Call it local-ish. Miami’s Gravity Brewlabs is four hours south of the bay area by car, but it could be closer on any given day, seeing as how it has operated for years as a "gypsy" brewery, partnering with local brick-and-mortars to produce its line of funky and exotic brews.
Owner Diego Ganoza had a chance encounter a while back with a famous brewer, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø of Denmark’s (kind of) Evil Twin Brewing. Jarnit-Bjergsø was looking for a couple of tickets to a sold-out Radiohead concert in New York, and Ganoza had two that he didn’t mind letting go of.
The trade came with plans for a collaboration brew between Gravity and Evil Twin, brewed more than a year later at Hollywood Brewing Co., just outside of Miami. The beer is a departure from both brewers’ favored styles — Jarnit-Bjergsø is known primarily for his decadent imperial stouts, while Ganoza dabbles extensively in the IPA and sour-brew realms — and incorporates ingredients that have likely never met in a beer before.
Two Tickets is a Belgian-style Grand Cru — basically a strong, abbey-style ale — flavored with Kenyan coffee and lucuma, an unusual fruit native to Peru that tastes like a cross between a sweet potato and maple syrup.
The rich, caramel malt notes of the base brew combine with the lucuma to provide an aroma that threatens cloying sweetness. After all, this is an 11 percent alcohol by volume brew. However, the flavor is far from syrupy, tempered partially by the Kenyan coffee addition, provided by Fort Lauderdale’s Grind Coffee Project. It starts rich and sweet, quickly dries in the finish and leaves a mild, roasty aftertaste.
The beer is not perfect; at first sip, the flavors tend to clash. Let it warm up in the glass and you’ll find that it mellows out very nicely. Of course, to do that you’ll need to find it, which seems tough, considering it was mostly distributed throughout the Miami market. Fortunately, it can be found at several of our local beer stores (like Rally in St. Petersburg; Total Wine in Clearwater, Tampa and Brandon; and also on draft at Pour House Grand Central in Tampa) in 16-oounce cans.
— 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]