One of my earliest craft-beer memories from my journey into better beer, was seeing a tap handle that was an orange. I don’t know why I was so enamoured by it, but I was. It was, of course, the tap handle for Great Lakes Orange Peel Ale. While I have always loved that handle, Orange Peel Ale and I grew apart. I got uppity and “didn’t like fruit beers” and was a “hop-head”. Thankfully, I continued to grow, and now am open to pretty well every style. So when I was offered a glass of Orange Peel Ale at a party earlier this year, I gladly accepted. I was expecting something malty, with a nice tart orange juice flavour. What I got was a surprise. It was bitter and hoppy. The orange influence was it’s bitter peel, not its fruity juice. It was snappy and crisp, not at all cloying. I didn’t hesitate to have a few more. I decided then, that I needed to get more of it, and give this beer a fair review.
From a 650ml silk-screened bomber, Orange Peel Ale pours a clear honey orange. About 1″ of foamy head drops to a dense layer that is well-supported by a decent carbonation. Aroma is a great balance of sweet malts, bitter orange peel, and floral hops. Very clean and bright. Taste is immediately a slightly sweet burst of malts, followed by a big shot of orange peel, and big floral hops that now have a touch of earthiness to them. The finish is nicely dry, with a clean bitter linger from the hops and orange peel. It’s not at all “juicy” and is definitely not a sweet fruit beer. It is a solid golden ale, though I would even call it an American pale ale, with it’s big citrusy/floral hops. An amazing summer fruit beer, especially if you generally stay away from fruity/sweet varieties. I’m really glad to have come back to this beer. I’m not sure if I’ve grown-up, it has, or a bit of both, but I really really dig it.
Cheers to Great Lakes!
Buy Orange Peel Ale
Currently available at the LCBO #615633, and at the brewery retail store in Etobicoke, also keep an eye out for it at bars around Toronto.
Drink It With
Spicy glazed BBQ pork chops, done up while wearing a Hawaiian shirt and listening to Jimmy Buffet. Serious. Cheese is a bit tricky, between the citrus and hops; maybe a nice sharp goat’s cheese? Try a few and let me know what works for you!
About The Brewery
Our small-batch brewing process allows us to carefully blend only the finest all natural ingredients to produce our award-winning beers. Our water, hops, malts and yeast are selected from local producers and those afar on the basis of but one criteria; quality.