Reader’s Choice 4: Jubelale

27 Dec

Is there some not-so-secret plot by the reader’s of this blog to get me drunk? Yet again, there is a tie in the votes for my Reader’s Choice series. The theme for Reader’s Choice #4 was: Holiday Ale. So many good ones to choose from, I know. So, here we are, at least this time it’s a two-way, not a three-way. Tee hee hee. Sorry, I went there, I know you did too. Anyway, tonight’s review is on Deschutes’ Jubelale. Tomorrow, you should see a post on the other winner of your votes, Lagunitas’ Brown Shugga.

First, I feel I must apologize for my absenteeism as of late. I hope you will understand. I expended a lot of words and brainpower with my many blog and facebook posts on the Holiday Ale Fest that I hope were remotely helpful or mildly entertaining. Also, combined with our trip to GABF in October, I had a few extra beer belly pounds I wanted to lose before I stuffed my face with christmas cookies. Said stuffing has begun. I’d like to say it has concluded, but that isn’t likely. Brian’s gingersnaps are still sitting on my table and the extra batch of caramels (with sea salt & pink peppercorns) are taunting me as I type.

Excuses aside, I’m back on the horse and ready to drink that Jubelale that has been sitting in my fridge! Once again, it has a fantastic label. For those that don’t know, Deschutes commissions a different, regional artist each year to create a unique and special label for this seasonal ale.  The original works of art for these labels hang on the walls of the brewery if you prefer to see them in 3D – this one alone seems worth the visit:

The 2012 label is literally “layered” with meaning – the artwork, titled “Revelers and Troubadors,” was created through a complex collaging process by artist Kaycee Anseth Townsend. She uses small scraps of paper to create designs, and she comprised this year’s packaging entirely from pieces of past year’s Jubelale labels. You might even recognize a scrap or two from years gone by inside the incredibly intricate final design.

And if you need to brush up on your Jubelale trivia, here’s a document (pdf) that covers the complete history of this Festive Winter Ale.

description courtesy of Deschutes 

I think what is inside the bottle is also unique this year. Am I crazy? It is quite possible, actually, quite probable, that they use the exact same recipe every year, making me crazy. But there is something about the hop this year… Anyway, it pours a deep red amber with a hefty, lingering head. I smell chestnuts roasting and biscuits baking. I taste toast and an earthy woodiness from the malt followed by a nice dose of bitter hops I wasn’t expecting. And they just linger. My memory doesn’t recall as strong and sustaining of hop characteristics in my year’s of drinking Jubelales. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t call this a hoppy beer, and I don’t think it is all that much more so to speak, as it is just a slightly different character. I actually feel like there have been a lot of beers this year, particularly the fresh hops, that have had this quality. An earthy, bitter hop that just doesn’t want to die, just sitting on your tongue until you eat or drink something else. The beer is medium-bodied, holding up to winter, but not overpowering to your senses like many of the seasonals this time of year. The Jubel is still quite quaffable.

I’d like to know if others found this year’s Jubelale different and with stronger hops, so please comment below and feel free to call me crazy. Michelle – are you out there? I’m hoping you will comment since you normally drink the Jubel but are highly sensitive to hops.  

Well, what’s next for our Reader’s Choice series? Since we aren’t quite done with the holidays yet, and I’m hanging on (remember, I have lots of cookies and candy to eat). Plus, I have a basement of beer that right now is seeing more arrivals than departures. Most of which are winter brews since those typically age the best. So, let’s keep the holiday ale theme going one more time. But this time lets take it from nationally distributed ales to the small, local breweries.  Just don’t forget to vote, I’m only leaving this up til New Year’s.


One Response to “Reader’s Choice 4: Jubelale”

  1. Brian December 27, 2012 at 7:26 PM #

    I definitely found the Jubelale to be deeper, bolder, and pleasantly hoppier in flavor than in years past. Best offering of this beer yet, in my opinion.

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