Glassware: IPAs are all about aroma, after all that is the primary sense that leads to the taste buds. The big hop notes and wonderful citrus backing is a must to fully experience this beer. The Spiegelau IPA glass is always a recommend with IPAs. The tapered glass traps the aroma and the thin walls allow the beer to warm slowly from the hands. However, they are not widely available at many bars due to their fragility; a snifter glass is your next best bet for this wonderful beer.
Description: Bloodline Blood Orange Ale pours a clear amber bronze hue with a thick frothy white head that leaves a thick layer of lacing on the glass. The aroma is filled with grapefruit citrus and fresh blood oranges with hints of spicy rye malt with a touch of sweetness. The taste has bitter citrus flavors up front from the blood orange with a grapefruit like citrus bite from the hops. The malts cascade over the palate with hints of spice from the rye and a soothing sweetness from the caramel malts following close behind. The finish is dry with a bit of bitterness lingering. The medium body and moderate carbonation are the perfect vessel for the bitter flavors within the beer and allow the crispness of the beer to shine. The addition of blood oranges make this IPA unique, but the balance and flavors within are what makes this beer memorable.
Food Pairing: While the 7 percent ABV may seem to be a precursor to a larger, bolder, and heftier beer, Bloodline actually drinks surprisingly light. This lightness makes it a great beer with many lunch choices. Try pairing with a salad topped with a variety of fruits. Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits enhance the natural citrus flavors in the beer and using a vinaigrette will cut through for a wonderful balance. Don’t shy away from piling protein on your salad such as grilled chicken; it makes for a great addition. Speaking of protein, there is one source that a great deal of beers find difficulty pairing with, fish. IPAs were long viewed as the perfect pairing for fish, however many of the new hop varieties seem to produce a metallic taste when accompanying fish. Bloondline does not suffer from this aftertaste and instead acts as a delicate glaze on top of salmon, haddock, or with a plate of seared scallops.
The Final Word: Adding fruit of any variety is not very new to beer. It has a long rich tradition going back to the addition of a variety of crops on hand to add to beer. However, strategically adding unique fruits such as a blood orange is very new to beer. The blood orange flavor lends itself perfectly to an IPA with a natural bitterness that is enhanced by a wonderful hop punch and who better to add the blood orange to an IPA than the brewers of the phenomenal The Truth DIPA? The balance of citrus fruit and bitterness is perfect and keeps this beer from being too over the top. If you are a hop head and feel that you have tried everything and are looking for something with a unique twist, search this beer out. It is a surprisingly approachable IPA for those looking to get into the style, just be aware you’ll get a bitter kick with your slice of orange!
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.
Brewery: Flying Dog Brewery
Beer: Bloodline Blood Orange Ale
Style: American IPA