Welcome back, everyone! Happy Monday! Can such a thing exist? Of course it can if beer’s involved. And today’s beer brings a bit of comedy to the holiday festivities. It’s Rouge’s Yellow Snow IPA. I haven’t looked this beer up at all, so I have no idea what I’m in store for, but I’m a big fan of Rogue, so I’m not counting on it tasting like the worst sno-cone in the world. But, I’ll never know without drinking it. So button up your trousers and let’s go have some fun.
Prying off the cap reveals a citrusy aroma of grapefruit peel and oranges, mixing with a mild air of piney hops to create that known IPA bouquet. Underneath, a mellow layer of toasty malts adds a touch of warmth to the brightness of the hops, as well as lending some bready sweetness to the overall aroma. The malts aren’t too noticeable – just enough to make an appearance here and there. The bottle aroma ends with the faintest hints of floral, peppery spiciness, adding another layer of freshness to the mix. When your name is Yellow Snow, only the freshest will do.
The bottle flavors have other ideas, however. It’s still fresh, but in a deep, earthy way. The first flavors to reach the tongue are potently bitter hops. The grapefruit peel and pine bitterness race towards the back of the tongue and anchor themselves there for a while. A touch of zesty citrus adds a bit of a bright, orange juice flavor, but it’s very slight – buried under the rind bitterness. Up next, notes of toasty bread crust and sunflower seeds mingle to create some savory sweetness that acts as a counter to the hops. Make no mistake, however – the hops still dominate. Not as much as other IPAs, but enough to create that dry, hoppy tang that coats the mouth. Each taste ends with a mild peppery spice that fades into a bitter bread linger.
Poured out into a chalice, the aroma heads down another path. The citrus rind hops and piney bitterness are still there, but the malts have stepped up their game a bit. A toasty cloud of bread malts seem to wrap around the hoppy core. Notes of grapefruit and orange pulp shine through here and there, adding a touch of zesty, citrus sweetness, but these instances are rare. It still retains an overall fresh profile, but the addition of the malts brings about a feeling of warmth that works well with these winter months. Visually, it pours a cloudy golden-orange that doesn’t look too far off from the beer’s namesake. It forms an off-white head of fluff that dissipates quickly and leaves some foam on the glass.
The chalice flavors create yet another experience. The same bitter citrus rind and pine hop bitterness shows up first, but the savory bread malts arrive fairly subdued. I would have thought that they’d be a bit more potent – judging from the poured aroma – but that’s not the case. The malts do add some toasty bread sweetness, but the actual malt flavor is forced down by the hoppy strength. Taking a few more drinks only builds the bitterness, adding layers of peppery spice and floral brightness that further pushes the malts down, until the only trace of malts exist as a mellow toast flavor in the aftertaste. Don’t feel bad for the malts – they willingly sacrifice their strength for a tasty hop flavor.
Rogue’s Yellow Snow IPA is in many ways the same as any other American IPA out there. Big, hoppy flavors of citrus rind and pine create that fresh, tongue-squeezing bloom of bitterness that settles in the back of the mouth. However, every now and then some savory bread malts make their way through to contrast the bitterness with some toasty warmth. Tasty, crisp and nicely drinkable, the piney flavors and bready warmth will create /a mellow heat to combat the winter flurries. Despite that, there’s not a lot about it that’s “overly seasonal”. The name of the beer is the biggest wintery addition. But, it’s tasty enough to keep that fact from holding it down too much.
I recommend this beer over the course of a lazy winter afternoon, just chilling out with nothing else to do. It’d also be good just before a pending snow storm, to combat the knowledge that you’ll have to wake up an hour early in order to shovel. Rogue’s Yellow Snow IPA earns itself a solid B+.
Lasting Strength: 9/10
Overall: 8.8/10 B+
Winter Warming Bonus: 6/10