It took home a silver medal at this year's Great American Beer Festival in Denver, and it's a regular on tap at the brewery that makes it. How could this week's Drink of the Week be anything other than Coppertail Brewing Company's Slam Piece?
Slam Piece is a cucumber-treated Berliner Weisse — a tart, German-style wheat beer — that came in second in the field beer category (a catch-all for vegetable beers that don't involve pumpkin) at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival this month. Hawaii's Maui Brewing Co. took home gold in that category for its Imperial Coconut Porter, while the bronze went to Redbud with Cucumber, another cucumber-infused Berliner, from Austin, Texas.
Normally, I'd pick something more seasonally appropriate, but Slam Piece is a thoroughly refreshing beer that drinks just fine in what passes for autumn weather in Florida. It's light both in body and in strength (it's only 3.5 percent alcohol by volume), and it presents a smooth cucumber flavor that doesn't come across as artificial or distracting. As one would expect with any great Berliner, Slam Piece is mildly tart, with a rich, breadlike finish.
Slam Piece is one of only two Florida beers to medal in this year's Great American Beer Festival, and it's the only one from the bay area. (St. Louis's High Heel Brewing took home a gold medal in a separate category for Slingback, a pear- and passionfruit-infused ale that's brewed in Lakeland, but it competed as a Missouri brewery.) Swing by the Coppertail tasting room at 2601 E Second Ave. in Tampa to try Slam Piece.
Justin Grant, Times correspondent