Circus Penguin | Two Brothers Brewing Company

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Circus PenguinCircus Penguin

Brewed by:
Two Brothers Brewing Company
Illinois, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our first annual Brewers Choice artisan release beer, an organic beet and blood orange pale ale.

Added by ChugginOil on 02-25-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 69
Photo of joefuzz
4.35/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an orangish-pinkish with a tiny off white head....great lacing

Smell is mostly light citrus hops, nothing crazy but very solid

Taste is pretty dam good starts with a good amount of citrusy hops that mellow out to an amazing orange and tropical fruit aftertaste

Mouthfeel and carbonation are spot on for the style

Overall very good drinking session beer. Really glad it crossed my path.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Circus Penguin is pretty decent....and definitely different. The beer poured an orange with some floaties with nice foamy white head that is lacing. The smell has beets with a touch of orange peel. The taste is a moderate pale ale with some hints of beet and orange. The body is medium to light with good carbonations. Overall it is pretty decent.

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Photo of match1112
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours out the color of nice new copper. a two finger, increadibly sudsy head forms on top and lasts for a couple minutes before settling into a rocky sea foam texture on top of the beer. i could smell this as soon as i opened it. lots of floral hops and orange. taste is more subdued but still has plenty of blood orange flavor. the beets give it a nice earthy touch. and the hops are not real over-powering, but they provide a slight bite on the back end. mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy. lively carbonation and a dry finish compliment each other very well. overall i think this is a very good beer, just have to remind my self it's an apa not a dipa, that's why the flavors are more subdued, instead of more in your face.

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Photo of Etan
3.95/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Spiegelau tulip.

A: Golden orange with a huge tower of pillowy white head. Nice lacing and retention.

S: Nice sweet citrus hop aroma. Very orangey (maybe the blood orange affecting the aroma?). Sweet grainy malt.

T: Bright citrus hop, pithy orange, grapefruit bitterness in the middle and finish, sugary cake, strong fresh bread. Breath of alcohol in the finish, with some lingering bitterness and orangey hop sweetness.

M: Good mouthfeel, with a burst of carbonation simultaneous with the oncoming bitterness.

O: Overall, a very good, sweet APA with just enough bitterness to balance. I can see where the blood orange is influencing the profile, but I don't really see where the beets are doing anything.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.95/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up this whimsical looking beer the other day. Served in a snifter.

A: pours bright orange, dense white head, some lacing, small bit of cloudiness

S: nose starts with aroma of candied oranges, and hints of beet sweetness, the sweet candy like aroma is followed by a significant dough like bready character, not getting much in the way of hops on the nose

T: taste is well balanced, a bit of citrus up front, some of the candy from the nose, but not too sweet by any means, the bread/malt character comes through big and provides for a crisp and dry finish. Nice balance.

MF: light body, medium carbonation

O: this is interesting and unique. The blood orange and beet character certainly doesn't stand out, but it seems to integrate well with this beer. Worth a try.

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Photo of Nachos4two
3.83/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A- pours a steady amber orange color. Definitely opaque. NASA steady lighthead.

S- definitely a orangish smell aroma.

T- citrus/ orange flavor I merges at first..lingers to a slightly bitter after taste.

M- crisp with a lingering flavor on the tongue.

O- a tasty beer, glad to have picked one up though not sure if it would ever be a wow or go to beer for me.

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Photo of pschul4
3.78/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Was really excited when I heard about this one, here we go

A- Certainly looks the part of an APA. Light golden hazy color with a 1" creamy white head

S- Smells faintly good, citrusy hops (maybe from the blood oranges?) Not much malt scents, could be a lot stronger

T- Definitely getting pale malts in the taste. A little bit of bitterness which is pleasing and some maltiness that I'll never complain about. Just seems to be lacking the punch that could make it an amazing beer

M- Little too creamy for an APA was hoping for a more refreshing brew on this hot march day in Chicago

O- I like it, I don't love it. I'm not crying over them never making it again

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Photo of Florida9
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Very clear, brilliant golden yellow in color. Forms a thick bright white head. Good retention and a some moderate lacing.

S: Bready, with a vegetal quality, which I will assume is from the beets. Some citrus hops and a bit of alcohol on the finish.

T: Very smooth and creamy with the subdued flavor of roasted beets. Mild sweetness. A bit bready. Light citrus hops on the finish.

M: On the lighter side of medium with a rather smooth feel in the mouth. Appropriate carbonation. Mild bitterness.

O: An easily drinkable pale ale. The beets and oranges aren't at all overpowering (actually I couldn't even tell the oranges were in it) and the flavors seem to work well together. If anything, this one needs a bit more hops to make it shine. Overall, a pretty good beer though.

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Photo of VaTechHopHead
3.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Slightly hazy golden orange with lots of small carbonation bubbles. Not a lot of head but provides decent lacing.

S - The blood oranges give a nice juicy sweet citrus flavor to the aroma and the secondary scent is the crisp Earthy hops. There is a slight hint of the beets way in the back lending a savory aroma to the nose.

T - First taste is mostly toned-down blood oranges mixed with the beets, sort of an astringent flavor. The hops don't shine through a whole lot but are Earthy and slightly floral, a nice combo with the beets. Aftertaste is slightly citric and savory.

M/O - Medium body with ok carbonation. Vanishes from the palate sort of quickly but filling with each sip. The flavor combination probably isn't for everybody but it is bold, different and well done.

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Photo of Vonerichs
3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear copper body with a large, foamy, white head.

The smell is grainy with earthy and herbal hops. I don't pick up any of the advertised blood orange.

It's a rather average taste. The beets give it an earthy taste (or so the label tells me) and an herbal characteristic. I was hoping for more citrus from the orange, but I can't even tell it's there. Again, it has a grainy aspect to it.

Mouthfeel is crisp, good carbonation.

Overall, this is just above average for a pale and not very hoppy, even for the style.

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Photo of kawilliams81
3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Stone pint.

A- pilsner color with a 2 finger white head. Lacing blotches stick randomly on the glass.

S- has a almost macro lager smell, maybe the beets are causing this vegetable-like smell? Some citrus as well.

T- pale malts with slight citrus/orange flavors. Crisp pine hop bitterness at finish.

M- light body with medium carbonation. Slightly dry finish yet easy drinking pale.

O- an average pale as a lot of Two Bros beers are. Blood oranges and beets just doesn't come through enough.

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Photo of ChugginOil
3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear, yellow/amber in color with a fingers worth of white head. Lots of white lace.

The nose has some oranges, earthy hops and a bit of sweet malt. Pretty vegetable-like.

The taste has some bitter citrus rind, light caramel malt, earthy vegetable and is quite bitter.

The mouthfeel is light, crisp, bitter, and amply carbonated.

Overall, decent pale ale witha special uniqueness.

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Photo of emerge077
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass, it has a bright sun-kissed orange yellow tone, and a compact layer of white foam on the surface that lingers for a few minutes, depositing drippy seafoam lace on the sides of the glass.

Aroma is earthy with hops and beets (possibly) which give it a certain freshness, but it's sort of indistinct.

Flavor is lightly bitter with orange peel, pale malts, and a medium level of earthy bitterness. Fairly smooth and light bodied, easily drinkable, though not as exotic as the label might have you think.

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Photo of rmcnealy
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a medium amber gold that wasn't very translucent and appeared to not be totally filtered. Produced a dense bone white head that fleeted to a solid ring around the glass and a foggy layer atop the brew. The initial smells are of very slight hop and a Belgian-esque yeast smell that may be from the beets. Not much on the malt side. The hop tastes (which aren't prevalent) are in the middle of the scale; smack between the citrus and piney tastes. Definite tastes of beets. The blood oranges aren't very noticeable to my palet right now. The taste has a slight bitterness to it. It is very crisp and refreshing. The 5.9% abv is about right. Another nice offering from Two Brothers.


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Photo of sommersb
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasted On: 03-15-2012
Freshness: Bottled 02-2012
Packaging: 22 oz. brown bottle
Glassware: Dogfish Head signature glass
Purchased: Received in a trade

A: Clear, with a light orange color. Head is white and a finger high, with a fair amount of retention and very sticky lacing.

S: Earthy hops, light malt sweetness, and a mild fruit presence, presumably from the beets and oranges.

T: Zesty and hoppy, with a citrus/orange kick. There's a light level of malt sweetness, but this is primarily a hop-forward beer.

M: Moderately carbonated and medium bodied, the finish is bitter and slightly fruity.

O: A good and enjoyable pale ale.

Thanks to Duff27 for this one!

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Photo of tsauce2
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

P: 22 fl oz bottle into a DFH snifter.

A: SRM is dark golden yellow. Transparent. Head is off-white, 1 in, dissipates to line the top of the beer. Medium carbonation. Light lacing.

S: Nose is light hops followed by the earthiness of beet and mild citrus notes. Light malt and slightly sweet notes are detectable.

T: Medium/light hoppiness gives way to mild citrus notes. Some earthy flavors are apparent, but I would not say beet is a flavor that is discernable. A bit of sweetness comes through. Light malt base. Aftertaste is mild hops with a bit of bitterness.

M: Light body. Beets add a nice etheral feel and the orange brightens everything up a bit. Hops are well blended and give a noticable character to the feel. Dry finish.

O: A good beer with interesting ingredients. I think this came out well, but I am not terribly impressed. I expect good to great things from Two Brothers, and this is good. It is a very nice tasting and easy drinking beer. I may buy this again; certainly would not turn it down.

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Photo of HosP
3.48/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Been a while since reviewing. Picked this up the other day, hadn't bought a bomber in months! Poured into fff pint glass. Poured hazy, golden color. Fluffy white head with lace left on glass. Interesting nose. Some citrus hop smell, with a mild maybe musty beet? smell. Not sure. Taste has a good amount of hop burst up front, citrus mostly. Pretty refreshing. Sweetness at the end. Not a beet fan so not sure if its beets or what. Medium body with a little bit of a dry mouthfeel. Overall interesting beer. Not something normal. Good, but not sure I would pick it up again. Worth the $7 to try!

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Photo of metter98
3.46/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is slightly hazy yellow in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high white head that died down a bit and left lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of orange citrus in the nose, but these seem to be more from the blood oranges rather than the hops.
T: The taste has flavors of pale malts along with notes of orange citrus and hints of beets. A light amount of bitterness is present in the finish.
M: It feels a bit shy of medium-bodied, smooth and a bit crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer isn’t that difficult to drink because the beet flavors are subdued.

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Photo of VagabondHops
3.46/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this one up and couldn't wait to try it, so away we go.
Served in a pint glass and has a thicker white head to it. Leaves the glass quickly.
Smells very citrusy(but I haven't enjoyed beets much, so maybe they give off a citrusy aroma???doubt it. Must be the blood oranges).
A definitely creamy refreshing ale and something I wouldn't mind havin again. But I'm not running out to get more. Not on my best list, but a good brew and good experiment by Two Bros.

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Photo of beagle75
3.37/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a tasting glass.

A: Clear, medium golden color with a sparse surface residue of white bubbles. Scant lacing remains on the glass and fine solids hang motionless in the column.

S: Mostly floral, lighter citrus, lightest malt. All qualities are generally mild and refreshing.

T: Begins dry, with early floral hop aromatics and chalky base malt. Sweetness enjoys a brief peak into the middle alongside moderate citric acidity. Floral qualities persist to the finish where bitterness is more aggressive than expected, and detached from other aromatic flavors.

M: Thin viscosity, slightly acidic on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This is an interesting ale of the palest variety that struggles to really distinguish itself. While early aromatic qualities are titillatingly floral, heavy bitterness and synthetic plastic tend to give back any ground that was gained. There is such an obvious disconnect between bitterness and earlier aromatic flavors that the source of those flavors is revealed not as hop but other flavor adjunct such as the blood orange. Still, it presents a flavorful blond ale with pronounced floral qualities, derived from whatever source, that drinks easily enough.

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.36/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle from Binny's in Champaign, IL
No bottled on date
Poured into a standard US pint glass

Two Brothers' Circus Penguin is an interesting blend of ingredients into a pale ale, but the result does not come through in the actual beer. The beets are totally absent (and when were they added, because any beets I've cooked would have died this a hearty magenta?) and the blood orange seems to be reduced to a bit of rind-like essence and bitterness in the flavor. While this isn't amazing, it's still a satisfyingly enjoyable beer, though I think I'd take their normal offerings over it..

Pours a 2cm whitish head that has fairly decent retention, eventually diminishing to a ring around the glass with some islands of foam, leaving good lacing along the sides of the glass. Body is a transparent golden orange color, with light bringing out paler yellow-gold accents. Carbonation is visible and quite streaming.

Aroma is of light and slight caramel-colored malts, with notable citrus from hop choices and, possibly, blood orange, though blood orange isn't particularly sharp and citrusy like grapefruit. Not particularly strong or effusive, but enjoyable enough.

Taste is well-balanced between light and caramel-colored malts, bittering and citrus hops, and a bit of orange rind that shows up mid-palate and continues through, lasting into the aftertaste. Not pulling in any of those beets, though. Taste is akin to an amped-up English Pale Ale, with more bitterness than across the pond.

Beer is medium to medium-light bodied, with medium amounts of carbonation. The result is a beer that is crisp and taught across the palate, easily drinkable and enjoyable. Closes out expectedly dry, with no residual stickiness in the mouth.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.23/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I keep trying all of the Two Brothers beers I can get, because for the most part I've loved them all. I didn't even read the description of this beer, pale ale with organic beets and blood oranges. The last beet beer I had was Magic Hat Wacko, and it wasn't so good. Pours into a chalice with a glowing orange copper just slightly hazy with a rotund off white head forming thick. Fine even lacing spread evenly between sips, looks pretty nice in my glass. Aroma has an earthy vegetable herbal quality with blood orange citrus, and an even keeled biscuit malt profile. Through each sip, I'm getting an earthy quality from the beet juice, and some orange pith/peel bitterness. Also a chalky slightly spicy yeast component, with little to no hops making a mark on the palate, finishes with an earth herbal dry bitterness as the pale malt biscuit breadiness subsides. Mouthfeel is lighter bodied with ample sturdy carbonation flowing just fine, works well in this beer. Something unusual added by the beet additions but it's hard to describe, overall a unique offering but nothing I would pickup again especially with the other outstanding Two Brothers beers out there.

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Photo of ChadQuest
3.12/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Visual is clear with some small particles floating about. It is not hazy like yeast, so i bet it is from the beets and blood oranges?
lacing and head to give it proper headwear.
The aroma is pale malt biscuit, with a citrus that could either be well done hops or the blood oranges, but ill assume its both. not strong, but pleasent.
Flavors are less crisp then i expected, i cant say i notice the beets, and once again i assume the citrus is a hop/blood orange combo, but the malt backbone is supportive. I think if they added a light spice in here that would have been the missing element, but props for experiments, Two brothers needs more of it.

A solid beer, average, half better, half worse.

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Photo of sweemzander
2.98/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle poured into a tulip. Thanks chris for sharing!

(A)- Pours a cloudy orange color. Some good tan froth.

(S)- A lightly zesty citrus profile of orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit. Subtle vegetable hints. Even more sublter pine. Great citrus though.

(T)- Much heavier in the vegetable department, though the citrus still shows up from the smell. Its a bit like a citrus and vegetable garden with a hint of pine.

(M)- A good carbonation level. Definitely a unique balance to it. Unique, but I am not as sold if that is a good thing or bad; might be a bit "too" unique.

(D)- Definitely a unique beer for the style. The blood orange definitely adds an interesting dimension to the beer, but I think the beets could have been toned down or not added at all.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.43/5  rDev -30%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Served in a Gale Sayers shaker pint glass.

All penguins are awesome and fun. Just sayin'. This one, though, pours a hazy orange-auburn topped by a finger or so of light cream-white foam. The nose comprises blood orange zest, light clamato juice, light grapefruit zest, light black pepper, and a touch of grass and miscellaneous vegetation (I assume this last part to be from the beets). The taste holds notes of blood orange rind, beet juice, light tomato skin, black pepper, clove, sharp grass, greens, and lemon peel. Trust me, it tastes even worse than it sounds. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a much-too-dry finish. Overall, as this beer and Magic Hat's Wacko have shown, beets and beers don't mix positively (and the blood orange prolly didn't help, either...). Boo this.

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Circus Penguin from Two Brothers Brewing Company
3.47 out of 5 based on 69 ratings.
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