Friday, March 5, 2010

Rogue: Juniper Pale Ale

Leave it to Rogue to take a thoroughly mainstream brew and do something weird to it. As I've mentioned before, the pale is a staple of the American craft brewing movement, but there doesn't seem to be much variety within the genre. Sierra Nevada has set the bar with its "thoroughly-enjoyable-but-not-very-adventurous" flagship, and for the most part, other breweries offer only minor tweaks (or watered down imitations). I was hoping Rogue would bust up the mold a little bit, but alas, even juniper can't do the trick it seems.

Don't get me wrong; this is definitely one of the better pales out there. It's a bit stronger in the way of malt flavors than your typical pale, and the hops are a very enjoyable blend of earthy and citrusy tastes. The juniper is, to be honest, quite mild. It really only serves as a compliment to the hop flavors, giving this brew a bright and snappy taste. True to the pale genre as a whole, the Juniper Pale is very drinkable.

The more I think about it, the more I realize, I actually like this brew quite a bit. It's refreshing and drinkable, and it doesn't fizzle out taste-wise. But I have to say, I'm beginning to worry that when it comes to pales, this is about all you can muster: a mild malt body, a pleasant bouquet of hops, and a crisp, clean aftertaste. Perhaps it's just that the pale ale genre doesn't lend itself to the interesting flavor complexities you find in stouts, IPAs, belgians, and even you occasional amber. Hopefully there is a pale out there somewhere (possibly a couple years in the future) that will really push this genre into new territory. In the mean time, I suppose, Rogue's Juniper is a pretty solid placeholder. Cheers!

1 comment:

Mattie said...

This beer somehow manages to combine the best parts of gin and beer without making it gross. Genius.