Drink Local Florida Blog

A Florida Beer With Some Florida History

Okobee Pale Ale poured in a Big Top Brewing glass with the can by the Manatee RiverAs a native Floridian (3rd generation) I really appreciate when Florida’s history is included in Florida beer and brewery names. Big Top Brewing Company does just that with their American Pale Ale named after Chichi Okobee.

Okobee was a Seminole warrior and son of the tribe's chief who fell in love with conquistador Hernando DeSoto’s daughter, Sara. Okobee fell ill and death seemed inevitable, until Sara took care of him and nursed him back to health. Unfortunately, Sara became ill soon later.

After Sara DeSota's untimely death, her father Hernando DeSoto gave Okobee and 100 Seminole warriors permission to serve as honor guards at her burial. Sara was laid to her final rest in “the most beautiful, most peaceful body of water” Hernando DeSoto had ever seen.

Okobee and the 100 warriors sunk their canoes, taking their own lives to forever serve as Sara's burial guards. Since that, day the body of water has been named after Sara DeSota. The surrounding city and county also take their name from this body of water: the Sarasota Bay. Headquartered in Sarasota, Big Top pays homage regional and state history. The can label art on the Okobee Pale Ale shows Okobee submerged underwater with other warriors behind him, forever guarding the final resting place of Sara DeSota.

This is a great beer based on taste, not just for the homage to Florida history. It's a delicious American pale ale (APA) with a nice hoppy flavor but little bitterness. It is brewed with Citra and Mosaic hops, then dry hopped with more Citra and Simcoe hops. This beer has a nice hop profile and is very flavorful with a crisp, dry finish.

Big Top Brewing Co. first opened their Sarasota headquarters in 2014, and in 2018 opened additional brewery locations in Pensacola and Gainesville.

Posted: July 25, 2020