Jolly Pumpkin La Rojaaaaaaaarrrrrggg. A cat dressed up in a pirate costume manning a 16th century schooner? Why not. Jack Sparrow and Columbus would Zorro it out to make this pillaging feline their first mate. Certainly a worthy contender to adorn a beer – especially a beer that has the ability slash your taste buds into submission. La Roja is the second of seven Jolly Pumpkin brews to hit Beer Chatter, and I must say I’m excited about this one. Compared to Bam Bière, this brew already seems to be winning on paper: oak aged, ramped up ABV, and a Flemish style ale. However, in the timeless battle of cat vs. dog, will this kitty live up to its sword harvesting appearance? Time to run those numbers…
Appearance: Red-brown-goldish in color, really unique for a brew, but after all, it is an amber ale… which probably best describes it’s color. Not a lot of head on this guy, it died out pretty quickly.
Smell: Vinegar, tart cherries, pitted black olive. It smells sour and funky, and I think I’m in love.
Taste: First sip: sour upfront, with a bitter oak laced finish that lacks a little bit of body. Revisiting it, that sour tart taste dominates the brew with characteristics of granny smith apples, sour grapes, and some hints of wine all running through it. The oak and the tannins in the brew sort of muddle the finish and really hits the sides of your tongue in a weird tingly way. A pitted olive taste lingers in the mouth after your done chugging. Through this whole experience, the beer seems to be pretty thin and doesn’t offer much heft in body which is a bit disappointing. The 7.2% ABV is well hidden behind the sour and oaky bitterness of the beer.
Overall: La Roja is good, but not great. I think if it was one of my first sours, then I’d be in love with it, however my first ever sour was Petrus Aged followed by Russian River Supplication. With those two under my belt, Lo Roja just didn’t compare. I’d probably get this brew again, but mainly because it isn’t impossible to find. Final grade: B+