Friday, March 29, 2024

Beer Review - Gamorrean Ale


A pint of red Gamorrean Ale on the table.
A Pint of Gamorrean Ale

I texted my buddy, “Tomorrow is a red ale day.”

He texted back, “Everyone has a 3.25 red ale!”

That was my hope and expectation!

Returning to Oga’s Cantina at Star War’s Galaxy’s Edge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I knew that Gamorrean Ale, a Red Amber Ale, was my targeted pint for my 45-minute visit. The beer has a 5.2% ABV with only 22 IBUs and is brewed by New Belgium Brewing Company from Fort Collins, Colorado. It has a nice red shade. But the word light is what comes to mind with flavor. It has some light maltly flavor with a light touch of hops. It’s a very approachable light-tasting beer that any bounty hunter can sample. But for myself, I preferred Bad Motivator IPA as a more aggressive beer, as my potential Oga’s go-to beer.

New Belgium Brewing Company is a craft beer legend. It was founded by a couple in their basement as home brewers. Over the next several years they took the Fat Tire Brand from their home to national distribution and grew a sizable brewery as they grew through territory out of the Outer Rim to the Core Worlds. Today they are the tenth largest brewery by production in the United States. But their story changed like many craft beer pioneers. But instead of closing, the co-founder and first brewer left for other pursuits. His ex-wife led the growth of the brewery with a strong cadre of employees, to the point they sold to Kirin, a Japanese beverage company for nice profit for a home business. This sale removed them from eligibility as a craft brewery as a key requirement is the company cannot be owned by another beverage entity. You likely know New Belgium today not for Fat Tire but for Voodoo Ranger, the highest-selling IPA by volume in the United States. The brewery has the history and sales to show they can make a very competent well-made ale, even please the staff of Jabba’s Palace! 

A partially drank pint of Gamorrean Ale
Lacing on a Mostly Finished Pint

Who Drinks This? You have your window at Oga’s, and you want a beer not a sweeter cocktail. Maybe, it’s the price of other options that took you out of the market. But beer is a little much for you and you want something safe. Despite Gamorrean tusks and the color of the beer, this is your safe approachable option which makes beer that has been validated by the masses. And as my friend pointed out, everyone has a 3.25 red ale. Gamorrean Ale is definitely Batuu’s.

But for me…I’d prefer to drink a different ale from Oga’s taps.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Beer Review - The Citrus Blossom Beer Flight


A flight of three beers in a brown cardboard carrier with tasters of Orange Twist Imperial Ale, Lemon Drop Shandy, and Tangerine Express Hazy IPA
The Citrus Blossom Beer Flight

Everybody loves Orange Bird, and he is clearly the king of Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival 2024. In The Odyssey, formerly the throne room of Figment, one will find all things orangey from hats, to bags, to beers! And I’ve heard quite a few good things about the beer flight at this Orangey Location. There was enough good press about it in my house, I wasn’t even the one who wanted to order these three beers!

The flight features three beers representing three different citrus fruits; orange, lemon, and tangerine. And they have three very different taste profiles.

A taster of Orange Twist Imperial Ale
Orange Twist Imperial Ale

  • Southern Tier Brewing Company’s Orange Twist Imperial Ale has an 8.6% ABV, making it Imperial with a bigger ABV and only 10 IBUs. The brewery is from Lakewood, NY, so not a Central Florida brewery like all three brews in this citrus-focused trio. The only location where this beer seems to have been rated recently during the festival season is Epcot. Still, it’s not a festival-exclusive beer as it’s a collaboration with Perry’s Ice Cream in New York State. So you are likely to not find it outside of the Disney bubble or the greater New York area. The orange liquid is very orange-forward, with a touch of citrus and beer that tastes like beer notes on the backside. In my party, this taster was finished by the drinker who least likes beers and ales.
A taster of Meyer Lemon Drop Shandy
Meyer Lemon Drop Shandy

  • Left Hand Brewing’s Meyer Lemon Drop Shandy has a 5.5% ABV with 0 IBUs. Left Hand out of Longmont, Colorado is a brewery that you can find pretty much in any market. But this beer also seems to have only been rated during festival season at Epcot. And I wonder if this will change as they have an image of a Meyer Lemon Drop Shandy seasonal can on their website. Perhaps, this is Left Hand attempting to break into Leinenkugel’s monopoly on shandies nationally. It’s been quite some time since I’ve had a Leinie, but I think I would prefer that option. I found this to be a lemon shandy meeting an IPA, despite the low IBUs. But it also had tones of lemon cleaner on the tongue, which while I didn’t mind it, I also found myself asking how I knew what that tasted like! In my party, the taster who is nearer to beer finished this taster.

A taster of Tangerine Express Haxy IPA
Tangerine Express Hazy IPA

  • Stone Brewing’s Tangerine Express Hazy IPA with a 6.7% ABV and a big 75 IBUs, compared to the rest, finished out the flight. Stone IPAs are everywhere in every market and a standard for IPA fans. This beer is not at all special or exclusive to the festival as you can likely find it pretty much anywhere in the U.S. all year long. It is what it says it truly is, a juicy orangy IPA. Of the members of my party, I finished this taster and didn’t hate it one bit. But I also would never say, I want to go to a festival just to drink this brew as I can get it anywhere. In fact, I was SHOCKED, I had never drunk this before and think it was a lie in my data.

Overall, I think this flight was fine. The family member who wanted this would never order it again and was a little disappointed. I think for them either an orange seltzer or an orange pastry sour would have made them much happier with that offering coming off as more of a low-alcohol cocktail. I thought it was fun to compare different beers in a flavor profile. But I would get a different flight if given another chance to walk Epcot for the day. I do think there is a missed opportunity to have a Florida-based brewery make an exclusive orange or orange-themed beer that you can only get at the Odyssey during the months of the festival.

Who Drinks This: This is an easy one, festival-goers wishing to give tribute to the Orange Bird! As my notes pointed out, this is really best to drink together in a group. That way you can compare palates, share the tasters, and find someone in your party willing to finish the taster glass. By sharing, you also open yourself up to sampling more on a long festival day.

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Beer Review - Base Camp Imperial IPA


A pint of Base Camp Imperial IPA

Everyone needs a place to relax, and BaseLine Tap House is a great place to enjoy a beer and watch the crowds as they move towards Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, and then maybe choose to visit the Muppets instead if they don’t want to wait 90 minutes to save the Resistance. And while Baseline only features two breweries, they do a nice job of surprising us with seasonal pours.

Base Camp Imperial IPA is one of those seasonals. I grabbed a drink for both myself and my date treating myself to the big pour, it’s really leaving money on the table to choose a small draft. I was expecting a solid West Coast-styled IPA since Sierra Nevada Brewing has that style perfected. It couldn’t go wrong. I found myself surprised by this butterscotch-colored liquid. It is listed as having no IBUs. It has a pleasant piney woody flavor. But the big surprise with this being an Imperial IPA is that the hops don’t punch you in the face as it has a pleasant and mellow aftertaste. With an 8.6% ABV, that can be a little shocking, as these could catch up to you quickly if you don’t moderate you’re drinking.

Imperial IPAs are generally bigger IPAs, with Base Camp having a nice big 8%+. They are typically more bitter highlighting the hops, becoming a hop bomb. This is not that imperial. I generally have experienced an Imperial IPA hop bite as a bitter slap. But again, this is refined and easily drinks like a typical West Coast IPA. Finally, they are usually darker than a usual IPA, but Base Camp has a color that you can generally see through. I think you could argue this is a very atypical Imperial IPA as it reminds me more of Sierra Nevada’s typical West Coast IPAs. And I liked this one didn’t fit my expectations as it was an easy drinker in a theme park. 

Who Drinks This? There are a lot of folks who would enjoy Base Camp Imperial IPA. First, if you are a big IPA fan, treat yourself and add this one to your IPA experiences. You will love comparing this to other IPAs and Imperial IPAs you have drank before. Second, if you go to BaseLine on the regular, this is a seasonal that won’t fail you. So put aside your regular and as long as Base Camp is on tap, treat yourself. Just don’t drink too many as it’s a deceptively big beer!

Beer Review -Gold Squardon Lager

Gold Squadron Lager I’m a Star Wars fan and a little selfish! I want a red ale with Red Five in the name. It appears based on surfing the ...