Several months back, my Florida-based brother, Andrew, and I started exchanging craft beer. You can read about the background here, if you’re so inclined.
For our second installment, I sent a seasonal beer made by a brewery I’ve long admired, and he returned one of the more sought-after beers in the Sunshine State.
The Home Team
Plymouth’s Mayflower Brewing Company is set to celebrate its 10th anniversary next year, making it something of an elder statesman in a region that’s seen an explosion of microbreweries in the past several years. I still remember the introduction of the flagship Golden Ale, which I still enjoy on occasion.
The brewery continues to grow, and just this year started canning the majority of its beers (which is great, but I always liked the labels on the glass bottles).
Hometown Brown Ale is an autumn release that’s available through November (I know, I’m a little late here). This is a smooth, easy-drinking brown ale made with six varieties of malted barley. Notes of roasted malt and vanilla make this beer a good choice a crisp fall evening.
I tried Hometown Brown on draft one afternoon, and liked it so much that I picked up a six-pack later that night for my brother. He gave it an enthusiastic thumbs-up.
Whenever snow starts falling or the mercury drops into the single digits in Massachusetts, I can count on my brother sending me a text, updating me on the weather in Florida.
So I could only roll my eyes when I received a 22-ounce bottle of Funky Buddha’s Last Snow, with its label proclaiming it “an ode to that special time in Florida when the needle dips just south of 75 degrees.” Yeah, yeah.
Last Snow is a coconut coffee porter. And while it may serve as a balm for those tough Florida winters, it would also be perfect for a December night in New England. I’ll let Andrew introduce it:
“The Buddha is in Fort Lauderdale and has been around for a little over three years. Originally known more for hoppy beers (e.g., Hop Gun IPA, Floridian), they have come a long way with some darker beers. Last year’s release of Last Snow was rated one of the top 250 beers in America. It is a dark brown beer with a coconut aroma.”
This is a small-batch, limited release beer, and I understand that it can be pretty hard to find. Despite its popularity, I was expecting to be disappointed – I haven’t encountered many beers that handle the flavor of coconut the right way, and I’ve never enjoyed coffee beers (which is somewhat ironic, given my fondness for both coffee and beer).
But Last Snow was a pleasant surprise. It’s a creamy beer with a prominent but natural coconut flavor. And the coffee notes are surprisingly mild, balanced with the coconut and flavors of brown sugar, molasses, and toasted malts.
This porter is pretty rich, so you easily could split that 22-ounce bottle among three or four people, sitting around the fireplace on a winter night while snowflakes quietly pile up on the window panes.
Which probably never happens in stupid Florida.
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