Coronado Brewing Company’s Orange Avenue Wit was one recommendation that I will continue to exploit thanks in large part to its deliciousness. I haven’t tried a lot of wheat beers or witbiers or even fruit beers, but this one will be a go-to for all the aforementioned categories should I feel the need to quench that thirst. First, a little background info from the bottle on why it’s named Orange Avenue Wit:
“From the Ocean to the Bay, Coronado’s main street was once lined with orange trees. Hence the name, Orange Avenue. It’s a refreshing, flavorful and citrusy blend of wheat, coriander, orange blossom honey and California orange zest. Try it with a slice of orange for the ultimate Orange Avenue experience.”
While I would never personally recommend sticking a slice of fruit into a beer, to each their own, I guess. Poured into a plain old tumbler, it appeared mostly cloudy, and even somewhat murky, with a bright golden honey color and straw yellow highlights. There was a lot of suspended yeast and overall particulate floating around that refused to settle on the bottom throughout the drink, but without this feature, it wouldn’t be called a witbier, would it? It produced a solid two-finger thick, fluffy eggshell-white head that was left over from a vigorous pour, which dissipated within a minute, leaving barely noticeable spots along the glass and a thin, patchy island in the middle.
Immediately upon opening the bottle I was inundated with fresh-squeezed juice from nectarines, navel oranges, mandarin oranges, and tangerines – all of which really emphasized the citrus hops. There was quite a bit of wheaty malt that gave the aroma much more body than if it hadn’t been present at all, and I really enjoyed the hints of light coriander rolled in honey that peeked through from under the wheat and oranges. Overall, the nose was faintly spicy, but managed to maintain a mysterious softness that kept it very appealing to smell.
From the smell alone, I couldn’t wait to get this beer in my mouth. It’s been a while since I’ve had a good orange-flavored beer, some of them are just too medicinal or syrupy and it’s hard to find any enjoyment in them. Right away with the Orange Avenue Wit, there was a faint lemon zest that tasted as if it had been sprinkled into a wheat bread base and dipped into grainy pale malts. There were plenty of oranges – both mandarin and navel – and tangerines bursting from the juicy liquid carrying a good amount of tartness along their waves. A dab of honey added the perfect amount of sweetness and kept the oranges from making the brew sour as well as maintaining that fine balance between medicinal and quaffable – which I think can be a big issue with some orange/fruit beers. It offered a light body and mouthfeel with a good amount of spicy carbonation that kept it alive and popping on my tongue, despite a slightly slick finish.
Overall, I found the Orange Avenue Wit very, very easy to drink and extremely refreshing (to the point where I’m probably going to be picking up a four- or six-pack sometime soon). It easily held onto that line between medicinal and quaffable that I mentioned before, being deliciously sweet and yet still managing to deliver a soft kick in the mouth thanks to all of the tangy citrus combined with the heavier wheat. This is very much a summer beer, though it is just as fantastic in the winter, helping bring back that warmth that everybody longs for during the coldest months of the year.