Local craft beer of the week: Egatobas Smoked Mexican Lager from Coppertail Brewing Co.

A tasting-room exclusive, Egatobas is available in a variety of draft pours, growlers to go and four-packs of 16-ounce cans.
Photo courtesy of Geneva Johnson
Egatobas Smoked Mexican Lager, Coppertail Brewing Co
Photo courtesy of Geneva Johnson Egatobas Smoked Mexican Lager, Coppertail Brewing Co
Published June 27

As far as beer etymology goes, this one’s easy: You may recall a collaboration between Coppertail and Tampa neighbors Cigar City in 2015 called Sabotage. ­Egatobas is Sabotage backward. Where that beer was a Russian imperial stout flavored with cacao and cascara (coffee-plant fruit), this one is a smoked Mexican lager.

The common link is Josh Brengle, former Cigar City brewer and current brewer for Compañía Cervecera Hércules in Mexico. Brengle visited during Tampa Bay Beer Week in March and reunited with his old collaborators for a new one-off release. Brengle and Coppertail brewer Casey Hughes both are fond of smoked beers, and here we are.

A tasting-room exclusive, Egatobas is available in a variety of draft pours, growlers to go and four-packs of 16-ounce cans.

Egatobas is brewed with Australian Helga hops and both smoked barley and wheat. While the beer’s smoked character is pronounced, it’s much softer than you’ll find in many smoked beers.

A reasonable comparison could be made to the famous Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier from Bamberg. That beer is far less aggressive than the other beers in that brewery’s stable because of its light lager base and no actual usage of smoked malts (rather, it’s brewed in copper kettles used for smoked beers and fermented with shared yeast).

Egatobas, in comparison, is made up of actual smoked malts, but its similarly crisp lager base keeps it refreshing, with a creamy sweetness lurking under a smooth layer of campfire smoke. It’s more sweet than savory, and it’s light-bodied and sessionable at 4.6 percent alcohol by volume.

It may be a little bold for absolute newcomers to the style, but the curious can consider this an excellent gateway smoked brew. For converts, Egatobas is an excellently balanced, nuanced lager that’s well worth a taste before it’s gone.

— 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.

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