Orange Blossom Cream Ale

Discovered an unusual new beer this weekend: Orange Blossom Cream Ale from Buffalo Bill’s Brewery. I was expecting a light, slightly fruity cream ale—a good summertime beer—and was pleasantly surprised to find that the "Orange Blossom" part of the name is quite literal: there’s a strong sweet aroma and flavor of oranges in this beer.

As fruit beers go, orange is rare. Not orange peel, which you’ll often find with coriander in Belgian ales, but orange flavor itself. Part of this is simply because citrus fruits (the acid in them) don’t play well with the other ingredients in beer. The other part is that it’s just hard to strike a good balance trying to marry a flavor like orange into a beer.

Overall, it works here though. The ale is golden amber in color, and very clear. There was a decent head that dissipated quickly. The aroma is charming; very strong orange blossom (obviously), orange peel, and sweet orange (fruit). The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, well done for the style (it is a cream ale, after all); it’s nicely carbonated without exploding in your mouth.

It’s the flavor that stands out. Hints of the bitterness of the orange peel, and the surprising sweet orange flavor that the reviewers on the BeerAdvocate review variously described as "orange push-up pops," "Sunkist orange soda," "orangeade," and "orange cream soda." I’ll mostly agree with those assessments, though I thought the floral notes and malt are there too.

I rather like it. Not something I could drink a bunch of in one sitting, but it’s pleasant, different, refreshing. It’s a good summertime beer but I think it could also work well as a holiday ale, around Christmas time, maybe paired with fruitcake. Now there’s a thought… yum.

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