Just like an ordinary orange, this beautiful fruit is round and fresh, but there the similarities end. The blood orange we use in our Pale Ale offers a whole new flavour palette. The ‘blood’ might sound unappetizing but no worries; they earned that name because of the vivid red colour of their flesh. To become tasty and bright red the blood orange relies on certain kinds of weather. Therefore unlike traditional oranges, blood oranges aren’t available all year round, which makes it a special ingredient in our Pale Ale.
Blood oranges may have originated in either the southern Mediterranean or China, where they have been grown since the 18th century. The one we use in our Pale Ale is grown on sunny Sicily. Within Europe the ‘arancia rossa di Sicilia’ has a Protected Geographical Status to promote and protect quality agricultural products.
Some say blood oranges are crosses between pomegranates and oranges. Others claim between grapefruit and mandarins. Another theory is that blood oranges are simply oranges that at some point underwent a genetic mutation and turned into the noble fruits that we know today.
Whatever story is true: in our quest for the best citrusy botanicals we envisaged a beer so refreshing and zesty as a lemon drizzle cake. Don’t get us wrong: being down to earth Dutch guys we love the average orange but there is just something special about a blood orange flavour. The smell is intoxicating in a nice way and the intense sweetness is balanced by a breeze of bitter and sour. It has a distinct citrus-sweet flavour with a hint of raspberry. It’s more bitter and less acidic than the average orange and gives our Pale Ale that little kick.
But where does the blood-red colour come from?
They are ‘bloody’ because of an antioxidant pigment called anthocyanin. This pigment is widely found in our nature: it can appear red as in cherries, to blue as in blueberries or even purple as in aubergines. Although quite common in many flowers and fruit, anthocyanin is uncommon in citrus fruit, making the blood orange pretty special. The anthocyanin’s will only develop in certain circumstances: temperatures have to be low at night, as during a Mediterranean fall or winter. The darker the colour, the more anthocyanin’s the fruit contains.
When consuming a blood orange you’re doing something good for your health as well. The anthocyanin that gives the orange its bloody colour is a powerful antioxidant that might help prevent the growth of cancer cells and heart disease, as well as treat eye disorders. Furthermore they contain high amounts of vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, vitamin A and even fibers. Not convinced yet? The blood orange is also known as the anti-aging orange.
With our love for citrus we wanted to show that life could give you more than lemons or lemonade. So if you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing this unique botanical, we highly recommend you to try a Lowlander Pale Ale, brewed with blood orange, very soon.