Martin House’s Session IPA Will Never Stop Being The Juice.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it’s local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!

This week, we sipped on Martin House‘s Juice.

 

Fast Facts on Martin House Juice.
Style: Specialty IPA
ABV: 5.2 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 44.
Color: Light orange.
Availability: Cans and draft.

Overview.
It seems like Marin House’s major push right now is focused on its latest release involving the Toadies where I’m supposed to take two beers and combine them for a third taste or whatever. Yeah, OK.

Anyway, those don’t officially release until this upcoming weekend. So, for now, let’s have a visit with Juice, Martin House’s new session-strength IPA.

What does session mean? Session is applied to beers that are on the lower end of the ABV scale. Beeradvocate has a take on the term; BJCP has its own take on what makes a beer a session beer too. That’s all fine and good, but, again, generally speaking, a session beer is just a beer with a low ABV. There’s no official rule on the ABV range for what session is or what session isn’t. Typically, and in my mind, I think the term is mainly applied to beers under 5 percent ABV. Juice is 5.2 percent! Oh well. “Session” isn’t an adjective that carries any other baggage with it, so let’s just move on.

Why drink a session beer? Because you can have a few and not get totally wrecked. And they make for nice outside sipping. Is that good enough?

Background on Specialty IPA.
Specialty IPAs represent a subset of the bigger IPA style. This hodgepodge BJCP category isn’t really a style on its own; rather, it’s a catch-all for future growth in the IPA space. So where an American IPA like OHB’s Derelict fits squarely into its style, Juice is a variation on the IPA theme with its lower alcohol and fruit addition. Overall, the specialty IPA is still an IPA, with noticeable hop-forwardness, pretty large bitterness and a dry finish (depending on the attenuation of the yeast).

 

Appearance.
Juice pours an orange-ish sort of color. The beer is opaque and doesn’t clear up at all over time. It’s just one of those beers, I guess. I was kind of hoping for a crystal-clear pour. A noticeable amount of head sticks around for the entire experience. Something tells me that there is some Carafoam, flaked barley or wheat added to this beer to elevate it to super-kick-ass foam status.

Aroma.
I sense a dry aroma when I wheeze the Juice. It’s a crisp and clean sort of aroma, loaded with notes of bitter grapefruit peel and hop floralness. Unlike some other session IPAs, Juice feels like it has a moderate level of malty, bready aroma behind all this sharpness.

Flavor.
On my first sip, I’m taken aback by the intensity of the grapefruit peel, and it feels a bit unbalanced. About halfway in to my first beer, either my taste buds have aligned with what Martin House is aiming for with Juice, or my taste buds have simply capitulated to the hops and fruit peel bitterness. I understand that Martin House wants to keep this beer on the sessionable end of the ABV spectrum, but a little more malt roundness would be nice. Is this session beer falling victim to the dreaded watery session beer problem? No, not at all! In fact, it’s quite a pleasure to drink.

 

Mouthfeel.
Let’s continue with the watery description that many a session beer falls into. Not so with Juice! Juice keeps the malt party rocking with the volume knob at a comfortable level 4. So, yeah, it’s not like this beer is imminently fulfilling in the body department, but it’s not watery either. The hops provide an extra kick along with the bitter grapefruit peel. The carbonation is medium, appropriate for the style.

Overall Impression.
There are some IPAs out there (I’m looking at you, West Coast brewers) that get their citrus flavor and aroma from hop additions. Martin House takes some of those flavors, then amplifies the perceived fruity bitterness by adding grapefruit peel to the beer. It furthers the West Coast homage with cascade hops through and through.

I would buy this beer again. It might not be my first choice for all-around drinking goodness, but Juice should certainly be on your list of options for summer drinking during the hot days ahead of us. Juice also further illustrates Martin House’s dedication to experimenting with flavors and ingredients, and I can appreciate that.

Score.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Martin House Juice a 6.5.

 

What’s happening in the area brew scene?
• Saturday, June 25. Grand Opening at Whistle Post Brewing.
• Saturday, June 25. Brew Bus Father’s Day Tour.
• Sunday, June 26. Toadies Concert/Hell Below and Stars Above Release Party at Martin House Brewery.
• Sunday, July 16. One-Year Anniversary at Oak Highlands Brewery.
• Saturday, August 6. Local Brews, Local Grooves at House of Blues.
• Saturday, October 1. Texas Beer Camp at Long Road Farm.

Previous On Tap Reviews:
Revolver’s Sangre y Miel: 10.
Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
Community’s Legion: 10.
Oak Highlands’ Freaky Deaky: 9.5.
Deep Ellum’s Barrel Aged Four Swords: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Lost Epic: 9.5.
Community’s Ascension Porter: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Temptress: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Goatman: 9.5.
Community’s Public Ale: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
On Rotation’s Jalapeno Saison: 9.
Woodcreek’s Bourbon Barrel Bock: 9.
Lakewood’s Wild Manimal: 9.
Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
Martin House’s Imperial Texan: 9.
Community’s Trinity Tripel: 9.
Peticolas’ Irish Goodbye: 9.
Four Corners’ Block Party Porter: 9.
Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
Peticolas’ Ghost Of Alfred Brown: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Rock Ryder: 8.5.
Rahr’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
Noble Rey’s Bridesmaid’s Tears: 8.
Collective Brewing’s Urban Funk House: 8.
Lakewood’s On Call: 8.
Oak Highlands’ Golden Mustache: 8.
903 Brewers’ Crackin’ Up: 8.
Deep Ellum’s Play Date: 8.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Belgian Tripel: 8.
Noble Rey’s SteamPunk: 8.
903 Brewers’ Citra On Top: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Hissy Fit: 8.
BrainDead’s Gritz: 8.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
Cedar Creek’s Fisticuffs: 8.
Lakewood’s Punkel: 8.
Four Corners’ El Chingon IPA: 8.
Martin House’s Day Break: 8.
Deep Ellum’s GOURDzilla: 8.
Peticolas’ The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
Deep Ellum’s Pale Ale: 8.
Revolver’s Bock: 8.
903 Brewers’ Sasquatch: 8.
Peticolas’ Wintervention: 8.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Brunch Money: 8.
Martin House’s Salsa Verde: 8.
Cedar Creek’s Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
Lakewood’s Holiday Bonus: 8.
Lakewood’s Hop Trapp: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Knock Out: 7.5.
Four Corners’ Notorious O.A.T.: 7.5.
Noble Rey Golden Rey With Raspberries and Ginger: 7.5.
On Rotation Saved By The Belma: 7.5.
True Vine’s Unicorn’s Revenge: 7.5.
Deep Ellum’s Hop Seeker: 7.5.
Four Corners’ El Super Bee: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Hopochondria: 7.5.
Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
Martin House’s Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Antigoon’s Revenge: 7.5.
Community’s Texas Pils: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Zomer Pils: 7.5.
Cedar Creek’s Dankosaurus: 7.5.
Rahr’s Visionary: 7.
Shannon Brewing’s Irish Cream Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Guava Good: 7.
TUPPS Brewery’ Northbound 75: 7.
Rahr & Sons’ Iron Joe: 7.
BrainDead’s I Like Harvey IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Turtle Power: 7.
Collective’s Petite Golden Sour: 7.
Shannon’s Chocolate Stout: 7.
BrainDead’s Red Ale: 7.
Community’s Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
Bearded Eel’s Purple Unicorn: 7.
Noble Rey’s Off The Leash: 7.
Shannon Brewing Company’s Irish Red: 7.
Texas Ale Project’s Somethin’ Shady: 7.
Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
Cedar Creek’s The Lawn Ranger: 7.
Martin House Brewing Company’s Cellarman’s Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
Lakewood’s Till & Toil: 7.
903 Brewers’ The Chosen One: 7.
903 Brewers’ Sugar On Top: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway XPA: 7.
Armadillo Ale Work’s Quakertown Stout: 7.
Revolver’s High Brass: 7.
Community’s Pale Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Chump Change: 7.
Martin House’s River House: 7.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Sir William’s Brown Ale: 7.
Community’s Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
Audacity’s Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
Collective Brewing Project’s Mom Azacca: 6.5.
Four Corners’ La Lechuza: 6.5.
Revolver’s Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
903 Brewers’ Trot Line: 6.5.
Peticolas’ Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Nightwatch: 6.5.
Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
Deep Ellum’s Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
Nine Bands’ Cactus Cat: 6.
Martin House’s Kafkaesque: 6.
TUPPS’ Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Tweedleyum: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Off With Your Red: 6.
Cedar Creek’s Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Lakefire: 6
Armadillo Ale Works’ WunderMelon: 6
Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
Martin House’s Mind On My Money: 5.
903 Brewers’ The Land Of Milk And Honey: 5.
Deep Ellum’s Numb Comfort: 5.
Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
Four Corners Heart O’ Texas: 4.
Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
Shannon Brewing Company’s IPA: 4.
Grapevine’s Monarch: 4.
Twin Peaks’ Dirty Blonde: 3.
Franconia Wheat: 3.
Miller Lite: 1.

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