Local craft beer of the week: Paloma, Zydeco Brew Werks

Mexican cocktail inspires Ybor City craft beer in old Tampa.
Justin Grant  |  tbt*
Justin Grant | tbt*
Published May 2
Updated May 6

Fresh off its one-year anniversary in April, Ybor City’s Zydeco Brew Werks has released some of its best beer yet, proving that it has more to bring to the table than a bustling location.

There’s a Blanton’s bourbon barrel-aged English-style barleywine and a hop-laden hazy IPA brewed in collaboration with Coppertail and Oxbow Brewing companies. The best of the bunch, however, is the Paloma, named after the famous Mexican cocktail: a blanco-tequila highball with grapefruit-flavored soda.

In Zydeco’s beer-based riff, Paloma starts as a blend of sour wheat ales, which are then aged in tequila barrels and flavored with grapefruit purée and grapefruit and lime zest. It’s a surprisingly effective combo, with the beer providing a mildly sweet and moderately tart backdrop for crisp grapefruit and citrus flavors, rounded out by peppery tequila.

Zydeco’s rich and layered Paloma delivers far beyond what one might expect of a brewery just coming off its first year in business.

Part of this is likely thanks to the use of a kettle-soured base beer rather than a mixed-culture one. This decision was more likely due to cost and ease of production, but the result could hardly be more ideal, with a clean mix of flavors and aromas uninhibited by the funky and phenolic contributions of wild yeast and bacteria commonly used to produce barrel-aged sour ales.

Try Paloma on tap at Zydeco Brew Werks’ tasting room at 1902 E Seventh Ave., ideally on a warm afternoon with live music playing and Seventh Avenue bustling with pedestrians. It is Ybor City, after all.

While you’re there, be sure to sample some of the other sneakily good beers that Zydeco has been perfecting in its relatively accomplished first year.

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.