Friday's here, so it's time for beer.
Every Friday, so long as the creek don't rise, this beer enthusiast will take a look at a Florida beer that, hopefully, should be readily available in a local shop or on tap at your favorite bar.
There are still a few beer styles that craft brewers tend not to deal with much. One of them is the American Lager style. Why? It mostly has to do with production time.
As you may or may not know, beer is separated into two major camps: lagers and ales. This is based on the type of yeast that is used in their production, either top fermenting yeast (who enjoy hanging out in warmer temperatures, like the 60's and 70's) and bottom fermenting yeasts (who like it much colder, in the 40's). Because of these temperatures, it takes longer to make. Remember, cold = slow.
This is one of the major reasons why most craft brewers stick with ales.
The Florida Beer Company, previously out of Melbourne but recently built a production facility in Cape Canaveral, actually puts out a couple of lager beers, and this week we're looking at the Florida Lager, a namesake we hope represents well.
According to the bottle, it's produced with two-row barley and caramel malt, which explains why this beer tastes so rich. It's finished off with German Tradition (low to moderate alpha acid, or bittering agent, hop with sweet floral and herbal character) and Northern Brewer (moderate alpha acid hop with woody flavor notes).
This is not a light lager by a long shot. I'd place this under BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) category '4A', or Dark American Lager. You may know some of its brethren, like Shiner Bock or Warsteiner Dunkel.
The Florida Lager pours a yellow-orange with a slight haze. On the nose, I get a light butterscotch and caramel syrup aroma (very light) with a tint of metal, something found in many lagered beers. The flavor is a dry biscuit malt, moderate hop bitterness and crispness through the middle, with a mild sweetness at the end. It reminds me of a mild version of a Sam Adams Boston Lager.
Surprisingly with a lager, as it comes up through the 50's temperature-wise, more of the sweetness comes out, and the almost funky flavors evident in the colder temperatures disappear.
This is a lager with heft. It's almost close to a marzen in fullness, and has enough malt character to do so.
Overall, this is a sweeter and warmer drinking version of the American lager, and something to keep in mind when picking up a 6-pack. A simple crisp, slightly bitter lager this is not. There's more malt complexity than you'd expect.
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