Fall is arguably the best time of the year for seasonal beer releases. The promise of cooler weather, holiday meals and wearing sweaters in defiance of the actual temperature outside demands beers with some oomph — harvest ales, pumpkin beers and the like.
But this is still Florida, so it’s a given that some of our fall-appropriate brews will fall pretty far outside of this paradigm. Take I Am The Walrus from Tampa’s Hidden Springs Ale Works. This heavily-fruited Berliner/Florida weisse does the trick year-round, but its tart plum and vanilla-laden bourbon flavors make it a perfect fall entry despite its disparity from the genre.
I Am The Walrus is a bit heftier than your average Florida weisse, clocking in at 5.5 percent alcohol by volume, giving it a little more body and heft than you might expect. This is par for the course at Hidden Springs, where this style is frequently pushed to its limit with an endless assortment of novel and bold flavorings, ranging from papaya and lingonberry to beets and maple syrup.
This time around, it’s a fairly simple equation, pairing juicy, sweet-sour plums with bourbon-soaked oak chips, adding a malic acidity to the tart wheat base that would be overly aggressive if it weren’t for a healthy backdrop of sweet bourbon, bursting with vanilla and spice, along with a light tannic quality from the oak.
As the beer warms, the fruit character moves into the foreground, adding a rich stone fruit character. It’s well-rounded and complex without relying too heavily on a tapestry of wild flavors and additives.
Try it on draft at Hidden Springs at 1631 N Franklin St., or look for it in cans at your local quality beer shop.
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