I just got back from Palm Beach Island in Florida. My wife and I went out for a wonderful vacation, but for me it isn't a vacation if I can't find some new beers to check out.
At the resort we were at there was a very limited craft beer selection. I was pretty disappointed because it was a very nice resort with great wine, great bourbon, great cigars, and I would expect them to show us some solid FL beers. It bothers me that these places can do such a good job with all the other forms of booze, food and smokes, but they never really seem to pay attention to beer. Hopefully as brewers keep pushing forward and craft beer continues to grow market share we will see this become less of a problem.
Options were limited. I was able to get some Victory Hopdevil and Golden Monkey, which are both solid brews but not from FL, so that disappointed me. The only Florida beer I was able to get my hands on at the resort was Native Lager by Florida Beer Company. These are the guys that did Key West Ale that I loved... this one.. not so much. This was a pretty poor excuse for a craft beer. Everything about it screamed generic lager with no real inspiration. It would probably be generous to give them a 2.
Luckily we got out of the resort a few times. The first FL beer I got was from Cigar City. I couldn't wait to get something from them, since they have such a solid reputation. I got a Maduro Oatmeal Brown. Some of my excitement may be from craft beer withdrawal, but it was outstanding. I would give this a solid 4.5. It was a dark nutty brown with a great heavy mouthfeel. It was strong and flavorful without being too over the top (only 5.5% abv).
After that we went out to watch the final four games. We found a cool little brewpub called Bruzzi's it was a little bit generic in appearance but they had some great beers as well. I was very impressed with their German Hefeweizen. I also tried their City Fest and Black Duke. Black Duke was solid but the City Fest just didn't hold water.
It is like the beer just never stoppepd. Since I really got interested in the craft beer scene travel has taken on a whole new dimension. Not only do I get to enjoy the food and entertainment of an area, but now I can really get into their beer too. Its easy for my wife and I to try and make a check list whenever we fly somewhere of different breweries that we see on Untappd. On the way home I enjoyed a couple of Sam Adam's seasonals. Getting home from vacation is always a bummer. No more day drinking for this Big Guy.