It's been a while since I've even tasted a beer by MobCraft. The Madison brewery is famous for crowdsourcing recipe ideas that often times transgress more style boundaries than Lady Gaga and involve so many herbs, spices, nuts, twigs, berries, and fruits that Rheinheitsgebot proponents are sent into apoplectic fits by merely contemplating the existence of such beers. I've had some MobCraft brews that I thought were almost, but not quite, entirely unlike beer. Others have been quite tasty. They say that absence makes the
heart grow fonder so I was rather keen on trying some MobCraft after a hiatus.
Orange You Glad?
won the vote back in February of this year and, I presume, was released in the spring. Described on the label as a "sour hefeweizen", it is really a Moreauvian concoction with a gose having been grafted onto a hefeweizen that is the half-sibling of a San Pellegrino. Its original name was apparently "Orange You Glad You Weren't Beat Up By a Banana?" with the orange on the label giving that right hook to a banana. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the federal folks that approve beer labels, nixed the initial one so the beer was rechristened and the banana was replaced by a door (?!) - kind of like how Stanley Kubrick CGI'd a bunch of shadowy voyeurs into the big orgy scene in Eyes Wide Shut
Orange You Glad? pours a very cloudy yellow. There were even some bits of sediment floating around in my glass. I'm not sure what they were but I have lived to tell the tale so, whatever they may have been, deleterious to one's health they were not. I got a goodly sized white head that looked like it belonged to a glass of 7-Up. The bubbles were large and POOF! Gone in a few seconds. There were also lots of bubbles in the beer itself going upwards and onwards.
On the nose I caught a moderate amount of lemony sour from the lactic acid bacteria, a lovely bit of blood orange fragrance, and some doughy/honey malt sweetness. On my first sip my tongue was accosted by the carbonation. It then latched onto a mild lemony tartness from the lacto and wheat. Faint but still discernable were orange zest, coriander, and some of the trademark hefeweizen esters that taste like banana. It was light and refreshing but merely passable with the carbonation almost overpowering the other flavors, none of which was particularly prominent.
I discovered that the secret here is to let the beer warm up a bit. This did not take too long in the 85° heat, I can assure you. It was like drinking a whole different beer. The carbonation struggled against the other flavors that had a newfound potency. Most pronounced was the revivified lactic sour which took on mouth puckering proportions. The fruity esters took their rightful place near the top of the flavor heap with the orange zest receiving a boost as well. Perhaps most tasteful to me was that the coriander went from being barely discernible to glaringly obvious. I enjoy coriander very much and thought it was in harmony here with the sourness and fruity flavors.
The beer finished dry with the sour trailing off leaving a slight blood orange tartness behind to meld with some mild Noble hop spiciness. Considering that the beer's head disappeared in no time flat, I was unsurprised that my glass was left ohne Schaumhaftvermoegen. Perhaps citric acid inhibits protein foam building. Or some such thing.
Once Orange You Glad? warms up a bit and reaches beerlibrium, it is a light, refreshing (5.4% A.B.V.) blend of fruity flavors complemented by sour and some spice. It's just a really nice mix. I do wish that I was able to taste the grains more, however. The emphasis here is clearly not on the malt but I do think it would have benefitted from a bit more of a bready base. Still, this was a rather tasty brew.
Junk food pairing: Orange You Glad? has a lot going on. Ergo you are going to want a junk food that is up to the test. I recommend some Cheez-It Extra Toasty crackers smothered in Sharp Cheddar Easy Cheese. I love the surplus Maillard reaction toasty goodness of the crackers and you get extra processed cheese food product to pierce the cornucopia of flavors in the beer.
Labels: Beer, Hefeweizen, MobCraft, Sour