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Belt’s Beer Garden: Farm Fresh

Blue Mountain’s A Hopwork Orange - an orange-infused IPA

Blue Mountain Brewery calls Afton, Virginia home (about 90 miles northwest of Richmond) and sits near the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Opening back in 2007, they were the first rural brewery in Virginia and, as a farm brewery, they also grow their own hops.

Currently Blue Mountain offers seven year-round beers but has at least ten brews available at any given time in their taproom. And, if you’re not in Afton, they have a second location - Blue Mountain Barrel House & Smokin’ Barrel Restaurant - in Arrington, Virginia which is about 30 miles south of their OG place.

On my trip through Virginia, I was able to snag a can of one of their mainstays - A Hopwork Orange.

This year-round IPA is made with Crystal malt and Centennial, Citra, and Simcoe hops and is then infused with natural orange flavors. A six pack of bottles/cans costs the standard $10 and each beer comes with a 7% ABV and 65 IBU.

The beer poured a bright, translucent golden copper color with just over a finger of eggshell white foam topping it off. The head quickly fizzles down into a thin ring around the edge of the glass with a few clouds covering the top of the beer. There is some nice lacing left behind as the beer is consumed, leaving a web of bubbles around the glass.

A Hopwork Orange features a bouquet of balanced aromas. There is, obviously, a nice citrus component that features notes of tangerine, grapefruit, and a heavy hand of orange peel. But the malts are prevalent as well, bringing a caramel and bready backing that adds some sweetness to the scent.

Each sip starts with a rush of hops and a bitter twinge that hits the back of the tongue. However, there is a rush of orange that quickly follows and eliminates most of that initial bitter shock. The orange is mostly juicy but also brings a pithy rind quality that is dryer and slightly sticky.

Midway through the hops add some grapefruit notes and a few earthy characteristics, like a light peppery spice and some pine notes. However, not to be outdone, the malt also adds a breadiness to the flavor that counters the bitter hops nicely.

The beer’s flavors appear and disappear with lightning speed, making it a very sessionable brew. With the lighter body and super clean finish, crushing a can of Hopwork Orange can be done in a few minutes.

It’s a very nice West Coast IPA with a pop of juicy orange early on. If you’re a fan of traditional West Coast IPAs, this one is right up your alley. Well made, flavorful, and nicely balanced.

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