Beer: Or Xata
Brewery: The Buruery (Placentia, CA)
Style: Blonde Ale
7.2% ABV / N/A IBU
Horchata is the undisputed heavyweight champion of traditional Mexican aguas frescas – a super-refreshing combination of rice, sugar, and water, soaked overnight with cinnamon sticks, then blended and strained and combined with evaporated milk. It offers the essential accompaniment to tacos, burritos, or any fat/salt/acid-heavy foods. It’s so outrageously iconic on its own that it’s not exactly ripe for reinterpretation, but alas, it’s 2019, and brewers have finally run out of bizarre things to do with peanut butter.
The Bruery’s Or Xata (a play on “horchata”) was an early entrant into the horchata beer category; this version represents the second take/a refinement from the California alchemy wizards. Ballast Point, Blue Moon and Cigar City have all taken turns riffing on horchata, but Or Xata soars through the harmonious approach The Bruery typically takes in arranging elements of their brews. Also notable is what Or Xata isn’t – the totally obvious approach would have been to brew, like, a vanilla and cinnamon porter or a milk stout.
Instead, Or Xata starts with a base of blonde ale brewed with rice and lactose, with vanilla bean and cinnamon as later additions. The pairing of vanilla with the blonde ale is particularly genius. The cinnamon is stronger overall on the nose, but still perceptible in the brew. The result is very mellow, but pleasantly sweet, with the perfect character of vanilla and cinnamon. The one thing Or Xata can’t capture about horchata is its creaminess and silken texture, but as horchata-inspired ales go, it’s like the baby bear’s oatmeal: Just right.
More more info, check out The Bruery here.