Style: American Pale Ale Brewed with Mandarin Oranges
From: San Francisco, CA
Brewer’s Note: “Our American Extra Pale Ale is brewed with heaps of sweet Mandarin oranges from Blossom Bluff Farms and California two-row barley. We dry-hop with generous doses of aromatic Cascade, Columbus, Centennial, Simcoe and Galaxy hops and finish the beer with a hint of lightly toasted American oak. About the Farm: Located in sunny Reedly California in the San Joaquin Valley, Blossom Bluff Orchards produces a huge range of fruits throughout the year. In addition to being organic certified, the Loewen family is a member of California Clean, an organization started by Central Valley small family farmers committed to environmentally responsible farming. We use their Golden Nugget Mandarin Oranges to add a citrusy chorus to our aroma hops.”
The beer’s label is fairly similar to Almanac’s other Farm to Barrel/Bottle labels, and is visually appealing, while being informative and interesting. It is, of course, slightly cluttered, but it comes across elegant and interesting. This is another bottle to keep.
The beer pours a nice, softly hazy orange with touches of gold and yellow. A great foamy head of varying bubbles forms and then settles to about 3/4ths of a finger’s width above the beer with decent retention. The head leaves frothy strands of lacing alongside the glass in patches. In body, the beer has a light haze and definite miniscule particles floating in it. If I had to guess, I would say that a lot of the haze and particles come from the fresh orange in the beer.
On the nose, the beer smells of sweet malt and hops with a bright, candied citrus touch. Crackers and caramel bread blend with the citric hops and orange juice, and there is even a touch of fruit flesh in the smell. Unfortunately my bottle does show slight signs of age in the nose as well. On the tongue, the beer tastes citric sweet with touches of soft acidity, definite hop sweetness and tingles of bitterness on the middle of the sip and finish. The orange is doing some strange this alongside the beer. The bitter finish does build as you sip more and more of the beer. In flavor, the beer tastes of stale caramel malts, oxidized orange juice, lightly bitter aspirin, and grapefruit. I think the bottle is a little old, unfortunately. It made the journey from the West Coast. Due to this assumption I will not be giving the beer a rating. Needless to say, it was a bit off. In the mouth was on the light side of medium with a lightly sharp carbonation that gave the beer a nice crispness while the mouthfeel was snappy but with just a touch of syrupiness, kind of like the concentrate orange juice you mix with water and pour from a can. In fact, the main flavor I am getting is concentrate orange juice that you pour from a can. That is what this tastes like… Overall the beer was mediocre with an odd orange juice flavor. I would love to try this beer fresh to see what type of character the oranges provide, but as is the beer is a little stale and odd.