One of Benjamin Franklin’s most misquoted lines is also one of his most famous, and it’s about beer: Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
In truth, the quote is actually a paraphrase, and he was really talking about wine, but it’s one that Americans seem to agree with.
Beer remains America’s alcoholic drink of choice, with 47.5 percent of American’s favoring beer over wine or spirits, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.
And even though milliennials are less keen on beer than older generations, even they are helping to prop up smaller, independent brewers across the country.
The Brewers Association reported last year that the United States had more breweries than ever before – 4,144 in 2015.
In Florida, we have 151 craft breweries – ranking 11th in the nation.
So in honor of April 7, National Beer Day, we thought we would share some Florida beers that we love – nine of them, in fact.
And for those who are less fond of beers – we’re listing a couple Florida ciders too.
Pogo Red – Central 28 Brewery, DeBary
This has red ale has a nice fruity note that kind of masks that beery taste you get from time to time. If you’re not a big fan of beer, this may be a good one to try. We tried this one at Redlight Redlight Beer Parlour in Orlando, but Central 28 Beer Company does have tasting room hours at its DeBary facility, Wednesday through Saturday.
Beach Blonde Ale – 3 Daughters Brewery, St. Petersburg
This was a big favorite among our Tampa newsroom. It’s a citrusy blonde ale that, according to the brewery’s website, “brings the Florida coast to your palate.”
Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout – Rapp Brewery, Seminole
Rapp Brewery is an award-winning craft brewery in Pinellas County with lots of choices for enthusiasts, including this one, which sounds like it should be added to ice cream or something.
Tropic of Passion – Concrete Beach Brewery, Miami
Trust Miami to have a beer that’s a bit quirky. We tried this one at Redlight Redlight Beer Parlour in Orlando, but Tropic of Passion hails from the Concrete Beach Brewery. As you can imagine, this wheat ale gets its sweet taste from passion fruit and hibiscus flowers. It’s refreshing – if you like passion fruit.
Jai Alai – Cigar City Brewery, Tampa
No Florida beer list would be complete without at least one Cigar City listing. This is one of the top craft beer companies in the state, and you can find it pretty much anywhere. Cigar City says the India Pale Ale is the kind of beer England would send to its troops in India.
Magic Pils – Orlando Brewing Company, Orlando
A Twitter viewer suggested this beer from Orlando Brewing Company. It’s a light, German Pilsner. By the way, Orlando Brewing has a pumpkin ale still, and in October they’ll bring in “Chocolate Mint Girl Stout”… oooh.
Toasted Coconut Porter – Orange Blossom Brewing Company, Lakeland
Ever had, or heard of, Orange Blossom Pilsner? That was the beer that made Orange Blossom Brewing Company famous. This Orlando-born brewing company is now based out of an expanded facility in Lakeland, making more than just the OBP. Toasted Coconut Porter is seemingly light for a porter. The coconut gives it a more enjoyable taste for those who can’t handle a traditional porter.
Scotchy Scotch – Playalinda Brewing Company, Titusville
A brew Ron Burgundy might love. It's a malty strong ale. Playalinda in Titusville has a well-rounded menu of beers with quirky names that also includes "Strawbeery Blonde" and "Robonaut Red."
Cottonmouth – Swamphead Brewery, Gainesville
Our last ale is a Belgian-style witbier from Gainesville. It’s brewed in the Belgian style, but it’s from a brewery that should be known to beer-loving Gator fans. http://swamphead.com/our-beers/
Now, not everyone likes beer. Some prefer cider – and why not? Cider is delicious, and you can do great things with it. So here are two of our favorites.
Apple Pie – Cigar City, Tampa
It probably has less fat and calories than the real deal, with a just a bit of extra crispness. Cigar City’s Apple Pie Cider is a tasty treat for people looking for an alcoholic alternative.
Strawberry Hard Cider – Two Henrys Brewing, Plant City
In the strawberry winter capital of America, they use strawberries and other fruit any way you can imagine. Not only does this cider come highly recommended, but so do some of Two Henrys' other creations – like a blueberry jalapeno porter.