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're going to be sampling from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company's Beer Camp box, which features a collaboration brew from Florida's Cigar City Brewing Company called Yonder Bock, a tropical maibock.
Beer Camp Across America was an ambitious project from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, in which they sought to use their power as the second largest brewer in the country to help spread the love of smaller, more regionalized breweries to the masses. What came out was a twelve-pack that served as a veritable introductory course to American craft beer.
Lucky for us Floridians, we get to shuffle over to a Publix and snag six-packs of Cigar City Brewing's beer whenever we damn well please; but for the rest of the country, it can be a hassle. Even so, the inclusion of our home-grown talent in CCB was a welcome addition to the case.
For this project, the Tampa-based brewery decided to produce a tropical influenced maibock. Now, a maibock is a sub-style of bock, a traditional German beer, and will characteristically be found with a "moderate to strong malt aroma, often with a lightly toasted quality", according to the style gurus at the Beer Judge Certification Program. Notable traditional commercial versions of a maibock include Ayinger Maibock, Hacker-Pschorr Hubertus Bock, and the American Victory St. Boisterous.
Cigar City's version comes to us with a variety of unique flavor enhancers. Normally, a maibock will be hopped with Noble hops, such as Hallertau, Tettnanger, Spalt, and Saaz. Instead, Cigar City has chosen to go their usual experimental ways and has picked Calypso, Azzaca (a fairly new one with an alpha acid in the range of 14 to 16% and noted to have flavors of Fresh citrus, tangerine, mango, grapefruit, piney, spicy, pineapple), and Experimental Hop #366. What comes out is this amazingly tropical forward maibock.
In typical Cigar City fashion, this beer is in a can, and joins Oskar Blues' entry as one of two that are cans in the pack. It pours a gorgeous orange-copper color and is perfectly clear with a thick head that dissipates at a medium pace.
The aroma is heavy on tangerine, candied orange peel, mango, and some buttery caramel. I love this aroma. It keeps me smelling again and again.
Flavor-wise, there is some pithy orange and toffee up front, which transitions to a mix of candied malt sweetness and hop bitterness. There is some lingering bitter flavors, definitely in the fruity areas as opposed to piney or resinous. It finishes long, so if you're sipping, you'll get the beer flavor for quite a while in between. Carbonation and body are moderate and fit well in the style.
Overall, I'm impressed with this entry in Beer Camp, as I've found that the eight other beers I've had so far have been of a decent quality with only one or two stand outs in terms of originality or hitting a style out of the park. As a twist on the style, this tropical maibock is on par with one of the best in the case. Hopefully my Florida-centric bias isn't coming too much into play here.
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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.