I’ll confess, I don’t like most IPAs. At their best they’re flavorful if unremarkable, but more often than not they’re just bitter flowery drinks that are harder to stomach than another “why snowboarding matters” video no one asked for. So I recruited my friend Leanne to help me out, thinking an unbiased palette would give Rogue the best chance at a fair assessment. Rogue didn’t exactly make it easy for me to convince her, their description promises a “lingering, bitter finish.” Because apparently when you’re naming a beer after urine-soaked snow, you want people to think about that taste lingering.
When poured into a glass, the name gets even more concerning. If you make any actual yellow snow this color, off behind a tree because you don’t feel like fighting the crowd in the lodge, get to a doctor immediately because you probably have kidney disease. Or best case scenario some kind of treatable STD. I wouldn’t have really made that connection if it wasn’t for the name, but when the label on the bottle is a bodily excretion you really can’t help but think that is what this looks like.
But all that stuff is secondary. Unless you’re some kind of insufferable pencil-necked geek you’re not buying beer for the name, or to help diagnose a bladder infection. You’re buying it to drink it then the only thing that matters is alcohol content and taste. It’s got that first part more than covered (6.2% ABV, sorry Utah), and honestly I shouldn’t have been so worried about the second part. While most IPAs are presented as summer drinks with light citrus and herb flavors, this feels more at home in the late fall-early winter setting they’re clearly aiming for. The citrus found in all IPAs is there, but tasting more like spiced fruit than some kind of beach beer. Best way I can describe it is that if normal IPAs are orange juice, this is hot apple cider.
Like I said originally, I’m not an IPA guy. But given the right context I could see myself ordering some Yellow Snow. Leanne said it best, it would taste just about right after a day out riding in the cold. It isn’t a thin, one-note drink like I was expecting, but more full tasting and very much like a winter time beer. I couldn’t see having more than two or three of these at a time, so don’t expect this to be an all-night party beer, but if you’re an hops lover in the summer this could be your go to choice to get away from the porters and stouts every other brewery makes in the winter.