Our relationship with Anderson Valley has been a rocky one. Over the past five years, we’ve reviewed eight of their beers, and our feelings about each of them has ranged from fair to middling. The beers haven’t been bad, but they haven’t been very memorable either. Meh all around is how I would sum it up.
Since our experiences haven’t been great, I haven’t gone out of my way to try anything new from Anderson Valley. There’s just too much out there to explore, so why bother revisiting a brewery that hasn’t left you very inspired?
Two years ago, I was having lunch at Vargas Bar in Philly. My meal consisted of a Kobe beef burger that I washed down with a Green Flash Saison Diego. After a bit of banter with the bartender, I was asked if I wanted to sample a freshly tapped Sour Ale. It just so happens that the Sour Ale was brewed by Anderson Valley.
Past experiences with this brewer left me with low expectations. I braced myself and took a sip. That first taste was delightful. My curiosity was piqued, but sadly, I had to get back to work, so a second beer was out of the question.
Time passed and I mostly forgot about Anderson Valley until I saw their Blood Orange Gose on the shelves. I haven’t had much experience with the Gose style, but given my love of a tartastic beer and my memories of that Sour Ale, I decided to give this a try.
As soon as I started filling my glass, I had a feeling that it would be good. Its pale red-orange color and fluffy off-white head coupled with its tart, citrusy, and yeasty aromas, elevated my expectations. That first sip didn’t disappoint. The carbonation was light and fizzy while the flavors were lightly tart and citrusy from start to finish.
There wasn’t much in the way of flavor transitions, but I don’t mean that in a negative way. The Blood Orange Gose was light and refreshing with an almost juicy quality. This is what one of those dreadful Shandies wants to be. And did I mention that I really like the mild pucker that it leaves you with at the very end?
On a final note, I tried this on draught alongside a fried green tomato topped burger with a side of crunchy coleslaw. The results were spectacular!