Style: Double India Pale Lager (Technically an American Imperial Pilsner)
OG: 19.5º Plato
Bottled in November 2012
“This is an intensely hoppy and strong lager that we refer to as a Double India Pale Lager. Over four pounds of hops per BBL of New Zealand hops (Kiwi Hops) were used in progressively larger hop additions throughout the brewing process. Four kettle hop additions, whole leaf hops in the hop back, and multiple dry hop additions infuse an intense floral and citrusy aroma. No kiwifruit or kiwi birds were used in the production of this beer.”
I’m not sure on how I feel about this label. I love the Jack’s Abby Symbol and I like the concept of the kiwi bird in a hot air balloon, but overall it looks a little strange. The artwork is also a little sloppy, which I assume is the style of art but I personally desire something a bit crisper for my bottle art. The bronze band depicting hop vines is especially sketchy, as is the balloon portion of the hot air balloon. I’m disappointed in the label on this beer. It is not horrible, but for such a beer, which I have really high hopes for, I was kind of hoping for a label that was a little more put together and epic. The label is worth saving for a scrapbook but I wouldn’t put the bottle on a shelf.
The beer pours a beautiful pale mustard yellow, and is reminding me a lot of the color of Maine Beer Company’s Lunch. The head is rocky white and half finger-width, and lacing is super thin, but very sticky, leaving spatter lines over the sides of my glass. The beer’s body is really quite murky for a lager, with only hazy light making its way through the liquid. This beer smells perfect for what it is. Big, strong juicy citrus fruit tackles the nose. Tangerine, mango, grapefruit, passion fruit, and orange all ooze from the glass as crisp scents, while the crisp cleanly scent that I associate with lager yeast brings faint hints of light buttery bread to the back of the nose. This beer’s smell is like pulpy fruit juice. On the taste, this beer begins with sweet grapefruit and slight hints of the other fruits in the smell, before the grapefruit plows forward into big bitter middle of the taste, leaving all other flavor to haunt the sides of the mouth as ghosts. The close of the middle brings caramelly bread into the mouth to sit as the backbone of the bitter fruit juice. The beer then closes with light buttery malt bread and a continuous ringing of bitter grapefruit, orange peel, and slight mango. On the mouth, this beer feels crisp and smooth, with a nice bitter bite on the tongue and the sides of the mouth. The mouth is left wet on the sides while the roof of the mouth and the tongue have the slight scorch of a bitter burn. Overall this beer is an excellent success, and is reminiscent of a more succulent and fruity version of Hoponius Union. Great big bitter hops from the high IBU’s, scrape the mouth but leave it begging for more, and a higher alcohol percentage that is not present in the taste at all. I was a little worried about this beer after trying it at the end of a tasting last week and having it taste bland and uninteresting, but I now can safely say that was because of all the beer before it that I had tried. This beer is a winner. Very easy to put back with terrific clean and crisp lager qualities while carrying the big juicy fruit bitters of a west coast imperial IPA. This beer is a must try, especially for its super cheap pricing.
For fun, I tried pairing this beer with a sandwich I was having for the lunch. The sandwich was on whole wheat toast, and was comprised of homemade spicy venison sausage, leftover cube steak, button mushrooms, celery, deli ham, a slice of provolone cheese, Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbeque Sauce, Montreal Steak Seasoning, and some local Honey Horseradish Mustard. Most of the ingredients were sizzled together in a cast iron pan, but the barbeque sauce and cheese weren’t added till the end of the sizzle, and the mustard was spread over the toast. Now, Kiwi Rising is a bit of a palate wrecker, measuring in at 105 IBU’s, but that really just helps to build the spices in my mouth when paired with the sandwich. Much of the flavors from the sandwich and beer meld nicely, covering different areas of the palate while the beer works to scrub the palate clean for another taste. The Italian spices in the venison sausage work particularly well with the fruity bitters of the beer, bring their flavor more fully into my mouth. The fruity sweet of the hops also perfectly complements the savory sweet flavors of the barbeque sauce, which makes for some lovely flavor interaction. The provolone cheese is the one thing that is really lost when the beer is sipped, which isn’t really a horrible thing, but is interesting to note. Overall this pairing is excellent, as long as you don’t mind a spicy mouth. The big bitters and flavor of Kiwi Rising needed something big to stand up to, and the complexity of the sandwich’s flavors proved to work perfectly. Normally I throw onions in the sandwich but I was conveniently out of them today, and I think that worked out perfectly, as the onion flavor would just have been swallowed up by bitters of the beer. This beer is worthy of pairing with big complex foods, especially the spicy ones if you want a kick!