Two weeks ago, Hopjacks was the first company in Pensacola to bring in Covington Brewing after a long hiatus. One week ago, I was paid a visit by the president of the brewery. This week, we’re talking about their beer.
Covington has been around for quite some time but has gone through some changes as of recently. What began as the German-beer-only Heiner Brau back in 2004 soon switched hands and became, at least by name, what it is today; an easy-going deep-south brew house that makes approachable and friendly beer. They even contract brewed Dixie Beer post-Hurricane Katrina as the storm irrevocably damaged those facilities. Covington’s brewery is located in an old hardware store in the historic heart of its eponymous town.
About a year and a half ago ownership changed hands when former biology, physics and electrical engineering educator David Arbo decided to head a group to acquire the brewery. On board was a heavy-hitter alumnus from the Abita Beer legacy, Master Brewer Brian Broussard who had been working with the Louisiana craft giant since before he was of legal age to drink the very beer he was tasked with making.
First thing first was to bring the brewery into the modern beer-drinker’s radar. There used to be a time when American breweries made what the population expected; lager/pilsner. The late 90s changed all of that with the introduction of hoppy beer. Now it’s de rigueur to make an India Pale Ale one’s flagship offering, something that Covington was lacking.
Prior to Mr. Arbo’s takeover, Covington had been toying with an IPA but they didn’t have a name yet. Folks who had previously sampled the beer kept coming to them asking for “that whatever you call it” IPA. As the beer had been tentatively introduced with an anonymous identity, Anonymous became its name. Arbo had label art created by a former student of his for the bottle.
Lest anyone feel that an electrical engineer has no brewery acumen, keep in mind that his college roommate – in the same field of study – went on to successfully found New Belgium Brewing. Nice company!
David has that quiet demeanor found in all teachers who’ve spent more than 25 years at their post. Calm, engaging and informative with a yearning for learning, he seems the perfect type to head up a brewery with growth ambitions. As he seems more than pleased with his latest offering, let’s check out that Anonymous IPA.
As dark and mysterious as its name suggests, Anonymous has a rich amber color with an ample head that settles to a nice cap that leaves wide, thin patches of lacing. A bright blast of grapefruit greets your nose followed by notes of honey, bread crust and pine. An even keel of citrus flavors stick to the palate with plenty of caramel malt to balance out the bitter plus a hint of honeysuckle at the finish. Surprisingly light-bodied, Anonymous is incredibly easy to drink.
Meet the new boss, much different than the old boss! Covington Brew House will be teaching us much about southern brewing as they continue to modernize and grow.