Hurricane Ian unexpectedly ravaged the west coast of Florida in late September of 2022. Floridians, always being a group that is no stranger to both receiving disasters and mobilizing to help clean up after them, immediately sprang into action.
I found out about this when I got a phone call from Matt Berg at Riptide Brewing in Naples. He had been in communication with Dave Lester, brewmaster at Unseen Creatures in Miami, about a beer that they wanted to create to help raise funds for those that were affected in Lee and Collier counties.
This was a similar concept that had been pioneered by Sierra Nevada when they made Resilience, an open source beer recipe that was free for brewers to use, provided that profits from the beer then went back to assist organizations helping a specific cause. In the case of Resilience it was the Camp Fire in California wildfire in 2018. Since then, it’s also been replicated for beers like Curtain Up, Black Is Beautiful, and so on.
That was the inspiration behind the methodology of Florida Strong (Hazy IPA, 6.5% ABV).
The first recipe was written by Dave Lester and brewed at Unseen Creatures with the help of a lot (and I mean a lot) of Brewers from South and Southwest Florida. It’s amazing, the label art reads like a who’s who of some of the biggest names in the region.
Dave also created a website for interested brewers to get the recipe, the very simple and clean label art, and information on who to donate and how to prove the donation occurred so that way he can continue to get the word out to others.
As a beer, it was created to be deceptively simple and very approachable. It’s basically a base malt of two row with some flaked oat, which gives the beer a wonderful creaminess and smooth texture.
As an aside, I never thought of putting oats in a Hazy IPA, and I can see the positives in that. Usually oat tends to be reserved for Stouts where that particular adjunct is heavily advertised as an ingredient. This is a departure from that practice, and very well deserved.
Mosaic in the world pool, Citra, Mosaic, and Cashmere as a dry hop. This beer does a wonderful job of bringing out the citrus flavors of the Mosaic and Citra, plus the soft floral complexities of Cashmere, to a very tasty finish.
Hopefully your local brewery is interested in participating or has already done so. The recipe is relatively easy to be played with, which is exactly what Dave Lester intended. Proceeds will go to some very well deserved causes and, at the end of the day, it’s just a good beer.
But we will get there, Florida always perseveres in the darkest of times. And when it’s over, we will have another beer.
Drink Florida Craft,
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