This week: JP's Yabba Dhaba Chai Tea Porter
Stevens Point Brewery, Stevens Point, Wis.
James Page started a brewery featuring his name in 1986 in Minneapolis, but it was never able to take hold and was sold to different owners through the years. Much of the product was contract-brewed at other breweries.
Stevens Point Brewery in Wisconsin bought the James Page name in 2005 and recently has used the brand to introduce new beers into the market. I reviewed JP's White Stout last year; not bad with its golden color and aroma of a pilsner but stout flavors.
JP's Yabba Dhaba is based on chai tea, that delicious concoction of tea, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, vanilla and milk that is just as good hot in cold months as it is ice cold during the hot summer. Recipes for it differ and various spices can be added or subtracted.
Yabba Dhaba produced a thick, tan head on the pour that melted away within a couple of minutes, which is common with beers made with spices. It did leave a bit of creamy residue on the top and lacing on the sides of the glass.
The chai spices were immediately apparent in the aroma, along with a bit of roasted coffee.
The taste is where the chai aspect really shines. What I liked about the 5.5% ABV Yabba Dhaba is that it didn't hold back on the chai flavors — it's not just vanilla and cinnamon, which even some chai tea makers are guilty of — you also get the cardamom, cloves and a touch of ginger. It has the right amount of sweetness to complement the spice flavors.
What would have pushed this beer into a category above merely good is more of the porter qualities. It needs more body — it's a rather thin and watery ale — and a bit more roast and chocolate in the flavor.
The! James Page beers are generally available in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin; an online Beer Finder link is here.
Many beers are available only regionally. Check the brewer's website, which often contains information on product availability. Contact Todd Haefer at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read previous Beer Man columns Click here.