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A Little Slice Of Heaven

The highly festive Mr. Dunderbak's...

Is indeed a little slice of heaven

Word resonates fast in the craft beer world. Several beer enthusiasts traveled down from Tampa, to check out Mr. Berry’s Beer Nerd Night, after hearing great things about the brewpub. One of them, in turn, recommended that I try out Mr. Dunderbak’s back up their way. “A little slice of heaven” is how Greg described it.

When Anne and I checked out Mr. Dunderbak’s on Saturday, we found that it more than lived up to expectations. Owned by J.B. and Chris Ellis, Mr. Dunderbak’s is styled after a classic German Biergarten. There’s something for everyone here, from the German inspired cuisine to a huge selection of beer and wine. In fact, there’s 54 beers on tap and another 400 or so in bottles! Off the main Biergarten, there’s two bar areas and a beer mall, where patrons can enjoy dining and sample a wide variety of beers that are also available for purchase. The staff, including beer guru Cory, are very helpful and knowledgeable about beer. There’s a nice mix to the crowd as well, with the brewpub not far from the campus of USF.

As J.B., a home brewer and member of Tampa Bay B.E.E.R.S., was at a beer judging, Chris took us on a tour of the place and kept us entertained for the afternoon. We started with a delicious meat and cheese plate, and I ordered a pint of De Koninck Winterkoninck (Brouwerij De Koninck NV; Antwerpen, Belgium; Belgian Dark Ale; ABV: 6.5). Deep amber in color, Winterkoninck has notes of sweet caramel malt and toffee complimented by Belgian yeast and a hint of spices such as nutmeg on the back end. Its sweet malty influence paired well with the appetizer.

For lunch, Anne ordered a chef salad while I went with the scrumptious veal schnitzel sandwich. On a recommendation from one of the bar staff, I went with a pint of St. Feuillien Cuvée de Noël (Brasserie St. Feuillien; Le Roeulx, Belgium; Belgian Strong Dark Ale; ABV: 9.0). Mahogany in color, Cuvée de Noël has rich notes of caramel and roasted malt balanced by an array of spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. This velvety winter ale has a nutty feel to it, and is considerably more spicy than Winterkoninck.

For dessert, we shared an incredible Black Forest torte (the desserts and other food items are available in their deli), and Anne ordered a bottle of her favorite beer, the incomparable Verhaeghe Duchesse De Bourgogne. I spotted a bottle that intrigued me, and was glad to give it a try. Traquair 2020 (Traquair House Brewery Lld; Peeblesshire, Scotland (UK); Barley Wine; ABV: 10.0), was brewed in a limited release of 9600 bottles to honor the first decade of the 21st century, and to be consumed before the end of the second decade. This ale is nothing short of outstanding, and takes its place among my favorite all-time barley wines. Deep chestnut in color, 2020 has pronounced notes of sweet caramel and dark fruit in the nose and initial taste, followed by hints of brown sugar, honey, and vanilla spices with a smooth creamy finish. 2020 is an very well balanced beer, and the alcohol content of 10% is extremely well hidden.

My thanks to Chris for being such a great hostess, and to the staff at Mr. Dunderbak’s for giving us a wonderful experience.

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  1. February 22nd, 2011 at 12:21 | #1

    This sounds like the kind of place I will need to check out next time I am down in Tampa.

  2. February 22nd, 2011 at 17:10 | #2

    @Jim
    Jim,

    It’s definitely worth the trip!

    Cheers,

    Bill Z.

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