Drink Tampa Bay is an ongoing series chronicling locally made beer and wine.
This week we got inebriated on the Maple Milk Stout and the Bourbon Aged Belgian Rye Beer brewed by Florida Avenue Brewing Co. in Seminole Heights.
Maple Milk Stout – 9.5%
Rusty: It had a nice, dark head to it. Foamy, it was nice. And the beer itself is just back. Beautiful, black.
Roy: (Sniffs it) I’m not getting a maple… I am getting a smokey, like you would from a stout, but I’m not getting a maple scent to it.
Rusty: I think it might be there, but I don’t think I can smell as well as I usually do.
Roy: (Drinks) THERE IT IS. This one suits the glass very well. It’s sweet. And a bitterness… it could just be the bark of a maple tree.
Rusty: So it’s not the liquid maple – it is referring to the wood. They take a bucket of water, and they take a chunk of maple wood, they set that on fire, and they let the ash fall into it. And they stir it up with a big wooden spoon. (Takes a sip) Very thick, dark flavor. Deep flavor. It’s not bad. I mean, you wouldn’t want to have too much.
Roy: You like sweet stuff…
Rusty: I DO like sweet stuff. It does have that kind of burnt, ashy…
Roy: It’s ambitious. I’ve seen a lot of maple recently.
Rusty: I don’t really taste maple in this… there’s a sweetness to it. It’s pretty intense. The sips I take of this are approximately a fourth of the size of a sip that I’d take of anything else. It completely colors your tongue as you take a sip. This is about six ounces… I wouldn’t want to drink the whole thing myself, but I think there’s something to be said for it. I think it’s pretty interesting to drink; it’s got an interesting flavor, it’s not offensive or repulsive, and I think if it were half the size of what they gave us… that would be appropriate for it. This is something you wouldn’t want to miss out on. It has the weight of a coffee, but it doesn’t have the flavor of a coffee.
Roy: It is very thick… you swirl it around, and it leaves the brown stink in the glass. It’s got some legs.
Rusty: I don’t dislike it, I definitely don’t dislike it.
Roy: No, but I’ve had it – I don’t think I’d ever have the desire to get it again.
Rusty: I don’t mind it. I would like to have more of a maple flavor, though. That’s what I feel like is missing. But I don’t mind it. It’s got something going on with it. Definitely not a casual drink. If you’re physically and emotionally prepared for it? It can happen. Make it happen.
Bourbon Aged Belgian Rye Beer – 7%
Rusty: (Smells) Hmmmmmm…
Roy: For some reason, they all smell citrusy to me… I do snort a lot of orange Pixie Stix.
Rusty: You can’t not. It burns so sweet. (Sniffs) It smells like a whiskey, almost.
Roy: Very light… that’s that oak. It was aged six months in a Jim Beam barrel.
Rusty: (Drinks) Interesting. You can taste it… I don’t drink Jim Beam, I don’t know what the difference is between that and any other whiskey…
Roy: It doesn’t have like a smokey, or oaky flavor; I don’t taste that.
Rusty: Up front, it’s sweet, and it is a bit citrusy or fruity. But the way it settles, it does have that weightiness of a whiskey.
Roy: The way a whiskey would sit around. Not a burn-
Rusty: It doesn’t have that alcoholic tinge to it, so it’s not like… gross. I can sit it in my mouth, but I still feel like I’m getting the same…
Roy: The aftertaste does, kind of in my stomach, the way you would sip whiskey… warm.
Rusty: Warm, yeah. It’s interesting, it kind of takes on those properties. [But] this doesn’t have that liquor [taste], so I get the whiskey flavor.
Roy: So you could sip that. Like a nice scotch.
Rusty: Take my time with it. “I’ll take an ice cube in that.” It’s unique.
Roy: I don’t see the reasoning for the small glass… because, the small glass… plus the alcohol content? It’s not high enough.
Rusty: We’re getting like six ounces here-
Roy: At $6.50 a piece. It just doesn’t warrant… I’ve had higher alcoholic content in a pint glass. I don’t understand that-
Rusty: Maybe he didn’t like our look.
Roy: Maybe. It’s too small. I drink that in my sleep.
Rusty: I’d sooner order [the Maple Milk Stout] over the Jim Beam one.
Roy: I’m not a fan of the Maple Stout. Just… not a fan. Too sweet.
Rusty: And the Belgian?
Roy: I liked it. I would have stuck with that.
Rusty: They’re both really interesting tastes… a flight would have been ideal for these. You just wanna have a little taste of each of them.
Roy: So we’re split. You would have taken [the Maple], I’d have taken the Belgian Rye.
Rusty: Yeah. But only in a situation where I was like “I want to sit down with this.” Which I could definitely see, but not an every day drink.
The Maple Milk Stout and the Bourbon Aged Belgian Rye Beer are available for a limited time.
Listen to the full discussion here:
Florida Avenue Brewing Co. is located at 4101 N Florida Ave in Seminole Heights.
Open Tuesday, and Thursday 4pm-10pm, Wednesday 4pm-9pm, Friday 2pm-11pm, and Saturday 1pm-11pm. Closed Sundays and Mondays.