The Topic: Ye Olde Brothers Brewery
Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay, Clarksville Carboys and Music City Homebrewers, who has been interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast for over 10 years.
We headed down to the Emerald Coast because I had to perform in Mary Ester. Of course I Googled new breweries and came up with Ye Olde Brothers in Navarre. On the sign it was listed as “Santa Rosa’s first brewery,” so I had to ask, “What about Santa Rosa Brewery that used to be in Fort Walton Beach?” Apparently a different county.
This is one of those long stretches of Florida panhandle road where there’s a whole bunch of nothing. Not Rt.20 long by any means, but long. If you’re coming from Pensacola go out to Gulf Breeze, head towards Fort Walton Beach. Take RT87. It will be on your left. If you’re coming down from I-10, be aware they’re tearing the hell out of 87. Looks like an attempt to make a four lane beyond the brewery. Will be on your left.
We were both impressed with a rather simple set up, all based around a sample bar. I do not recommend the Buffalo dip if you’re going to actually assess these brews. It’s good, yes, but a bit spicy and palate wearing.
We got a sample board with Blackwater Stout, Panhandle Porter, East Bay IPA, Session IPA, Speed Brake Stout. All of the brews were light on white pillow head and carbonation. Good clarity.
We also had a sample of their Off My Gourd Pumpkin: spices up front in the nose, but not overwhelming. Nutmeg sense dominant with a hint of ginger, cinnamon a bit hidden. While balance was a minor issue it was still delightful. The Blackwater Stout was obviously a classic dry with just a hint of sour, as expected. Panhandle Porter was a tad dry, but enjoyable.
I’m polishing off this review a few weeks later, so apologies to all: I’m a bit forgetful. I know one IPA was more of a pale, and Bill Bunning, the brewer, as much as admitted that when we talked.
Since I don’t remember I will continue with less than Ye Olde Brothers Brewery specific comment: unless brewers find more interesting, and more subtle, ways to brew with Lemon Drop hops, they will become a cliche’, and probably go away. I find lemon drop to be kind of a one trick pony, taste-wise. So, to offer a suggestion, Wonder what would happen if combined with a mild jalapeno sense, maybe? Just an idea. I brew braggots and I find peppers can be a great way to balance when hops manage to disappear among the complexities of honey, and such. I think they could also off contrast to lemon drop: used lightly.
As with all brewing: it’s a balancing act. But as a consumer and a brewerr, and only having had a few beers using this hop, it’s not a good sign if I’m already starting to get bored with these hops.
For lemon drop, their Lemon Drop was pretty good. I did get to meet the brewer, Bill Bunning, briefly. His brewery, pictured a few paras down, is very small. One barrel with two barrel fermentation and bright tank. The space seemed very small, tight, and I was told by my fellow club members at Escambia Bay Homebrewers he’s brewing quite a bit. It’s in a small hut, behind the tasting room, out back.
I imagine having an assistant would be a bit like twins inside a very small womb.
The staff was absolutely friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. The led me back through the building to the brewery, answered all our questions about their brews.
I think our favorite brew was their Speed Brake Stout. The cocoa nibs a great add to a”milky: stout. The mouthfeel was perfect.
One thing we did miss was a real high gravity brew. East Bay IPA was good, but I’d love to try Bill’s rendition of a barley wine, or a Russian Imperial. Even better a jalapeno lemon drop barley wine or Russian Imperial?Yeah, I know, I keep going back to that.
We wished we could stay longer but we had a packed weekend, and I had to work down the road on Monday. My intake had to be limited, for I have no desire to be the anything like the clown in Uncle Buck, if you’ve seen.
So Millie and I will return next time, and maybe Bill and I can talk some more. If for no other reason than to ask what the crutches up on the wall behind us in the picture below are all about. We didn’t notice them until just before this was published!
OK, I admit. Any excuse, right?
Brew Biz: Werts and All, is a column dedicated to reviewing, discussing and commenting on all things beer including, but not limited to: marketing, homebrewing and homebrew/beer related events, how society perceives all things beer. Also: reviews of beer related businesses, opinions about trends in the beer business, and all the various homebrew, judging and organizations related to beer. Essentially, all things “beer.”