Offering further evidence that there's nothing craft brewers won't incorporate into a beer, Tampa's own Coppertail Brewing marked Friday the 13th with the release of its Captain Jack's Stone Crab Stout, an "unconventionally flavored" brew that pays tribute to both Florida's annual stone crab harvesting season and the anglers that brave the slightly colder winter waves in search of those delicious crustacean claws.
And yeah, Captain Jack's is literally made with stone crabs. For the past couple of years, Coppertail has hosted a mid-season stone crab dinner at its insanely cool Ybor City tasting room/event space. The crab claws come directly from that morning's catch in Key West; some are eaten, some go home with staffers, friends and family, and 300 pounds go into the beer during the boil, adding "a savory salinity to this rich and roasty stout, kind of like adding salt to chocolate," according to the label (and press release). This is the third year the stout has made a mid-winter appearance among Coppertail's consistently tasty lineup.
Coppertail's not the first brewery to act so shellfishly (sorry). Brewers have been adding flavors of the sea to their beers since time out of mind. But since Coppertail brewmaster Casey Hughes got his start brewing down in the Keys, this one's a bit of a passion project for him, as well as a nod to his beermaking roots. What's more, a portion of sales proceeds will be donated to the Florida Keys Commercial Fisherman's Association "to promote sustainable fishing, and to help preserve the way of life of Florida fishermen."
Admit it: You're curious. Better hurry, then, because Captain Jack's is only available in limited qualities — some will be distributed, but stopping by the tasting room is probably your best bet.