Friday, February 27, 2015

Brewery of the Month - Three Palms Brewing

What factors are involved that creates a great brewery visit?  The beer? DUH, of course, but that is only part of the equation.  There are a few breweries in town that we have visited that produce outstanding beers, but the staffers are either incompetent twits or condescending asses.  We don't go to these any more.  There are other breweries that we have visited that have great facilities and servers but have *meh* beers.  We don't return here either.  So what makes a great brewery visit?  Believe it or not, we have codified the equation:

1.  Great beers - Check
2.  Great facilities - Check
3.  Knowledgeable and personable staff - Check

Three Palms brewing in far east Tampa (close to the county jail ... a bit too close for comfort after packing in a couple of high gravity brews) is a tiny brewery founded by Randy and Danelle Reaver and is in a very real sense, a labor of the love of beer.  It is located in a delightful neighborhood (that is a lie) that is easy to find (also a lie) with clear easy to read signage (again, a lie).  The trek past the jail and through the sketchy neighborhood landed us in a very pleasant space located in a tidy little business park.  A truism for most fledgling breweries is that they are usually located where the rents are affordable.  My guess is that the rents here are very affordable.  Danelle was working the taps on this lovely Saturday afternoon and has studied and mastered customer service.  She answered all of our inane questions without a hint of condescension.  The atmosphere in the tasting room was quite relaxed and laid back.

The beers?  You want to know about the beers?  All right, all right .... cool your jets.  On this day we tried several monster beers and all that we tried were done very well:

1. Coconut Vanilla Stout - 8% ABV.  Have you ever tried the Maui Brewing Coconut Stout?  Were you able to taste coconut?  Neither did we.  This is a dandy desert beer that definitely tastes of vanilla and coconut.  Do I also taste a hint of chocolate malts?  Actually, drop a dollop of ice cream in there and your desert is made.

2. Caramel Apple Stout - 8% ABV.  We didn't really taste any apple, but holy hell the caramel really jumps out at you.  Again, quite sweet and would make a great desert beer.

3. Sir Albert's Barrel Aged Double Stout Nitro - 9.5% ABV.  Warning!  Malt Bomb!  The whiskey is so far in the background as to be unnoticeable, or at least very slightly noticeable.  But even without the whiskey this is a smooth, easy drinking malty stout guaranteed to make you shit faced in no time.

4. Viscous Vlad Smoked Rye Russian Imperial Stout - 9.5% ABV.  Our opinion is that due to the huge rye signature, this brew is really more of a porter than a stout.  Viscous?  Mother Goose this stuff is so thick that you can chew it.  It is very complex with a burnt sugar character that makes it super interesting and with a loooooooong aftertaste.

5.Smoked Pepper Kumquat Ale - 7% ABV.  Do what now?  Ghost peppers?  Kumquats?  What the hell is a Kumquat?  This is one of the most interesting beers that we have tried in a long time.  Sweet up front with a citrus signature, followed by a smoky hint and ending with a great pepper burn.  What makes this one great is that the brewer, Randy, was able to take TWO very intense ingredients and blend them so that neither overpowered the other.  Kumquats are brutally sour with face imploding intensity and ghost peppers and so intensely hot that you will feel the burn on your O ring for days after eating them.  This beer is neither too sour not too hot to enjoy and I applaud their masterful inclusion.

Worth the drive to Brandon (almost)?  Hell yes.  Will we return?  Again, yes.  Should you go?  A resounding yes, and we will see you there.

Three Palms Brewing
1509 Hobbs Street (look for the handpainted street sign).
Tampa, FL 33619

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