An imperial stout as a summer seasonal release sounds like a stretch, but perhaps it’s not so odd in the stark duality that a Florida summer brings. Balmy breezes and tumultuous downpours are a single-day occurrence, with stretches of blazing sunlight and brutal heat punctuated by dark clouds and thunderstorms.
So an imperial stout it is, appropriately named Huracán, after the Mayan god of wind, storm and fire (and a probable origin of the English word hurricane). Big Storm Brewing Co., a three-site brewery and tasting room with locations in Clearwater, Odessa and Cape Coral, released its 2019 edition of this heavy hitter earlier this summer, and it’s drinking very nicely at the moment.
The trend for specialty stout releases typically involves some form of barrel-aging, along with the addition of several bold flavorings (you may have heard of a somewhat famous local stout that also has a Mayan name), but Huracán is relatively straightforward — a rich imperial stout brewed with English and American hops, flavored subtly by the addition of blackstrap molasses.
It pours a dense obsidian with a thick tan head that lingers for several sips. The nose is sweet and fruity, with notes of plum and coffee. Huracán trends a touch sweeter than some imperial stouts, which is not surprising at 11 percent ABV. Its mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, but the beer’s body is more on the medium-full side, preventing it from becoming cloying or overly rich.
This is an impressively bold and nuanced beer, one of the best brewed by Big Storm. Don’t be fooled by its lack of bells and whistles — this is very special. You could weather a heck of a storm with this one.
Huracán comes corked and caged in 750mL bottles, which you’ll find at your local respectable beer shop, as well as at major retailers like Total Wine and ABC Fine Wine & Spirits. It’s also on tap at both the Clearwater (12707 49th St.) and Odessa (2330 Success Drive) tasting rooms, in case you want to try it straight from the source.
Have a suggestion for the Local Craft Beer of the Week? Brewers, have a limited release coming that we should know about? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.