I realized that I’ve had this review sitting in my notebook for about 3 months or so.  I think it was even before I interviewed The Bruery. Since that time, the Bruery is no longer making this brew. Issues with shelf-life and other factors played into their discontinuation and replacement of Black Orchard.  Rugbrod is the beer replacing it. As a result, I don’t know how relevant this review will be.  Maybe it will make it into the eventual annals of folklore.  Either way, for those who are wondering what the beer is (or was like), I’m going to do my duty and review this beer posthumously.

The Pour: I wish I could say this beer was the color of a graveyard at night because it would help the metaphor of its death.  But this beer poured like a robust porter and had a light brown head, which was fluffy and billowed.  Whatever other problems the beer might have had, the bottle conditioning was not one of them.  It looked very nice.

The Nose: At 5.7% ABV, the alcohol was undetectable in the brew.  What was detectable were the iron-like metallic tones, the powdery yeast, and some spice from that same yeast.  Some of the darker grain coffee tones were evident, although not excessively.  Honestly, the beer aroma was pretty straightforward despite the ostensible complexity of ingredients.

The Taste: Here is where the rubber met the road.  Those darker coffee and metallic tones made their way into the palate.  The herbal spice tones were certainly less noticeable than in the Orchard White, which only makes sense when you account for the dark grains in this one.  However, the herbs that did come through took the angle of tasting like hints of mint.  The oats in the brew came on at the very end.

Overall, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I’ll miss the brew.  I think I would drink it on occasion.  I think it might be a very nice pairing beer but not a regular beer on my shelf.  At the same time, I think that ironing out some of the issues with the brew could have made it a nice, mid-range brew to drink and enjoy.

Let me also add that The Bruery set an example in the respect of ditching a brew if it’s not up to their standards.  Too many breweries continue to make swill without any backbone what-so-ever.  At least these guys saw a problem and fixed it.