The only thing I knew about Casselberry before visiting the Bowigens Beer Company was that the city was a few minutes from Altamonte Mall. Now I can say that Casselberry is home to the aforementioned craft brewery, which my friend Ryan and I visited on Saturday night.
Look for the big furniture store, come for the beer.
When I initially arrived at the brewery, located at 1014 FL-436, I actually missed the turn because I was too distracted by the presence of a humongous big-brand furniture strong. A brewing company that’s next to a furniture store? I thought. But after making a U-turn a quarter-mile past and making the turn (and succeeding in doing so), was much better.
In fact, Bowigens is in a great location. No, I’m not saying that people are going to get a beer or two after shopping for a couch and a recliner. However it’s right next to a fondue restaurant, and there’s a wing place and an Italian restaurant in the same plaza. And as a bonus, there’s a bank branch in the same plaza with a walk-on ATM. All-in-all, despite a relatively awkward location, the beer company is in good hands for a place that doesn’t serve food.
It may be small, but at least you won’t have to stand.
A problem I have with relatively small bars is that the spacing is usually so tight that it feel like I’m flying a low-cost regional airline. But tight legroom and piss-poor furniture this is not. Except for the Winter Holidays-style lighting arrangement, the place was pretty well decorated. And a more important thing for me, at the very least, is the furniture arrangement. A lot of craft brewery taprooms I visit don’t arrange furniture logically. In those cases there’s so much open space that you might as well go to the nearest mall and walk to your nearest department store. Thankfully, Bowigens leaves just enough room to sit and there’s just enough distance to the bathroom.
While I would have appreciated more TVs (especially convenient if there’s a sports game on), the fact that there’s two TVs is better than just having one. Otherwise, the only other entertainment is the window that overlooks the brewing equipment and your smartphone because thank goodness this brewery has WiFi. And as Ryan did that night, he was allowed to bring outside food.
Two beer flights and seven original creations on tap? Challenge accepted.
While Ryan was a little more selective with his beer choice, I opted for two flights. The fact that the the cost of a beer is the same price as the most expensive beers (the Wee Do What Wee Want and the Phat Sparrow) was something I appreciated. What was a little disappointing was that when I went there, they only had seven of their original beers on tap (and three guest taps). At the flip side, I could try out a beer I liked a second time. Here are the beers I tried that night. And regardless of what is the correct way to name a style, I am only going by the name of what the menu said.
Kimberry – A very pleasant berry scent introduces to a bend of a heavy hop profile and a good amount of bitterness. If this American Wheat Ale was a little bit more carbonated this would have been perfect.
Bow 9 – Oh wow was this bitter! This Citrus Pale Ale had a golden color and a subtle citrus scent at first, but for a citrus-based beer this was way too bitter for me to enjoy it as a whole.
Hidden Track Series: Gose – This Gose was actually more spicy than I thought, because I was expecting mostly saltiness. Thankfully, this Gose isn’t too salty that I feel like I’m swimming in the ocean. In my opinion, this would go best with food.
Lost Anchor – There wasn’t anything too special about this IPA. Lots of bitterness, some citrus undertones, and crisp enough to warrant finishing up.
Phat Sparrow – For a having 97 IBUs, it wasn’t that bitter when I tried this Double IPA. There’s some malt characters in this one but nothing is too overpowering. The overall finish is pretty dry after the swallow so keep that in mind.
Toasted Almond Brown Ale – There’s a little less head on the Toasted Almond than I anticipated but a slight blend of almond and chocolate is definitely there. Depending on my mood, one of these might be a good alternative for a cup of light coffee.
Wee Do What Wee Want – Like the Toasted Almond, I was pretty surprised that the head is on the low-side. But a deep, malt flavor with that ever slight bitterness (thanks, 28 IBUs!) makes this a very drinkable beer (especially if one had a rough day).
Because Oktoberfest was around the corner, I asked the servers if they were doing anything for that occasion. Although they said no, they did tease me that it was almost time for the Jack-o-Latte. A pumpkin ale with coffee beans? That might just be enough to sit out of the Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) fever happening right now.
And with another beer adventure coming to a close, I’ll make sure to bring some food the next time I visit Bowigens.