THE EDITOR’S DESK :: It’s Florida Time!!

by Harvey Gold on February 17, 2012

Arrived in Okeechobee, a source of craft beer frustration on previous visits. Still haven’t found, as of yet, any local craft brew. I know, or rather hope, we’ll hear from our facebook and Twitter pal, Beer in Florida with some notes for us, and we’ll look harder. The good news, however, is that when visiting the local ABC store, we found them carrying a couple interesting entries since we last visited. The first, one that really excited me, was Samuel Adams Wee Heavy, a terrific brew we may be going back for before we leave. Then we spied a bunch of offerings from Roscoe’s Hop House.  Interestingly, we’d never seen it up north, but they’re located in Rochester, New York.

I picked up a 6 of their IPA. We then had another great discovery, just around the corner from all-girl-stuff consignment shop, Toni’s Chic Boutique … the Tobacco Place.

“The Place” has real cigars. There’s a cigar lounge where I think you might be able to have a glass of wine or ale and relax, but the important thing on this day was… fresh, well kept cigars. I bought a tin of La Gloria Cubana Series R Pequenos, thanked the lady there for living, and went home.

Later, after the IPA had chilled to a reasonable temperature, I cracked one, poured, and unwrapped one of the pequenos. I’m thinking this is a not great, but good IPA. The pour was fine, nothing spectacular, no epic head and/or lacing, the nose, again, typical IPA, sweet and gently hoppy. The taste was very mild. The front of the sip reflected the nose, a tasty citrus, the middle offered little of interest, but the tail end gave up a really nice, solid bitter.

I lit the pequeno, my first time for these. Not cheap, the first scent and draw tell you why. These are big little guys. The Dominican filler clearly has some age on it. A far more aggressive and seasoned offering than the gentle, sweet Cohiba pequenos we had last time out. Truly delicious and spicy enough that it brought out the sweetness in the middle of Roscoe’s IPA, turning it into a completely different brew.

For a northern boy, sitting on a screened porch in February, 80 degrees, smoking and sipping this combo was a true pleasure. Think I’ll do it again today. Later, I had another of these IPAs with a salty, spicy dinner, and while it didn’t thrill, it did it’s job.

The story for this writer, however, is the fact that under the Roscoe’s Hop House mantle,  there are more than a couple awards, most notably for their Pale Ale. I’m posting on facebook and looking here for any insights into these beers not being brewed by Roscoes, but for them by World Brews in Novato, California. I understand a big grocery chain like Trader Joe’s private labeling from outside brewers like Firestone-Walker, or if a smaller brewer, having someone outside do their bottling and canning, but I find having your business be as a brewery in Rochester, NY yet have your beer brewed by someone else in California a bit of a head scratcher. Anyone?

Still, a good drink, and given the awards, we’ll need to try the Pale Ale.

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admin March 9, 2012 at 9:26 am

As a brief follow up, I’ve learned from some Rochester friends, that while the IPA I had came from the California brewer, Roscoe’s award winning Pale Ale is brewed for them in their neighborhood, by Genesee. Seems like they’ve got the market, and the recipes, but simply needed to find the physical plants to get them brewed. Interesting market approach.

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