Introducing Febrewery and Blasted Barley Orange Bomb

Beer: Orange Bomb Brewery: Blasted Barley Beer Co. Style: Dry Stout ABV: 6.45 percent

At least a half-dozen new breweries have opened up in the Valley in the past six months, and it's time to catch up. This month is no longer February; henceforward, it shall be known as Febrewery: four weeks for visiting new craft breweries in metro Phoenix.

Our first stop is Blasted Barley Beer Co., a small brewpub that opened in November on Mill Avenue, in a spot that was once home to The Tavern. This is one location that I can be forgiven for not having visited immediately, for while the pub poured plenty of guest beers from its 30-tap setup, it produced none of its own. The first -- and still only -- beer made at Blasted Barley premiered January 8. Its name: Orange Bomb.

See also: Alpine Beer Co. Comes To Arizona

Brewed with chocolate malt and orange peel, the brew's meant to recall those chocolate oranges you'd smash on the table and eat, slice by citrusy, cocoa-laden slice. In actuality, it tastes more like you crushed up your chocolate-orange chunks, rolled them into a cigarette and smoked that joint.

Enjoy it at the source and you'll receive the beer in a shaker pint glass. It looks somewhat watery, chocolate-brown in the middle and more translucent coffee on the edges. A small head like fluffy latte-foam fizzles away, releasing aromas very much like a chocolate orange: bright orange peel melded with cocoa. Additional smoky undertones and a scoop of soil, however, let you know this is still a beer. The front of the flavor is all citrus peel, packed with OJ and zest, while floral hop notes -- delivered via early additions of Ahtanum and Citra hop varieties -- flash mid-palate, followed by soft cocoa then toast in a dry, smoky, tobacco-bitter finish. I hate to say this, but my stupid sense of humor requires it: Orange Bomb is an a-peeling brew, if not a mind-melting one.

Blasted Barley hopes to introduce two more of its own beers by March. Until then, you can try out Orange Bomb and join me in trying out new beers all throughout Febrewery! It's a thing now!

Zach Fowle is a BJCP-recognized beer judge and a Certified Cicerone. He works at World of Beer in Tempe.

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