Sarasota and Bradenton breweries are often left out of the discussion of local breweries, but that’s a mistake, as places like Motorworks, Darwin’s, JDub’s and Calusa consistently put out beers that warrant a quick trip south.
Sarasota’s Big Top Brewing Company began with a modest start five years ago and has since gone on to rack up medals at both state and national competitions — including multiple awards at the biggest, the Great American Beer Festival — as well as churn out a steady flow of core and seasonal beers throughout the bay area.
The latest release in the brewery’s core lineup is Big Life, a pineapple-infused lager that’s hitting the shelves right in time for balmy subtropical weather.
Big Life calls for the typical descriptors — crisp, refreshing and so on — but its strength lies in the fruit balance. Too much pineapple and the beer becomes cloying and artificial tasting. Not enough and it’s just a lager with a whispered fruit suggestion. Big Life is played right in the middle — subtle but present, not overpowering the lager’s mildly sweet grain flavor and light-herbal hop notes.
At a drinkable 4.7 percent alcohol by volume and 16-ounce can packaging, Big Life is custom made for Florida during the warm months. Right on time. You’ll find it in cans at most local beer shops, but if you’re in the mood for a drive — to 6111 Porter Way in Sarasota — there’s no better place than at the source.
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