“Make it all about fresh oranges.” Was the request when I was designing this specialty Saison to be brewed in Valencia Spain. I’d used fresh oranges in a couple beers before – they only remain fresh maybe a few weeks at best. After that the freshness fades fast, and the orange character becomes muddled and pithy. The first pilot beer proved this.
So rather than use fresh oranges, I asked “How can I proxy the characters of oranges in a way that will last?”. For some brewing challenges I have to dig deep into the practical library in my head from cooking for 30+ and brewing for 20+ years – this was one of those challenges.
No oranges are used in brewing this beer, though in aroma and flavor it expresses the aromatics and flavors of fresh oranges. How? Two kinds of dried orange peel – European and Caribbean – for the aromatics and flavors. Rose hips for the acidity and residual sweetness. Citrus forward New Zealand hops for the juicy backbone. Orange blossom honey for the aromatics. It is “all about fresh oranges” after months (even years) post packaging.
It was the first commercially brewed and internationally distributed beer that I designed. It has been awarded a medal in international competition. It has been sold and enjoyed from Finland to Spain, and in the USA. It is at its core an earthy, turbid, and funky Saison, expressing what you would expect being brewed in Valencia Spain – oranges in your face. That’s right – nothing fancy, something special.