First things first, I’m an FSU grad, so I am required by law to hate Gainesville. It’s not like there aren’t a lot of good things coming out of there (because there are), and UF is a fine school. But it’s encoded on my DNA that I shudder every time someone puts blue and orange together.
I know that sometime soon I will have to get over it, set foot into Hogtown, and try some breweries there. Other people have, but no one ever brings me beer. The most I’ve ever gotten was a pint glass from First Magnitude, a destination brewery in downtown Gainesville.
There are actually two inspirations behind the name First Magnitude, both of which are reflected in the brewery’s sirene logo. First, freshwater springs that release over 100 cubic feet of water per second are given the designation First Magnitude, the largest classification of springs possible. Florida has at least 27 First Magnitude springs, many in Central and North Florida.
Stars are also given magnitudes, and the brightest star seen on any given night is considered the First Magnitude. 22 different stars will be, at some point in the year, the First Magnitude star in the night sky over Florida.
Both of those (but especially the springs) were the inspiration for the team that created First Magnitude, especially brewmaster John Denny. The springs in particular inspired First Magnitude’s first canned release, 72 Pale Ale (Pale Ale, 5.6% ABV).
It’s not a year. 72 is the temperature, in Fahrenheit, of the water that comes from the springs from which the brewery gets its name. It’s pretty fitting for FM’s first can, and it makes for a great beer as well.
72 Pale Ale is brewed with a trio of American two-row, Munich, and Crystal malts, then hopped (and dry hopped) with Chinook, Cascade, and Centennial hops. Those malts really shine, and give the beer a light sweetness, but also perfectly control the bitterness of the hops.
What is left is a light floral bouquet expertly perched on top of a bready bed of malt, exceptionally sessionable and incredibly approachable for most beer drinkers. I’m not sure when it will happen, but I’m very interested in trying more from First Magnitude. And the beer is good enough that I might forgive them for brewing in Gainesville.
Drink Florida Craft,