Florida Beer: Hoppy Anniversary, A Year Of Due South Beers

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It's #FloridaBeerFriday. Every Friday, we take a look at a beer brewed in the Sunshine State, giving analysis to the burgeoning craft beer movement of Florida.

For the past year or so, we've been taking a look at beers from across the state. Most of them have been locally available. Six of these have been from Due South Brewing Company, 2013's best large craft brewery in the state of Florida.

See also: Craft Beer Covers Southern PBC: Due South's Second Anniversary and Delray Beach Touts Old School Beerfest

With the upcoming second anniversary celebrations coming up this Saturday, I thought it would be prudent to take a look back at these spotlights and provide a minor primer on the beverages to expect at this anniversary event.

Though it is not comprehensive of what will be available (if only there were so many weeks in the year), it will cover a few of the core bases while introducing some of the specially released beers that have been, and will be, available throughout the day on the 10th.

Without further ado, our last year with Due South Brewing. Click on a header to get the full review.

Mexican Standoff

"Right off on the aroma, are heaps of roasted grain, vanilla and cinnamon. It belies the heat contained within, as it's a fresh cinnamon smell as opposed to that confectionary cinnamon aroma.

The flavor is mix between a dry and sweet porter, but the heat kicks in almost immediately, so any attempt to ascertain the subtleties of the malt get blown away. At first sip, the heat from the peppers grabs hold of your palate. The cinnamon helps to calm that down, but there is a loss of some of the nuances of the vanilla flavors. The heat really lingers, right at the back of the throat, but not to a degree of unlikability."

Category 5 IPA

"This 8.5% abv. beer is a crystal clear yellow-gold color, with huge hits of dank, resin, orange, and some apricot all fighting on the aroma. The malt body holds up the grapefruit and resin flavors and doesn't try to take over... it exists here as a platform to support these hop flavors. Rather bitter and slightly dank on the finish."

UXO American Strong Ale

"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."

Category 3 IPA

"The beer froths from the can, begging to escape, and pours a slightly cloudy golden orange with a large thick beige head. This head, or foam cap, has quite the staying power, holding on half a finger thick throughout the tasting and leaving gorgeous lacing in its wake.

It has the same grassy and earthy herbal aromas, with a hint of bitter citrus. The flavor has a smooth malt body and the earthy and flowery hop taste that makes an IPA... well, an IPA. The finish is slightly dry and bitter. Overall, an IPA worthy of building iterations on."

Hopicana IPA

"The beer has a mild aroma of an opened orange fruit... that time when you rip the peel off and, after the initial shock of orange scent, you can smell the pithy outside. Beyond that it's fairly muted, with some of the citrus hop complimenting. It has a gorgeous copper-yellow color, clear with a tight thin head. On imbibe, I get a hint of bitter orange peel and a bit of smoothness in the body, probably from the rye additions. It holds itself up and isn't watery. I get a bit of lingering peppery hop flavor that stays for a bit in the back of the mouth."

Imperial Caramel Cream Ale

"At 8.2% abv, it's definitely a beer made for snifters. If you enjoy the base Caramel Cream, this is going to be like a flourless chocolate cake to your cupcake. It has a mild and unassuming nose when it's cool, but that opens up to a rich sweet mouthfeel that's almost syrupy, but never cloying. The fresh vanilla hits through, and it's always nice to have that non-artificial vanilla extract flavoring, which can be tiresome in most other foods. It leaves a crisp and sweet flavor after each sip. Let this one warm up, too. As it warms, the butterscotch flavors come out to battle the vanilla."

Cafe Ole Espresso Porter

"There's a good roasted malt character that transitions to something akin to very bitter dark chocolate. The whole thing is a little dry, with no overpowering hop flavor. All of the bitterness seems to concentrate on accentuating the coffee aspects rather than anything hop-like.

The mouthfeel was a little thin, but the carbonation was spot on. It's coffee as a beer."

Follow #FloridaBeerFriday for more reviews of Sunshine State brews.

Get out there and #DrinkLocal.

Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers, and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Instagram.

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