Avery Brewing Co.’s “White Rascal” Witbier (Belgian Wheat)

October 22, 2013

When we had our Hopjacks outpost in Mobile, Alabama, there were a number of amazing beers available to us there that we couldn’t get in Florida. As one of them just became eligible for sale in the Panhandle, it has me thinking about the vagaries of distribution and the politics of what goes where.

Alabama was a strange beast. The beer alcohol content for the state was raised just over 4 years ago from 6% to 13% allowing a landslide of breweries who previously couldn’t distribute there to set up shop. What I found odd was that back home in Florida, we’ve had a nicely relaxed cap on beer alcohol content for a long time. Suddenly, all these other breweries are selling their goods in Alabama and not here? We’ve been doing this dance longer and you couldn’t come to us years ago?

To this day there are some pretty well-respected names over there that we can’t get a short 50 miles down the road. Ridgeway, Clown Shoes, Good People… they had Ballast Point before we did. Road trip!

Conversely, we carry many breweries that our neighbors to the west can’t. Who decides where, when and why? Should a state that’s had fewer restrictions on beer be rewarded with myriad selection or does it make more sense to distribute in a state that’s never had a choice when it comes to real beer? Go where you’ve always been welcome or prime a previously untapped marked with some really good product?

It’s almost an unanswerable question. Thankfully, one of my favorites from my days in LoDa – as they call it – has finally made its way to Florida’s Panhandle. A bittersweet reminder of the wonderful staff we had in Mobile, I get a second chance to raise a glass of Avery beer to them and our good times

Avery, from Colorado, sent us pretty much everything from their playlist. Two of my favorites are currently on sale at Hopjacks Filling Station; duganA Double IPA – strange spelling and all – and White Rascal Witbier. As witbier doesn’t get nearly the face time as hoppy ale does, let’s go ahead and check this one out a little more. A thoroughly drinkable wheat ale, it’s a pretty shade of cloudy straw yellow with an almost meringue-like head. Classic to the style, its scents and flavors bring loads of orange peel, coriander, hay and white pepper plus a dash of saltine cracker. A creamy body with ample carbonation fizz, Rascal is one of those beers you pine for on a hot day but drinks great year-round.

Glad to have you back, Avery. It’s been too long.