Say what you will to mock the State of Florida, and there’s plenty to mock these days, but there is some amazing stuff here. Some of which continues to surprise even me.
And when I got my can of today’s beer, I was going to go into either the song reference (come on, you know you’re singing it) or talk about Indian food.
But knowing that Gainesville’s First Magnitude Brewing made Once Bitten Twice Chai (Amber Ale, 5.8% ABV) with ingredients from Yaupon Bros., it led me down a rabbit hole I was not expecting to take.
According to Yaupon Bros., yaupon is the leaf of the Yaupon Holly tree, an herb that has been brewed and consumed in the region for over eight thousand years. It is the only naturally caffeinated plant to grow in North America, and only found in the region between Virginia and Texas, down south to Florida.
At least to Edgewater, where Yaupon Bros. grows, harvests, and prepares their yaupon leaves for a wide variety of teas. One of those teas is Florida Chai, and I am a big fan of chai teas, so I was pretty excited. That was the tea that First Magnitude used to make this amazing beer.
Along with Florida Chai Yaupon tea, they also used oranges and vanilla, and this combination creates one of those most amazing Amber Ales I’ve experienced.
The aroma has a lot of bright and bubbly herbaceous notes, plus the tinges of whole leaf, freshly dried, fragrant spices. This is further accentuated with light punches of citrus.
The flavor really starts to open up once you warm the beer up a little bit. Once that occurs, you get huge notes of cinnamon and chocolate, with a very interesting piquant spicy kick that I can assume comes from the yaupon. As it is a flavor I am not familiar with, it is something I would definitely love to try more.
Once those subside, the vanilla really starts to take hold and brings a lot of those sweet spicy notes of cinnamon and coriander home. It is an amazingly complex beer, and there seems to be a little bit new every time you taste it.
It appears there are some new fresh from Florida tastes out there I need to try. Hopefully I can find some yaupon teas in the near future.
Drink Florida Craft,
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