It has been long insisted that honesty is the best policy, and if I am to share in that sentiment, at least for the moment, then I have something to confess: I had to look up exactly what “milk sugar” is before writing this review. Turns out it’s the non-scientific name for lactose. Now that we have that out of the way, there’s a little brewery located in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey called Bolero Snort, and said brewery uses the stuff in at least some of its beers. Keeps with the cow and bull theme that Bolero Snort employs as far as naming is concerned, and is even worth a knowing chuckle.
As if my ignorance of the definition of milk sugar wasn’t enough, you will also have to forgive the fact that I’m about to review a beer that is “out of print,” as it were. I was deeply saddened to learn that Bolero’s Orange Vanilla Bullsicle (OVB), their obscenely tasty cream pop IPA is currently discontinued. Nonetheless, I’m still going to share my experience with it, because I loved it, and I hope it comes back someday.
Poured from a 16-ounce can, the OVB appears a bright orange color, and if you look closely while you’re pouring, you can spot the milky texture brought about by the aforementioned milk sugar. Though it is an IPA, I tried to focus on everything but that fact, considering that the brew incorporates lactose, orange zest and vanilla beans. You may get primarily orange peel and hops on the knows, with perhaps a bit of vanilla. The latter comes out much more in the taste, and the lactose provides for a creamy mouthfeel and a delicious, satisfying beer. The hop presence is not completely masked on the nose or the tongue, with the Warrior, Cascade and Citra varieties reminding you that this is indeed an IPA, and not a gimmicky juicefest for beginners. The first sip is frontloaded with hops, but the other flavors shine through as you go, particularly as the beer slowly warms, so give it some time.
If you can still find this on the shelves at a store near you, I urge you to pick it up before it’s gone for good. The Orange Vanilla Bullsicle is more than hoppy enough for the IPA fans out there, but is balanced out by the most agreeable of guests in the citrus fruit, lactose and vanilla. The alcohol-by-volume level is 6.3%, which is on the high side of average, but likely won’t knock you on your ass. Bolero Snort created an easy-drinking and surprisingly delectable beer that would be perfect for summer sipping, so here’s to hoping the brewery does another run of it for the upcoming season. Until next time, bottoms up!