Buckbean Original Orange Blossom Ale Review

A Can and a Glass of Buckbean Orange Blossom Ale (from above)Two Cans of Buckbean Original Orange Blossom AleBuckbean Brewing Company is a fairly new brewing company in the Western United States, founded in Reno, Nevada in 2007. In April 2008, the brewery began operations in a 7600 square-foot facility from which they produce various styles on tap as well as two styles in 16 oz. cans. The first beer is Black Noddy Lager and the second is Original Orange Blossom Ale, the focus of this review.

In a previous article about the SF Beer Week Canned Craft Brews event, I briefly mentioned some of the benefits of craft beer in a can. Buckbean is very interested in both dispelling the myths as well as promoting the benefits of beer in a can. These are some of the points that the brewery makes:

  • Cans have had inert, flavorless linings since the 1980s, meaning no metal flavor
  • Cans can go where bottles cannot: golf courses, camping, parks, etc.
  • Cans are more environmentally friendly
    • Since they are lighter than bottles, they require less fuel to ship. Trucks go partially empty with bottles due to weight concerns.
    • Cans don’t require paper labels and glue.
    • A case of cans uses 70% less paper and cardboard than a case of bottles.
    • Cans are more easily recyclable.

Pouring Buckbean Orange Blossom Ale into a GlassOf the craft beer that I have tried in cans, with Original Orange Blossom Ale as no exception, I have not detected anything that tasted like metal. Since I always pour my beer into a glass, I never literally taste the can itself.

Now onto the specifics of Original Orange Blossom Ale. The idea for this beer style came from the brewer, Daniel B. Kahn, in the 1990s while he was living and brewing in Riverside, CA to accompany the Orange Blossom Festival. Buckbean claims that Dan originated this style of beer and thus include the term “Original” in the name of the beer.

If you enjoy beer that are, as the folks at Dogfish Head put it, “off-centered” or extreme, then you might enjoy this beer. Otherwise if you are a conformist to the Reinheitsgebot and dislike beer with adjuncts, herbs, or spices, then you might not like this beer. The orange blossom bouquet and flavor is quite prominent. I find this to be a very interesting and refreshing beer that will go great with food. Just before I tried this beer I had some Japanese yaki soba fried noodles and it would have been excellent with that. It should also pair well with spicy food like Mexican and especially Thai food to complement the lime, spiciness, and saltiness found in many Thai dishes (at least the ones that I eat and prepare).

Where I Found It. A sample can graciously provided by the brewery. Thank you Buckbean!

Serving Type. From a 16oz can into a pilsner-like glass.

Appearance. Orange Blossom Ale pours our of the can smoothly with a nice thick frothy white head. The head lasts much longer than I would have expected. When the head receded, it does not leave much on the glass. The beer is hazy and has a color that is somewhere between dark honey and light amber.

A Can and a Glass of Buckbean Orange Blossom AleSmell. Upon opening the can, the smell is bready and yeasty. As the beer is poured into a glass and brought to your nose the full affect of the orange blossoms come into play. The bouquet is fruity and sweet-floral, like the scent of jasmine flowers, or orange blossom flowers. The fruitiness isn’t the typical citrus-from-hop but more like a tropical-orange fruit juice cocktail. I pick up fruitiness like passionfruit with a little white grape juice. The combination of these flavors creates a candy-like odor. The floral bouquet is quite intense but in the background there is still a hint of malted grains, letting you know that this is a beer.

Taste. Original Orange Blossom ale has a sweet honey maltiness without actually being sugary. There is a touch of hop bitterness making it crisp and clean coupled with a floral and fruity orange flavor. This beer should be great with salty food as well as spicy food. It will be especially tasty ice cold on a hot summer day.

Mouthfeel. This beer is a light to medium bodied beer that goes down very smooth. There is a slight bitterness that lingers on the tounge with the floral flavors. For some reason, I feel that I want more effervescence

Drinkability. Original Orange Blossom Ale is highly drinkable and very refreshing.

Rating. My ratings below are on a five point scale with five being the best score.

  • Appearance (20%): 3.5
  • Smell (20%): 4.0
  • Taste (40%): 4.0
  • Mouthfeel (10%): 3.0
  • Drinkability (10%): 4.5
  • Overall: 3.9


  • Style: Herb/Spice Ale
  • Brewery: Buckbean Brewing Company
  • Alcohol by volume: 5.8%
  • Hops: “American” hops
  • Malt: Munich and light caramel malts
  • Other ingredients: orange tree flowers
  • Beer Advocate rating: 3.12 (as of March 28, 2009)

Caption on the Can

The following caption is found near the bottom of each can:

This well balanced, full flavored, copper colored ale combines the smooth, creamy flavor of Munich and Caramel malts and bright, refreshing American hops with the rich flavor and aroma of real orange tree flowers. A real treat for the sesnses!

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About David Jensen

David is a craft beer and photography enthusiast.
This entry was posted in Beer Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Buckbean Original Orange Blossom Ale Review

  1. Dan says:

    Very nice pictures!

  2. David Jensen says:

    Thanks! I’ve been experimenting with different color background and I think the blue works well. I still had to include at least one white background to show the color of the beer. For some of the summer beers I’m tempted to shoot some pictures on the front lawn in a “natural” setting. It might work.

  3. Wortwurst says:

    How do you get the beer to levitate in the sky like that?

  4. Chipper Dave says:

    This brew is quite the unique experience. The aroma and flavor is distinct. If you’ve never experience orange blossoms in a beverage before it will take a bit getting used to. It’s not like an orange at all but rather floral and honey like. More like a spice beer. I gave this beer a chance and ended up liking it. Like any new style of beer, don’t be too quick to judge this brew.

  5. David Jensen says:

    Heh. I’ve created a light box tent and I have several poster board background colors that I can use. I thought the blue looked good in contrast with the orange cans.

  6. David Jensen says:

    I have had another orange blossom beer. It is called Orange Blossom Amber by Indian Wells Brewing. It was not as intensely floral at this beer. I’ll have to pick it up the next time I see it at Whole Foods to confirm that if I like it better or not.

  7. zythum says:

    being in the S.F. bay area, you should be familiar with Buffalo Bills Orange Blossom Cream Ale. being the 3rd oldest brewpub in America (84), Buffalo’s Bills may very well have brewed an orange blossom beer before Dan did in the 90s. if you havent had it, its worth a try.

    maybe i’ll see you at Triple Rock’s Firkin Fest

  8. David Jensen says:

    I completely forgot about Buffalo Bills Orange Blossom Cream Ale and how could I. That is quite a delicious beer.

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