No surprise that I started my first day of 2020 heading to different Orlando breweries. However, I decided I wanted to try something new, meaning, new beer. I usually visit breweries with my husband, and we have the same taste in beer. Sometimes I feel that we both rush to order the IPA on the menu, and whoever doesn’t order it first, gets stuck with “the second choice beer.” For this visit, I challenged myself to not order my typical styles. I am an IPA girl, but I know there are other good beers out there.
The first visit was to Rockpit Brewing. If you have read some of my previous posts you know that I enjoy visiting Rockpit for their tasty beer, awesome owners, and their kid-friendly vibe. When I looked at the menu my eyes were immediately drawn to the NEIPA. However, I made myself keep looking for something else that sounded interesting and I haven’t had before. I decided on their Apricot Dream-Ale. The menu describes it as “A clean, crisp, pale ale infused with over 50 pounds of Apricot puree to jump-start the holiday season.”
I was really hoping to like my first “New Beer” selection, but sadly it wasn’t for me. In no way was it a bad beer. In fact, there were two people next to me at the bar raving about how awesome it was. It was just too sweet for my palette. When something is sweet I do not find it that refreshing or easy to drink, and sadly this beer was just that for me. My husband (who was not participating in this challenge) ordered their NEIPA and we, of course, both enjoyed it.
My next stop was at a place I knew I would have no problems ordering a beer outside of my comfort zone. Hourglass Brewing always has an extensive beer list and they often focus on sours. Sours are not my thing-mostly because they tend to upset my stomach. However, one thing I like about Hourglass is that they offer 5oz pours of everything on their menu. I took advantage of the smaller pours and ordered a few different beers.
I started with a black saison with rose petals called Tower & Rose. Saisons are another style I tend to stay away from. Some of them are just too funky for me. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. When the bartender handed me the beer I was a bit confused. I didn’t pay attention to the description and was confused as to why my saison was black. The rose petals gave it a slight floral taste and smell but were not overbearing. The beer spent some time in pinot noir barrels which might explain why I enjoyed this beer as much as I did. I am not a huge wine drinker, but when I do want a glass of wine I am usually ordering a pinot noir.
My husband and I decided we would each order two more small pours from their menu in beers that aren’t our typical style to share. We went with Classy Lady’s Whip which is a wheat beer with pineapple and vanilla and the Altamonte Vampire a sour with blood orange and cherries. I really expected to like the Classy Lady’s Whip more than the Altamonte Vampire, but in the end, the Altamonte Vampire ended up being my favorite. I read the description of Classy Lady’s Whip and got excited with the pineapple and vanilla. I was thinking of a classic Disney treat called a Dole Whip which is pineapple ice cream. Sadly this beer wasn’t like this. It just wasn’t sweet enough for me. The Altamonte Vampire though was fruity, beautiful in color, and have just enough of a “bite” to really awaken your taste buds. This is one beer I would order again.
For my last two stops, I headed over to the Ivanhoe area. First I went to Ten10 where I usually order one of their tasty and rich stouts. Not this time though. For this visit, I went with a Japanese style lager called Brian’s Car. Lagers to me are usually a bit boring. Sadly with so many different styles of beer available today lagers/pilsners often get overlooked. This definitely isn’t a beer I would normally order. Was it good? Yes. Was it a bit boring? Yes. However, is it an approachable beer for people just getting into craft beer? Absolutely.
The last brewery is just a quick walk down the road from Ten10. Ivanhoe Park Brewing Company is a newer addition to the Orlando beer scene, but they have been putting out some tasty beer! I finished my day with Berries and Cream which according to the menu is a sour-berliner “brewed with raspberry, strawberry, vanilla, lemon zest, and lactose.” I think this might have been my favorite beer of the afternoon. I could taste every single one of those ingredients and it was creamy and tart. Also, the color of the beer is amazing.
So that was my New Year, New Beer adventure. Did I miss my normal order of IPAs? Yup. But I also discovered some new beers in my journey that I know I never would have tried before. I don’t think I will do this every time I go to a brewery, but I am going to challenge myself to try new styles this year!