Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Tomoka Brewing Company, Port Orange, Fla. Local Ingredients

Port Orange, Fla.--Tomoka Brewing Company uses Florida ingredients in both their brews and food.  This brewery, open more than four years ago near Daytona Beach, really embraces the farm-to-glass style of brewing. They use locally sourced, Florida-grown seasonal ingredients like strawberries, watermelon, blueberries, sugar cane, muscadine grape juice and more, whenever they can.

Tomoka Brewing Company bar logo, Port Orange, Fla.
Copyright 2016 by Helen A. Lockey
They have two tap room/brewery locations, their original in Ormond Beach and the one I visited was in Port Orange.

I went in earlier this year for a flight of beer ($8 for four glasses and $2 for each additional glass).

From left to right in the below picture I selected Pumpernickel Porter (6.2% ABV), Tomoka The King Elvis-Imperial Brown Ale (8.5% ABV), Tomoka Mutha Fuggle EPA (6.1% ABV) and Tomoka Tangerine Weisse (4.2% ABV).

I also got Tomoka Twist of Cane Double IPA (8.6% ABV) and Jen's Gin Saison (7.6 % ABV), not pictured below.

Tomoka Brewing Company beer flight, Port Orange, Fla.
Copyright 2016 by Helen A Lockey

My favorite was Jen's Gin Saison, made with real cucumber juice. It smelt like incense in a glass with aromas of Jamaican Hibiscus mixed with herbaceous cucumber. And the taste continued in the delicious path of the aroma with sweet honeysuckle like flavors followed by refreshing cucumber and ending with a light tartness. It was wonderfully refreshing.

I also liked the Twist of Cane Double IPA that had a light, crisp sweetness (from the real Florida sugar cane) that mellowed to a floral hops bitterness that perfectly balanced the sugar start.

The Tangerine Weisse had a nice, light, beginners sour taste and was very drinkable.

The King Elvis Imperial Brown Ale had a strong smoky, boozy smell and taste. I also detected flavors of chocolate, molasses and strangely enough pumpernickel bread.

Oddly enough the pumpernickel porter did not taste like its namesake, to me. Instead it had a crystalized brown sugar smell and taste.

Their Port Orange tasting room/brewery is open seven days a week usually opening their doors at 11 a.m. except on Sunday when they open one hour earlier and closing most days at 11 p.m.

Tomoka Brewing Company has 22 house taps and a great pizza style kitchen that uses their beer in their food.

Their selection of beers changes constantly so hurry in before your favorite is gone. They also make beer cocktails and serve wine.

Tomoka Brewing is located at 4647 S. Clyde Morris Blvd, Port Orange, FL 32129
Phone (386)352-4679

Thursday, July 7, 2016

St. Louis Premium Framboise, Raspberry Beer Bliss

St. Louis Premium Framboise overflows with good old-fashioned raspberry taste. Bierkasteel Van Honsebrouck, a brewery in Belgium, brews it. Their lambic style fruit beer gets its intoxicating taste from 25 percent Willamette raspberry juice. What makes it very drinkable is its low Alcohol By Volume (ABV) rate of 2.8 percent.

St. Louis Premium Framboise Ale guest tap, Daytona Beach Brewing
Company, Daytona Beach, Fla.
Copyright 2016 by Helen A Lockey
I encountered this bliss in a glass through a guest tap at the Florida based Daytona Beach Brewing Company last month.

At first sniff I was in love. This was the rich raspberry scent of my childhood, not the current worn out scent of supermarket shelved fruit.

As I continued to breath in the aroma of this beer the walls of the Daytona Beach Brewing Company melted away and I was transported back in time to my favorite childhood raspberry patch in Maine. The smell of the beer was the same as what would emerge from my patch on the hottest, calmest days of summer when the birds were sleeping and the bees were buzzing.

The bushes were always heavy with warm, plump, ripe red berries ready for the picking. And I would always push my way deep into the patch ignoring scratches from thorns as I searched for the one perfect berry.

It was always a raspberry that fell easily into my hand leaving a sweet red smear of fruit on my skin as I popped it into my mouth. And as the sweet elixir juice of that berry from my past trickled down my throat the walls of the Daytona Beach Brewery Company suddenly reappear and I realized I had taken my first sip of Framboise.

I was glad I bought a snifter ($6) so I could relive my childhood with each additional sip. It was mouthwateringly delicious with a crisp, tart finish just like my wild raspberries.

Unfortunately, the Daytona Beach Brewing Company no longer has that beer on tap but the Belgian company Bierkasteel Van Honsebrouck does sell it by the bottle.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Green Mango & Spicy Shrimp Paste, Fla. Style

It’s mango season again in South Florida. And that means Thai sour, unripe, green mangoes are available to satiate my Asian treat tooth.

Florida grown sour, green, unripe mango and spicy shrimp paste,
Copyright 2016 by Helen A Lockey
I spent part of my childhood in Thailand where I learned to love sour, spicy, salty food combinations. One that I picked up, and kept, was eating sour green mangoes with spicy shrimp paste.

Thai mangoes have several names, depending on the nursery that grows them, but basically they have a thin, wavy shape with green skin on the outside. Inside, their flesh ranges in color from slightly pale green to yellow.

Their flavor ranges from very tart lemon/granny smith apple taste to slightly tart. And their texture is crisp and juicy.

The shrimp paste has a strong fishy smell to it and is very spicy if eaten straight.

But sour, unripe, Thai mangoes have a very high starch content which equalizes the heat of the chili peppers in the shrimp paste.

I bought my mango at a Lantana fruit stand and shrimp paste (Ginisang Bagoong brand) at Kabayan Oriental Mart in Royal Palm Beach, Fla.

Both the salt and spice bring out the flavors of the mango, but it’s really the spice that matters. I’ve tried going non spicy but the flavors were not the same.

So if you are into adventurous food pairings then check out this one. I think you will be amazed at how well they go together.