Local craft beer of the week: Caged Pelican Baltic Porter

Caged Pelican Baltic Porter from Pesky Pelican and Cage Brewing in St. Pete.
Caged Pelican Baltic Porter from Pesky Pelican and Cage Brewing in St. Pete.
Published October 18 2018

If you’re going to do a local collaboration, go all the way. The Pesky Pelican Brewpub, a St. Petersburg nanobrewery and restaurant, has teamed up with brewer Eric Richardson of downtown St. Pete’s Cage Brewing for Caged Pelican, a strong porter flavored with the three C’s: coffee, cocoa and coconut.

For the coffee, Pelican owner and brewer Dan Pemberton chose Gildo Garcia, a Mexican-origin coffee roasted in the Grand Central District by Bandit Coffee Co. For the cocoa nibs — added during the mash and twice during post-fermentation conditioning — Pemberton selected nibs from Largo’s Pinellas Chocolate Company.

While the beer’s coconut flavor naturally doesn’t come from Florida coconuts, it’s the dominant characteristic upon first pour. The creamy, bourbon-like coconut aroma is accented nicely by a deep brown-black color and frothy tan head.

As the beer warms, its chocolate notes rise to the foreground, giving the beer a rich dessert vibe without any cloying sweetness. In fact, the beer is rather dry for a 9.2-percent alcohol-by-volume baltic porter; it smells and tastes decadent, but it is fantastically smooth.

Coffee was the lightest addition to the beer, and as such it plays a support role, adding subtle nuance to the background. The effect is more layered than your average cocoa bomb, with some light roastiness and acidity from the Gildo Garcia playing well with creamy chocolate and nutty coconut flavors.

Caged Pelican is available for 10-ounce snifter pours ($6) at The Pesky Pelican Brewpub starting at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, October 19th. While the supply is expected to last a few weeks, fans of the four C’s — coffee, cocoa, coconut and collaboration — to head over sooner than later.

— 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 jg@saintbeat.com.