Florida is world famous for beautiful beaches and winding waters and just when another magazine comes out with a superlative list of the “Best of…” or “Top Ten…”, Florida turns up another surprise. Away from the water, Florida has another hidden treasure winding through little rivers and rolling hills: trails. From bike trails to hike trails and all manner of nature walks, Florida’s trails are a great way to visit the pieces of Florida that only explorers know, and one of the advantages to Florida’s state parks is that they generally allow for a restorative brew along the way.
What makes a good ale for the trails?
To match the outdoor wonders of the Sunshine State requires a beer that can handle itself outdoors. What kind of beer? Beers in cans are better since they are most recyclable, portable, and usually disposable within Florida’s parks. Lighter session-strength (5.5% ABV or less) beers are better because they aren’t going to slow anyone down with a big body or a high alcohol content. Finally, these canned beers will easily fit in a cooler, a bike’s drink holder, or even a backpack while day-tripping to one of Florida’s parks, springs, or waterfalls.
Here are a few ales that are built for Florida’s trails:
Orange Blossom Brewing’s Orange Blossom Pilsner (5.5% ABV) Few beers can advertise being Florida in a can, but OBP is one of them! This light-bodied, honey-sweetened ale boasts 2.3 teaspoons of orange blossom honey in each can. Their motto is “the bees need the work,” and the bees have certainly done a great job in this light and sweet nectar of a beer. The honey sweetness is light and refreshing after a day kayaking in the springs or exploring the woods on a hike.
Swamp Head Brewery’s Cottonmouth Belgian Witbier (5.0% ABV) Normally, coming across a Cottonmouth on a trail triggers caution, but no need with this crisp Belgian witbier from Gainesville. Swamp Head Brewery’s Cottonmouth is brewed with wheat, oats, orange, and coriander for light body, a citrusy sweetness, and the thirst-killing power of the city that invented Gatorade.
Schofferhoffer Grapefruit Hefeweizen (2.5% ABV) A wonderful balance of beer and citrus in every can of this pink wonder of a beer. So juicy that it could come from a grove, and yet light and bready like a wheat beer, Schofferhoffer’s Grapefruit Hefeweizen is the best of both worlds. Don’t let its color fool anyone, this lovable pink beer is as unique as it is thirst-quenching. The best part of this grapefruit goblet of deliciousness? Its 16oz cans fit perfectly into the mesh pocket of a backpack or cooler.
Sierra Nevada’s Otra Vez Gose-Style Ale (4.5% ABV) Light-bodied and invigorating, this gose-style ale is the perfect remedy for Floridian heat on a secluded trail. The gose style is a wheat beer brewed with salt and coriander, but Sierra Nevada takes it a step further by adding the tartness of lime and the sweetness of agave. The beer drinks like a margarita in a can! Twelve ounces of this ale is a match for any day exploring any of Florida’s former railroads that are now trails to explore.
Lagunitas Brewing’s 12th of Never Ale (5.5% ABV) Lagunitas Brewing founder Tony Magee once swore that he would never put beer in cans, and only on the 12th of Never would you see the Lagunitas Dog on a 12oz aluminum beer vessel. That all changed with 12th of Never – an IPA/ Pale/ Hoppy ale that brings 5.5% ABV, and pure lupulin goodness to make any trail a hoppy one. Plus, in new tallboy cans, they fit comfortably in the drink holder on the average bicycle.
(NOTE: Before heading out, make sure to check local laws and regulations whether beer is allowed where you’re planning to hike or bike.)
Enjoy a beer or two in Florida’s finest and unfrequented spots and refresh for the journey ahead with one of these light and thirst-quenching trail ales. Head over to our Beer Finder to find any of these or your next favorite beer.