As if there aren’t enough things to love about California, the Golden State is home to more breweries than you can shake a flight paddle at. Taking its name from the town in which it broke ground in 1996, Coronado Brewing Company has been staking its claim in the craft beer world for two decades. The San Diego-area brewer enjoys coast-to-coast, and even international distribution, all for good reason.
During my second trip to Southern California in August of 2016, I stumbled upon a promotional table set up by Coronado while strolling around the Whole Foods in Pasadena. Of course, I sampled every beer that was offered, one of which was the tasty, summery Orange Avenue Wit. Witbiers are among my favorite styles – light, fruity, and exceptionally easy drink – and the Orange Avenue Wit epitomizes the innate magnetism with which the wit is blessed.
This particular brew reappeared on my radar just before Thanksgiving last year, at a brand new local gastropub called the Brielle Ale House, in the small shore town of Brielle, New Jersey. Among the stunning selection of craft beers on tap there, the Orange Avenue Wit was present as well, in all its glory, tap handle waiting to be pulled. It’s no small wonder that said tap handle was exhausted by the end of the night, as I sat and overheard one bar patron after another ordering it. I joined in, always excited when a craft brew from a far-off land gets poured in my neck of the woods.
I’m sipping the Orange Avenue Wit as I write this, another birthday/Christmas gift from my from my bi-coastal friend Chris, and am reminded once again what a solid and cheery beer it is. Made with orange zest, coriander, and orange blossom honey according to Coronado’s website, the Orange Avenue Wit retains its Belgian heart but plants its feet firmly in Southern California. The beer poured a semi-transparent orange color, with almost no head to be seen. It follows that the carbonation, while present, was not excessive.
The aroma is inviting – lots of orange, some honey and wheat – and provides for a well-founded expectation of a cushy seat on the flavor train. The old olfactory nerve was right once again, as the aforementioned seat matched the ticket. Orange abounds, but the sour notes called in sick, replaced by an abiding sweetness, courtesy of the honey blossom. While witbiers typically have a spicy side, there was no discernible spice character in the Orange Avenue Wit for me, despite the incorporation of coriander. That’s all well and good, as the beer still has a malty backbone, but breaks from Belgian wit tradition in other ways.
The Orange Avenue Wit checks in at a 5.2% ABV level, which is not necessarily conducive to “crushing,” but allows for continued pacing in moderation. I highly recommend this beer to any fans of the Belgian wit, particularly those who are looking for something that puts a spin on the style. Coronado Brewing Company captured sunshine here – bottled, capped and available all year long. Searching for a fun, summery craft beer? Have a sore throat? A beer brewed with honey should do the trick! Just kidding. If you’re sick, get something over-the-counter, NOT from over the bar. If you’re in good health, drink up! Cheers!