Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Buckbean Original Orange Blossom Ale review

Buckbean Original Orange Blossom AleI came home to a wonderful surprise tonight - a package from a brewery! I always get excited to get packages like that especially when the package contains some beer. Now this wasn't just any beer, it was from a relatively new brewery in Nevada called the Buckbean Brewing Company of Reno, Nevada. Apparently Buckbean Brewing is only the 2nd microbrewery in Nevada currently and any chance I get to try a new brews from a brewery I jump on it.

Buckbean was kind enough to send me a sampler of their canned beers. Two sets of two different canned beers. The first of which I'm reviewing tonight, their Original Orange Blossom Ale. This is classified on BeerAdvocate as an Amber ale but I'd call it more of an herbal pale ale.

Appearance: The Orange Blossom Ale (O.B.) poured a light copper color with a small 1 finger tall white head. When I poured the beer into the glass it sounded like a fizzy carbonated soda with a lot of bubbles. It was certainly well carbonated. The head slowly melted into just a small white bead at the top. There was a small lacing that momentarily clung to the sides of the glass when swirled. The beer was cold and was slightly hazed when held up to the light.

Aroma: The aroma was truly original as it's name implied. This beer is brewed with Orange Blossom water which probably means that a ton of orange blossom flower pedals were soaked in the brewing water before heating. It has a very floral aroma with a hint of honey in the back. It was a smell that was both semi-sweet and bitter at the same time. It reminded me of an herbal tea smell with a tad bit of cut grass in the nose. The sweet aroma came out when I let the beer sit for a bit but disappears when you swirl it in the glass.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel of the O.B. Ale was creamy, smooth and slippery. It coated the tongue well and was medium bodied. It slid down my throat easily and left a slight coating.

Taste: The taste was different than any other beer I've had to date. I got an earthy, grassy and herbal flavor from this brew with just a touch of sweetness from the caramel malts and orange blossoms. You could imagine that there was a scraping of orange peel thrown in for good measure in this beer. The malts were blended well into this brew but were not as dominant as you might expect in an amber beer. The orange blossom water dominates here.

It took me a good 1/2 a glass to appreciate the uniqueness of this brew. Once again, another brewery has found that a beer could taste just as good if not better sealed in a can. These cans came in 16 oz sizes too! This beer tasted best cold right out of the fridge.

This is one of those beers where if you burp and let the gas come out through your nose you will get the full experience of the aroma. Wow. The taste of this beer really grows on you. At 5.8% ABV this brew would drink well as a session brew on a nice warm day. Today was in the low 70's here in Colorado which is rare for a March day and it went well for this pre-Spring day.

The American hops used in this beer gave a small citrusy whiff but was not as dominant as the orange blossoms. Don't be mistaken, this beer does not taste like an orange but rather has small hints of their blossoms and honey. I'm pleased to say I could easily drink this whole beer down with no problems. I look forward to having the 2nd beer of this later on.

If you're looking for a change of pace brew with a unique nose you probably will be pleasantly surprised by this beer. Get your nasal passages ready for a full experience as the orange blossoms will definitely deliver that to you. Don't be too quick to judge this beer. Let it open up to you and you'll thoroughly enjoy this one. Nice job Buckbean! I'll be sampling their Black Noddy Lager next.

Update Feb. 10, 2012: Reports are circulating that Buckbean Brewing Company is closing down due to "sluggish economy and higher-than-projected costs". If you like this beer, grab it on the shelves while you can. No more beer will be produced.

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