While away for Jersey Week, I set out to find a little refreshment as a salve to ease the pain of wandering the happiest place on Earth. While there may be a lot of rides and a lot of chain restaurants, there just aren’t enough liquor stores (seems poorly planned) to provide a cure for what ails me. I did find a tiny store that was packed to the rafters with run-of-the-mill big beer and two Cigar City beers that I had already had (the Maduro Brown Ale and the Jai Alai IPA). With the pickings a little on the slim side, I found a local beer with a monkey on the side of the package. As I often confess, most of my purchases are the result of packaging over any actual knowledge and this was to be no exception to the rule. I selected a 6pk of the Florida Beer Company’s Swamp Ape IPA. The Florida Beer Company is the largest craft beer company in Florida. Besides the Swamp Ape, the company produces beer under the banners of Key West, Ybor City, Hurricane Reef, Beachside, Indian River and J J Kelly’s (cider). The Swamp Ape is an American Imperial / Double IPA which means a big hoppy flavor and a higher than average alcohol content.
Here is what Florida Beer has to say about their Swamp Ape IPA:
The fresh and lively hop character is derived from using 5 distinct varieties of hops (Tettnang, Centennial, Chinook, Cascade and Amarillo). This beer has an intense hop bitterness, flavor and aroma balanced by complex alcohol flavors, moderate fruity esters and a medium malt character from the balance of 2-Row, Europ and Cherry Wood Smoked. “This is one fine Imperial IPA”.
I found the Swamp Ape to be…
- Appearance: Cloudy, clover honey orange with good foam and lacing.
- Aroma: Very little malt with a big hit of pine and a little citrus (grapefruit, apricot)
- Taste: A little boozy with a strong bitter finish.
- ABV: 10%
As 2XIPAs go, this was not a great one or a very good one. I would say this was a valiant effort for the style but ultimately just an average beer. I found the Swamp Ape was too high in alcohol content and too disjointed in flavors. There really wasn’t the balance or flavor profile that you would find in a really great 2XIPA like the Stone Ruination IPA, Dogfish Head’s Burton Baton, Lagunitas’ Hop Stoopid or the Southern Tier 2XIPA (my personal favorite). So, Florida Beer Company would get an “A” for their effort but a “C” for the overall result.