Fat Tap’s new series, Future of the Craft, kicked off its first series which was all about IPA’s. For non-craft beer drinkers, IPA stands for India Pale Ale. Legend has it that back in the 1700’s England had a large colonial presence in India and an even larger appetite for beer. The voyage to India was so long that the beers would spoil by the time they reached England’s shores. Therefore, a lighter beer with a higher alcohol and hop content would ensure freshness upon arrival. The fact is, The East India Company was a short distance from a brewery making a pale hoppy beer and began labeling their beer Indian Pale Ale for export to India. The end. You’ve now graduated craft beer 101.
Just kidding! There’s more. Way more. The night started out with a brief introduction from Fat Tap owner, Rob Robayna, who introduces us to our beer guide, Gary Fuller, a certified beer judge. It sounds like just a fun gig until I sit down and learn all that goes into becoming a beer judge. Gary explains that you begin with an online test that tests your current beer knowledge. This test places you right out of the gate in the beer judge certification program. Next, you sit down with top beer judges as they serve you 6 beers for a 90-minute tasting exam. You are expected to know the smells, the feel on the palette, the ingredients, be able to know which hops are present, the method used, the barrel it was distilled in and the climate it was made in and which way the wind was blowing. Okay, I exaggerated a little but there, but not much. Gary is truly a master at his craft and as the night goes on, I begin to see why this is all so important.
Future of the Craft: Bringing Brewers Out of the Garage
The craft beer scene is a tight-knit community. Though the craft beer movement has recently become more widespread, it’s still has a small-town vibe where everyone knows your name, or at least that’s the goal. Rob expressed to me the importance of this series coming to Fat Tap for local, Oakland Park, stating. “All independent brewers start off in the garage. This series is designed to bring the brewers out of the garage and literally into the future of the craft.”
After the introduction we’re served six beers in one at a time, along with a tall glass of water and crackers to cleanse the palate between tastings. A slide show is presented, and we are all guided to follow the rules of beer tasting. Approach carefully (don’t spill it!), take a smell, take a look, take a sip, and the most important enjoy it! Since the night was focused on IPA’s we went through the IPA brewing process as we sipped.
Brewing Step by Step
We spoke about the hops, the climates they grow in, and where they are grown. We covered hop terminology and historic and current methods of brewing. We covered fresh hops, pellet hops and how the various beers we were tasting were made. By the second beer, I was smelling and picking up notes I’d never noticed before. This one smells like citrus, has a velvety texture on the palette, the lactose in the IPA gives it a smooth, slightly sweet wash over the tongue. By the third beer, I’m full-on talking craft beer and better yet, appreciating it.
That’s not to say that only novice craft beer drinkers can gain knowledge from the series. I was also surrounded by some pretty big players in the craft beer world. Such as the President of F.L.A.B. – Fort Lauderdale Area Brewers, as well as local beer bloggers and enthusiasts alike. There is a sense of community as we are all speaking the same language by the last beer. I certainly walked away with a favorite IPA by the end of the event.
Cheers to the New Connections and to Local Brewers!
Whether you’ve been in the craft beer game from the beginning or you’re new to it all, it’s worth taking the time to attend the series. At $22.00 per person, you’re guaranteed a basic understanding of the craft brewing process, excellent craft beer connections in the community, and new-found appreciation for your favorite types of craft beer. There is a possibility that the next one will be on stouts, so I highly suggest you gather your friends and attend a fun and educational night out which also supports the craft brewing community.
We want Fat Tap to keep the series going so please leave a comment if you would too. Stay tuned for the next date and time. Fat Tap Brewery is located at 830 E Oakland Park Blvd, Suite 101, Oakland Park, Florida 33334.
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About the Author
Rhiannon Samoyedny is a Florida native. She lives in the Garden Acres subdivision of Oakland Park with her family. Her passion for horticulture started in high school where she took horticulture classes and worked in a garden center after school. Her education continued by self-study and attending many local gardening classes and workshops. Her garden philosophy is to keep it as simple, native and as organic as possible.