Florida Beer: Wandering Pelican by Cigar City Brewing
Collaboration beers are nothing new, and Cigar City Brewing in Tampa is known to make quite a few of them. I'd say it's their friendly demeanor.
This past spring, the makers of Jai Alai teamed up with the Great Lakes Brewing Co. out of Cleveland, Ohio, to make Wandering Pelican.
Here's where it gets interesting. Each brewery made its own version of the beer, swapping brewing time at both brewhouses. Great Lakes put together a Schwarzbier, while Cigar City brewed up a "hopped-up American Black Ale," (So a Black IPA?)
As the can states, "The summer of 2013 introduced the city of Cleveland to a unique and rare visitor. A Brown Pelican, usually found in Florida and other Gulf states, wandered north to vacation on Cleveland's Lake Erie coast. Swapping saltwater for fresh, feeding on shad instead of mullet, this welcome stranger made Lake Erie his home for several months and became an unlikely local celebrity. This dark ale honors our courageous friend who wandered off the beaten path to find his home."
The beer pours very dark with noticeable bitter chocolate malts and some very slight hints of pine. The taste is pleasantly hoppy with bitter chocolate again, paired with a bit of superroasted coffee. Kind of a Baltic Porter meets an IPA. The body and carbonation are both normal, with nothing spectacular to write home about.
Overall, this is a decent collaboration, with fans of bitter and chocolate getting some of both worlds in their glass.
Wandering Pelican can be found at specialty beer shops, in limited supply.
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Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers, and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Instagram.