Sunday, February 16, 2014

Blue Moon Valencia Grove Amber Ale

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Chad9976 (1058) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 16, 2014
I poured a 12oz bottle into a mug. It had a best before date of 5/26/14 and came as part of a mix pack for $14.47 ($1.20 per bottle or $0.10 per ounce).

Appearance: Copper/orange hue over a slightly hazy body. Not much visible carbonation. Pours to a large, beige, foamy head which laces and retains fairly well.

Smell: Standard amber ale aroma of slight dark malt and a hint of orange.

Taste: My beef with the Blue Moon lineup (and other "crafty" beers for that matter) is that they never deliver on their label’s hyperbole. I’ve found most Blue Moon beers, with the except of the flagship offering, tend to just be amber ales with slight variations. But in the case of Valencia Grove Amber it actually does do what it’s supposed to do: be a slightly sweet, fairly complex and highly drinkable amber ale. It’s nothing amazing, but it’s definitely better than most of the genre.

I was surprised to taste true malt character here. There’s a strong amount of sweetness and confectionery flavor often found in an amber. Caramel, toffee, toasted malt and a slight nuttiness can all be found here. They’re all far from intense or cloying, of course, but the fact it tastes so genuine considering the brewery is surprising. The orange does come through on the finish, but it tastes more like orange juice concentrate or some kind of flavoring rather than true orangepeel. There’s nothing spicy about it all. I’m sure this could’ve been much worse, so it’s appreciable for it is.

Drinkability: Another thing that’s nice about Valencia Grove Amber is the fact it drinks like it should. The other Blue Moon brews tend to be too crisp, too thin or just too challenging to drink. This has a medium to full body with a soft, comfortable mouthfeel. It’s not crisp, but it wouldn’t consider it tepid. It goes down smoothly and finishes fairly clean with just a bit of a cough syrup-like aftertaste and sensation. It doesn’t quite live up to its 5.9% ABV weight, though. I’m sure they could do the same palette on a much leaner weight. 
Grade: 6/10

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