Beer of the Week: Bad Jimmy’s Blood Orange And Honey Wheat Ale

By Iron Chef Leftovers

1398797369618I always temper my expectations when it comes to beers involving blood oranges. Blood oranges are one of my favorite flavors, but when it comes to putting them into beers, you either get so much blood orange flavor that the beer is completely overwhelmed or so little blood orange flavor that it is barely noticeable. As a result of this, I had some apprehension about trying the blood orange and honey wheat from Bad Jimmy’s. The beer clocked in at a hefty 6.5% ABV and 20 IBU.

The beer pours light hazy pale in color with light notes of honey and blood orange peel with hints of wheat in the background. The beer starts out with a light, slightly astringent, bitterness from the blood orange peel before becoming gradually sweeter, first from the blood orange juice and then from the honey before fading out. There are very light grain and orange notes ion the finish, but the beer is lacking much in the way of actual wheat character which is strangely lost despite the lack of bold flavors from the honey or orange. The beer lacked balance and missed out on the chance to elevate itself with a great paring of ingredients.

Bad Jimmy’s Blood Orange And Honey Wheat Ale harvests just 2 combines out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Alameda My Bloody Valentine

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Alameda Brewing is a long-time fixture on the Portland beer scene but only available in bottles in the Seattle market in the last couple of years. Seeing as I am a sucker for anything blood orange, My Bloody Valentine caught my eye in a trip to Chuck’s. After much debate, I decided that my love of saison and blood orange overrode the $17.59 price tag on the 22 oz. bottle.

From the Alameda website:

This farmhouse style Saison is dry, citric, tart, spritzy, and incredibly drinkable. The orange essence comes from the use of dried orange peels and blood orange juice. 21 IBU, 5.5% ABV.

valentine-bottleThe beer is surprisingly dark for a saison, almost tan in color with a cream colored head. Notes of Belgian yeast, blood orange, grains of paradise, lemon and grain dominate the nose with just a hint of noticeable hops. The beer starts off with significant farmhouse character – slightly sweet and funky with just a few grassy notes and touches of lemon interspersed, followed by a nice grain middle and a slightly bitter hop bite before finishing with notes of blood orange and light citrus and grassy notes in a long finish with a mild lingering bitterness. The blood orange becomes more pronounced as the beer warms, especially on the finish, replacing some of the bitterness at the end with a touch of sweetness.

This beer was very good and I would recommend it if it wasn’t for one thing – the price. It is an excellent saison and definitely had great character and balance, but the price tags is a bit off putting – unless you really love saison or really want to try this beer, you probably aren’t going to spend $17 for it, which causes it to lose a point in the ranking.

That being said, Alameda My Bloody Valentine comes in and shoots up the joint with a bullet ridden 3 Tommy Guns out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Elysian Superfuzz Blood Orange Pale

By Iron Chef Leftovers

fuzzI am a sucker for blood orange anything – I just really love the flavor. Back during the Beers of the Apocalypse series, Elysian brewed a blood orange IPA that was outstanding, so I couldn’t wait to try their blood orange pale ale – Superfuzz. The beer was available on tap and in 22 oz. bottles; the review is for the bottled beer.

The beer pours hazy orange in color, reminiscent of a hefe it is so cloudy, with lots of grain and malt on the nose coupled with hints of orange and orange zest. The beer tastes much milder than I was expecting with light grain quickly transitioning in to like orange and very little hint of hops. The orange does linger for a long period of time, finally finishing slightly sweet before fading quickly with an ever so slight bitterness. The beer lacked dimension – it had a dominant orange flavor but lack any supporting cast to go with it and probably could have used a bit more aggressive hopping or more citrus peel as some bitterness would have cut the sweetness and grain notes. I feel like this beer was drinking a hefe rather than a pale ale, so I was expecting more depth of flavor from the beer.

Elysian Superfuzz flashes back with a disappointing 2 bell bottoms out of 5.

Ed. Note: I did try this beer on tap and thought it was much better (don’t have tasting notes though). I so I picked up a second bottle and retasted it. Here is what I came up with:

The second bottle had a huge amount of sediment in the bottle. Light notes of citrus and hops on the nose with mild hints of citrus oil and grain supporting it. The beer starts off with a mild bitter component of orange peel before moving quickly into the pale ale, grain and hops and finishing quickly with notes of burnt orange and orange juice. The blood orange component is there, just more on the back of the palate as the beer fades out. It was better than the first bottle but not as good as the beer on tap, so the redux does a little better with 3 huggy bears out of 5.

The moral of the story? If you want to drink Superfuzz, do it on tap. You will be happier for it.

Beer of the Week: Reuben’s Blood Red Orange Rye

By Iron Chef Leftovers

untitled2There are very few flavors that I love more than blood orange, but the track record in having beers that included it are spotty. Some have been good (Elysian) and some not so good (also Elysian).  I was excited when Reuben’s decided to do one as part of a Seattle Beer Week event – their track record on beers has been outstanding and if anyone was going to do it right, it was going to be them. So I rushed down to the brewery to try the beer.

The beer poured more pink than red, almost the color of pink grapefruit juice. Lots of mild citrus and grapefruit juice dominated the nose, reminding me of something that I could not quite place. The initial taste was slightly tart and sweet with mild fruit character. There were definite notes of blood orange in this beer but it completely overwhelmed the rye, no easy task, to the point of having to really look for it on the finish. The beer lacked balance and integration of flavors making it more like drinking fruit juice than beer as the hops and rye character of the beer were almost completely lost. It was still an interesting enough beer to be worth trying and probably could have used a bit more bittering from hops to balance out the sweetness of the blood orange and to add more depth, but it definitely falls into the miss category for Reuben’s, which was bound to happen at some point.

Maybe my expectations clouded my judgment on this beer, but it could have used more beer character and less fruit character to make it more interesting.

Reuben’s Blood Red Orange Rye peels out of the picture with a disappointing 2 sour oranges out of 5.