Another seasonal release by the LCBO and the offering of one more Rogue Ale. As discussed before, the biggest monopoly in the market left in the world, only seems able to stock Rogue ales one at a time - next Saturday, I will be at a corner store with ten. Two months ago it was their chocolate stout. Now it is this well hopped pale ale flavoured with juniper berry.
It is a very intelligent brew as you ought to expect from Rogue. The use of juniper is intriguing. Pale ales sometimes have the addition of licorice - the former LCBO offering Hop and Glory had it. The idea is to balance a level of hops that malt alone cannot withstand. The ingredient has to harmonize with both the malt and the hop as it plays this supporting role. This beer is not a mammoth effort like Stone's Ruination, but at 5.7% and 45 IBUs it is getting there.
The brewery describes the ale as:
A pale ale, saffron in color with a smooth malt balance, a floral aroma with a dry spicy finish from whole juniper berries.In that description there is something of the timing of the flavour, that what juniper there is shows only in the aftertaste. The Amarillo and "Styiran" (their typo) Golding Hops. Styrians are Fuggles (not Goldings) grown in the Czech Republic instead of their native southen England. Both Amarillo and Styrians are spicy and relatively obsure indicating a careful selection to match the juniper. Similarly the malt has honey notes while also providing some graininess. All these flavours still exist within the word "smooth". A real dandy effort. Some beer advocatonians do not appreciate it, which is fair as it is a take on a standard. Definitely worth a try of you, like me, like hopped pale ales. Sadly, as Lew notes, a poorly populated heaven such as this needs the brew to move and too many were sour.