As far as commemorating occasions go, it seems reasonable to pick something like Spain handing over the territory of Florida to the United States back in 1821. Waiting four more years would make for an even bicentennial, but 196 is close enough.
That’s the story behind 1821 Golden Ale, a new collaborative release brewed by Cigar City Brewing and the local MacDinton’s Irish Pub and Yard of Ale chains. The beer, a light golden ale, is available on draft at Cigar City’s Tampa tasting room, as well as at the MacDinton’s and Yard of Ale locations in South Tampa and downtown St. Petersburg.
Brewed with a hefty dose of pale wheat malt, 1821 Golden Ale has a round, bready sweetness reminiscent of another Tampa brew: Florida Avenue Ale. The 1821 pours with brilliant clarity, featuring a creamy, dense layer of foam that could be mistaken for nitrogen bubbles at first sip.
The beer is hopped with Willamette hops, a Pacific Northwest variety that’s a descendent of English Fuggle hops. This classic variety is known for its pleasant aromatic character, lending a light herbal kick to the beer, along with a smooth floral nose.
Nothing about this beer jumps far out of the glass, and that’s the point: its modest alcohol content (4.5 percent by volume), mild-sweet wheat base, restrained hop character and rich carbonation make it both easy drinking and intriguing enough to order seconds. Or thirds.
This beer is — for now — a one-and-done, so try it while it lasts. Initial production is expected to last through January, so head to Cigar City or your local MacDinton’s or Yard of Ale to celebrate 196 years (hey, why not?) of Florida being part of the United States.
— Justin Grant, tbt* correspondent
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