The 2015 launch of Tampa Bay Brewing Co.'s Full Moon Madness subtropical porter was an interesting moment. On one hand, it was a new, interesting release — a modified version of its old standby, Jack the Quaffer, brewed to celebrate the brewery's 20-year anniversary. On the other hand, it marked the discontinuation of Jack the Quaffer itself.
At the time, Tampa Bay Brewing Co. didn't realize just how beloved its original porter was. First brewed in the early '90s at the Brew Shack—the homebrew shop that served as a launchpad for Tampa Bay Brewing Company to open the next year—Jack the Quaffer was one of the brewery's original core beers.
It stayed on tap continuously at the Ybor City brewpub for two full decades, which is a claim that very few Florida beers can make. Its discontinuation was a shock to many local beer lovers, this one included, and the brewery staff has been hearing about it ever since.
But there's good news! Jack the Quaffer is back by popular demand, on tap at both the Ybor and Westchase locations starting Saturday, September 9th.
I managed to sneak a preview sample of Jack, and it's every bit as good as I remember. Jack pours a deep ruby-brown, almost black unless it's held up to light. In terms of porters, this one is of the robust American variety: influenced by the 18th century porters of London but aggressively-hopped with classic American hops like Northern Brewer and Cascade.
While balancing the line between medium- and full-bodied, Jack's rich roastiness falls firmly onto the latter side. The beer is a reminder of the bold response to boring beer that fueled the early '90s craft beer boom that Jack the Quaffer was part of. The cool part is that over 20 years later, Jack the Quaffer is still an outstanding porter, and one that deserves a warm welcome back.
— Justin Grant, tbt* correspondent
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