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Homebrew, in shades of orange

We’ve got quite a few intrepid homebrewers on staff, as you might imagine. Breweries tend to attract brewers.

So, once in a while, we like to have a little competition. we’ll come up with a theme, we’ll send the message out to the Brew Crew, the interested people will brew up something delicious, we’ll all gather over at HQ and vote on which one we like best.

This time around, the assignment was to make something as Orange Crush-y as possible. Our homebrewers didn’t disappoint.

IMG_3578Dan Petela, Assistant Tasting Room Manager

Tell us about your beer.

I made an orange crush-inspired Saison. I made a Saison because of the ambient room temperatures of my apartment. It ferments in the 80s and up. I used lager yeast; ale yeasts need to be in the 70s. I used a base of Pilsner with wheat and oats. I hopped it in the boil kettle with El Dorado — I get an orange candy nose with that one. I aged it on two pounds of frozen mandarin oranges that I blended up and put into the fermenter. Then, I took a sample and it wasn’t orangey enough, so I went to ShopRite and bought one of those 12-ounce canisters of frozen orange juice concentrate. Defrosted that, dumped it in, and dry-hopped it with an ounce each of Motueka and Wakatu. Those hops are very limey, so I used them to play up the Sprite or Seven-Up that they use in an Orange Crush.

What do you like about it?

I liked the liminess from the hops. I think it could have been more orangey for the theme. But the body’s nice. It’s a solid 7% beer.

Jenna Tesauro, Events Team

IMG_3594Tell us about your beer.

It’s a citrusy IPA. Lotta Citra. Used some cryo hops to really get the citrus out of there. Used some Amarillo, too. It’s the most orange-y, I think, of the citrus hops. Put a little lactose in there, too, to try to up the mouthfeel and sweetness a little bit. London Ale yeast, again, all pretty singularly-focused to what’s the most orange-y profile I can do for everything.

I brew with my friends. Unfortunately, a brew system doesn’t fit in a Philadelphia apartment. And one of my friends took a brewing program, so we try to brew once a month.

What do you like about it?

Well, when I tasted it, I thought it was a nice balance between sweet and a little more bitter. It might be a little more bitter. But, yeah, I think that was definitely what we were going for. It definitely tastes like oranges.

IMG_3591Justin Vitti, Distribution Manager

Tell us about your beer.

I brewed it. It’s got yeast, malt, hops, water. I did one-third pilsner malts, one-third oats, one-third wheat. I used London Ale III yeast. I fermented orange juice concentrate; I did not add it post-fermentation. So I used it to ferment out my ABV to where I wanted it. My beer is now more tart than orange-y. I focused on orange hops, so Huell Melon and Mandarina Bavaria are most of the hops, which was about seven-and-a-half ounces total, so that’s about five pounds per barrel. I also put some Pacifica in there, too.

What do you like about it?

<buuuuuuurrrrrrp>

IMG_3589Ryan Krill, CEO

Tell us about your beer.

If I’m not drinking a beer, my other go-to drink is an orange crush. In the spirit of beer and orange crush, I came up with this brew that captured the essence of an orange crush.

What do you like about it?

Have you tried an orange crush? Because they’re freakin’ delicious.

Brian Hink, Head Brewer

Tell us about your beer.

IMG_3604

So, I brewed an orange crush-inspired beer. It’s got orange juice, some grains and hops and yeast. No… I’ve never actually had an orange crush, the cocktail, but from what I can gather on it, it pretty much tastes like orange juice and a touch of vodka in the background. So I brewed up, not that this exists as a style, but a New England Brut IPA, one of those newfangled brut IPAs. Clear and super bone dry. I intentionally mashed low and added the enzyme that would make it finish at or near zero sugar left in there, because I knew that the orange was going to add a lot of body to it. If you take a big-bodied beer and you add a lot of juice to it it’s going to be even more big-bodied, but a cocktail is supposed to be light and refreshing. I wanted it to finish bone-dry, then add the juice character to it. I also wanted to add some of that New England flair to it, so it’s like New England Brut IPA that I added a bunch of juice to. Then I fermented on the hotter side. I used our London Ale III yeast that we use for all of our juice bombs. The yeast, I know, likes the cooler temperatures, so I fermented on the warmer side. I wanted to get a little bit of that heat character off it, because when you drink a cocktail, you get a little heat off it. The hops are mostly Citra and then a touch of Mosaic and Azacca on the dry hop, along with Citra.

What do you like about it?

It tastes like a screwdriver. It’s really unique. It’s really interesting. I really liked it. Fun way to make a beer.


And the results are in! Brian’s beer was the clear winner — edging out the next closest competitor, Ryan — by a full point. Brian couldn’t be more pleased.

“I’ve never really done anything like this before,” says Brian. “This is the third time we’ve done this, but I don’t really compare my beer to others in the competition. I’m really just seeing what everyone else comes up with. All of the other beers had really interesting qualities to them, and I really appreciate everyone’s creativity and the approaches they took to get to their beers. They were all excellent.”

How do it do? You’ll get to be the judge when this new brew is released in August!