Inoculum: it's New Latin, and it simply refers to a substance use for inoculation. In the case of Inoculum Ale Works, it refers to the yeast and other micro-organisms used to ferment the beers belonging to Florida's first sour-only production brewery.
Inoculum's head brewer, Nick Moench, isn't content merely cashing in on the ongoing sour trend: he's more interested in things like harvesting and isolating local ambient yeast — Inoculum recently acquired a DNA sequencing machine — and using wild-foraged ingredients, creating unique beers with an often-elaborate process.
Inoculum doesn't yet have a tasting room yet in their Spring Hill location, so it instead focuses on putting a small amount of its flagship beers into local distribution and offering occasional special releases at Central Florida bars and breweries.
The next release is at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Right Around the Corner in St. Petersburg, at 2244 Central Ave. The beer — Parthenocarpic, which is a botanical term meaning "seedless" — is cleanly soured with cultivated strains of lactobacillus and pediococcus bacteria and then flavored with wild tangerines foraged from deep within the Florida woods.
To Moench's surprise, the tangerines were naturally seedless — an indication that these particular trees may have been very old. The base beer is a clean, relatively neutral sour ale, similar to a Berliner weisse but slightly stronger, at 5.4 percent alcohol by volume. The tangerine flavor is juicy and delicious, showcasing fresh Florida fruit grown in the most natural setting imaginable.
Parthenocarpic is limited to 500 bottles in St. Pete, all hand-numbered and signed. There will also be a keg on draft. Along with another 500 bottles and a keg released earlier in the day at Ten10 Brewing in Orlando, this represents the entire batch of a brew that won't be produced again. If you want to try this wild Florida tangerine sour ale from one of the region's most unusual breweries, Wednesday is your only chance.
— Justin Grant, tbt* correspondent
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