Datz pulls out all the stops Thursday night as it unveils its own beer with a name that's a real mouthful: Soggy Loaf Pumpernickel Rye Porter. We're talking police escort from the brewery, red carpet, velvet ropes, search lights. A little over the top, maybe, but "that's how we roll,'' says Mike McGhee, beverage manager and resident beer geek for the South Tampa restaurant.
Produced in collaboration with the highly regarded Tampa upstart Cigar City Brewing, an early sample tasted better than it might sound: a dark, rich, complex flavor with notes of caramel and chocolate, with a clean finish and subtle hints of rye (alcohol by volume 6.5 percent). Roasted malt mellows out the rye taste, McGhee explains, and leftover ends of pumpernickel bread were used in fermentation.
The new beer is part of the Datz evolution into a gastropub. Opened more than a year ago in South Tampa as a deli with a generous approach to beer, Datz dropped the deli from its name, expanded its menu and added a second bar with 37 taps (plus about 90 bottles). "We want to be known around the country as a destination to drink beer,'' McGhee says.
Loyal Datz customer Logan Rusnak named the beer in a Facebook contest and the label was designed by Chris Elmore in another Facebook competition.
For now, the beer will be available only on tap at Datz, or through Cigar City's own Rye Porter label. It's a limited run — just 30 barrels — but McGhee has big ideas, such as hand-pulled casks and bottles. "Maybe one day we'll have our own brewery,'' he says.