It seems like every craft brewery makes a fruity wheat beer, most likely
to appeal to the non-craft beer drinkers that visit their brewpubs or
to have something on the market to appeal to them. I have a feeling
Hangar 24 Orange Wheat is intended to attract those who enjoy Blue Moon
as it’s a pale wheat ale literally brewed with oranges. A novel concept
in theory, but not a good beer in reality.
Appearance: Despite the name it’s a bright yellow banana-skin hue. Very
cloudy once the yeast is mixed it. Large sediment chunks fall to the
bottle of the glass. Forms a large, bright white, foamy head which
mostly evaporates and leaves on trace lacing.
Smell: Authentic orange aroma for sure, but with a noticeable sour tang -
like orange juice that has expired. Not very appealing.
Taste: Beer geeks like me tend to mock the "crafty" fruity wheat beers
like Shock Top and Blue Moon for tasting too fake and dirty. Hangar 24
Orange Wheat is the real deal, yet it’s not any better. Brewed with
oranges to capitalize on the natural citrusy flavors often found in
these types of beers gives it a sweet, candy-like flavor. However, it
fall apart quickly as there’s a prominent sourness throughout the palate
(and not in that good Brettanomyces way).
Immediate sourness as soon as it hits the tongue. Reminds me exactly of
expired orange juice. A bit more authentic wheat beer character through
the middle, but finishes with even more sourness on the end. I don’t
think I got a bad bottle, I think this is how this beer is supposed to
taste. It doesn’t appear to be made with Bavarian yeast so it’s lacking
the banana and clove components that make beers like this manageable. I
could see some people finding this refreshing if drank on a hot summer
day, but in the dead of winter it’s just barely tolerable.
Drinkability: Though I’m not a fan of the taste, I will admit that
Hangar 24 Orange Wheat is at least an easy beer to drink. Thin,
relatively tepid, cold wet body and clean aftertaste would make this an
ideal summer beer. And at only 4.6% ABV it’s sessionable as well (if you
can tolerate the taste).