Recently, it thawed to a balmy 43 degrees in my neck of the woods, with sun streaming in through the windows and overeager iris bulbs poking their first stalks above dirt. (“You know we’re going to get at least one more cold snap, right?” I told them, but irises are terrible listeners.)
Those practically tropical temperatures had me searching outside of the doppelbocks and barrel-aged goodies I’d been drinking all winter in favor of some sunnier sips. After working my way through a whole lot of rosé cider, I returned to a beer that I’d enjoyed in the past but hadn’t tasted in a while: Elysian’s Avatar Jasmine IPA.
Though it’s available yearround, this beer speaks spring to me. The addition of dried jasmine flowers in the boil lends a fresh floral note to both aroma and flavor, and it’s present at a high enough level that you’re not left scratching your head with “Yeah, I guess I taste jasmine?” disappointment.
For those who don’t go around sniffing kilos of jasmine all the time, the flower reads as a honeysuckle-lily-lemongrass note in the beer’s aroma, simultaneously sweet and herbaceous. There’s also some fresh-mown grass beneath that from the IPA’s hops, as well as a quiet, toasty malt backbone to carry it all. Left to sit in the glass momentarily, even more heady perfume notes emerge. After just a few whiffs, I’m already inspired to pair this beer with the vegetable, ginger, and soba noodle stir-fry leftovers in my fridge.
On the tongue, sweet florals and clementine notes lead the sip; luckily there’s an earthy botanical note at the back of the throat for balance. On subsequent swallows, a white peppercorn spice note emerges that segues beautifully with the leftovers that I did indeed yank out of my fridge. (I don’t usually multitask my beer tastings with lunches, but in this case, I’m so glad I did.)
The beer’s bitterness is present to close the sip, but jasmine’s perceived sweetness masks it a bit. I’d serve this to friends who don’t normally consider themselves IPA drinkers, especially if it was springtime and I was firing up my wok.
Elysian Jasmine Avatar IPA is available yearround in all 50 states in bottled six-packs and 22 oz. bombers. Check its availability near you here.
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