“Florida Beer Swamp Ape I.P.A. arrives in Georgia! Hurry up and come to Taco Mac Prado and get some before it’s gone! It won’t last long!” OK, those might not be the exact words that were used in the in-app message I got from Taco Mac Brewniversty, but the spirit, I can assure you, was the same. I didn’t get myself down to Taco Mac Prado for about a week after I got the message, but when I did, the beer was still there.
I don’t know much about Florida Beer Company except that A) they have been around since at least 2000 when I had a beer from them called Ybor Gold Amber Lager, B) they are located in Melbourne and C) they make a beer called Swamp Ape. If you go to their website, www.floridabeer.com, it simply redirects you to their Facebook page. Curiously, they do have a webpage for Swamp Ape IPA.
On that webpage, they do say this:
Firsthand accounts describe an intense beast with a potent aroma and bite. Proof that the elusive monster exists? Or proof that brewing with five distinct varieties of hops creates an unbelievable, relentlessly hopped India Pale Ale? One taste and you’ll know. Swamp Ape is real.
They also add that the beer is brewed with “Tettnang, Centennial, Chinook, Cascade and Amarillo” hops as well as “2-row, Europ and Cheryy wood smoked” malts. It has a formidable alcohol content of 10% by volume and 85 IBUs.
My much-ballyhooed glass of Florida Beer Swamp Ape arrived a beautiful orange amber color with a light head formation and…..not much at all in the nose. Taking a sip, I did like the big thick chewy caramel malt up front, though the hops don't show until the finish really, where they’re rather resiny and grassy with an herbal aroma and a long dry bitterness.
What I liked here was the malt, the beer was out of balance in favor of it really, but not so malty as to start tasting like a barleywine (a real risk at this strength). It still had the hops to get the job done, but this beer is nowhere near as hoppy as the brewery claims it is. I guess that’s what I disliked, for an imperial IPA, it should have been hoppier still, and I strongly believe that is why it is not very highly regarded on the beer geek sites.
Would I buy it again? I would, because I love malt in my beer. You should too. Then too, I can't argue with the $5 price. If it’s as reasonable in the bottle as it is on draft, I will be picking up more. I’ll get back to you when I do.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.