"Hooray, it’s summer!" exclaimed no Floridians. But if it’s summer proper and not just the usual year-round weather, you might as well embrace the heat and humidity with a trip to the beach, accompanied by some suitably refreshing beers.
While you’re at it, why not try something actually brewed on the beach? Mad Beach Craft Brewing Company fits the bill, with a spacious brewery and tasting room at the John’s Pass Village & Boardwalk in Madeira Beach.
The current lineup features a number of summery beers, from guava-, pineapple- and cucumber-fruited IPAs to a passion-fruit berliner, banana hefe and peach wheat. The best of the bunch is Beach Slap Piña Colada wheat ale, a spin on the brewery’s Life’s a Beach wheat, that features coconut and pineapple.
Beach Slap takes the grain bill of Life’s a Beach and subs a combination of pineapple juice, dried coconut and natural extracts in place of the latter’s orange-blossom honey. It’s golden and slightly hazy with a frothy white head, bursting with a tropical, beach-appropriate nose.
The lightly sweet base beer is a great starting point for the lush pineapple and coconut flavors of Beach Slap. With a more neutral base, the beer would be in danger of being one-dimensional, but this is well-rounded — a beer that can hold your interest for more than a few sips.
While the added flavors are anything but nuanced in the final product, it all meshes well, resulting in a light, fruity and properly refreshing brew for the Florida summer.
Beach Slap won’t win any awards for subtlety, but as far as truth in advertising goes, this "piña colada wheat ale" delivers. It doesn’t come in a coconut shell, however, so you’ll need to use a little imagination. Beach Slap is a limited release, available exclusively at the brewery, so head to Madeira Beach and get your summer officially started.
— Justin Grant
Have a suggestion for the Local Craft Beer of the Week? Brewers, have a limited release coming that we should know about? Email [email protected]