On my recent trip to Perdido Key, Fla., I made a stop in Downtown Pensacola to check out their local micro/production brewery. In a beachy, historical neighborhood by the bay, we find this quaint, homey little brewery called Pensacola Bay Brewery.
Tara, my bar maiden, was very kind and more than helpful. If ever in this area of Florida, give this place a visit. Tara sat me down to a HUGE flight of beers, with up to five seasonals at a time.
This little place pumps out some beer. They are working on a bottling line, but up until recently they have been hand-bottling in 22-oz. bombers. Yikes!! I thoroughly enjoyed the feel of this brewery and all they had to offer. This was my opinion of their offerings:
–Pale Ale: A little light for an American Pale Ale. Typical citrus hop aroma, not up front, but there.
–Sawgrass Wheat: Bright yellow, light flavor. Easy to drink in the 90-degree Florida heat. Dry and somewhat hoppy finish.
–Riptide Amber: Very malty nose, full body with a pleasant dry finish. Very similar to a “new” American amber available to us in Memphis. More copper-colored than amber.
–Pensacola Bay’s ESB: A little stronger than I like my English ales. Clocks in at 6% and is dry-hopped to boot. Starting to see a trend here — very dry, doesn’t fit in the ESB category, but a good beer nevertheless.
–Banyan Brown: Very malty in the nose and finish. Typical American brown ale. Nothing to write home about.
–Lighthouse Porter: Now this is a beautiful example of a porter. Great roast and hops, balanced by a lovely malt backbone. Pleasant nose, touch of roast, malt and resinous American hops.
–Lil’ Napoleon IPA: This is Pensacola Bay Brewery’s biggest seller. Huge hop nose. I feel like I could smell it when she poured it. Big hop flavor with citrus and a touch of skunk — good skunk though. Not cloying but not as dry as some of the other selections. At 70 IBUs, the bitterness just keeps on giving.
–Oak-Aged IPA: Same beer in Chardonnay barrels. Well to me this is a strange combo. It seems the Chardonnay kind of overpowers the hops in the nose and the finish. Not a bad beer, by far, but strange nonetheless.
–Blackbeard Stout: Very creamy, with roast and malt to boot! Nice finish. Overall, a very smooth stout.
–Conquistador DoppleBock: Last but not least, this beer has a huge Munich malt nose. The 8.1% is hidden very well. Not your run-of-the-mill German dopplebock, made with a touch more saaz hops than I would prefer. The spiciness lends a different finish to this style, making it very drinkable. Lovely finish to a great flight of beers.