If you are trying to stand out on a beer store shelf, you can do a lot worse than black and white photos of stunning Yosemite National Park. That’s what California-based Saint Archer Brewing Co. figured at least, as the label art for its first release in the brewery’s new Journey Series features a stunning photo of the park’s most well-known feature, El Capitan.
The artist who took that photo? That’d be acclaimed photographer and Saint Archer brand ambassador Jeff Johnson, who handled the art for the gluten-reduced session IPA’s packaging. It’s a gorgeous photo that wouldn’t be out of place in a museum, but wrapped around a can of beer is plenty noteworthy to me.
Journey Series No. 1 looks more like a pilsner than an IPA in the glass, and that makes some sense given the pilsner-esque 5.5% ABV. That ABV though is approaching the ceiling of what can be considered a session IPA, and you pick up a bit of the booze on the nose. Journey Series No. 1 is dry-hopped, and from the aroma, I’d guess pretty aggressively. It’s a classic citrus and pine pairing that smells much stronger in booze and hop aroma than most session IPAs.
Saint Archer is donating a portion of proceeds from Journey Series No. 1 to benefit the Spirit of Yosemite Valley, an organization that helps keep the heavily trafficked national park clean. This is a beer you can feel good drinking regardless of the taste—though that happens to be pretty great too. That resinous pine from the aroma is back in full force, but it is still complemented by citrus and tropical fruit that bring some much-needed brightness and sweetness.
Journey Series No. 1 is a good beer benefitting a good cause, and that is always alright by me.