7/6/16: Jackie O's New Growth

4:23 PM

You know what I've been getting into recently? IPAs. No, I'm serious! I recently completed my yearly playthrough of Link's Awakening and selected a Rye IPA to be my go-to playthrough beer. Okay, you're right. I didn't choose it merely because it was an IPA. I chose it because it had a flying whale on the can (the ultimate goal of Link's Awakening is to--spoilers--wake up a flying whale, so the can fit the game).

Regardless of my motives for drinking that beer, I enjoyed it. Especially that last can. I found myself identifying flavors other than hops. I looked at it not as a bitter beer, but as something more akin to a winter warmer--something complex with individual nuances to be unearthed.

I decided I'd better take my newfound appreciation for this adored style and apply it to another brew before I lose it (hey, it's happened before. Last summer, to be precise). That brew is Jackie O's New Growth, a spruce tip-infused IPA that, shocker, I also nabbed because of the can, which showcases a cool Godzilla-esque monster destroying an evergreen forest.

I've done Jackie O's before with my Chomolungma post. Click that link if you want to read it. If you don't want to click the link, I'll elaborate a bit more on Jackie O's here:

The brewery was the first of its kind to open in Athens, Ohio. Their brews are crafted with sustainability in mind and all ingredients come from a hundred-mile radius of the city. This award-winning brewery opened up a full-fledged production facility in 2013 (literally right behind the house I was renting at the time) and have been distributing across the state ever since. If you don't live in Ohio, I suggest you come visit and snag a sixer of one of their brews sooner rather than later. For more info, including richer details on their production facility, see the Overview section of the Jackie O's website.

Now for the good part of the post. Well, that's not to say that everything before this wasn't good. But, at this part I get to drink a beer, so it's the part I look forward to the most:

New Growth is, according to its official webpage, a summer seasonal brewed with Blue and Norwegian spruce tips harvested from Jackie O's' farm. This 7% ABV brew also has "...tons of vitamin C." So, it helps you fend of scurvy. That's a pretty dang useful IPA. Oh, it also has notes of pine (from the spruce and additional hops) and lemon.

I'm getting both the pine and the lemon from the brew's nose. To be honest, I'm getting a lot more lemon than I anticipated. It's layered directly under the spruciness and supports it in a way that doesn't make much sense on paper but, in practice, works perfectly. Purrl gave the IPA 4 whiffs--it's not really her thing.

The flavor is pine in the fore and pine in the finish. The first adjective that comes to mind for it is abrasive, but don't trust that because that's my budding IPA appreciation talking. Deep, my second adjective, is a much better one here. If you can power through the spruce (if you're an IPA aficionado this should be a cinch) there's a wealth of flavor to be discovered. Lemon, yes. But I'm also getting a woodiness and something more along the lines of a roasty quality. This beer is layered in the best way.

This is a pretty chewy brew. Which it should be. Picture an IPA in a glass--is there a foamy head or is it pretty flat looking? If you answered "foamy head," you're right. That's exactly what this would have if I poured it out of the can.

This beer reminds me of working at summer camp. I know I've mentioned the fact that I spent a summer working for camp before, so this shouldn't be news to longtime blog-readers. But hear me out. One day I was walking down a hill--one that I had walked down countless times before. It was hot out but I was cool under the shade of the pines. I looked up to see strips of cloudless blue sky slipping through the gaps in the branches overhead.

This was the first time I really wondered at the enormity of old-growth trees. I was seventeen  and completely dumbfounded at the size they reached. Just that simple act of looking up into the depths of the pines towering above me opened my mind to a new concept. That's the memory New Growth dredges up. It's fitting too, since this beer is showing me the depths of flavor to be found in IPAs.

Jackie O's New Growth IPA may not be the best IPA I've had. But it's the best I've had that I'm able to appreciate. It nets a 9.0/10 from me. Like I said, it's a seasonal and seems to be pretty limited so grab it if you see it. Be like me: Come for the can, stay for the beer.

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