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It’s not like you’ve licked a coconut for an hour.

Cococabana

You know Lola. She was a showgirl with yellow feathers in her hair and a really low-cut dress. She dated the bartender Tony, and they worked together each night from eight to four.

At the Copa, they fell in love.

Then Rico comes in with his diamond. He takes some unwanted liberties with Lola, and Tony jumps across the bar. The punches flew. Chairs were smashed in two. Blood. A single gunshot.

But who shot who?

Fast-forward thirty years. Lola’s still at the Copa. Still wearing the feathers. Still in that dress. But… she’s a mess. She holds her head high but drinks herself half-blind. Tony’s gone. She’s alone at the Copa.

Don’t fall in love… unless it’s with Cococabana.

IMG_5497“Full disclosure, I had to look up Barry Manilow on Spotify,” says Lab Manager Lauren Appleman. “I didn’t recognize any of the song titles and I didn’t listen to any of them in fear of messing with the algorithm for the lab. Our daily mixes are important stuff!”

Okay, so maybe not everyone at the brewery is a fanilow. That’s okay — “Copacabana” is a bit more depressing of a song than its uptempo disco/salsa beat would imply. Tony dies. Lola goes insane. But, listening to it, you still want to do the merengue or cha-cha.

Even so, Cococabana outshines its namesake.

“It’s clean and refreshing,” says Sales Manager Mike Laferrera. “I think it’s one of the best beers we’ve ever brewed.”

However, don’t be misled by the name. Cococabana is very definitely a pale ale, but the coconut is more Rico than Tony — sort of a supporting role.

“It’s there, it’s definitely there,” says Innovation Director Brian Hink, “but it’s not over-the-top in-your-face coconut. It’s more of a subtle, complementary coconut thing going on.”

Lauren agrees, thankfully. She’s not a big fan of coconut beers — “they tend to taste like drinking sunscreen” — but she’s digging Cococabana.

IMG_5500
Tony and Lola?

“I think the coconut on this one is subtle enough that you still know you are drinking a beer,” she says, “but just there enough to leave you wanting more.”

Brewer Andrew Ewing is diggin’ Cococabana for much the same reason, as well.

“For me, it has the right amount of coconut,” he says. “You can have one or two, and it’s not like you’ve licked a coconut for an hour. I was worried it would have that sunblock essence, but I think it came out great.”

Unlike in a brew like You’re Welcome, here the coconut lends more of a silky-smooth mouthfeel than a huge amount of coconut flavor.

In Cococabana, the hops blend of Cashmere, Denali, and Bravo are the lead: they’re Lola dancing around your mouth, but it’s a bit more like Carmen Miranda with her gigantic fruit hat.

“Yeah, it’s a total fruit salad of hops here,” Brian says, “with Denali bringing a barrage of pineapple flavor and Cashmere has this coconut-cedar-vanilla sherbet thing going on that I thought would play off the coconut perfectly.”

The malt bill is just enough to balance things out and get out of the way of the hops, making everything well-rounded and soft around the edges.

“Cococabana definitely has a fluffy-like quality to it,” Brian says.

IMG_5507We used aromatic malts in this one, which is something we’ve never really talked about at Straight to the Pint.  

“We’ve used it here and there,” Brian tells us. “It’s basically a low crystal malt, adding some sweetness, a touch of color, body, and enhances the mouthfeel a little. It’s nice, but a little goes a long way. I felt it would be paired perfectly off the oil slick-like mouthfeel that coconut can bring to the table.”

Everything in this beer came together beautifully. And with a 5.8% ABV, unlike Lola, you won’t drink yourself half-blind.

“I really dug how this beer came out,” Brian says. “A fun, springtime pale ale.”

Who could ask for more?

Cococabana is on tap now in the Tasting Room. Be sure to check it out!