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Welcome to Thirsty Thursday, a weekly column where we pick a beer from our fridge and review it, because in a world where two new breweries launch every single week, sometimes we need some help sifting through all of the hops.

 

As I mentioned in last week’s edition of Thirsty Thursday, my friends went on a road trip through upstate New York and Vermont, on a pilgrimage to try some of the country’s most notable beers.  In the process, the husband and wife duo brought me back several efforts, to get my take – because they knew I have a weekly column where I review what’s in my fridge.  So, I’m sticking with the Vermont theme and trying Orbital Elevator, an Oatmeal Double IPA from the folks at Burlington Beer Company, or BBCO for short.

While it might be hyper-local and extremely difficult to find outside of Vermont, BBCO has called Burlington home since 2006, when a homebrew by Joe Lemnah started the path to great beer – and, according to my friends, he’s well on his way.  As a professional brewer, Lemnah knew what he was doing, thanks to stints with Dogfish Head Brewing and Evolution Brewing Co., among others. With 200 batches of homebrew and 10,000 professional hours under his belt, he started BBCO, which emphasizes hazy and hop-forward IPAs, producing upwards of 62 varieties of bottled and canned beer every year.  

The first thing that stands out about this particular brew is the design of the can.  This 16-ounce pounder is primarily aluminum and features a colorful orange and white design, looking like it was inspired by some sort of hieroglyphics that might be found in New Mexico or Arizona.  In fact, after a little research, it appears most of BBCO’s efforts have this look – and I kind of dig it.  It’s eye-catching.  With little explanation or backstory about the beer listed on the can, drinker’s are left to figure it out for themselves, which I’m not a fan of, to be quite honest.  As for what’s inside, this 8.3 percent effort is proclaimed to be a double IPA with oat malt and flaked oats that’s brewed with Mosaic, El Dorado, and Simcoe hops for a tropical and fruity pebble paradise of hop flavors.

Having just come down from the high of enjoying Heady Topper, I was prepared for this beer to disappoint, expecting a DIPA that was outside of the box and fell short.  It happens far too often with smaller, less-known breweries.  When I cracked it open, I smelled an intense aroma, with orange and floral notes sticking out the most.  It was clear from those first whiffs exactly what type of type of beer I was about to consume.

I definitely enjoyed the pour of Orbital Elevator, which was that of a well-executed beer.  This medium-bodied brew had a look that very much resembled orange juice – an orange-gold color which is a product of it’s overly hazy presentation.  Much like it’s Vermont brethren, the carbonation for this beer was on point, offering not just a good mouth feel, but ensuring that the first taste is just as carbonated as the last.  I can appreciate that.  As far as the taste is concerned, Orbital Elevator is as juicy as the look would lead you to believe, consisting of hints of guava and perhaps mango, coinciding nice with a dank, floral taste.  It’s lacking on the bitterness, which is a good thing for this beer, and has a little dry finish, a perfect back-end to a delicious under-the-radar effort.

As far as double IPAs go, this one is a winner.  It’s not quite at the top echelon of the classification, but it’s just a hair below that.  A four-pack will run you $14, though don’t expect to see it much outside of its home state, and that’s well worth the price.  It’s a pretty good barometer of what a hazy, juicy double IPA should be, combining a delicious, unfiltered taste with a drinkability that could lead to a couple of cans.  When it came to rating this beer, I wasn’t too far off from BeerAdvocate’s average score of 4.19, giving Orbital Elevator a solid 8 out 10 – I swear, BeerAdvocate drinkers line with my tastes.

Stay tuned for next week, because I might just try something from your favorite brewery.