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.
This week, we look at a self-described beer "curiosity" in the form of Due South Brewing Co.'s inaugural entry in its Curiosity Series, a range of beers that aims to push the Boynton Beach brewery's brewing envelope.
"For our first release in the Curiosity Series," the company stated, "we started with our Imperial Caramel Cream Ale and incorporated the flavors and aromas of Florida oranges and maple syrup for a unique flavor profile we've never tasted anywhere before."
It's a flavor combination that I haven't tasted before either. Having debuted at the Extreme Beer Fest in Boston this year, Due South decided to make it again, and this time put it into cans as well as tap it out of the taproom.
The beer pours a color as similar to the base Imperial Caramel Cream (previously reviewed), replete with a lingering off-white head. The aroma smacks at the senses with maple syrup and orange juice. It's like a pile of pancakes was dunked in a bowl of Tropicana.
The flavor is complicated. It begins with a strong orange juice and creamsicle-like taste that quickly changes into Caramel Cream Ale toffee and caramel flavors. It ends kind of dry and a bit more bitter than the original Imperial version. The bitterness isn't really earthy or floral but more pithy and grainy. The carbonation and body are appropriate, especially given the gravity of this beer, which stands at 8.2 percent alcohol by volume.
Overall, it's a welcome experiment from the team in Palm Beach County and could be a hit or miss for tasters. I talked to some people who enjoyed it and others who could go through only their one glass. Personally, its flavors push themselves around too quickly for me to settle down to enjoy their different aspects.
I'll still be looking forward to what beers these talented brewers come up with in the future.
Maple Orange Imperial Caramel Cream is available on tap and in 12-ounce cans packaged in a convenient four-pack.
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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.