Criminal’s Spirit Lives on in Impressive IPA
It has been said that the South is somewhat of a modern-day Philistia. Well, while that may be the case from pocket to pocket, the South I know is quite cosmopolitan.
With that said, from time to time it’s good to get out into the world and observe how the rest of humanity behaves. In order to see how people do things up North, so to speak, one need only to head northward (or southward to southern Florida).
I did that with the family recently and had a blast.
In between snorkeling and eating Italian food, I did carve out some time to taste a couple of south Florida beers while on sabbatical from the hustle and bustle of our city. One brew stuck out at me from the trip; I’ve detailed it below and hope you get to try it one day.
Ashley Gang Imperial IPA
John Ashley was a bandit of sorts in southern Florida. He robbed banks, bootlegged and was even an occasional pirate. Truly, they don’t make them like this guy anymore.
Unfortunately for Ashley, however, a life of crime didn’t pay back then, either, and he was gunned down by police at the age of 36. About a century later, his spirit lives on (I suppose) in the form of a delicious imperial IPA.
I had my Ashley Gang at Little Moir’s Leftovers in Jupiter, Fla. It was poured from a bottle into a pint glass, with a hazy amber tint and hearty head evident. The nose conveyed significant hops coupled with sweet and earthy malts and a touch of pine. The sip was much the same, but with a mouthfeel that wasn’t quite as heavy as I had thought it would be — a welcome note for me, personally.
The lacing was impressive, as were the sweeter aspects of the malts, which interacted quite symbiotically with the boldness of the hops (think grassy caramel).
Overall, Ashley Gang has a drinkability that is impressive for an imperial IPA and pairs well with fish. I had mine with a fish wrap cooked tandoori style with Mexican street corn salsa, gorgonzola cheese and plantains. Yes, it was messy, and, yes, it was very delicious. As for dessert, it looked quite tasty, but, after that beer and that meal, there just wasn’t any more room.
Ben Casella also recommends Jai Alai IPA from Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, Fla., and Conch Republic Key Lime Wheat from Big Top Brewing Co. (recently reviewed by Ben and from the same brewery as Ashley Gang). He does not recommend wearing jean shorts, dying frosted tips into one’s hair or rooting for any team besides the Georgia Bulldogs.