The opening salvo of winter had hit our area from late night Friday into Saturday afternoon. Total snow accumulation was about 4 to 5 inches. As usual, the side streets were the last on the list for the plows to hit. I was in no mood to slosh down I-80 to Joliet for beer. I’d have to make do locally.
I slowly trucked my way to the Four Seasons beer store a few minutes away and started searching the shelves and coolers. There was a new beer that I had seen before elsewhere earlier and I looked for it here in town. It was either new or new to the area from Flying Dog. The beer was their Bloodline Blood Orange Ale.
My first thoughts were that the beer was either some version of a red ale or maybe a beer made with orange flavoring, a Category 20 fruit beer. I was up for any and all of that. It would do. I paid the man and left for home to do some Googling.
Brewers are always pushing the envelope on flavors and nudging the beer style guidelines in all directions it’s never been nudged before.
Either this beer would be an adventure in taste, or miss the mark and fall flat on its face. I was ready to embark on that adventure.
Let’s dive in.
The beer poured a nice clear yellow-orange but in the glass was a cloud of very light clouds of sediment like the gas clouds on Jupiter. It was almost as if the beer was bottle conditioned. The head came up about two fingers and was pure white. I couldn’t discern any carbonation bubbles in the translucency of the liquid. The aroma was that of a hoppy IPA.
The first sip was a bit odd. The beer had a medium-light mouthfeel and overall, tasted like an IPA but there was something else going on. I’m sure it’ll come to me soon. There was a very slight bit of sweetness at the front, but at the back, that’s where the stuff was happening. In these initial sips, it seemed as if the beer was taking on the taste characteristics of a citrus fruit.
The hop flavors were masked by the taste of the malt and the mystery flavor. I was thinking that it reminded me a bit of a Ruby Red grapefruit taste. Maybe that was the blood orange connection.
The overall taste of the beer was quite pleasant and I kept going back for more and more sips at an increasing interval just to experience that mysterious fruity flavor. The flavor of unidentifiable citrus hops gave a slight rasp at the swallow. The more I sipped, the more I liked this beer. Fruity and hoppy at the same time. Simultaneously. Together. Etc.
The brewers may have gotten wind of Grapefruit Sculpin and decided to try their hands at making a distinctively fruity IPA. And, Frankly speaking (pfft!) this has more of a fruity taste than Sculpin.
I’d say the hop varieties used were along the citrus end of the taste spectrum rather than the tropical fruit end. The hops balanced well with the malt body. More piney and grassy rather than earthy and resinous. Words simply can’t do this flavor justice. You must taste it for yourself.
Blood Orange is not an in-your-face hyper IPA. It’s a story of taste that unfolds sip by sip. Truly tasty and enjoyable. Try some for yourself. It’s available year round.
The SixPackTech summary for Flying Dog Bloodline Blood Orange Ale:
Taste: Odd at first then mysteriously delicious.
Smoothness: A little fruity with a slightly raspy swallow.
Drinkability: I found it hard to get tired of the taste.
Bang for the buck: On a par with other IPAs.
Amount paid: $10.99 per sixpack of 12-ounce bottles.
Get it again? Yes, I think I will.
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: (Sniff) I smell orange. (sip)… ?… (sip) Actually not bad. (sip) Not bitter, a little dry. (sip) Almost like a Ruby Red. (Bingo! She’s back with us once again.)
Tasting Notes: Bloodline – Blood Orange Ale [1:29]