Reviewed: Fonta Flora Stroopwaffel
From Fonta Flora – “Stroopwafel – an english-style dark mild ale brewed with honey stinger waffles.
Mashed with a simple yet complex grain build consisting of local barley malt courtesy of our good friends at Riverbend Malt House of Asheville, NC along with a contemplative and traditional blend of the world’s finest caramel and crystal malts. Fermented with our preferred house English yeast strain for an ample body with a decidedly dry finish. As a playful treat for our cycling cohorts, we threw heaps of honey stinger waffles into the mash.
As brewers, an english dark mild is one of our very favorite styles of beer to consume. We’ve been lucky enough to consume dimple after dimple of traditional dark mild in England and are completely smitten with the style.“
Fonta Flora Brewery – Stroopwafel – 16 Oz can, served in a Tulip Glass. 3.8% abv.
I know Fonta Flora through a peppering of wild ales I got to try at bottle shares back when then those were a thing. Recently, I was fortunate enough to receive a few of their daily drinkers; IPAs, Pilsners, and this gem, a Dark Mild. This style does not get enough love in the market, so I am excited to dive into Fonta Flora’s take on it!
Appearance: Midnight black without a wisp of light able to get through. A light tan head, suggesting it is not as roasty as the beer would let you think it is.
Aroma: Caramel black pepper, toffer, diner coffee (in a good way). No hop aroma, but that is expected for the style.
Flavor: More coffee forward in flavor, as expected in a Dark Mild, but also more fresh baked bread flavor than the aroma would let on. As it warms up, more caramel sweetness comes in, and by power of suggestion, I think this is the stroopwafel. Given the low ABV, the beer has a lower body, which plays up a slightly astringent finish. Given the darker tone flavors, this keeps it quite drinkable. Lower end of carbonation, reminiscent of the english cask ales. This also prevents the low abv/body from getting blown out into seltzer territory.
Overall: In a similar vein to the trope “brewers love lagers, that’s why we brew them,” niche styles like Dark Mild are revered by the employees, but fade quickly in tasting rooms. While I do not get the stroopwafel addition in this beer, I applaud Fonta Flora for leaning into it for the marketing. It has the power to capture consumer attention and start the conversation about these beers. Stroopwaffels pair best with a cup of coffee, just like this Dark Mild.