Deep takes annual CANiversary celebration to greater depths
Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson famously said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
Boxing and locally owned businesses are similar in that regard, and while no punches were thrown in the first few days of Deep Brewing Company’s opening three years ago, it might be said that Tropical Storm Hermine was testing folks’ ability to roll with the punches.
Now, Tropical Storm Dorian is looming and is expected make landfall as a category 3 hurricane this weekend on the east coast of Florida.
On Sept. 2, 2016, Hermine swept through the Big Bend, famously wreaking havoc on the City of Tallahassee’s power grid, just as the upstart brewery was wrapping up a big batch of what would become one of its core beers.
“(We) had just wrapped up a batch, and due to the power being out for a few days, the temperature of the beer had gotten up into the 80s,” Deep head brewer and owner Ryan LaPete recounted. “We’d lost the beautiful dry hopped flavors and aromas. It definitely wasn’t (our core IPA) Reef Dweller, but still a great beer.”
Not one to waste beer, or a great opportunity for clever marketing, Deep tapped the Hermine-imbued brew and named it “Wake of the Storm.” People love a good story almost as much as they love a good beer, but put both of them together and you’ve really got something.
“People loved that beer so much that it’s been a steady request over the three years since we’ve been open,” LaPete said.
Nostalgia, stories, and great beer will be abound this weekend as Deep celebrates its third year in business with an event it has dubbed “CANiversary.” The celebration starts Thursday with a Luau pre-party featuring a coconut IPA can release (“Coconaut”) and runs through Labor Day. Beer lovers will see three new canned beers, a bottle release, at least 12 never-before-served treatments, and the re-emergence of 10 fan favorites dubbed “Deep Cuts.”
The four “official” days of CANiversary begin at 1 p.m. Friday with the much-anticipated release of “Vertigose” in cans. Vertigose — a mango, lime, and habañero gose — is a beer that patrons of Deep, and various beer festivals around Florida, are familiar with. Lest you see habañero and think the beer too spicy to give it a shot, LaPete offered some assurances on our “Saturday Morning Bottle Share” recently on ESPN 97.9 FM: “I really shoot for the lower end on this beer, a warm low heat that you’ll taste, but probably not really feel until you get to the bottom of a 12-ounce pour.”
Saturday sets crank up the creativity
If you prefer your peppery beer to hold the side of citrus and bring the high heat, fear not! For the hot-sauce-chugging fire eaters, Saturday sees the thermostat cranked up a few degrees with the release of “Reaper Reef” – the brewery’s core Reef Dweller IPA treated with homegrown Carolina Reaper peppers. With the Reaper coming in over 1.5 million on the Scoville Index (300 times hotter than a jalapeño), we’ll take LaPete at his word that it’s the spiciest beer he’s ever produced.
You’ll probably find us at the opposite end of the spicy spectrum sipping on a “Brain Chiller,” a barrel-aged tiki beer with flavors of orange, pineapple, coconut, and nutmeg. Both beers are part of an assortment of 12 beers (with a few possible wild cards) never before served in the tasting room. The beers — boasting a wild array of treatments with flavors ranging from sour to sweet to spicy, and from the totally foreign to the absolutely familiar (can you say Yoo-hoo inspired beer?) — will tap in sets of four at scheduled times throughout the day. The first set of four will tap at 11 a.m. and run until 3 p.m., the second set from 3 p.m. and pour until 7 p.m., and the last set – featuring two adjuncted stouts – will run from 7-11 p.m.
Sundays are for leftovers
Dedicating as many as 12 taps to cleaning out the fridge on Sunday, this is the golden opportunity to snag sips of the beers you might have missed — or to revisit your new favorite — assuming they last through Saturday.
If the “Leftovers” taplist is akin to a Migos album — high energy and chock full of ad libs — the day’s bottle release, “Diving Dubbels” Belgian, is something like Nas’ “Illmatic.” It’s complex, rich in flavor, undeniably smooth, one to sit with over and over, and not short on history either. Dubbels, only the second Belgian the brewery has produced, is based on one of LaPete’s home brews — and an award-winning one at that.
Deep cuts a Labor (Day) of love
Monday’s “after party” starts at noon with the last, and perhaps most anticipated, can release – Grapefruit Reef. It's a brew that features the perfect balance between beer, citrus, and grapefruit bitterness.
In something that has now become a Labor Day tradition that Tallahassee beer fans can set their calendar to, Deep rolls out its “Deep Cuts” tap takeover, a revisiting of cult classics that the brewery has produced over its three years in business. These are beers that might have been in the tasting room for only a brief moment, but left a lasting impression. Among these, “Wake of the Storm” makes its triumphant return, although through a much happier set of coincidences.
LaPete tells the story of Wake’s reemergence: “As we were installing updated equipment as part of our new brewhouse we accidentally left a tank of Reef Dweller off to the side – it had warmed a bit – and a quick taste reminded me immediately of “Wake” a throwback IPA of sorts, harkening back to where the IPA style was in the late '90s, early 2000s. We had to tap it.”
Diving into the work at hand and resurfacing with a hidden treasure, what could be more Deep?
Matthew Crumbaker is co-founder of the TLH Beer Society, a group of avid craft beer lovers. He is also co-host of Saturday Morning Bottle Share on 97.9 ESPN radio. Follow TLH Beer Society at Facebook.com/TLHBeerSociety or @TLHBeerSociety on Twitter and Instagram. Email email@example.com.