It’s fall, which means it’s time for Pumpkin in just about any beer that isn’t labeled as a Oktoberfest. However, that doesn’t mean that those are the only types of beer that exist in the “good” section of the beer aisle. There’s also the sometimes-ignored, but quite plentiful Amber Ale.
ORA, a fall seasonal variety from Lucid Brewery, found my lips after a recent stop to JL Beers in NE Minneapolis. The beer was a nice darkish red brew that went perfect with my burger and fries, but would’ve been even better suited for a Minnesota fall night with friends. It’s a great beer that tastes of fall, and feels of hearty warmth. In other words, it is the Midwest in a glass.
People drinking this will notice it goes down quite smooth. Some other reviews have even compared the drinkability of ORA to that of a soda, which I can to a point agree with. It tastes a bit on the sweet side, but smooth enough to not be over powering to the casual beer drinker. Consumers will find hints of caramel, cherry, herbs and smoky flavor; tastes perfect for the fall days to come. There’s even a Pumpkin flavored variety, though the pint I had wasn’t christened with the aroma found in Lattes or store-made cookies.
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ORA is not a particularly potent beer; a 6.5% ABV with a 30 IBU. It was still surprising to me that JL Beers listed it in the “Lighter” beers section of their beer menu. It definitely drinks on the lighter side, though when taking into account mouth feel and appearance, hardly seemed comparable to a Coors Light or Surly Hell, which were also in the same section.
This particular brew has probably one of the smoothest feels I’ve ever had with an Amber Ale. It goes down like a lighter beer would, but still boasts a flavorful taste. ORA does lack a bit on the carbonation, however. As you can see from the picture above, the head on this brew doesn’t stick around for long. After getting through much of the drink, it begins to lose its carbonation altogether. Nursing this beer may lead to an entirely different taste altogether.
It’s easy to write off ORA as just another un-impressive Amber Ale. But it’s almost silky smooth mouth feel coupled with just enough smoky flavor gives this beer enough individuality, that ignoring it for at least a pint would be a sin. If your empty hand needs a nice cold brew to accompany you by that fall bonfire, Lucid’s ORA would be a great choice. You can save the Pumpkin flavoring for that Thanksgiving pie.