Name: Swamp Head Brewery

Location: Gainesville, FL

Type: Production

Available in DC Market: No

What you need to know: Based in Gainesville, Swamp Head Brewery is maintained by a small team that pushes out some of the finest beers in Florida, according to state beer competitions. The owner is Luke Kemper, a lifetime Gainesville resident who moved back to town to open the brewery after going to college in Colorado. This is a rare opportunity to get a hold of some of these beers because Swamp Head only distributes inside the Sunshine State.


Beer #1: Darkwater (Black IPA / 6.5%)

Notes: From the brewery: “Blackwater Floridian Dark Ale is an American-style Black Ale at the low end of the IPA alcohol range (6.4% ABV), with an abundance of hop flavor and aroma. It represents what we consider to be an improvement on what are being called Black IPAs, or Cascadian Dark Ales, deriving its “darkness” from chocolate wheat malt rather than the bitter roasted barley used in most examples of this new style. The name is derived from Florida’s “Blackwater” rivers, which are dark in tannins from the native oak trees.”

Beer Advocate: N/A
Rate Beer: N/A

Beer #2: Smoke Signal (Smoked Porter / 6.9%)

Notes: From the brewery: “Smoke Signal is an American style Robust Porter, using a generous amount of pale ale malt smoked with Alderwood, the smoke source used in the Pacific Northwest for salmon. We smoke 150 pounds of pale malt for each 10 barrel batch of Smoke Signal. Alderwood imparts a slightly sweet smoke flavor that balances well with the residual sweetness of the beer imparted through the use of dark crystal malts; chocolate and roasted barleys combine with American hops to deliver a flavorful robust porter with just the right amount of smoked flavor.” – Interesting, I’m not sure that I’ve ever had an Alderwood-smoked beer, which definitely increases my interest in having this one.

Beer Advocate: N/A
Rate Beer: 59 overall, 34 style (16 ratings)

Summary: Nice move from Swamp Head to bring two limited releases to SAVOR. Although black IPAs aren’t exactly a cutting-edge style anymore, an alderwood-smoked porter definitely sounds like something I’d be willing to get in on. The catch is that there isn’t a lot of feedback about these beers (Gainesville not exactly being a hotbed of craft beer), so we don’t really know what to expect and have to take the brewery’s word for the profiles of the beer.

This profile is a part of the DCBEER.COM SAVOR Brewery Profile series. For more information, follow the link to see profiles of all 2012 SAVOR participants.

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