Ybor's Brown is an English-style brown ale with a distinctively nutty, caramel flavor whose superiority has not gone unnoticed: The Ybor Brown Ale took the silver medal at the this year's World Beer Championships. Note that this Brown Ale has a lower alcohol level than most in that style which allows for more residual sugar to last through the brewing process. The resultant is the beer's sweet, coffee character. Palosi also adds a bit of chocolate malt to the brew, which adds a roasted chocolate flavor. Look for a medium-bodied beer, full-flavored but not overwhelming, one that can be consumed year round with a number of foods.
Ybor City Brewing has rich history. The brewery's president, Humberto Perez, is a third-generation brewer whose grandfather founded one of the largest breweries in Venezuela, Cerveceria, some 70 years ago. And keeping with the Latin tradition, Ybor's brewery is located in a renovated cigar factory. In the late 1800s, Ybor City was the cigar capital of the world. Jose Martinez Ybor led the migration of the Cuban cigar industry to Ybor City in Tampa largely due to the city's able work force and as it offered a navigable port close to Cuba.
In 1922, Ybor City had 140 cigar makers within its borders. But soon, with the depression and the advent of automation, as well as the boom of American cigarettes, the hand-rolling cigar industry declined. The old cigar factories lay dormant for decades. In 1994, Ybor bought one of the grand old cigar warehouses, and turned it into a craft brewery. "There's no automation in the brewery," states head brewer Vince Palosi, "all the brewing is done by hand and manual labor. It's a brainchild of craft beer people who love their art."
For more information about the brewery and scheduled tours, call (813) 242-9222.
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