Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve Ale

santas_private_reserveBrewer: Rogue Brewery, Portland OR
Style: Red Ale
ABV: 5.1%
IBU: 65

Description: A double-hopped red ale, the Santa’s Reserve is part of Rogue’s winter seasonal lineup. It is brewed using a combination of 2 Row, Munich, C15, C40, C75 and Rogue Farm’s own Dare & Risk Malts; then bittered using Rogue Farm Newport, Rebel & Freedom hops.

Tasting Notes: This seasonal brew was a bit of a surprise, in that it didn’t have the spiced, sweet profile one tends to expect from a Christmas beer. But it was certainly pleasant, and packed the usual red ale characteristics. This includes some dry hop flavor and malts that are more on the sharp side than the rich and sweet. This led to an overall refreshing experienced, despite the presence of plenty of hop bitterness.

Appearance: Deep ruby, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malt, dry hops, mild grass and pine aroma, hint of peat
Taste: Sharp, tangy malts, immediate dry hop flavor, grass and herbal bitterness
Aftertaste: Lingering dry hop bitterness and sharp malt
Overall: 7.8/10

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Rogue Morimoto Soba Ale

rogue_morimotoBrewer: Rogue Brewery, Portland, OR
Style: Buckwheat Ale
Alc/Vol: 5%
IBU: 30

Description: This beer is a specialty release from the brewery, part of their Morimoto series that pays homage to Japanese brewing. The name Soba refers to the addition of roasted buckwheat, which is combined with 2-Row, C15, Munich, and Rogue Farms proprietary Dare and Risk Malts and Rebel Hops.

Tasting Notes: I can recall having this beer over a year ago, but I never quite got around to doing a proper review. And just as I remember it, this beer was a crisp, mildly hopped ale that retains characteristics of a sharp Pilsner or a good, dry pale. The addition of roasted buckwheat adds another dimensions of flavor – one of nuts and mild sweetness – that compliments the Munich malts and hops quite well.

Appearance: Amber/Orange, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Sweet, grainy, Munich malts, notes of buckwheat, mild hops
Taste: Immediate crisp malt, tang, notes of nuts, hint of sweetness, dry, bitter hops
Aftertaste: Lingering hops, malts and nutty soba flavor
Overall: 8.5/10

Rogue Beard Beer

beardbeer-draft-printBrewer: Rogue Brewery, Newport, OR
Style: American Wild Ale
Alc/Vol: 5.6%
IBU: 25

Description: Beard Beer is brewed with a yeast created from Rogue Brewmaster John Maier’s own beard. Using this wild yeast strain, the brewery fashioned a wild ale, similar to what brewer’s have been doing for centuries prior to the invention of pasteurization and the rationalization of the industry.

Tasting Notes: This beer was very reminiscent of a farmhouse ale, which stands to reason. The addition of wild yeast, even if it does come from a brewmaster’s beard, is what gives a farmhouse that characteristic, yeasty and effervescent flavor. And this brew has all that in spades, along with the notes of coriander and mild bitterness. The brewery was right when they said in the description that this beer “will surprise you”.

Appearance: Orange/golden, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Gentle malts, yeasty, hints of spice
Taste: Slightly bitter, strong effervescence, tang, yeast, hint of coriander spice
Aftertaste: Lingering tang, yeast and spice notes
Overall: 8.5/10

Chatoe Rogue OREgasmic Ale

Rogue_oregasmicSome time ago, the Rogue Brewery – one of my favorite brewery’s of all time – began producing a special series that takes the term “locally sourced” to new heights. And after many months, I finally managed to secure a third sample from their growing Grow Your Own (GYO) series! Known as the OREgasmic Ale, this pale ale is made using strictly local ingredients, which include Rogue Farms Dare and Risk malts and Rogue Hopyard Revolution hops.

And much like their Dirtoire Black Lager and Roguenbier Rye Ale, this beer was rich and complex in flavor and tasted like it was from the earth. It pours a dark amber, is slightly cloudy, and has a thick, foamy head and good carbonation. The taste is reminiscent of an amber ale, with syrupy, slightly sweet malts with discernible baked bread flavor; but with some additional strong, earthy hop notes that are at once piney and citrusy in flavor.

Appearance: Dark amber, slight cloudiness, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt nose, good hop notes, citrus, grassyness and pine
Taste: Deep, slightly sweet malts, earthy hop flavor, pine and citrus rind
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness, slightly coarse and syrupy malt flavor
Overall: 9/10

Well, that makes three beers out of the total eight in the GYO lineup that I’ve tried so far. It’s an unfortunate and wonderful thing when a craft brewing operation explodes and begins producing a seemingly endless stream of brews, with multiple series, and a ton of limited releases. But it does make for plenty of surprises and new experiences!

Chatoe Rogue Roguenbier Rye Ale

Rogue-Logorogue_ryeRye beer is one of those rare treats that few breweries ever attempt, except those that are really adventurous or dedicated to experimentation. So it was little surprise when I learned that Rogue had included a rye ale in their GYO (Grow Your Own) Chatoe Rogue series, a special lineup dedicated to farmers, fermenters and brewers that uses almost exclusively homegrown ingredients.

This is the second GYO beer that I’ve sampled now, the last being their Dirtoir Black Lager, which was quite the experience in itself. This one was a fine follow-up, being very much unique, experimental, and yet very true to the best traditions of craft brewing. In addition to using homegrown rye, Rogue also employed several of their own proprietary malts, hops, and a Weizen yeast, giving it a flavor that is something of a witbier, a dark ale, and a loaf of rye bread.

Appearance: Dark brown/amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Wheat-like malt aroma, sourness, hint of rye bread
Taste: Light, foamy malts, slight sourness, dark tawny notes, slight rye bitterness
Aftertaste: Yeasty finish and lingering bitterness
Overall: 8.5/10

Yes, quite the experience indeed! I look forward to sampling other beers in this lineup, provided I can find them of course. Might just be time for another road trip to Seattle!

Chatoe Rogue Dirtoir Black Lager

rogue_dirtoirJust in time for the holidays, and my local beerstore managed to snag a few cases of one of the limited releases in Rogue’s GYO (Grow Your Own) series. Named Chatoe Rogue Dirtoir Black Lager, this Schwartzbier-style lager was first introduced in 2010 and has the distinction of being one of the few beers in the Pacific Northwest that is fashioned partially with grains and hops that are grown by the brewery itself. These include the First Growth Risk Malts as well as the FG Independent and Revolution Hops. Taken the tradition of local brewing a step further, the GYO series is all about brewing beer with one’s own ingredients as well.

Being impenetrably dark and featuring a tan head, this beer is easily mistaken for a stout. It’s flavor is also quite similar, since it has some strong coffee notes that are rounded out by the toasted, smoothness of its malts. The addition of Oktoberfest yeast strains also lend it a certain Bavarian character. In fact, I was reminded of a strong Dunkel many times in the course of drinking it, though the flavors are stronger and more enhanced.

Appearance: Black as tar, opaque, dark foam with low retention
Nose: Stout-like aroma of roasted malts
Taste: Coffee-like bitterness, earthy, smooth toasted malty taste
Aftertaste: Mild hop bite and lingering bitter coffee notes
Overall: 9/10

label-rogue-dirtoir

An all around winner and a great intro for me to Rogue’s new GYO series, a lineup which includes a Pilsner, pale ale, pumpkin ale, Blonde, and a wet-hopped ale. And considering the accolades they have all received thus far, I imagine that’s going to be tasty drinking experience! To read more on the GYO series, follow the link below:

http://www.rogue.com/beers/dirtoir-black-lager.php

 

 

Rogue Brewery!

Many a time I’ve reviewed individual Rogue products and thought to myself, “damn, I need to do a full on review of the brewery, give credit to every beer I’ve ever had from them”. Hell, I think I’ve even said as much in a post here or there. Well, I’m finally putting my money where my mouth is – literally, since some of them were hard to obtain and involved the cost of travel to procure! And coupled with others that I’ve tried over the years, I’ve finally been able to prepare a full list. It’s been difficult given the fact that seasonals come and go, and one can scarcely remember everything one tries (especially when they drink like I do!), but I assure you, I’ve done my best. Here they are, in alphabetical order:

American Amber Ale: I’ve sampled many amber ales in my day, and I’ve come to expect a certain consistency from them. More often than not, they are smooth, light, tawny on the tongue, and are more malty than hoppy in terms of flavor. This is certainly the case with the American Amber. The taste is both complex, yet light, with smooth, slightly viscous malts and a light hop finish. An enjoyable beer when paired with food or as light-drinking fare. 3.75/5

Brutal IPA: This beer I sampled and reviewed last november, as part of my “Month of IPA’s”. And little’s changed since I reviewed it last! A year later and I still it a fitting examples of a west coast IPA, combining a crisp taste, powerful, floral hops and a good alcoholic bite! Definitely not for the faint of heart, as it more than lives up to its name! 4/5

Chipotle Ale: An interesting experiment in beer-making, and one which I just had to try. And I was not disappointed, nor particularly surprised. Overall, this is a perfectly fine ale and characteristic of rogue brewing, combing a good hoppy ale with the slight hint of peppers and a mild spicy aroma. Perhaps I was expecting something different, but with a name like Chipotle, one would expect more of a punch! However, this remains a very decent ale and given its mild bite, would be well-paired with spicey food. 3.75/5

Chocolate Stout: A first for me, in that it was the first time I had ever tried a chocolate stout. Since that time, it seems like everyone is doing a chocolate or coffee stout/porter. And having tried several, I can still honestly say that this one is my favorite. Whereas most stouts tend to have a bitter, almost burn like flavor to them due to the dark malts used (what is typically described as coffee notes), Rogue’s own manages to come off very smooth. And the chocolate notes are the result of real chocolate being used. No artificial flavors here! 4/5

Dead Guy Ale:One of Rogue’s most famous beers, and definitely the easiest to find here in Canada. Done in the style of German Maibock but still boasting a Pacific Northwest character, this beer is deep honey in color, has a rich, malty profile, a strong bite of hops and a relatively sweet profile. It’s also garnered several awards, including silver medals three years running at the World Beer Championships (from 2005 to 2007).4/5

Hazelnut Brown Nectar: I believe I’ve mentioned several times in the course of my reviews how craft brewing has been coming back into vogue in the last few decades. And if there’s one beer that is consistently becoming more popular, its the Brown Ale. True to form, Rogue recently released their own spin on the traditional Brown, combining the flavor or roasted nuts with brown malts in order produce this beer. Living in Victoria, nestled between so many great micro-breweries, each one producing its own exceptional browns, I felt this baby had some stiff competition. And yet it still came out with top marks!  Rich, dark and tawny, like a good brown, this baby is also smooth and boasts a true nut flavor that is paired well with deserts and Christmas cookies (recent experience will attest to this)! 4/5

Irish Lager: This is going back a ways, but many years back, I spotted this brew in my favorite LCBO located on Rideau street at the edge of downtown Ottawa. I believe I bought it as part of a Rogue taster pack, since this particular LCBO could always be counted on to stack plenty of Rogue products. At the time, I was relatively un-wowed, but that was before I developed an appreciation for lighter beers. Today, I would classify this as a nice, light fare, clean, crisp and refreshing, like a good lager! Its also good when paired with food, though it is also recommended for making Guinness floats. That I will have to try… (personally, I’d recommend using a different stout, but a good idea is a good idea!) 3/5

Juniper Pale Ale: Yet another rare one that I tried when visiting my sis and bro-in-law in Oregon. And, much like with the Yellow Snow IPA (see below) I’ve tried to get my hands on some ever since! It was seriously that good. A delicious ale, red in color, with strong, floral hops, a crisp bite, and a lingering finish that is highly reminiscent of juniper berries, this beer is an all around hit! If you can’t find some, I recommend finding a local beer store that’s been known to carry some Rogue products and putting it on order. 4/5

Yellow Snow IPA: The name might deter some, but for me, this beer is a classic, one which I discovered by accident when visiting Portland in 2004 with my sis and bro in law. The color is consistent with the name, a nice golden orange. Strong hops, a good bite, a long dry finish, and a rating of 80 IBU make this a genuine IPA. After trying it for the first time, I would struggle to get my hands on some here in Canada.  It’s not easy, but thanks to my sweetheart, I enjoyed a nice cold bottle this Christmas, and thanks to my folks, I enjoyed in a Hofbrauhaus stone mug! What a perfect experience! 5/5

Ah, and speaking of this Christmas, my darling bride was also able to procure for me some tasty samples from the Pike Brewery that I have been unable to get here in Canada as well. Expect a review dedicated to them as well soon. As with all my Christmas beers by Rogue, they too were enjoyed in a Hofbrauhaus stone mug!

As a finale note, here is a link to Rogue’s website, and a picture of Jack Joyce, the co-founder and CEO of Rogue which I happened to come across in the course of my research into them. Doesn’t he just look like a brewer?!

http://www.rogue.com/

Jack Joyce, Co-Founder and CEO