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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Juniper Pale Ale and New World Porter

Yum yum, two delicious ales that I'll review for you guys today in a quick post. I tried these both last week after choosing them based on their unusual nature.

Juniper Pale Ale by Rogue Ales in Newport, OR was the first brew I tried. It's a pretty standard pale ale with the addition of an unusual ingredient, juniper berries. It pours golden-colored (their website states "saffron" in color) and has a fluffy white head. The nose was a pretty strong hoppy floral aroma, similar to many US pale ales that I have tried.

Flavor wise this also was a pretty standard pale ale. It was balanced toward the hop side with a little something... extra... If the bottle hadn't declared this extra character as juniper berries I wouldn't have been able to guess. It was a pleasant spice following each sip that I probably would have identified as a type of bittering hop if I hadn't known.

It was an enjoyable drink, probably not my favorite ever, but worth a try. Rogue recommends drinking this to accompany a turkey dinner or hot & spicy food. They dedicated this ale "to the turkey in each of us" and brewed it to commemorate the Thanksgiving bird.

Interesting fact: Did you know Benjamin Franklin wanted to name the turkey as the official bird of the new nation? The bald eagle was chosen instead!

Avery Brewing Company's New World Porter is a seasonal offering from Boulder, CO. They offer it January through April in 12 oz. 6 packs. Even though it was August I was still able to easily find this ale and buy a single bottle to try.

It pours like any standard porter, black and thick with a light tan head. The reason this porter is a bit unusual strikes you right as you pour. They dry-hopped this ale to give it a nice big hop aroma and flavor. It immediately hits you as the liquid hits the glass, liquid pine trees with a slight background of maltiness.

The flavor reminds me of an robust IPA with a thick-body. It's similar to a new style known as Cascadian Dark Ale (CDA) or Black IPA that it starting to become popular in craft brewing. The hop-forward flavor is accompanied by traditional porter flavors, chocolate, caramel, and other dark malts. It is a good combination of styles and certainly worth drinking. I enjoy the combination of flavors and aromas that are a little non-traditional. As long as you enjoy it, who cares about BJCP, right?

The Bottom Line: Both ales I tried are something a little out of the ordinary and both are created outside their styles. I like to pick up bottles that are unique. A lot of breweries are breaking outside the normal bounds of style and creating enjoyable beverages like these two. This is the new American craft brew movement, inventing new styles and techniques. It's up to us to continue to encourage these breweries to continue! If you get a chance, buy some of these brews!

Juniper Pale Ale:
Malts: Northwest Harrington, Crystal, Triumph, Maier Munich & C-15
Hops: Styrian Golding & Amarillo.
Specialty: Juniper berries.
Yeast & Water: Rogue's Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.
34 IBU
77 AA
3º Lovibond

New World Porter:
Hop Variety: Columbus, Fuggles
Malt Variety: Two-row Barley, Munich 10L, Chocolate, Black, Caramel 120L
OG: 1.065  
ABV: 6.7%  
IBUs: 45

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