Martin House's Juice IPA and Christmas in July, Reviewed

Martin House Brewery, located in downtown Fort Worth, started brewing beer in 2013. Since then, it has grown into one of the better breweries in the area. With the success of various fruit-infused session beers and IPAs, it seems like every brewery is putting one out and Martin House is no exception. This month they debuted Juice, a grapefruit session IPA available only on tap. Coming in at only 5 percent ABV, Juice has a very smooth feel and isn't very hoppy, even for a session IPA. The aroma of Juice is not very strong, either. And while the taste is balanced between citrusy and weakly hoppy, it's in the aftertaste that the bitterness of grapefruit is strong. While Juice is a decent session IPA, with beers like Ballast Point's Grapefruit Sculpin IPA available in so many bars now, Martin House's Juice won't win everyone over.

Another new release from Martin House is their new barleywine, Christmas in July, which is also only available on draft. Last December, Martin House released a barleywine called Sugar & Spice. Some of that beer they aged in whiskey barrels for seven months, consequently raising it to 14 percent ABV. Barleywines pack quite a kick, but Christmas in July is surprisingly strong; the alcohol taste is so heavy that the other flavors struggle to mask it. While there are some complexities in Sugar & Spice's flavor, such as a noticeable note of vanilla, the sweetness does not balance well with the alcohol content and both tend to overwhelm the beer's complexities. While serious fans of barleywines might enjoy Christmas in July, those looking to try it for the first time should start elsewhere.

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