Tule Duck Red Ale, Orange Blossom Ale, Black Noddy Lager

This series of canned brews comes out of Buckbean Brewing Co, a fairly new (circa 2008) brewery out of Reno, Nevada.  The current offerings from Buckbean, each of these three beers has a uniqueness from each other as well as much of the rest of the beer world.  Buckbean prides themselves on using local ingredients and creating beers for both men and women.

Black Noddy Lager: At 5.2% ABV, this almost session brew is classified as a Bavarian Schwarzbier.  A dark chocolate pour with a milk chocolate colored head, the aroma is that of roasted chocolate and weedy onion grass.  An odd dichotomy of dry but watery to the mouth, the first taste that comes to mind is dirty lettuce and onions.  It is salty and bitter with a hint of beach rocks.  A good summary of this brew would be this- it is like licking a burnt log after a long summer rain.

Original Orange Blossom Ale: Made for the Orange Blossom festival in Nevada, this brew is reminiscent of orange soda, but with an ABV of 5.8%.  Smelling of orange, asparagus and dandelions, the aroma is that of the medicinal persuasion- something of doctor’s office plus orange cleaner plus old people farts.  The sip is crisp and herbaceous with a nod towards Metamucil or vitamin supplement drinks.  The taste, while an odd mixture of sweet orange and vegetative herbs, is not as bad as the smell- which definitely ruins this brew for me.  Perhaps it is a regional thing, but being the New York City girl as I am, I did not understand this beer.

Tule Duck Red Ale: Pouring a beautiful cherry wood color with respectable lacing, this 6.2% ABV Red Ale gave me hope of salvation for Buckbean.  One whiff of this brew and I was transported back into my high school wood shop class- all wood shavings and sawdust and wood varnish and lacquer.  Fruity with a slight roasty caramel edge, this ale is refreshing yet bland.  The sweet, un-hoppy taste of Tule Duck makes it to be a nice everyday drink- something that would be great with a burger or a nice hidden compliment to strong savory tastes.

Buckbean Brewing Co. has a style all to their own with these three offerings, and I admire that greatly, although the only brew I might drink again would be the Tule Duck Red Ale.  For a newer startup brewery, these drinks (the Orange Blossom Ale especially) push the limits of the American craft beer market- where strong extreme tasting beers are taking the reigns.  Although the Orange Blossom Ale and Black Noddy Lager did not exactly sit well with my palate, I strongly suggest trying these beers if you have the chance- if only to try something new and different and work on expanding your palate.

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