Tampa Bay Brewing Company’s Hop Silo series is an interesting take on collaborative beers. In each beer in the series — an imperial pilsner with Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing, a DIPA with Chicago’s Pipeworks and a fruited “milkshake IPA” with Largo’s Arkane Aleworks — the guest brewery has had a conspicuously heavy hand, playing to their strengths while featuring a variety of unique hops along the way.
The latest, Hop Silo 4, follows this formula, partnering with St. Petersburg’s Green Bench Brewing Co. to release a sour, “Florida IPA” featuring the German Hallertau Blanc hop and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Green Bench has had some success with its own line of FLIPAs: sour, fruited IPAs that represent a tongue-in-cheek response to the trendy New England IPA style. Hop Silo 4 — a beer produced at Tampa Bay Brewing Company — fits right in, offering a curious juxtaposition of tart and bitter, floral and fruity.
To those not familiar with Florida IPA, the beer will be a bit of a mystery. Its relatively low-hop bitterness is neutralized by a crisp, lemonlike acidity, with much of the balance of the beer’s Hallertau Blanc character contained in the lemongrass and white-grape notes found in its aroma.
Of course, some of these aromatic contributions likely derive from the addition of Sauvignon Blanc grapes during secondary fermentation. The beer comes together in such a surprising and lively way. It’s balanced and rich, with great depth. Classic IPA drinkers may be lost on the first few sips, but give Hop Silo the benefit of the doubt and you may find a new style to chase.
Try Hop Silo 4 at Tampa Bay Brewing Company’s two Tampa locations (Ybor City and Westchase), or look for it on the shelves of your local beer store. This one-off release was canned on Jan. 8. — Justin Grant
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