Full disclosure: I love raspberry ales.
I generally don’t love sweet, fruity beers, but there is just something about raspberry for me. I didn’t expect a brewery to be able to create a beer packed with raspberry flavour while maintaining a nice hoppy bitterness.
Enter: Raspberry Juice.
I really fell in love with raspberry beer when Shock Top released a raspberry wheat beer that carried me through the Toronto Blue Jays’ heartbreaking but enthralling 2015 playoff run. But, I digress.
Barncat Artisan Ales is an upstart in Cambridge, Ontario. They are the quintessential microbrewery, open only 7 hours a week. This is probably a good thing, because there are never less than 5 people in their nondescript storefront at any given time.
I fell in love with Barncat when my friends’ incredible gastropub, The Laughing Demon (Kitchener, Ontario), started carrying it on tap. And this was only because Wes, The Demon’s co-owner and chef, effectively browbeat Barncat into selling him kegs to put on tap.
They have such a high demand for such a small operation that they haven’t needed to sell kegs and distribute their nectar this way. Boy, am I glad that they did.
I have been meaning to review Barncat since starting to write for The Craft Beer Diaries. However, all of their beers have been so outstanding that it has been hard to just pick one and write.
Even harder has been finding one without an inflated score, to try to balance my typical high scores.
I came to the realization that Barncat just makes amazing beer. Combined with my love for raspberry and the fact that I’m procrastinating from real work on a Friday night, it seemed the perfect time to write this review about my favourite craft brewery.
I am writing this review before getting too far into my 2L growler of Raspberry Juice, mostly because I know that this growler is not going to last the night. (edit: I set this review aside for a while, and the growler is no longer full.
I have no regrets, as you shall read.)
Raspberry Juice is a modification of the Barncat stalwart, The Juice, a tasty American Pale Ale. Literally conditioned atop a heap of raspberry puree, this fortified ale soaks up a delightfully tart flavour, before being dry hopped with Citra and Amarillo Hops.
The result is an incredibly smooth and creamy raspberry ale. Clocking in at 6.5%, this brew packs a nice raspberry punch, with a very light aftertaste.
Possessing the bitterness of an IPA, but balanced with the sweet tang of the raspberry, I am having a difficult time finding the words to do this concoction justice.
Seeing the dark ruby ale, I expected this to have the thick consistency of a raspberry shake. However, the result was a surprisingly light and easy drinking beer for its weight class.
Barncat has a history of producing wonderful, premium beers. They scream “craft” and are clearly quality controlled.
In fact, Barncat has specifically not released beers because they have not met their brewing standards. This is despite being a very small microbrewery.
Finding a brewery with a conscience, specifically one concerned with releasing a quality product, is a rare and refreshing treat. The only thing more refreshing is this exceptional beer.
I’m truly out of words, and the score will speak for itself. If you’re in Cambridge or within driving distance, make the trip. You won’t regret it.
- ABV: 6.5%
- IBU: N/A
- Style: Fruity pale ale
- Taste: Tart, bitter
- Rating: 5/5
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