Understanding DeBary, Florida means understanding the St. John’s River.
It’s the longest river in the state, one of the few that flow north, and has been home to quite a few civilizations from the earliest Native tribes to scores of snowbirds today.
It’s also incredibly endangered, ranking as one of the most endangered rivers in America in 2008. Over the years, fertilizers, pesticides, wastewater, and other things have ended up in the river, causing damage to the fragile ecosystem it supports.
But there is some good news. Large preservation efforts are underway to restore and protect the river. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has started programs intended to protect and restore the river.
Other organizations, such as St. John’s Riverkeeper, use funding to accomplish goals such as environmental clean up, public outreach, and more.
And if you’re in DeBary this Saturday, April 2nd, you can go to the DeBary Beerfest at River City Nature Park. Breweries from all over the region will be there serving beers, playing disc golf, and the proceeds will directly benefit St. Johns Riverkeeper.
This event is hosted by DeBary’s new Central 28 Brewing and will, presumably, be featuring Up River (Pale Ale, 6% ABV, 50 IBU), their ode to the St. Johns and their first canned release.
If the river is anything like the beer, that is one supremely hoppy river.
Up River is almost perfectly a traditional IPA, and they style that I would almost consider a Florida Pale Ale – Moderately hoppy with a big citrus nose.
The beer had a hazy golden-orange color and pours with a heady mix of floral and earthy hop notes. But the floral goes away a bit in the flavor, and the citrus is prominent and tasty.
Somehow, brewmaster and co-owner Geoff DeBisschop made a juicy, full-flavored hoppy ale without an excessive biting bitterness. It’s quite the delicious beer, and hopefully the harbinger of good things to come from these new Central Florida brewers.
And we can hope for good things from the river as well.
Drink Florida Craft,