Rogue Yellow Snow IPA

Review Date 1/4/2004   Last Updated 11/11/2012 By John Staradumsky

How does that  old Frank Zappa song go? Watch out where the huskies go, and don’t you eat that yellow snow.. Sounds like sage advice to me, but ol’ frank didn’t say anything about drinking yellow snow. Of course, I don’t mean the kind of yellow snow Frank was referring to. Instead, I’m talking about Rogue Yellow Snow, a hoppy pale ale spiced up with the addition of juniper berries.

Here’s what Rogue says about the beer on their website:

John Maier and his crew are up to their old tricks. They brewed a new beer called Yellow Snow in anticipation of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah. It is described as a pale ale, saffron in color with a smooth malt balance; a floral aroma with a dry spicy finish from whole juniper berries.

Brewed with Northwest Harrington, Crystal Triumph, C-15 and Maier Munich Malts; Amarillo and `Styiran Golding Hops, Free Range Coastal Water, Top Fermenting Pacman Yeast, and whole Juniper Berries. Yellow Snow is available in 22-ounce bottle, 64-ounce jug, and on draft.

I’m not sure about the Olympics reference, because I remember drinking this beer earlier than 2002. I’m not alone; there are other references to Yellow Snow dating back to at least 2000. So, I’m not sure exactly how long Rogue has been brewing this beer. It seems to be a winter seasonal, or at least that is the only time I have been able to get it.

I’ve enjoyed Yellow Snow plenty of times in the bottle, but a recent visit to Atlanta’s Summit’s Wayside Tavern yielded up a glass on draft. Summit’s always has a very nice selection of Rogue ales on tap, and has a history of hosting Rogue-centric events on a regular basis.

Of course, you could get a few odd stares if you ask for a glass of Yellow Snow, but trust me, it’s worth it. This is a very delicious beer and another feather in Rogue’s cap. Just make sure your bartender knows what you’re talking about.

Rogue Yellow Snow pours to an amber yellow color with a thick, creamy head formation and a light and fruity caramel malt nose. A thick coating of Brussels lace follows your beer down the glass. The body is firm and flavorful, if a bit lighter than normal for a Rogue brew. There are good notes of caramel and a subtle fruitiness from the berries. They add a very tasty spiciness to the brew. In the finish, a touch of minty-grassy hops emerge and leave a delicate bitter buzz on the tongue.

I really like the way the gentle juniper spice works in Yellow Snow. Without the fruit, this would be a very tasty pale ale in its own right. But the fruit only improves the experience. Those who normally eschew fruit beers may want to give this one a try anyway, since it is not at all sweet or cloying.

Why not try a glass today? But if I were you, I’d still heed Frank’s advice and watch out where those huskies go. Anybody who would name a child Moon Unit had to be onto something.

Update: 11/11/2012: Enjoyed a mug of this fine IPA during an afternoon of football watching at Taco Mac today. My beer arrived an attarcive orange amber in color with a thick foamy head and a very piney hop aroma in the nose. Taking a sip, the beer had a good caramel malt body and more of the resiny hop aroma, plus some citrus hops as well. The long, dry bitter finish went well with a plate of spicy wings, my preferred football snack. So much the better when I can pair them with a hoppy beer like this. A very reasonable price of $6 a pint made it taste even better.

And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.

*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.