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Jason Johnson's picture

Locale Skagit Valley Alba

Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
5 / 6
36 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
17 / 20

This beer would be considered a specialty beer because it is being identified as being brewed with a unique local ingredient, Skagit Valley Barley. The base style is an American Pale Ale, but the brewer is choosing not to focus on the style itself, but rather focus on the locally grown malt varietal. 

This beer pours a light golden color with a small white head that dissipates fairly quickly. The beer has good clarity with just a small amount of haze. The aroma is a combination of herbal and citrusy hops with some deep biscuit-like malt. The malt profile is clean, showcasing the star of the show: the local malt varietal. However, whether or not I could discern the local region of the varietal remains to be seen. Perhaps with some more practice or exposure to this particular type of malt that would be possible but right now, it feels a bit like a well-pronounced Marris Otter Malt to me. The flavor is crisp and bright, with a moderate bitterness and hints of orange citrus flavor. There is a bit of sweetness to the malt as well yet it is still biscuity, especially in the finish. There is a small amount of nutty toastiness as well. The mouthfeel is medium-light and carbonation is medium. The beer is mildly creamy, with a good smooth feel overall. This beer is very good, but I just don’t think I’ve been educated enough to really discern if the grain came from one unique region or not. With that said, I really like the concept of specifying local region-based ingredients. Even if I personally cannot taste the difference, it does give the beer a bit more of an identity. Overall this beer was a solid pale ale, just lacking a little bit in the hop flavor. All in all, it’s a worthwhile beer, especially if the brewer plans on doing a series of beers that showcase various malts from the region.