Make us your home page

Beer Week: OMG, that's strong beer

Times beer correspondent Justin Grant checked out several events Monday evening for Tampa Bay Beer Week. Here's a glimpse of his day:

At 5 p.m., my girlfriend and I picked up a friend from work and headed to ABC Fine Wine & Spirits in South Tampa for the Merchant du Vin Tasting. Merchant du Vin is one of the original craft beer importers in the United States, first introducing England's Samuel Smith's line of beers stateside way back in 1978. The focus of this tasting, however, was on Belgian Trappist Ales.

Of the eight (yes, eight — Stift Engelszell from Austria was approved as an official Trappist brewery last year) Trappist breweries, Merchant du Vin represents three: Westmalle, Orval, and Rochefort. We sampled the Dubbel and Tripel from Westmalle, and the 6, 8, and 10 from Rochefort. The Rochefort 10, a highly regarded Quadrupel Ale, was a big favorite, along with the Westmalle Tripel. We grabbed a bottle of the latter to take home, and it came with a heavy-duty Westmalle goblet.

We then headed over to Seminole's Rapp Brewing for Cigars and OMG. OMG is Rapp's entry into the world of extreme high-gravity beers, clocking in at over 20 percent alcohol by volume. This rich, complex and remarkably smooth Barleywine is served uncarbonated and at room temperature, much like a fine brandy. As such, pairing it with a cigar only makes sense. The event was officially BYOC (bring your own cigar), but the folks at Tampa's Tabanero Cigars were kind enough to donate a bundle of Churchills, and someone brought some Puros Indios Viejo Double Toros to share, as well.

Along with the OMG, we got a little experimental with the Berliner Weisse and flavored syrup combinations, which included traditional flavors such as woodruff and raspberry, along with slightly more exotic fare, such as passion fruit, blood orange, peanut butter and bacon. Yes, peanut butter and bacon. If anyone's curious, the bacon syrup is 100 percent vegetarian. The brewery wrapped things up about 10, so we called it an early night and headed home.

Beer Week: OMG, that's strong beer 03/05/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 1:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of May 29-June 4


    Memorial Day: Among the free events paying tribute to fallen soldiers today is the Bay Pines VA Memorial Day Ceremony in St. Petersburg, with speakers including Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Charlie Christ, musical performances, a rifle salute and taps. (727) 319-6479 . The Florida National Cemetery …

    Young blonde boy carrying an American Flag over a wooden Bridge.
  2. Fans in Florida and beyond won't forget Gregg Allman

    Music & Concerts

    The end can come quickly for those who live fast and live hard, who create worlds with their talent and sometimes come close to throwing them away.

    This Oct. 13, 2011 file photo shows Gregg Allman performs at the Americana Music Association awards show in Nashville, Tenn. On Saturday, May 27, 2017, a publicist said the musician, the singer for The Allman Brothers Band, has died. (AP Photo/Joe Howell, File)
  3. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for May 28


    Alabama: The country music all-timers hit the road for the Southern Drawl tour with openers, the Charlie Daniels Band. 7 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $26-$86. (813) 301-2500.

    Handout photo of Alabama, performing 5/28/17 at Amalie Arena in Tampa. Credit: Alan Messer
  4. Find serenity at Grand Cayman Island's Cemetery Beach



    Hey, cruisers, if you've been to Hell and back, snuggled with the stingrays and taken photos with the turtles at the Cayman Turtle Centre, you might be looking for something different on your next trip. (Guilty!)

    Good snorkeling can be found off shore at Cemetery Beach in Grand Cayman.
  5. Karen Bail, who helped Gibbs kids get to Broadway, retires


    ST. PETERSBURG — When neatnicks retire, they leave no trace behind. Their desks are clean, like a runway after the plane has taken off.

    Karen Bail warms up seniors Jonathan O’Brien, left, as Juan Peron and Addam Setzer as Che Guevara before the dress rehearsal of Evita in April.