2009 Beers in Review-Best Beer #6

13 12 2009

The rest of our countdown will be good ol’ American beers. Yesterday, we suggested a good beginner’s Belgian. Today is a more advanced Belgian inspired beer.

Number 6 Best Beer of 2009

Orchard White-The Breury Placentia, CA

Photo Credit: Ratebeer.com

Belgian Witbier

Rate Beer Score: 89 Points

I grew up in Orange County, California, a wasteland whose additions to popular culture include Disneyland, televangelism, and Viagra. As far as California brewing culture went, The OC was a mere blip on the radar. A place where chain brew pubs could expand. Until now. The Bruery opened in Placentia only two years ago but they are already making waves. They are getting rave reviews, awards, and are consistently known as one of the best new breweries in America. Their innovative Belgian-inspired farmhouse ales show a lot of promise and I believe they will only get better. I have had a chance to try two of their beers and have been impressed both times. Of both beers I tried, I was very impressed by the Orchard White.

This beer pours smooth and creamy. A light and fluffy head explodes off the top giving a floral and fragrant nose that has apparent vanilla, gardenia, and lilac notes to it. The beer is spiced in the Belgian style with locally grown oranges and lavender and they stand out without being overpowering.

photo credit: Foodgps.com

The unfiltered wheat ale has beautiful cascades of white yeast that gives the golden body a lovely haze. The head dissipates quickly.

The mouthfeel is bloomy but dry, like brie rind. The use of rolled oats gives it a silky smooth back end that cuts the chalkiness of the front. It has a subtle citrusy bite to it from the use of orange peels and a fruity yeast strain. But it is balanced by the sweetness of the malts.

Christine and I had this for our anniversary with an assortment of soft cheeses and a fresh baguette. I would serve this again with a salad of baby spinach, goat chevre, dried cranberries, and a light vinaigrette. It is light and refreshing 5.7% ABV and the slim 15 IBUs. This would be ideal for a late spring or early summer evening.

The Bruery is a young company and their distribution is still growing. They have only been in DC for six months now. So finding them may be a challenge. However, I found their entire line at my local Whole Foods for about 12$ each. And I have since seen them at different  upscale wine and spirits stores. I also had the lucky opportunity to try their autumn maple seasonal. Made with yams and maple syrup, it tastes like Thanksgiving.  If you live in the greater Orange County area, I would recommend checking out the tasting room where they serve the entire line, the seasonals, an special small batches.

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One response

13 12 2009
Johnny Automatic

I am not the biggest Belgium-style beer fan. It is as big a trend out here as you report in DC. There are ones that I like such as most of Aligash & Unibroue’s stuff (still makes me think of someone with a unibrow). Still a lot of the other stuff is ” a good wort spoiled by a bad yeast”. I find that I enjoy most of the Bruery’s line on draft at the brewery, but less so in the bottle. The bottle stuff is different as it is finished in the bottle. I don’t know if that’s the difference or just the freshness factor. The delicacy of the floral and herbal elements benefit. I love the Autumn Maple! The thin, sour ones just aren’t my pint of beer.

They do some strange stuff here though. They’ve taken to making a Berliner Weiss in honor of one of their grandparents I think and they had White Zinfandel last time we were there. Not wine to appease the none beer drinkers as I first thought, but a beer brewed with the addition of blush zinfandel juice. That was an odd one. They say grain and grape don’t mix. I would concur in this case.

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