Lake James Ice
Fonta Flora Brewery
A Note on This Beer
Beers from Fonta Flora Brewery rarely leave North Carolina, but it still seems like the entire craft universe is head over heels for this crew:
- They’re one of Thrillist’s 32 Hottest Breweries in America!
- Craft Beer & Brewing named them a Breakout Brewer!
- Their beers regularly land on ‘Best Of’ lists from Bloomberg, Gear Patrol, Hop Culture, and Forbes, just to name a few.
And, what better way to check out the hype than through a tasting flight? That’s why today, we’re bringing you a curated bundle of three Fonta Flora brews!
With this well-rounded set of different styles, you’ll get a quick, comprehensive taste for why everyone’s flipping for Fonta Flora. Here’s what you have to look forward to:
Lake James ICE (Heritage Corn Lager) - 6.5% ABV x 2 cans
As with any tasting, it’s best to start with the lightest, cleanest beer and work your way up. That’s why we suggest beginning your Fonta Flora revelation with Lake James ICE.
To make this ultra-crushable Lager, the brewers mashed locally sourced two-row barley and three varieties of heritage corn. Then, they upped the ante with decoction — an old-world technique that adds depth through separating and boiling just a portion of the mash before returning it to the main brew. Finally, they gave the beer a sparkling texture through “spunding,” a process that re-captures all of the CO2 expelled during fermentation.
The extensive and arduous methods are so worth it — every sip is unimaginably crisp, quenching, and rife with smooth-flowing notes of fresh masa coated in sweet n’ zesty Key lime juice. Its impressive ABV for the style makes it an ideal Lager for wintertime, too!
Oak Stand (Schwarzbier) - 6.5% ABV x 2 cans
Next up in your tasting flight, we recommend Oak Stand. This Schwarzbier is similar in gravity to Lake James ICE, but has a bewitching kiss of darkness.
Fonta Flora paired up with their friends at Home Place Beer in nearby Burnsville, NC to make this quaffable Dark Lager. Mashed with locally sourced barley and specialty grains, it takes on a blackness that flows with flavors of roasted hazelnuts and dried fruit leather.
That’s not all — the brewers steeped the beer on white oak, harvested right from their very own Whippoorwill Farm property! This imparted distinct notes of vanilla and soft, woody tannins to the brioche-like malty backbone. And the mouthfeel is ultra-crushable and bubbly-dry, thanks to the brewers’ use of spunding.
Hulihee (Rye IPA) - 7.2% ABV x 2 cans
Last in the lineup should be Hulihee, Fonta Flora’s Hazy Rye IPA. Hopped like a New England IPA but drinkable as a West Coast crusher, this tasty hybrid can hang whenever, wherever.
To craft it, Fonta Flora mashed locally sourced barley and rye grain malts for a soft and silky mouthfeel punctuated by subtly spiced, bready notes. Then, they hit the brew with loads of Simcoe and Mosaic Hops, imbuing every sip with peach sorbet flavors. Finally, they double dry hopped it with more of those same hops for whole new layers of grapefruit and earthy pine!
From start to finish, Hulihee is a heck of a good time. It sits pretty at 7.2% ABV, though there’s almost no notion of it in the taste. Which is probably for the best — if you’ve already gone through the previous two brews, this is definitely the one to close the show!
We hope you’ll have as much fun tasting through these special beers as we did! Outside of North Carolina, experiencing a diverse Fonta Flora portfolio like this is pretty much impossible.
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Unfortunately the key lime juice was too subtle for my pallet, and the spunding process didn't create the unique mouthfeel I was hoping for. This left me with a very drinkable, if not unremarkable, lager. On a more positive note, the 6.5% ABV was a pleasant surprise and it paired quite well with some homemade pizza.
Nice & light, easier drinker
Malty and lightly vegetal up front, then settles into toast, almond and wheat flavors. Finishes crisp and sweet, super drinkable.
Complex lager. Grainy shifting to bready shifting to sweet malts then onto biscuit and a little toastiness. Mild herbal happiness throughout, but no clean hip bite. Places emphasis on the malts. Love this lager
Cornflake taste is overwhelming at times
You can tell a lot of work went into this brew! Nice winter lager.
Pleasant light caramel/biscuit aroma. Well balanced. I'll have another.
Light and refreshing, but lacked that something special
Very good with my pizza
Sadly i didnt receive this, despite ordering. I got a shandy instead, which was great! I give this a 5 in good faith and as a beer lover
Hard to imagine a better lager - excellent flavor profile with the perfect weight. Drinkable but with plenty of zest (carbonation) and not filling.
Yes a lager. Refreshing but not memorable
Light & refreshing lager
Nice basic lager. Easy drinking.
Good, but not great.
Tastes like old socks
Shows multiple sweet grain flavors, corn, almost honey hint. Crisp texture in a light effervescent body. Drinks really well.
This is the definition of clean and crisp