Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Voyageur Extra Pale Ale

James Page Brewing Co.
Stevens Point, WI

Style: American Pale Ale

Nigel’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Drinkable, but flawed)

Oh, what a great time it is to be Nigel! First of all, Nigel's favorite baseball team, the aptly named Brewers (who else could a Beer Dork root for?) are rolling along at 24-10, with a huge lead in the NL Central (yes, I'm fully aware its only early May). Secondly, Friday marks an annual beer-soaked tradition at Nigel's alma mater, an outdoor beer garden party that is fun for the whole family (at least those in the family over 21 who like to get totally shitfaced on awful beer). Finally, the weather has turned warm and Nigel was able to get his first non-Arizona 18 holes of the year in. Life is good in Nigeland. Any more excitement, and Nigel may need to be injected with horse tranquilizers.

I'd like to begin this review with a special warning for any hard partying Beer Dorks out there. This past weekend, Beer Dork collegue Franz and his lovely Italian fiancee ventured to Nigeland, and many craft brews were consumed (as well as a number of gin and tonics). This reminds me of a joke. An Italian, a German, and an Englishman walk into a bar, and... wait... that's not a joke, that's a serious ethnic conflict waiting to happen. Anyways, after enjoying a few craft brews over some pizza, we ventured out to the local pubs, and much celebrating ensued. So what happens at bar close? Nigel hosts a spur-of-the-moment afterbar (a HUGE affair, 6 people strong), complete with craft brews. I bring this up for a reason: as much as all of us Beer Dorks enjoy quality beer, it's hard to appreciate a finely crafted brew after many hours of drinking mixed drinks and shots. Franz consumed a Gonzo Imperial Porter, Nigel and a non-Beer Dork friend each consumed a Hopslam (which he claimed to like, but who the hell can taste anything at 3am), and Nigel shared a Bigfoot Barley Wine with a girl who deserves major props for even attempting to drink such a complicated beverage, even if it was out of a shot glass. While it was fun, I have to say at that point in the evening its probably time to bust out the shit beer and save the fine brews for another time. Lock up the good beer fridge, and party on.

Now that most readers have grown tired of another long-winded Nigel review and switched over to youtube, let me actually get to the topic at hand, James Page Brewing Co. Voyageur Super Mega Hydro Extra Pale Ale, or whatever the hell its called. I've been trying to get a little input into the origins and operations of James Page Brewery, but with little success. Their website is totally useless, but it seems to be a small brewery with distribution mostly limited to the northern half of Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota. Don't accept this as fact, but it appears that James Page may be struggling, as I have found a few references to the fact that they are currently brewing only three beers, down from about 10 not long ago (the others are Iron Range Amber Lager and Burly Brown Ale). My assumption was always that this was brewed at the Point brewery in Stevens Point, WI, but I have been unable to confirm or deny even that simplest of inquiries. I've also heard rumors that it's contract brewed at Sand Creek in Black River Falls or at City Brewery in La Crosse, but I'm not sure if any of that is true. Let's just say, James Page is a bit of a mystery, and despite some research, I am unable to clarify anything. Way to go, Nigel.

As for my impressions of Voyageur Extra Pale Ale, I'd have to say its about as average as average can get; pretty much by-the-books when it comes to an American Pale Ale. The beer pours surprisingly dark (not extra-pale by any means), with a dark reddish to golden brown color. Not overly carbonated, a mild head quickly settles, leaving only the slightest of white traces at the top of the glass. The aroma is somewhat faint, but decent. A fair amount of sugary and roasted malt is balanced with an aroma of hops, a promising sign for an APA. The taste is average. The dark color would seem to indicate an APA that is a bit on the maltier end of the spectrum, and the taste confirms that. Sugary caramel malt, along with some roasted nutiness are very noticeable, as is a nice amount of hops. At times the malt seemed to dominate, at other times the hops, so it was nicely balanced. Somewhat heavier in body for an APA, it nonetheless goes down fairly light and smooth, with a mild aftertaste. I was unable to find an official abv, but I'm guessing it was in the 5.3-5.8% range, so its not too powerful. All in all, it's a decent brew, but nothing too special. A decent fallback beer if you can't find anything better, but not something you should rush out and try to locate. And if you already have some at home, perhaps you should save it for the afterbar.


Reviewed by Nigel Tanner on May 8, 2007.
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