What could be more haunted than a cemetery? According to some, Florida's Umatilla Cemetery north of Orlando is particularly eerie, with phantom screams and other "unexplained" noises occasionally heard at night. Spooked by the thought? Calm your nerves with a glass of the latest release by Lakeland's Brew Hub.
Umatilla Coffee Barleywine was inspired by the cemetery's ghost stories, but even skeptics like myself will want to check it out. Umatilla is an English-style barleywine, a variety of ale more malt-forward than its hoppier American counterparts. For this brew, the barleywine base is treated with a blend of coffees from Tampa's Buddy Brew, Acerola cherries and Madagascar vanilla beans.
This drink is pretty hefty at 11.4 percent alcohol by volume — if you're not careful, it could make you see mysterious orbs and hear disembodied voices.
Umatilla pours a deep, reddish-brown and has a strong, French vanilla coffee nose. Carbonation is on the higher end of the barleywine spectrum, which drives the aromatics throughout each sip. It's fairly sweet, with prominent roasted malt flavors and subtle, ripe cherries in the finish.
Pick up a bottle at Brew Hub's tasting room — supplies should last through the end of the month. There's also a special version of the brew, aged in Wild Turkey barrels and hand-dipped in silver wax, but it's a bit tougher to get your hands on. For extra authenticity, drink this one by the campfire as you tell stories of those spooky Umatilla Cemetery ghosts.
Justin Grant, Times correspondent