'Murica! Every Friday, we take a look at a beer brewed in the Sunshine State, giving analysis to the burgeoning craft beer movement of Florida.
Originally crafted in August of last year, Due South Brewing's UXO American Strong Ale is now one of the brewery's entries in their canned beer lineup.
As the can informatively shares, UXO is a military term that stands for 'unexploded ordinance', something that founder and head brewer Mike Halker knows about intimately: he is a former EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) Tech.
At 8.1% abv, this can is kind of like a mini artillery shell of flavor, packing a punch while delivering it's payload of malty and hoppy deliciousness.
This beer is declared an imperial red ale by the brewers, but in many respects seem falls into an American barleywine category. With no specific BJCP categorization for the imperial red style, our expectations were blurred. No matter, we opened it up to see what we could find.
It pours a dark and deep amber with a thick off-white head that slowly, but surely, dissipates. Even while pouring, there's a strong aroma coming out of the can. In the glass, it's a full-on sniffing bonanza: berries, cherries, and jam come out on top, with some caramel malts tying the room together. The mouthfeel is mildly thick, and the flavor has an upfront hit of malt followed by a cascade of American hop flavors and carbonation that ends bitter with a lingering hint of jam on the tongue.
Having sampled this a few times over the past months, this canned version feels improved over previous batches. It's nice to see a strong ale come in with a richness and maintain that American ale flavor profile; we don't go to Belgium on this one.
The hops are showcased well, and at 67 IBU's, I don't think it could stand more.
"This beer is my way of saying thanks for the risks (EOD Techs) take every day," Halker said of the creation of UXO. "These people are awesome, and I'm extremely thankful for the opportunity to experience being a part of that community."
Due South's UXO American Strong Ale is available in four-pack cans at their tasting room in Boynton Beach, or at various specialty stores and supermarkets in South Florida.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger that focuses on Florida beers, and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow me @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.