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Belt’s Beer Garden: Totally Tubular

Orono’s Tubular IPA

This week’s beer comes from way up north in The Pine Tree State.

Orono Brewing Company is located in Orono, Maine, a small town of 11,000 that is also the home to the University of Maine Black Bears - who, incidentally, are scheduled to play at Ball State in early September.

Since their inception on New Years Eve of 2014, they have built a distribution across Maine, New Hampshire, and New York and even opened a second location in Bangor - just eight miles south of their original brewery.

Today I have one of their mainstays and what is, by far, their most popular beer - Tubular.

This triple dry-hopped IPA was brewed with Citra, El Dorado, Galaxy, and Topaz hops and features a 7.2% ABV. Each can set me back $6 but it looks like it will be worth every penny.

Last year, Thrillist named it one of the 32 Hottest IPAs in America with other powerhouse IPA’s like Tree House’s Julius, Maine Beer Co’s Lunch, and Weldwerk’s Juicy Bits...so it’s keeping some real good company.

Tubular poured a hazy golden orange color with just under two fingers of bright white head topping the beer. Within a few moments the foam had fizzled down a small ring around the outside of the glass and just a few clouds aimlessly wandering in the middle.

It was filled with hoppy, tropical aromas of pineapple, stone fruit, some citrus, and a hint of melon. Hidden behind everything was a grain profile of flaked wheat and a bit of grassy dankness as well.

My first sip started with a creamy, full mouthfeel that quickly thinned out. There was a brief tingling of carbonation before the hops began to attack my taste buds with those tropical flavors.

Pineapple hits first with peach, mango, and tangerine following quickly behind. Those fruits are accompanied by a low-level bitterness.

It starts off nice and juicy but those tropical fruit notes seem to disappear midway through. And, as the sip progresses, some honeydew melon and a grassy resinous taste begin to form.

Then, on the backend, the grist adds a bit of a cereal-like flavor that’s accompanied by a pith grapefruit bitterness that lingers for a few moments after each swig.

Tubular ends a bit on the drier side, so having a glass of water nearby is pretty handy.

Overall, I was hoping the tropical fruit and juicy aspects would last longer but, instead, the back half was pretty dry and had featured more of the citrus rind bitterness than the juicy fruits that started off the sip.

But even with the dryer/less juicy finish, the beer was gone before I knew it. And Tubular was a rather easy drinking 7% IPA that would be great for long days sitting on a boat or in a hammock.

While it might not be as good as Lunch, Juicy Bits, or Julius...it’s still a pretty tasty beer and I look forward to trying more from Orono.

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