Friday, April 30, 2010

Rollin down the street, back from Lukas, sippin on John John Ale

With my mind on my John John and my John John on my mind?

Maybe not. Pretty sure I can't pull that off.

Thanks to FancyPantsBeer's note via Twitter, I was able to procure for myself at Lukas Liquor in Martin City a 22oz bottle of Rogue's latest barrel beer release: John John Juniper Pale Ale. As I mentioned previously, it's their Juniper Pale Ale that's been aged in Rogue Spruce-Gin-soaked barrels. I let it chill for as long as I could stand before cracking it open. The anticipation was killing me.

When I opened the bottle & poured the beer, the aroma was reminiscent of evergreens. I thought of camping back home (what says camping in the Pacific Northwest more than the smell of evergreens and beer?) And then that gave way to... coriander. And the warmer the beer got, the more pronounced it became.

Now, don't get me wrong - coriander is a very common botanical used in gin, and I'm a huge gin fan. The variation and creativity in gin styles and aromatics is nearly endless and it's almost as fun to find a new, delicious gin as a wonderful craft beer. The essential oils from various ingredients lend to spicy, fruity, herbal, and/or woody spirits. Rogue's award-winning Spruce Gin uses a ton of them: spruce, cucumber, angelica root, orange peel, coriander, lemon peel, ginger, orris root, grains of paradise, tangerine, and juniper berries. Problem is, coriander is the one "botanical" that I find really hard to love. It's the main reason I'm not a huge fan of witbier (especially double wit), and it really shines through in John John Juniper Ale.

That said, this is a very good beer and the creativity impresses me. The spruce and juniper do come through, as does the orange peel and the grapefruity citrus from the Amarillo hops. There's a bit of woodiness from the oak barrels, but it's definitely in the background and merely supports the other flavors in the beer (such as, oh I don't know, coriander?). Overall, I'd definitely recommend picking up a bottle of this and checking it out for yourself. It's not suitable for aging, so drink it fresh. I'd love to know what you think and if I'm completely crazy on the coriander component.

I'm curious, though... What did they do with the gin from the barrels? And how do I get my hands on some?


  1. Never gave gin much thought, but now I have a craving for juniper flavored Gin. On a related note, I just read an '09 post by Nate at where he came to KC and tried Schlafly's Export IPA and observes, "There is the most pinpoint unique flavor of a crisp dry gin in this IPA."

  2. Thanks for the link - there's a GREAT comment post in there by Otto, Schlafly's head of brewing ops. Nice find.

    I love the complexity of gin, and some are definitely better than others. My dad turned me onto the stuff about 12 years ago when he made me a Tom Collins. I never looked back! :)


Tasting Notes