It doesn’t get as much press of some of the bigger names in town, but Carrollwood Brewing Company, located inside the Carrollwood Brass Tap, is one to watch. Original head brewer Nick Streeter went on to co-found Late Start Brewing, while his replacement, Tyler Rosenberg, went on to brew for Cigar City. Since September, brewer Baker Thorpe has held the reins, producing some very quality, yet under the radar, brews.
One of the latest: Nitro Golden Stout, a rich and creamy brew that feels like a stout, tastes like a stout — and looks like a blonde ale.
“Golden” and “stout” are traditionally contrary descriptors, but the style has been gaining traction since Stone Brewing put its version into production half a decade ago. The process generally involves replacing roasted barley — from which stout gets its dark color — with additions of cacao nibs and coffee to suggest some of the characteristic flavors of roasted barley.
Carrollwood Brewing’s version follows this path, also adding flaked oats to further emulate the classic body and mouthfeel of a traditional Irish stout. Toss in the tiny cascading nitrogen bubbles and dense foamy head typical of that style and you’d swear this beer was pitch black if you were drinking it blindfolded.
Actual cacao and coffee are of course different flavors than cacao and coffee notes contributed by roasted barley, so this golden stout is still a bit removed from a classic stout by more than just appearance. It’s something unique, like a cross between Boddingtons and Guinness treated with coffee and chocolate. And unlike many versions of the style saddled with additional blasts of lactose and vanilla, you don’t need a sweet tooth to enjoy this one.
Try Nitro Golden Stout on tap at the Brass Tap in Carrollwood (10047 N Dale Mabry Hwy), where a half dozen of Thorpe’s brewed-on-site beers can be found on tap, along with a generally epic tap list of beers from all over the world. The Carrollwood beers fit right in.
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