The lager love returns to Tasting Notes this week as we take a look at Bloody Show Lager with Blood Orange from Against the Grain Brewery (Louisville, Kentucky).
Bloody Show – read into that name as much as you wish – was originally brewed in 2012 as a draft-only collaboration beer between Mikkeller (Copenhagen, Denmark) and Against the Grain. Still going strong, this lager is “brewed with German Pilsner and Munich malts, hopped with American Citra, Columbus, Amarillo and Czech Saaz and fermented with Danish lager yeast.” This Bohemian Pilsner is then finished off with “the zest and juice from a shit-ton of blood oranges” to result in “a nice easy drinking lager that exhibits a tart and citrusy aroma and flavor.” Bloody Show recently hit packaging in 2016, and is currently available in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans at craft beer establishments found throughout Against the Grain’s distribution area.
Now that we all know the background information on Bloody Show, let’s crack open this can and get to some Tasting Notes!
Tasting Notes for Bloody Show Lager with Blood Orange from Against the Grain Brewery
Appearance: Bloody Show pours a bright bronze in color with a good two fingers of white foam. When held to direct light, the body brightens dramatically to display golden yellow and vibrant orange hues. The body is clear and shows off a very active carbonation presence. The head has good retention when you consider the large amount of chunky lacing left on the glass after each sip.
Aroma: The aromatics may be subtle, but there is still plenty to find kicking around in here. Tones of orange zest and juicy, tropical hops are easily recognizable and comprise the majority of the profile. There is also an undercurrent of earthy and floral hop notes. Bready malts do come through at times to lend support with a clean grain presence and a touch of sweetness.
Taste: Ah, here we go. Things really open up and develop in the flavor department. Blood orange juice and zest step forward first to provide a punch of citrus and an incredibly refreshing tart character. This easily transitions into a dynamic hop profile pumping out notes of grapefruit, lemon, apricot, dank herbal tones, earthy grassiness, and just a dash of black pepper. These notes clear out to leave behind just a fantastic, lightly sweet grain character.
Mouthfeel: Light, bordering on medium in body with a crisp carbonation level. This beer skips across the palate to touch the bases of bitter, sweet and tart. The ABV (5.5%) is light and only hints at evidence of its existence. Aftertaste is minimal, but there is a slight amount of blood orange zest and grassy hops left to linger.
Final Thoughts: Bloody Show proves that it is indeed possible to pay respect to a traditional style while still putting your own twist on it. Sure, this lager strays from tradition by being loaded with tart blood orange and juicy American hops, but that does not mean that the experience is devoid of notes characteristic of the Bohemian Pilsner. Once the bright and shiny new ingredients subside, the tried-and-true notes of beautifully clean grain and earthy/spicy noble hops are there to provide a solid, time-tested backbone. All the ingredients play off of each other nicely to raise the established easy-drinking nature expected in a lager with that slight tinge of tartness supplied by the blood orange. This takes the refreshment level to crazy new heights, proving it to be a damn good choice to enjoy after a long day in the Tampa sun. Well done. Nicely executed. Stupid good. Prost!