We're not always impressed with the time and effort many local outfits take as far as branding goes, but No-Li really has gotten that down. A clear identity with well thought out labeling and easy to read typefaces... And a bunch of Spokane pride thrown into the mix too. Hey, it's all good, and even Esquire showed the Crystal Bitter some love.
Jet Star is No-Li's latest Imperial IPA, and a good one it is, at least if you set your expectations properly before drinking it. It's not a teeth-kicker, even at 8.1% ABV, and I, for one, am OK with that. Some of those Imperial IPAs can go a bit crazy, but Jet Star is well balanced, making it an Imperial IPA everyone can enjoy.
It pours a golden amber with a creamy white head. Lacing is decent. A whiff reveals some really fresh notes of hops -- the beer being less than a week old when I drank it might have been the reason behind that -- and some vague hints of malts. It's probably not the most exciting scent bomb in the world, but things look up when you taste it.
There is a real crispness to the Jet Star, one that makes it very drinkable and refreshing. There's just a bit of sweetness on the front of the tongue, with a grapefruit-meets-malts finish. The latter actually took me by surprise; the malts were not overpowered by the hops, and were more present than the nose would suggest. There's quite a bit of carbonation to tickle your tongue here, and the body would be just around medium.
I suspect some will feel there should be more going on here -- more hoppiness, more flavors, more circus in your mouth. Fair enough, but I, personally, like how No-Li didn't go too crazy with Jet Star. This is a flavorful ale, but not overpowering at all. Jet Star is an extremely refreshing Imperial IPA, one you can enjoy without hitting the floor.
Great branding; great beer. I had my doubts about the rebirth of No-Li, and I love that I was proven wrong. I think we're all in for quite the nice ride if Jet Star is any indication of what No-Li will be brewing.