The Dudes’ Brewing Company — Blood Orange Amber Ale

The Dudes’ Brewing Company, Torrance, CA

Blood Orange Amber Ale

6.5% ABV, [?] IBUs

Tasting Date: 4/29/17

Smelly friends must always ride in the sidecar, even when you’re driving a convertible.

This Blood Orange Amber Ale, a part of the Dudes’ aptly titled Juicebox Series, is like the re-released Volkswagen Beetle, except this beer is actually good. It’s clearly been designed to induce nostalgia, to synaesthetically transport you to those half-remembered childhood afternoons of warm sun and overly sweet juiceboxes, but, you know, make them more beer-filled. Like the actual VW Beetle, all of this could be terribly cloying and a little sad, a cynical attempt to evoke a vanishing past in order to sell aging boomers a more sophisticated symbol of their lost, alienated selves, and in its malty and vanilla notes the beer both gives you this pleasant measure of sophistication and stays within that nostalgic profile. It’s the extra room and abundant safety features that no affluent baby boomer consumer could do without. But the original VW bugs were rad precisely because they were cheap, cramped, shitty vehicles that would explode if you got rear-ended, and juiceboxes are great when you’re a kid precisely because of how intolerably saccharine they are.

But while the redesigned Beetles suck, this beer is actually good. It pulls off the sweetness without being overwhelming, and its surprising complexity makes drinking a pint of it far more pleasurable than downing a box of Hi-C or most fruity beers on the market. Perhaps, then, it’s more of the VW Beetle made awesome, but in the way that 9-year old me would make it awesome, replete with laser cannons and a side car and an attached surfboard on top for both car-surfing and going to the beach. And of course a keg or two for adult me.

Pairings: if you’re drinking this beer with anything but chicken and waffles, you’re doing it wrong.

Score: 87