The Valiant Lineup: Jericho

Part 2 in our ongoing series of posts introducing you to the Valiant family of beers. Today’s installment: Jericho.

Craft breweries love to make beers that stand out from the crowd—and hops’ incredible spectrum of flavors and aromas offers an excellent way to do this. Here on the West Coast, it’s tough not to find a heavily hopped IPA or Imperial IPA with aroma-busting, mouth-puckering bitterness. And let’s face it: fans of these classic West Coast hoppy beers just aren’t satisfied with anything else!

Part of our Pillars of Strength series, Valiant’s Imperial IPA takes a stand and pushes the boundaries even farther—by delicately balancing the true nature of what we feel an Imperial IPA should be. And we agree with fans of this beer style: it’s all about the hops. Those little green clone buds provide almost endless amounts of aroma, flavor, bitterness, and overall character—but just throwing various hops (and lots of them) into the mix doesn’t mean you’re going to have a great Imperial IPA.

Jericho is strategically hopped during key aspects of the brewing process, resulting in an approachable Imperial IPA that everyone can enjoy.

At the beginning of each sip, you’ll taste the initial hop flavor and slight malty backbone; then the bitterness ramps up to take you by surprise. It’s like a roller coaster ride—but you’re not moving anywhere. We’ve taken care of that for you!

To help achieve this roller coaster hop profile, we spent a great deal of time studying the relationship of malt and hops. We have deliberately chosen to go as light on the malt profile as we could without making it watery-tasting—just light enough to help bring out our unique hop profile. This technique allows the hops flavor to burst in your mouth before coming to a dry finish. The balance of malty sweetness and hops is key to Jericho’s flavor profile.

After years of trying to perfect the Imperial IPA, we’re impressed by the complexity of these beers.  Jericho offers a wonderful array of fruity, citrusy scents like orange, lemon, tangerine, and grapefruit. The flavor profile is similar, but because of the high hop oil content combined with carbonation, the feel is silky smooth in your mouth; that’s before hop flavors like orange and cumquats, and a slight sticky sweet malt taste, kick in. Our selective yeast allows all the hop flavors and aromas to take total precedence and doesn’t fight against the careful crafting of the flavor profile. This one’s a sipper—a beer to savor.

Imperial IPAs—sometimes called Double IPAs—typically have an ABV above 7.5%. Jericho logs in at 10.5%. It’s a style believed to have gotten its start in 1994 at a Temecula brewery that, unfortunately, is no longer with us—though the owner is now the co-owner and brewmaster at Russian River Brewing Co. (Ever heard of Pliny the Elder? This Russian River beer has set the stage for Imperial IPAs.)

IPAs are known to have short shelf lives because of oxidation occurring among the hops. Keeping IPAs cool will help stave off—but will not completely prevent—spoilage. We have taken this into account and developed a unique hop profile that allows Jericho to be stored and enjoyed later, without sacrificing the flavor profile. We recommend storing Jericho  upright in a cold, dark area at temperatures around 38°F—that way you can enjoy it months later. While letting it age longer may lessen the hop aroma, it will provide more depth and concentration of the beer’s flavors. Really, there’s no wrong choice!

Recommended serving temperature is 50 – 54°F; a snifter will allow you to perfectly capture the true essences of our hop profile.

Pairing any kind of IPA with food might not usually occur to you—but Jericho is an excellent pairing with everything from grilled lamb, beef brisket, and chicken-fried steak, to spicy food like curries or Mexican dishes. If you’re enjoying it with appetizers, cheeses with high levels of bleu cheese melt in your mouth if followed by a sip of Jericho. For desserts, stick to citrus flavors in dishes like sherbet or grapefruit flambé.

Jericho is an eye-opener for fans of West Coast IPAs, and a big hit with beer drinkers who steer clear of heavily hopped beers that may not focus quite so much on flavor balancing. We’re excited for you to get to know Jericho!

Cheers!

Next up: introducing 31 Kings.

The Valiant Lineup: Veranda

As we prepare for our opening day (date soon to be announced!), we’d like to introduce you to each of our beers. Up first is Veranda.

Part of our Pillars of Strength series, Veranda is our Bière de Garde (“beer for keeping”). In common with the other beers in this series, Veranda is hardy, strong, able to satisfy the most sophisticated beer palate, able to stand out in a showdown with similar beer styles, and the embodiment of the perfect balance of style, drinkability, and above-normal alcohol levels.

Traditionally brewed in the farmhouses of northern France in the winter and spring (to avoid problems with the yeast brought about by summertime heat), the Bière de Garde is typically copper or golden in color, though hues can range from straw to chestnut brown; it was generally cellared for a while, often in cork-sealed bottles, to be enjoyed later in the year.

Veranda is a deep ruby color, reminiscent of a red wine. And like a red wine—and those Bières de Garde of old—Veranda can be aged for some time, allowing additional flavor complexity to develop. But you will also be able to enjoy our Bière de Garde straight from the tap, since our unique yeast strains creates an immediately appealing character. (If you do choose to store some bottles, though, keep them upright in a dry dark area, at temperatures around 50°F.)

Speaking of yeast—ours is a complex blend that allows Veranda to unfold a wide array of flavors and aromas, bring out ester profiles that aren’t usually found together. Take it from us: it’s not easy maintaining this level of yeast dependency! But that’s why we’re your Ale Specialists. We thrive on exactly these kinds of challenges!

Traditional Bières de Garde are unfiltered, and for good reason. Ours will be filtered only by means of gravity, since the suspended yeast only adds to the beer’s rich flavor profile.

But our yeast strain isn’t the only special ingredient; we also rely on French hops to impart a very particular peppery, earthy aroma to this French ale. The spice perfectly complements the yeast.

This is a high gravity beer (starting gravity of 18.63 °P), which means you can expect a higher alcohol content (8.5% ABV)—and, more importantly, a complexity of flavor that you begs to be sipped to be fully appreciated. (No chugging allowed!)

And so on to the most important part: the drinking! Recommended serving temperature for Veranda is 50 – 55°F—preferably in an oversize wine glass that will allow adequate headspace to showcase the amazing aromas. See if you can sniff out caramel, dark dry fruits (like raisins and prunes), and chocolate. Thanks to our strisselspalt hops, you may also pick up blackcurrant and floral scents that blend in harmony with the fruity spices of our yeast.

Veranda is fairly dry, which gives it an enjoyable drinkability. Combined with the low-level hop bitterness, the dryness allows you to focus on the malt selection—a combination of the super-crisp pilsner malt and sweetness from specialized caramel malts like Special-B. As you savor this beer, you might discern flavors that remind you of port wine—that’s thanks to the semi-oxidized character resulting from being aged for some time.

As if this beer doesn’t already have enough going on, we will be aging batches of it with medium-roast French oak, providing yet another layer of aroma and flavor. The addition of wood tannins almost pushes Veranda to the character of a fine wine. (You have to taste it to believe it!)

Pairing universally with most main dishes, Veranda is best complimented with roast beef, lamb, or fresh game. You may enjoy the combination better if you grill or roast these meats—but don’t get too carried away! Too much darkening may take away the delicate balance of this beer. Veranda is also delicious with cheese—especially selections that are rich and moderately aged, like double Gloucester. And yes, this can be a dessert beer, too—try it with spiced rum walnut tart or toffee apple crisp. (Watch future blog posts for recipes!)

As for the name: Veranda—the French word for “porch” or “to look out”—not only stays true to the French style of this beer, it makes us think of those perfect moments when we’re totally relaxed; maybe we’re enjoying the company of friends at a restaurant, maybe we’re taking in a beautiful view, maybe we’re shaking off the rigors of a long day—but we’re simply enjoying the moment.

We’re looking forward to you having your own Veranda moments in the very near future! In the meantime, we hope this whets your appetite for the Valiant lineup.

Next up: Get to Know Jericho.

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