If you’ve watched cooking shows, you’re familiar with the concept of chefs tasked with forming cohesive dishes from improbable ingredients combinations. The best chefs find a way to make ingredients work together in surprising and impressive ways — a testament to their skills.
There’s a beer version of this, too: The Ultimate Brewer, an annual competition held as part of Tampa Bay Beer Week, where breweries debut beers featuring oddball ingredient combinations selected at random. Hazelnuts and pears, grapefruit and caramel, cucumbers and vanilla — some are good and some are ... interesting.
Clearwater’s Pair O’ Dice Brewing drew a long straw this time around, landing on sage and dried plums — definitely not prunes — as their ingredients.
An obvious approach would’ve been to toss this odd couple into a berliner and gose and call it a day, but Pair O’ Dice chose to use them as an infusion to its Cavisté Belgian-style dubbel instead, dubbing the new version of the beer The Regulator.
As it turns out, Cavisté is an outstanding vehicle for a sage and plum infusion. Sweet sage and malt dominate the nose, while the dried plums amplify the beer’s existing chewy stone-fruit notes. The Regulator is a touch sweeter and rounder than Cavisté, though the ingredients work in harmony, never tipping the scales too far in one direction.
Pair O’ Dice may not have been gifted with a layup of ingredients, but the clever decision to use a dubbel as the base beer resulted in a slam dunk. This one is worth brewing again.
If you’re curious, you’ll find it on tap for the next week or two at Pair O’ Dice, 4400 118th Ave. N, Suite 208. Try it side by side with Cavisté and you’ll really get a feel for how the sage and dried plums have transformed this beer.
Have a suggestion for the Local Craft Beer of the Week? Brewers, have a limited release coming that we should know about? Email [email protected]