If a Beer Falls in the Forest

Brewery and Country of Origin: Iron Duke Brewing of 122, 100 State St, Ludlow, MA 01056, USA

Date Reviewed: 11-06-15

The capital city of Alaska, as fifth grade probably made you all acutely aware, is of course Juneau. Your fifth grade school teachers would be proud that you haven't forgotten that bit of critical geography based knowledge. What you didn't probably know, however, is that Juneau has a beer named after it... until now of course. This is a spruce tip infused ale with a hint of clean, crisp, slightly bitter flavor deriving from the inclusion of, from what we know, real pine. And while we aren't entirely sure why this beer was named after Alaska's third largest city, we do know that Juneau, like essentially the rest of the nation's biggest state, is not only surrounded by wilderness, but was formed and is still living by it. It is said that because Juneau has no physical paved roads connecting it to the rest of the state, and therefore the remainder of the continent, Juneau is basically an island of sorts, since all goods and people coming in must travel by boat or plane. There is a ferry which allows cars and trucks to land in the city, but aisde from that, Juneau is fairly "isolated" from the remainder of the world. Of course, that means that while the people of Juneau have to deal with high prices for common goods, an inability to try hundreds of Belgian beers in a short time, and a general sensation of being socially and culturually separated from the rest of the country, Juneau and indeed all of Alaska boasts some of the most breath taking, awe inspiring, and impressive landscapes on Earth. Keep in mind, that we're still referring to the state's third largest city. But when you're talking about mountainous terrain in a cold temperate climate, expect a lot of evergreens. While Alaska's primary economic driver is petroleum, timber remains an especially important industry for much of the southern half of the state. The evergreen is an important symbol of Alaska, appearing on their state seal and being the primary ecological resident of the nation's largest national forest, Tongass near British Columbia. Juneau is only one of thirty one communities within the forest and is the largest as well with a population of about 32,000 Juneauites. This particular beer, which is produced by a brewery located in a state that doesn't even have a national forest, is brewed with a bit of actual spruce in its recipe, giving off a bit of a clean, refreshing, slightly spicy and somewhat bitter character.
Date Sampled: 9-10-15 At: 7 Priscilla Road, Brighton, Boston, MA 02135
Beer Style: Fruit/Vegetable Beer
Alcohol by Volume: 5.00%
Serving Type: Brewery Growlerette, 16 oz Tumbler Glass
Rating: 3.27


Juneau pours moderately smoothly with a medium amount of carbonation action, producing a thin, eighth inch tall foam head with a white color, a medium high retention rate, and a medium density. This beer has a slightly hazy appearance due to the inclusion of a small amount of extremely fine sediment. This beer displays a very low amount of effervescent effect and no visible settling. There is no chunky sediment at the bottom. This beer shows off a bright golden glow with very little shine in light. There is also a moderate amount of lacing on the glass.


This beer has a very dull aroma overall, hinting at a sweet biscuity tone conveyed through a mostly malt based profile delivering sweetness throughout. You get a slightly juicy fruit like aroma with this beer, along with very little, if any, detectable hops present in the smell. This beer's aroma contains no alcohol or metallic tinges, and in general, does little to further enhance the beer's actual flavor.


This is a medium light bodied brew with a medium high amount of carbonation action, a below average weigth and a below average viscosity, all combining to make this a pretty casual, easy drinking beer that is crisp and refreshing. This beer is particularly fitting for summer and early fall in terms of seasonality. This beer has a slight cooling effect toward a somewhat dry finish that contains no alcohol bite. This is a fairly smooth beer with no added texture from any sediment.


The Juneau features a mostly malt-oriented flavor profile full of grainy cereal like pale malt notes with some sweet biscuity undertones. This beer is fairly sweet overall and is augmented by a juicy fruity grape like secondary. There is also a slightly piney, somewhat hoppy hint throughout. This beer has a slightly bitter, mostly dull hoppy aftertaste in a dry finish which contains no alcohol or metallic taste. This beer has a mostly restrained character with its flavor profile, so it may be difficult for some to fully appreciate some of the less pronounced flavors present.

Our Take

If you are looking for a beer which combines traditional grainy pale malt flavors with a rather interesting blend of rather "juicy" fruit character, which we'll admit, is quite a unique combination, then of course, you've found your match. And we mean "juicy" as in the flavors mixed with the actual liquid of the beer make it feel a little like you're really drinking fruit juice to some extent. But really, for just about everyone, this beer should be a new experience. Whether it will be a good one or not is to be determined. We were mostly impressed with it, but we also know that this may be a polarizing flavor, so we'll leave it to you. A hint of pine, grapes, grain, hops, and a generally sweet overtone. That is a lot to take in at once, but fortunately, none of these flavors overpowers any of the others, so it isn't as difficult as you might imagine to detect them all. Maybe you'll even find others buried underneath. Either way, this is a well balanced, easy drinking cansual beer which offers as much refreshment as it does a complex flavor profile. And because of this, we'd recommend ligher pasta dishes, leafy salads, poultry, or Thin Mints Girl Scout Cookies.