I’ve never been a fan of the circus. Maybe that explains why I haven’t been to Big Top Brewing yet. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just set in my ways that once I like something, I just want more of it. Hence my love for Calusa. Now that I’m in Florida full-time, I’m trying branch out and check out some of the other breweries in the area. I picked up a six pack of this beer recently in my quest to experience more local beer. This is also part of my new Shelfies series, so you can find this beer in most local liquor stores in southwest Florida.
Hawaiian Lion pours coffee black with a tan head that dissipates quickly. Swirling the beer in the snifter only briefly reinvigorates the head before disappearing again to a thin ring around the inside of the glass.
Aroma is roasted malt and a hint of coffee and coconut. It actually smells more like a standard porter. I was kind of hoping for more coffee or coconut on the nose. Hmm, slightly disappointing. But how does it taste?
Amazingly, this is a nice medium- to full-bodied beer. It’s way thicker than I expected. Nicely done! I will say, as I write this, Hawaiian Lion is nearly gone. It’s an easy drinking porter, so that’s something. It’s very coffee-forward. The coffee taste is not rich or very interesting. It’s just…coffee. There’s a hint of coconut sweetness in there, but it’s not very prevalent. However, it’s important to note that this beer was canned in December and I’m drinking this at the beginning of March (thanks Total Wine for your attention to details!).
As a side note, I had this on draft at Skipper’s recently and holy coconuts, this beer was even better. Duh, right? The coconut is much more out front, and I can honestly say it rivals Last Snow from Funky Buddha. Well done! There’s a nice coffee bitterness on the back end, which lingers. This is a nice porter from another Sarasota brewery I need to visit. I just hope they don’t have any clowns. 🙂
Big Top Brewing has an interesting back story. You can read it here. You can read the commercial description of Hawaiian Lion below.
“Our Hawaiian Lion combines bold flavors from the finest ingredients in a majestic way. It starts with a proprietary blend of local Java Dog Coffee, roasted the moment before going into the brew to maintain the fresh flavor released from the beans. This custom coffee blend is then paired with over 150 pounds of fresh coconut to create a roaring aroma with a rich and smooth flavor.”
–Big Top Brewing commercial description
- ABV: 7.5%
- IBU: N/A
- Untappd Rating: 3.97
- # of Ratings: 9,988