Those of us who grew up in hot, sub-tropical states, did not grow up knowing what yellow snow meant. It was not until I visited my uncle in Colorado when I was about 8 years old, that I discovered what yellow snow really is: snow in which people have peed. So why name an ale after it? Luckily, it is because the color is yellow, and for no other reason!
Rogue Ales & Spirits is an interesting company. Founded in 1988 in Ashland, Oregon, Rogue saw some success in the first year of business, and opened a second brewpub in 1989 in Newport, Oregon. The founders were Jack Joyce and Mo Niemi. The current brewmaster is John Maier (not the singer!), whose philosophy is that “variety is the spice of life,” and thus he constantly seeks to try out new beer styles and flavors. He also states that all of Rogue’s brews are intended to be paired with food — a desire that is right up my alley.
But what intrigues me especially, is that the company also distills spirits (notice Rogue Ales & Spirits). Brewing beer and distilling spirits are two very different processes, and the art and science behind each are not similar at all. Rogue distills vodka, whiskey, gin, rum, and a spirit made from chipotle (roasted chili peppers). I have never tried any of them, and I certainly hope they are good, but I am suspicious. If a company stretches itself too thin, then nothing it makes will be good. But maybe Rogue’s spirits are in fact good. If you have tried them, please let us know.
Rogue Ales Yellow Snow IPA (6.5% ABV) is brewed from CaraFoam; Melanoidin; 2-Row & Rogue Farms Dare & Risk Malts; Amarillo Hops; Free Range Coastal Water; Pacman Yeast; and nothing else. There’s a point for purity. Amarillo hops are a US product. They tend to produce medium bitterness, with a floral spiciness. Let’s see what they do for Yellow Snow — as an IPA (India Pale Ale), it is top-fermented and warm-fermented.
Everything On Tap Review: Rogue Ales Yellow Snow IPA:
Bottle: The bottle is a standard, 12-ounce bottle with very dark, brown glass. The label, as with many Rogue beers, is etched on. The background and lettering are yellow, and the same image of the revolutionary working man who appears on all or most of the company’s labels.
Pour: Despite the name, the color is more of a golden-orange-amber than pure yellow. The head is a full three-fingers thick. It is solid-white, foamy and stringy, and dissipates at a medium rate. It leaves moderate lacing.
Aroma: The bouquet begins with light pineapple, apple, and a hint of papaya. This is followed by a very low but bright level of hops, manifesting themselves in light bitterness, citrus, and floral hops. The middle to finish contains a medium aroma of malted grains. Overall, the aroma profile is a bit weak.
Flavor: The flavor profile begins on the attack with semi-sweet malted grains and faint caramel. This is followed by the Amarillo hops, showing themselves with only a medium bitterness, some grapefruit elements, and a hint of flowers. This IPA is definitely underhopped.
Mouthfeel: The body is medium, as is the carbonation. There is nothing outstanding, either good or bad, about the mouthfeel. It is average.
Structure: The structure is small and weak, but I supposed it is balanced enough.
Food Pairing: This ale would be acceptable with seafood in general, and moderately spicy Asian food. It also would go well with most Italian pasta and sauces.
Overall Rating Out of 5 Possible Beer Mugs: