Buccaneer brews 

Gasparilla beers that’ll float your galleon.

Avast, ye scurvy scum!

The great Gasparilla Invasion of Tampa Bay is upon us, and ye best be prepared! If ye be a pirate or plunderer, a privateer or scallywag, then ye know ye needs to be having the right adult beverages for yer carousin’.

So to help the miscreants and wenches fill their cups with a wee bit o’ the creature, this old sea wolf has compiled a list of piratical potables to help quench yer thirst. When some landlubber asks for a “light beer,” you can reply with a knowing look in yer one good eye and the phrase: “I am disinclined to acquiesce to your request.”

The Florida Beer Company’s Gaspar’s Porter is named for the man who started it all, Jose Gaspar. Known as “The Last Buccaneer,” the Spanish pirate prowled the waters of Tampa Bay, capturing over 400 ships from 1789 to 1821. Years ago, Ybor Brewing Company released the original iteration of the beer bearing Gaspar’s name. Now, Florida Beer Company has revived it, reinvigorated the recipe, and brought it back to the craft beer lovers of Florida just in time.

This new recipe pours dark and rich with delicious roasted malt, hints of chocolate and toffee. It’s an easy-drinking porter, not too heavy, and comes in at 6.1 percent ABV. Gaspar’s Porter is readily available at most purveyors of beer.

Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA, the flagship beer from Heavy Seas, is as wild as its name suggests. Pouring a beautiful gold color with a good white fluffy head, the aroma of hops is heavenly.

It’s not a monster — only 45 IBUs — but the hops dominate the beer through and through. Smooth and delicious, this is what a “triple-hopped” beer really should be. This one sails in at 7.5 percent ABV, and is available at most beer and wine stores.

Dead men may tell no tales, but Rogue Brewing’s Dead Guy Ale has a long history to share. Rogue Brewing has been making great beers since 1988. In the early 1990s Dead Guy Ale was created as a private tap sticker to celebrate the Mayan Day of the Dead, but the German Maibock-style brew proved to be so popular that it became a staple of the Rogue lineup. Malty, rich and smooth, Dead Guy (and its big brother Double Dead Guy) have won dozens of awards and slaked the thirst of many a buckler of swashes. Clocking in at 6.6 percent ABV (and 9.5 percent for Double Dead Guy), this beer is perfect for those that ply the sweet trade. Available in most beer stores and frequently on draft in better craft beer bars.

“Prepare to walk the plank…” says the label on Ballast Point’s Tongue Buckler Imperial Red. The hop monster of a red ale pours a bright orange with an ivory head and an amazing aroma of tart grapefruit, lemongrass, pine, and tropical fruit. The flavor brings tons of citrus along with bright tangerine, caramel, and toffee. The San Diego brewery is well-known for its “West Coast” styles, and the Buckler has earned its reputation as a “clap of thunder” with its deceptively smooth 10 percent ABV. Available in 22-oz. bottles at select beer stores, and sometimes on draft at craft beer bars.

The Invasion Pale Ale is one of the newer offerings from Cigar City Brewing, this one available only on draft. Perfectly named for Gasparilla, and a most excellent beer to enjoy at any time, Invasion is an American Pale Ale, with a moderate ABV of only 5 percent. The clean, crisp flavor highlights the hops, and it is especially delicious fresh at the brewery.


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