DSC02131Flat Earth Brewing has a pretty good thing going over in St. Paul.

Stopped in last week to check out their growler selection and have another sample of their Cygnus X-1 porter, which I recently reviewed. It was clear from my first experience with Cygnus I was the unfortunate recipient of one of their off bottles from the Flanders Red yeast incident. However, a completely different experience this time around fresh from the brewery…Cygnus is such a nice porter, rich and robust with the right balance of dark malts and subtle hops. I really enjoyed it, and felt a little like a freeloader taking more than my fair share of free samples they were offering up at the growler table. But I eventually bought a couple growlers, so it all evened out.

One of those growlers consisted of Flat Earth’s Xanadu, their fairly limited availability orange-infused version of Cygnus X-1 that proved to be endlessly intriguing the more I tried it. Xanadu kicks off with a potent citrus nose, which is of course not the kind of thing you’d expect in this style, but it’s exactly the reason why this beer is so delicious and unique. Owner Jeff Williamson mentioned they give each growler a shot of their homemade orange extract to give it that effect, a combination of orange fruit, zest, and maybe some kind of liqueur (if memory serves me correctly). On the back end, the roasted chocolate sneaks in to round things out in the aroma, giving the beer a deeply satisfying quality you come to expect in a well-crafted porter or stout. It’s such a nice combination.

The flavor is just as intense…some serious chocolate and roasted malt up front with a nicely biting, slightly acidic citrus finish. Reminded me of those orange truffles you get around the holidays. The more I drank Xanadu, the more I liked it. But after a couple glasses, the orange characteristic did overwhelm the senses, even giving me a bit of heartburn. In some respects, I’d almost consider Xanadu a dessert beer, something to savor slowly while paired with a nice vanilla cheesecake or even drizzled over ice cream.  

Rating: B+