Beer: Yellow Snow
Brewery: Rogue Ales (Newport, OR)
Style: Pilsner – Other
5.5% ABV / 19 IBU
Yellow Snow originated as a very different beer with an equally unfortunate name: Rogue’s Yellow Snow IPA, which was first brewed two decades (!) ago in celebration of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. The only ingredient these two versions of Yellow Snow have it common is what Rogue describes as “free range coastal water.” It’s an essential ingredient in all of Rogue’s beers and somewhat of an inside joke that Rogue explained on Twitter back in 2015: “We don’t cage our coastal waters.”
So Yellow Snow IPA gave up the ghost, paving the way for a milder, lighter-bodied pilsner. The basic hallmarks of the Czech pilsner style, particularly the Czech pilsner malt and yeast, are present in Yellow Snow. It’s exceptionally easy to drink and its crispness offers a reminder that winter should not only belong to high ABV stouts and spicy winter warmers. The pilsner is truly a year ’round style, even if Yellow Snow is intended as a winter seasonal.
That’s likely due to the inclusion of Alaskan spruce tips. Specifically, tips from Sitka spruce – the official Alaskan state tree – grown near Rogue’s home base in Oregon. So how well does Yellow Snow capture the true meaning of Christmas, considering it is literally brewed with a Christmas tree? The aroma and flavor is not as dramatic as you would expect, but the addition of the spruce tips contributes a very mellow kind of pine-y flavor with a little sweetness, a nice counterpoint to the pine-y but bitter bouquet of common hop varietals. Plus, every time you knock one of these back, an angel gets its wings. Keep drinkin’.
For more info, check out Rouge here.