In terms of scope, scale and advertising, it's clear that Clearwater -based Big Storm Brewing Co. aims to be one of the top players in Florida beer. It's no surprise, then, that its latest year-round offering is labeled, quite simply, a Florida Ale.
What's a Florida ale? Depending on which source you consult, this beer — Tropic Pressure Florida Ale — is either a blonde ale, an American wheat or a fruit beer. The American wheat designation is probably closest to the truth, but this beer doesn't fit neatly into any style category. Maybe that's a metaphor for Florida itself.
Tropic Pressure pours ruby red, with a thin white head. The nose is a mixture of floral and spice, a result of cinnamon and hibiscus flowers steeped in a mild wheat ale base. If you've ever had Jamaican sorrel tea, you'll have a good idea of what to expect, although the flavors are much more subdued in beer form.
Hibiscus is the star of this beer, adding not only color and a rich aromatic quality, but also a subtle tartness that gives Tropic Pressure a nice, semi-dry finish. At only 4.4 percent alcohol by volume and available in four-packs of 16-ounce cans, Big Storm's Tropic Pressure makes a solid claim to what exactly constitutes a Florida ale.
Tropic Pressure is available at most bottle shops and liquor stores in the bay area, as well as in Big Storm's tasting rooms in Odessa (2330 Success Drive) and Clearwater (12707 49th St. N).
— Justin Grant. Have a suggestion for the Local Craft Beer of the Week? Brewers, have a limited release coming that we should know about? Email [email protected] Follow @WordsWithJG.