Tag Archives: Chocolate Stout

Tampa Breweries Part 2 – Seventh Sun, Dunedin, Rapp, and Cycle

In Part 1 of my Tampa breweries coverage I discussed breweries in downtown Tampa area. In this second part I venture out into the Tampa Bay area and explore some highly-rated breweries out there.

Seventh Sun Brewing

Tampa Breweries 17
Seventh Sun is considered by some to be the best brewery in the Tampa Bay area and from the few I visited I would agree. They have a nice open tasting room with a good variety of beers available. I tried the session IPA, saison de soleil, Intergalactic Pale, Bierre de Pommes, Double IPA, Imperial Porter, and Blackberry Saison. The Session IPA was well-named because it was seriously bitter with a dry finish, sporting lemon and tangerine notes. I thought the bitterness was a bit heavy here for what it was but it still is a tasty beer and seemed popular around the tasting room. The Intergalactic Pale is a galaxy hop pale ale but I found again it to be too bitter for such a light beer such that I didn’t get a ton of the fruity flavors from the galaxy hops. It was tasty but I have had much more impressive versions of this type of beer from Tijuana breweries and of course Alpine.

Tampa Breweries 18

Tampa Breweries 19

The saison de soleil was a delicious dry earthy saison with mild pepper and medium funk and more medium body than the cider. I really enjoyed the play of flavors here and found it balanced really nicely, making a great farmhouse ale. Biere de Pommes is described as a Saison brewed with apples so it is not a full cider and you can tell it has a great mix from the flavors dancing carefully between saison and cider with a funky, dry, and earthy finish. The apple flavors blended really well with the typical saison flavors. The Blackberry Saison was really juicy and balanced with a good mix of cherry and blackberry and a nice balance such that it wasn’t too tart or too sweet but just right. I considered filling a growler of this but instead went for the double IPA though it was a close call.

Tampa Breweries 20

The Double IPA was super impressive. I almost didn’t order it after trying the session IPAs but it was highly recommended and wow! It is surprisingly balanced for the high alcohol, 10%, and tastes unlike any double IPA I have had. Flavors burst with grapefruit and mango in a way reminiscent of Keene Idea from Alpine or Wallaby Hunter from Pacific Brewing. Though it reminded me of a few other beers it was still quite unique. I ended with the super delicious imperial porter that balanced caramel, mild smoke, and a mild amount of bitter coffee quite nicely. It is a bit sweet on the finish and quite thick. Another very impressive beer.

Tampa Breweries 21

Though the saisons were a highlight I was also blown away by the fantastic double IPA and imperial porter at seventh sun. If I was back in the area I would certainly stop by to see what is brewing and get more of that delicious double IPA. I was glad to see that they purged their growlers with CO2 before filling so I should enjoy the double IPA at home as well.

Top 3 Seventh Sun
Double IPA
Imperial Porter
Saison de Soleil

Dunedin Brewing

Tampa Breweries 22

Tampa Breweries 23

Less than a mile from 7th Sun is Dunedin Brewing, a brewery with a nice medieval feel that serves food. They had a few delicious stouts leftover from a takeover and so I didn’t taste any of their core beers in part because I was planning on hitting two more breweries after this. I tried the oak aged mundofobock, cherry cholate stout, coffee stout, and Fruits of Leisure fruited sour. The Cherry Chocolate Stout was delicious and nicely balanced with a smooth mix of cherry and chocolate and a sweet finish. With a light body you could easily have two pints of this and love it. Looking forward to popping my crowler later. The Coffee Stout was a nice balance of coffee and chocolate with medium body but it could have used more coffee or roast. A solid beer but got overshadowed by some others.

Tampa Breweries 24

The Oak Aged Mundofobock was a beast and the base stout has plenty of thick delicious plum and molasses. The oak comes on strong but not overpowering leaving a mildly acidic finish. This was a beast of a beer and really quite tasty. My husband really liked it. The fruits of leisure was honestly disappointing. Though it had a nice balance of fruits and a dry finish none of the fruits came through prominent and it didn’t do anything fantastic. Overall the combination of things I tried at Dunedin was enough to make me want to try it again if I happen to be in the area. I loved the vibe and the beers. Though rating a brewery on specialties isn’t my typical style I just couldn’t pass up the delicious options.

Tampa Breweries 25

Top 2 Dunedin Brewing
Cherry Chocolate Stout
Oak Aged Mundofobock

Rapp Brewing

Tampa Breweries 26
From everything I heard Rapp has a rabid following for their sours and I can see why. Though they are on the mild side (not puckering at all) they are delicious and most everything else was awesome too. I tried the gose, gratezer (accidentally, due to the numbers they use to order), a Polish style smoked ale, chocolate cherry hazelnut stout, double IPA, Berliner Weisse, and sour with pilsner malts. The Gose is their most popular and award winning and I can see why. It has a flavor almost like lemonade with tons of flavor and a smooth finish. The polish smoked ale was surprisingly tasty for a beer I accidentally ordered. It had a mellow smoke and light body but went back easy thanks to low carbonation.

Tampa Breweries 27

Tampa Breweries 28

Tampa Breweries 29

The chocolate cherry hazelnut porter was really awesome and balanced with medium body and had a nice sweet cherry finish with a slight nutty flavor from the hazelnuts. Chocolate was very subdued and in the background. The Double IPA was a total malt bomb and overly sweet with some fruity tropical hops. I did not finish the taster. The Berliner Weisse was surprisingly strong for the style though it hid it really nicely with a super light body and dry finish. The sour with pilsner malts was really delicious with plenty of fruit that balanced with the sweet malt finish and a mild tart kick. I liked this the best of the bunch and left with a growler fill. Overall Rapp is a great little brewery that does a ton of experimental styles but most impressed me with their sours. I wouldn’t get an IPA there unless you want a malt bomb though.

Tampa Breweries 30

Top 2 Rapp Brewing
Pilsner Malt Sour

Cycle Brewing
Though I was very excited to visit Cycle because of the good things I heard I found it to be a fairly underwhelming experience mostly because they don’t serve tasters so you instead can do half pints only. Apparently the bartenders think it is too much work to do taster flights but don’t mind giving you splashes of everything. Totally strange. So I only tasted two beers and they were good but nothing that screamed to be brought home with me. The IPA was dry and citrus forward with a heavy bitter finish with floral hops and some pine. I thought the bitterness was too much and didn’t get enough hop aromas from it. A pretty standard IPA but nothing special. The Brett Saison was quite tasty with an earthy malt flavor, a dry finish and medium funk. It hit all the right notes for a saison. If you are visiting for longer or aren’t so much into flights you might enjoy Cycle a little more but I was underwhelmed. I had better beers from each style at the other breweries. Though it is hard to follow Seventh Sun and Rapp.

Tampa Breweries 31

Tampa Breweries 35

As you can see from above, Rapp and Seventh Sun were the two most impressive breweries in my second day around Tampa. Both hit it out of the park with delicious beers that would make me come back the next time I am in the area.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

More Posts

Follow Me:
TwitterPinterestGoogle Plus

Border X Brewing – Barrio Logan San Diego

Border X originally opened in Otay Mesa, very close to the border with Mexico. The beers are still brewed at that location but more recently they opened a satellite tasting room in Barrio Logan, closer to Downtown San Diego. I visited the Barrio Logan location recently to try their beers. I didn’t get to taste the popular Blood Saison because they ran out but I did get to taste the Hefeweisen, Abuelos pale ale, Abuelita’s chocolate stout, Horchata golden stout, and a coffee oatmeal stout they brewed in collaboration with Groundswell Brewing.

Border X 04

The hefeweisen was a nice cloudy yellow with a light citrus kick that blended nicely with banana and pineapple. Though it was largely to style, their version was a nice change to the typical, and very refreshing. The Abuelos pale ale was a solid fruity English style pale with figs added. The beer was lightly bitter and very smooth. This was the only hoppy beer available when I visited, so it might not be the best destination for hop heads looking for West Coast style brews.

Border X 02

The Abuelita’s chocolate stout had a deliciously smooth oatmeal stout body and bright chocolate flavors on the front. I found it less bitter than most stouts. The beer has a light vanilla on the back. The chocolate flavors were also very different than you see in most local brews because it uses the Mexican style of chocolate usually used in the chocolate drinks available in Tijuana and elsewhere. It reminded me of some of the better of such drinks I have experienced in Tijuana. This is certainly a standout beer that they brew.

Border X 03

The Horchata golden stout isn’t boozy at all despite being 10%. It could easily be confused with ordinary horchata. The beer was very smooth and sweet with the right amount of rice, vanilla, and cinnamon. The brewers create an extract of the vanilla and cinnamon themselves that gives it authentic and not fake-tasting flavors. The coffee oatmeal stout brewed with groundswell was a nice smooth oatmeal stout with light coffee in the back. It was very nicely balanced, though I slightly prefer the chocolate stout.

Border X 01

Though Border X isn’t a place to visit for hoppy beers because they didn’t have an IPA they are brewing some awesome stouts and word on the streets is the Blood Saison is also really good. Both the chocolate and horchata stouts were very impressive. I hope to visit them in the future to see how things are going. The tasting room in Barrio Logan has a similar feel to places I have visited in Tijuana with plenty of Mexican imagery on the walls.

Top 2:
Abuelita’s chocolate stout
Horchata golden stout

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

More Posts

Follow Me:
TwitterPinterestGoogle Plus

Portland Beer Adventures Part 9 – Basecamp Brewing

Basecamp is one of the newest breweries I visited and also one of the most impressive. I don’t blame the breweries that have been around for quite some time for having beers of a style that now feels common and boring. It seems I can always count on young breweries to offer something bold and different, and that is surely the case with Basecamp Brewing. Besides their interesting selection of beers, they offer 22oz aluminum bottles that are perfect for the adventurous beer drinker to take along on a hike or camping trip. They also were easy to bring home with me to San Diego without worrying that the bottles would break in my luggage.

While visiting Basecamp I was able to try a good number of their beers but decided to stick to the main ones I was interested in because the selection was quite varied. I tried the Rye Pilsner, CTRL ALT DEL Altbier, Celestial Meridian CDL, IPL, Gold Rush IOC, S’more Stout, and Incredible Baltor.
Basecamp taster flight.
Basecamp taster flight.
The Rye Pilsner was quite tasty, with the rye giving a little extra kick to the typical boring pilsner taste. Would make a great beer to bring on a camping trip. The CTRL ALT DEL Altbier was quite tasty as well offering a pleasing sweet malt flavor with a nice caramel twist. The Celestial Meridian Cascade Dark Lager provided a nice mix of flavors with smoky roasted malts and light cascade hops at the front and some sweeter caramel flavors on the back.

The India Pale Lager (IPL) is an interesting take on the style because it is aged in oak barrels for a time. I could taste some nice toasty copper malts and a solid amount of pine hops on the back end. The combination of these was nicely smoothed out by the oak aging. I found as I got further into my taster, I could taste the hops a bit more prominently. The Gold Rush IOC was the most hoppy beer here and also my favorite. The beer is light on the malts, giving a lighter colored hop-forward brew. The hops primarily lean towards the citrus and floral hops I love so much in San Diego. I would have left with a bottle of the Gold Rush if it was available but instead I brought home two bottles of the IPL.
Beer selection when I visited.
Beer selection when I visited.
The S’more Stout was quite delicious and served with a marshmallow on the lip of the glass for a nice touch. This is a creamy beer with delicious chocolate and marshmallow flavors. There is just a hint of sweetness to the beer. My husband preferred the Baltor though. The Baltor is given one of the most verbose descriptions I’ve ever seen for a beer but to me is a great example of a solid coffee stout. The coffee flavor is nice and prominent at the beginning with chocolate and plum malt flavors at the back. This beer was very nice though I preferred the S’more.
Portland Beer 19
Basecamp likes to present twists on established styles of beer and I would say they succeeded quite nicely in doing so. Not only that, but they have some fairly permanent food trucks right outside that offer good food options. I tried some of the Korean BBQ from one of the trucks and it was a solid Bulgogi Burrito. Basecamp is one brewery you should make sure to visit if you make it out to Portland.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

More Posts

Follow Me:
TwitterPinterestGoogle Plus

San Francisco Adventures Part 5 – Rogue

On Day 4 in San Francisco I wanted to explore Chinatown. Little did I know it was not going to entertain me for very long. It didn’t help that it was quite cold in the Downtown area because there was no sun coming through to warm me up. I finally hit noon just as I made it to Rogue just in time to warm up with some beer and lunch. Though Rogue is an Oregon based brewery originally, I don’t have an Oregon trip planned anytime soon and the other choices were a bit out of the way. I was glad I stopped in because I had previously thought of Rogue as not so good based on the beers that made their way down to San Diego. Now I am going to keep an eye out for some more beers.

Rogue Brewing 01

Just the night before some of the people I was hanging out with suggested I check out Rogue. Once I realized how close it was to Chinatown compared to the other breweries in the area I decided it was worth a shot. I ended up spending two hours here chatting with people and enjoying the food and beer.

Some beer tasters to start with.
Some beer tasters to start with.

I started off with a few tasters of beers I normally might not expect to like. Yellow Snow was not particularly interesting, nor was the dry hopped red ale. I didn’t get many notes down for either. The Red IPA was quite nice with a caramel flavor from the malts and a decent amount of hop flavors to balance it out. The Chocolate Stout was the exact opposite of the bitter brew I had at Southern Pacific the day before. It had a lovely sweet chocolate flavor that I quite enjoyed. Rather than ordering a pint of that though, I went for the Black Lager.

Dirtoir Black Lager.
Dirtoir Black Lager.

Rogue had an interesting selection of beers from their farm series, beers that were all brewed from materials they grew on their own farm. The black lager was one of these beers. It was quite tasty and would have been hard to distinguish from a lightly smoked porter. I took my time drinking this beer while I enjoyed the cheese bread and then a bowl of chili. I’m excited to see more of what Rogue makes another time and possibly in a store down in San Diego.

I hope you enjoyed my four part series on San Francisco breweries. I hope to continue the series as I take other trips.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

More Posts

Follow Me:
TwitterPinterestGoogle Plus