Unlabelled 500 mL bottle picked up fresh from the brewery. I'm not a big fruit beer guy, but this one's description - 40 lbs of zested oranges thrown into the vat, then fermented with Brettanomyces - intrigued me into a purchase. Served slightly chilled.
Pours a bright golden-yellow hue, clouded up with swirls of sediment derived from the copious deposits at the bottom of the bottle. It is topped off with two fingers of fluffy white head, which proceeds to wilt away steadily over the next 5-10 minutes or so, eventually leaving behind a foamy cap and collar, along with a continuous curtain of lace. Looks good to me - rather like a witbier, actually. On the nose, juicy orange notes leap right out of the glass, with lesser hints of canteloupe and grapefruit. Funky, yeasty notes from the Brett are also recognizable (particularly off the bottle itself), with grainy pale malts and a subtle honey sweetness buried beneath the beer's more interesting facets.
Unusual flavour; not specifically unappealing, but there are many disparate elements which do not mesh together all that well. Grainy pale malts with some caramelized sugar sweetness starts things off, followed up by a mixture of juicy orange flesh, honeydew melon and pithy, zesty orangepeel. There is a slight suggestion of pink grapefruit, with a pithy bitterness building up toward the finish. Mildly funky at the end, with this flavour carrying on into aftertaste, along with a touch of orangepeel and alcohol. Medium-light in body, with low carbonation levels that result in a relatively smooth, soft mouthfeel. Feels a little bit watery, but it's pretty easy to knock back.
Final Grade: 3.37, a B-. Project Orange makes for a nice diversion, but I think they might want to go back and look over the schematics of this project - it just doesn't come together as well as one might hope. Despite having a little something for most everyone - witbier, wild ale and fruit beer fans - I didn't find this to be a particularly satisfying brew. It's worth a try, if only because it's an interesting concept - but one bottle is plenty for me, thanks.