At the weekly champagne brunch at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg on Sunday, it was Florida Beer Company brew that was free flowing with the mimosas. A rep from the Melbourne brewery was pouring samples of Key West Southernmost Wheat, Key West Sunset Ale plus Florida Beer's Swamp Ape and Florida Lager.
It was an interesting taste test to see how the beers paired with the overflowing choices on the brunch buffet. The event is always heavy on seafood, with lots of sushi, salmon (lox and smoked), crab lollipops and crab legs and cold shrimp, plus paella and cioppino. The Southernmost wheat, with its citrus notes (key lime and orange) and heady coriander, was light enough to swim well with the seafood.
The Swamp Ape is a double IPA that could be described as "chewy." It definitely was heavy, with more pronounced bitterness from the hops. Letting it warm up slightly allowed the flavors to bloom and it went down quite nicely with perfectly cooked brisket, a very meaty wild mushroom ravioli and the wide array of chocolate desserts, but especially with a peanut butter mousse shooter with whole peanuts on top.