Beer #2 that I tried from my man, Jay, over at HEDONIST BEER JIVE, was The Bruery's White Orchard. I've always been a fan of White Ales. In fact, as craptastic as it may sound, I think both Blue Moon and Sam Adam's White Ale really got me interested in the whole craft beer movement.
White Ales are pretty simple. Usually, they are made with some pilsner malt, wheat malt, and a bit of oats. They are hopped with central European hops most of the time(known as Noble hops), and then there are usually some spices thrown in at the end of the boil. This is where the originality comes in. Orange peel or Curacao orange peel is common. I've seen lime and lemon peel used in others as well. Coriander is sometimes added, or other spices. I put an ounce of cloves in my first-ever brewed wit bier and it was overbearing. Drinkable, but really, really clovey.
The Bruery puts lavender in theirs, and they do it right - you should be able to get a hint of the spice, but it shouldn't overtake the aroma or the flavor of the beer. I spilled a drop of this beer on my finger while pouring it and picked up the lavender. It was nice. After that, I couldn't really smell or taste it any more.
This was truly one of the most non-offensive beers I've ever had. I don't necessarily think that is a good thing. At times, I describe Belgian beers as "stinky" or having a "hint of monk basement". While these terms are not necessarily pleasant on a day-to-day conversational basis, this is what I expect from Belgian beers. They need to have character.
This wasn't a bad beer, by any means, but it wasn't really a good beer, either. It was just sort of...there. I could pick up a little hint of the yeast. There were banana flavors there, but it wasn't as ester-y as I would have liked. Overall, it was sort of like drinking a seltzer-water with a bit of a yeasty flavor.
This might be a good jumping-off point for those of you interested in trying out Belgian-style beers, but for me, it wasn't all that exciting enough to put into a 750 ml bottle, when a 12 ounce bottle of this would suffice.