Saturday Night Blue Collar Brew Review

I decided to cruise some other beer selling establishments in town just to compare prices and brand availability. I had a particular beer in mind from the Flying Dog Brewery which I heard about on Craft Beer Radio. We have three decent beer stores here in Morris: the beloved MBS, Four Seasons and Feeney’s. I ducked into Four Seasons to check ’em out. The last time I was in there, they had a pretty good selection of Flying Dog beers, but alas, the kind I wanted wasn’t there.

I started scanning their craft beer shelves and they have a few beers I hadn’t seen at the MBS. One in particular stood out. Hmm. I started to think about our own homebrew which is still fermenting while we speak. It’s a wheat beer recipe that my son came up with and for a kicker, he added three pounds of frozen/thawed peaches. It aspires to be a peach-wheat beer, the likes of which neither of us have had so far.

orange blossom sixWith the thought of all that fruit in our brew, one beer on the shelf sounded interesting. It was Orange Blossom Cream Ale from Buffalo Bill’s Brewery, brewed and bottled by Pyramid Brewing Co. for Buffalo Bill’s in Hayward, California. I’m sort of preparing myself for the anticipated taste of our own beer. In addition, the Pyramid Apricot Ale I thought was pretty good. I picked up the orange sixer, paid the $7.99 and moseyed out.

Beer time hit amidst a warm night and the Manly Garage was inundated with presumably freshly hatched bugs. I tried to decide what kind of glass to drink this orange cream ale out of, but I really didn’t want to validate this beer by using a pint glass, lager glass or any other. Hmm. How about a Coke glass? Nah. It’s still called a beer and it has an ABV so I chose my old pal, the beer mug.

I poured the beer straight into the glass instead of tilting it and the whitish foam came up about four inches worth. The contents of the mug showed a somewhat cloudy brew with lots of micro-bubbles rising slowly. I had to wait a bit before I could stick my beak into the glass. I finally got a whiff and the aroma was that of a sweet orangey-citrusy flavor. I hope this isn’t another fruit juice beer. Let’s have a taste.

orange blossom glassOdd. The beer is very mild and didn’t taste like beer at all, nor did it taste like fruit. A little spiciness clung to the outsides of my tongue and I wondered just what the hell this tasted like. The beer is an easy drinker and it goes down nice and smooth., but that little twinge of spiciness (orange peel?) put a jab in the swallow. It’s almost like that sharp bit of hoppiness that an IPA has but nowhere near the same level of intensity. But is it creamy? I don’t really get that. It’s smooth to be sure, but creamy? Not so.

By the time the glass was half empty, the foam had dissipated to a small white ring around the outside surface. I forgot about the fact that most if not all fruit beers have little to no head retention. But the carbonation was still slowly going to town inside the glass.

By the second bottle, the orange flavor came full front. The tanginess subsided a bit. Does it taste like Orange Crush? No. Is it as intense as that Michelob Wild Blue blueberry beer? No again. This is about 65/35 blend of orange versus beer flavors. It might be considered a lawnmower beer, but I think that after two or three, the orange would start to wear on ya as it did on me.

My recommendations: pick up a sixer on the way to a patio-pool party where you and your lady will mingle with other couples. Try one beer for yourself, then pass your glass around to the ladies for sample sips. Then leave the rest for them. Move on to something a little more familiar. With hair on it.

orange blossom logoThe SixPackTech ratings for Orange Blossom Cream Ale are:

Taste: B- > Fireworks all in orange for just a little while.
Smoothness: B- > The orange grabs a hold of your tongue and doesn’t let go.
Drinkability: C > Tolerable up to maybe three.
Bang for the buck: C > Eight bucks, what can I say?
ABV: 5.2%
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: Oh you can smell the orange. Yeah, I can taste the orange but it’s not a sweet one. That’s actually pretty good. It’s not heavy on the orange but it’s there. I kinda like this. Thought it’d be creamier though. (Yep. The ladies will love this one.)

orange blossom specialorange blossom specialjohnny cash

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5 Responses to Saturday Night Blue Collar Brew Review

  1. fretwalker says:

    I recently waded through Flying Dog’s sampler 12-pack, 2 bottles each of their regular year-round beers. I thought all of them were underachievers in their styles. I found the IPA was the best of the bunch, and I know how you like IPAs! I haven’t tried the premium offerings, like the Gonzo Imp. Porter; since I wasn’t impressed by their everyday beers, why should I?

  2. fcgrabo says:

    What I was looking for was Kerberos, a Tripel. Never had a tripel, a dubbel or a quadrupel.

    And I’m getting tired of these sweet beers I’ve been having. I think I’ll try something dark next week.

  3. fretwalker says:

    Goose Island Pere Jaques is pretty darn close to a dubbel in style, and not bad for an american brewery. Best trippel in north america is La Fin du Monde, from Unibroue (pron. uni-brew) in Quebec. For a Quad, try Ommegang Three Philosophers. For belgian ales in general, though, trappist monks in Belgium are still the world champs!.

  4. fcgrabo says:

    I was reading about Fin du Monde (The End of the World) just today. Maybe the future road trip will get me some.

  5. fretwalker says:

    After yesterday’s comments, it struck me that I hadn’t visited the End of the World in quite some time… good excuse for a Beer Run!

    Even better than I remembered; this brew’s flavor has more facets than I have adjectives. World’s best tripel? Perhaps not; top 4, definitely. Factor in the price, it is #1. If I ever sail off the edge, I know what’s in my flagon!

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