I have long since said that beer is art. And it’s always fun when the beer gets to collide with actual art.
Today, we talk about artist Stephen Spathelf. Originally from Ohio, Steven moved to Florida (specifically Pinellas County) over 30 years ago and brings his distinctive style to many homes and businesses in the area.
His signature subject are oranges, painted with a 3D tromp l’oeil style to make them appear to be bursting out of walls, doors, picture frames, and so on.
They are hard to miss in his current hometown of Dunedin Florida, a city known for being a center of Florida craft beer with breweries like 7venth Sun.
And it was 7venth Sun that decided to honor Steven and his oranges with Graffiti Orange (Wheat Ale, 5.9% ABV).
It’s practically a requirement for Florida breweries to make an orange beer, and always a good deal when you can find one as pleasant this. They used copious amounts of lactose while aging the beer on vanilla beans and orange zest.
What you end up getting is less like an orange-laced hefeweizen, and more like an orange milkshake. In fact the label, dotted liberally with Spathelf’s oranges, lists the beer is an orange creamsicle wheat ale.
It’s not too far off, to be honest. The color is a pale orange, and the aroma is definitely Citrus First and Citrus Always. The is a tiny Citrus hop zing, but it is very faint.
With the flavor, there’s definitely a bold bite of that orange zest. That’s what really comes up first.
After that, the vanilla rides a light and fluffy wheat malt wave, bringing a welcome sweetness to the bitterness that the rind carries. Most of that dissipates into a more sweet frutiness that’s brought forward with the orange. This is what tends to linger to the end.
It is a fantastically Florida beer, and it’s great that it honors a Florida artist with his own unique Florida Style. I’m all for orange beers, love them, and this is a welcome member to the core Florida Citrus beer lineup.
I’m not going to lie, though, I would love to get one of those orange paintings for my office.
Drink Florida Craft,
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