last but certainly not least is Mystery Brewing Company and they can be found in Hillsborough, NC. I had the chance to try the Smoked Rye Stout and it carried a bold darkness with hints of sweet cherry showing up toward the finish. Stick around here at We Write Things for more on GABF 2016.
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