As I mentioned in my last beer review, I’m spending a week in Florida so get ready for a whole lot of southern Florida beer reviews! I’ve been jacked about this beer since I saw it come across my Instagram feed, and my awesome wife grabbed a couple 4-packs for me. She is the best. So, let’s get to it!
Early in August when my wife and I came down to look for a new home, we ran across a brewery called Calusa in Sarasota by pure happenstance. We went adventuring, as we often do, and went back to Bradenton Beach to check out where our oldest daughter had her wedding ceremony on the beach a few years ago. I’m a huge fan of that beach. It’s not touristy and very serene. After piddling around on the beach for a while, it began to rain so we decided to head south along the shore and see where we ended up. Yep, that’s how we roll generally. We just go.
We ended up in Sarasota. As I always do, I started checking out breweries in the area and ran across this fairly new brewery named Calusa. The beer listed on their site looked interesting so we set the GPS and Gladys (my pet name for any GPS) took us through some interesting neighborhoods. Had we just headed down via the interstate, it would have been an easier drive. We instantly fell in love with the place. Calusa’s taproom has an intimate, homey feel. We shared a table with a young couple and struck up a conversation. I love talking about beer so this was a welcomed chat. Not only were the staff extremely helpful and friendly, but the beer was amazing. Let me tell you, these guys know how to brew New England IPA’s. They’re all unique, juicy and have a soft pillowy mouthfeel. I can’t get enough of them. I’ve been stalking their list of beers on Untappd ever since and getting pretty interested in their stout offerings. However, they hadn’t released one since my wife had been down here until now.
Batch 200 is an imperial sweet stout (I know, right?) with cacao nibs, vanilla bean, cinnamon and chili peppers. This is Calusa’s 200th brew, hence the name. There’s another beer I’ve reviewed with the same exact general ingredients, and it’s called Abraxas. How does Batch 200 stack up?
Batch 200 pours a dark brown, opaque with nearly no head. What little head there is, disappears quickly. This beer is all chocolate and spicy peppers on the nose. It’s a full-bodied beer, almost like syrup in the mouth. There’s some chocolate with hints of cinnamon and vanilla on the tongue. And then there’s a ton of heat. This beer is dominated by the spice. There’s a nice spicy burn on the tongue and plenty of heat in the throat when it’s swallowed. It’s not as sweet as I expected, but boy, does that burn linger. The more this beer warms, the more I like the taste. And the burn. I might regret this beer in the morning. If you have a lot of acid reflux, perhaps steer clear of this one.
This beer is nothing like Abraxas. That’s not a bad thing. I don’t want a clone of something I already like. It’s vastly different, which is a good thing. Batch 200 has way more heat than Abraxas. The cinnamon and vanilla is not as prevalent as in Abraxas. The chocolate is not as decadent as Perennial’s flagship ale. Cinnamon can cause heat in a beer as well, so I’d be curious to know the differences between the two. I’ll never know since neither of these breweries are going to reveal their recipes to me. 🙂 My wife has enjoyed this on tap and doesn’t remember it having as much heat. Well, now I’m intrigued. Looks like another trip to Calusa is in order to do a comparison.
I’m a huge fan of what Calusa is doing, and this beer is no different. After tasting a ton of their NE IPA’s, it’s nice to try something in my wheel house, and I’m not disappointed. I’ve said this on Instagram, and I’ll say it again: Do these guys make a disappointing or bad beer? Stay tuned, more reviews from south Florida coming!
I was able to try Batch 200 in the taproom over the weekend at Calusa’s Mixed Culture Invitational, and as usual, my wife was correct. This beer was already a nice beer out of the can, but it’s a fantastic beer on tap. The heat is not as prevalent when on draft, which allows the other flavors to shine through. It’s still not Abraxas, but the flavors got a little closer on tap. So good!
- ABV: 10.5%
- Untappd Rating: 4.13