At newly-founded Green Cheek Beer Company in Orange, it’s not about what beers are on the tasting-room board as much as what’s on the board that’s not beer. Iced Coffee or tea on tap anyone? Perhaps you want something just as refreshing, with a kiss of booze: a beer cocktail served in a sweaty glass to beat the summer heat perhaps? These options have me squawking on a telephone pole just like a wild green parrot! Okay, maybe that’s a stretch.
Anyone who knows co-owner/brewer Evan Price’s affinity for cocktails knows this is nothing new. When he was at Noble Ale Works, the anniversary parties were filled with various beer-jugos concoctions. But to see Michelada (For Those Who Know) and Rhymes With Shandy on the menu, complete with garnish and speedy serving technique, you know I had to try both.
The Michelada glass is rimmed with lime and spiced salt, then mixed simultaneously as Green Cheek’s German lager (affectionately called “BIER”) comes out of the tap with a house-made tomato-lime mix poured over ice. At just 4.2 percent, it’s probably the most refreshing Michelada I’ve ever had. Sometimes they can be quite aggressive with the salt and hot sauce, but Green Cheek’s is more on the refreshing citrus side. “We plan on doing a spicy version of the Michelada soon, with a habanero version of BIER,” Evan says with a devilish smile.
Rhymes With Shandy is quite possibly the most unintentional German thing on the menu. It contains one part BIER, one part tart Berliner Weiss, then sweetened with house-made oleo-saccharum, which is basically sugar muddled with citrus zest. It’s served on the rocks with a fresh sprig of mint danced around the rim, then garnished. I found it to be a bit on the sweet side, similar to, say, a 7-Up, but I had no problem enjoying it as the ice diluted it.
Green Cheek has been open for a month, and you wouldn’t know that from the large crowd. “This is the first night we haven’t had a constant line of 15 people,” says Evan, with only five people in line an hour from closing. The tasting room has a speakeasy vibe with this location, hidden well, in an easy-to-miss industrial park. Consider yourself “in the know” and check it out! They’re only open Friday through Sunday for the foreseeable future.
Green Cheek Beer Company is at 2294 N. Batavia St. C, Orange // facebook.com/greencheekbeer