December 13th, 2010 beckel
Today we have one of the three brews in the Morimoto line of Rogue beers. The beers were made with input from Chef Morimoto of Iron Chef fame and are designed with food in mind, yet tasty on their own. You can read a bit more about Soba in my review of their Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale from two years ago. This bottle was provided by Lake Wine & Spirits as part of their “Citizen 4-pack” concept. I first had this brew in June of this year at the National HomebrewersÂ ConferenceÂ here in Minneapolis while enjoying aÂ fascisticÂ meal prepared byÂ Sean Paxton AKA “The Homebrew Chef”. In that meal Soba Ale was paired with a simple salad with a variety of fresh fruits.
Pours a cloudy yet slightly translucentÂ apricot tinted copperÂ hue. Two fingers of bright white head are produced and fade slowly leaving attractive lacing and a fewÂ millimetersÂ of residual head. Tinny bubbles flow to the top of the glassÂ repeatedly, asking to quench your thirst. Grain aromas are forward and remind me quite a bit of wheat but with more earthy,Â husk likeÂ esters & nice lemon citrus to contrast. Lemon and other citrus esters hit my tongue immediately, followed by rich, sweet, complex, yet bright grains. Earthy esters are equally diverse, remind me of lemon grass, oats and almost a hint of dirt. Mouthfeel is relatively full and enjoyably dry. The light body makes this beer reasonably smooth and refreshing and very sessionable at 4.8% ABV. A good beer that is somewhere between an American Lager and a Wheat Ale. Complex yet refreshing this brew will be enjoyed by most and will pare well with anything from seafood and gently fried vegetables to caramelized pork chops with rich root vegetables. Not a beer I would buy a lot but a great beer for hot days and most meals. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
December 11th, 2010 beckel
Today I have a beer, that like many others I can’t believe I’ve never gotten around to writing about. Dead Guy Ale is with out a doubt Rogue Brewing’s staple beer. I can’t even start to give Rogue enough praise for what they do for the homebrewing community and their reputation speaks for itself so I won’t bother. As I’ve said before I always appreciate how informative Rogue’s website is in regards to ingredients and additional information on the brews they produce. With Dead Guy Ale we are working with a grain bill ofÂ Northwest Harrington, Klages, Maier Munich and Carastan Malts.Â Perle and Saaz Hops, and as (almost) always Rogue’s signature Pacman Yeast. This is another beer that has been provided by Lake Wine & Spirits, this time as part of their Citizen 4-pack concept.
Onto the point. Dead Guy Ale pours an attractive amber tinted copper hue, with red and brown hues adding depth to the appearance. Almost 3 fingers of off white head was produced when poured into the middle of the glass, though less is typically created. The head retention of this ale is usually somewhat minimum, but this time around a surprising amount of lacing was created. Smells of sweet malts, cereal grains & soft bitterness. Rich sweet malt plays front runner followed by gentle citrus and very soft bitterness in the flavor. The reasonably light body and smooth mouthfeel makes this Maibock much moreÂ quaffableÂ than many of the style. Sweetness is evident and the prime character in this brew, as is expected for the style, but Dead Guy’s hop characters, while subtle in both citrus esters and bitterness, does a fantastic job of creating contrast and showing the unique approach that Rogue tends to take to brewing. At 6.5% ABV this very drinkable Maibock is almostÂ sessionable and will be very approachable for most people. While Dead Guy is one of the more simple brews from Rogue it is a good example of the beauty that can be created from simplicity. Both an easy gateway brew for those not accustomed to craft beer and a great beer for easy drinking on both hot and cold days, making it just right for this snow storm. If you enjoy Bocks and are looking for a bit more flavor contrast you will be all over this brew. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
October 14th, 2010 beckel
Today I have the 1st beer from Rogue Brewing’s Chatoe Series of BYO Certified beers. It is also the 4th and final ale from the series that I picked up last week from the newly opened Lake Wine & Spirits. Perhaps I’ll have to look around to see if I can still find a bottle of their Dirtoir Black Lager to complete the series. As the name implies this ale has a very simple grain bill consisting of only one malt and one hop. Beers like this are a great way to learn about the ingredients used in brewing Â and are lovinglyÂ referredÂ to as SMaSH beers in the homebrewing community. Consisting of First Growth Dare Malts, Revolution Hops and the usual Pacman Yeast. I am quite excited to sample these ingredients in their purest form.
Pours a very attractive bright orange hue that is very clean and rather translucent. Just over 2 fingers of bright white head is produced and slowly opens into larger and larger bubbles leaving a small amount of lacing and a little bit of residual head after about two minutes. Both malt and hops hit your nose immediately withÂ hardyÂ malt sweetness, cereal grain esters that remind me ofÂ Cheerios, oranges, modest bitterness and a bit of alcohol. Strong cereal grain esters are immediately noticed on the tongue, followed by orange fruit esters and a bit of additional citrus that I can’t quite place. Gentle alcohol and a hint of bitterness, most notably lingering on the tongue after swallowing. While it is a difficult task to make a balanced beer with a whole bunch of ingredients it can be equally difficult to make a simple but beautiful brew and unfortunately in this case I don’t feel Rogue quite delivered. Overall this is certainly a clean ale with some enjoyable flavors including very gentle hoppy tartness. Body is light and the mouthfeel is relatively clean. The ABV on this brew isn’t listed but Rogues website states the Original Gravity at 12ÂºÂ Plato so it probably comes in around 5%. Making this a veryÂ sessionable. I am very curious and excited to see how the grains and hops that Rogue is so passionately growing will evolve over the years and wonder a lot about how much their age has to do with the flavors present in the ales (and lager) of this series. Seeing brewers take risks like this is one of my favorite things about craft brewing but unfortunately this brew doesn’t have anything particular that shines for me.Â DefinitelyÂ not a bad beer and something that I’m sure plenty of people will enjoy. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
October 13th, 2010 beckel
Today we have the Wet Hop Ale from Rogue’s Chatoe Series of BYO Certified ales. I enjoyed a small pour of this brew on Monday at Town Hall while sampling their Fresh Hop Ale (which was fantastic) as well as Surly’s Wet and Deschutes Hop Trip. While I enjoyed it it wasn’t a big enough sample to do it justice,Â particularlyÂ with so many similar beers side by side. Crafted with Carawheat, Carafoam, First Growth Dare & Risk Malts. First Growth Freedom, Revolution, Independent, Rebel & Liberty Hops. Fermented with their usual Pacman Yeast. For those notÂ familiarÂ with the concept of wet (fresh) hop ales, most ales are brewed with dried hops as hops will mold if stored wet for very long. In the case of wet hop ales freshly picked hops are rushed from the hop yard straight to the brewery as quickly as possible and then boiled with the wort (unfermentedÂ beer) like any other brew. The lucky folks at Rogue have their hop yards only 77 miles away. Talk about fresh.
Pours deep red hue that is rather opaque and looks like cranberries when away from light and bright orange when brought to light. About two fingers of tight off white bubbles are formed and fade within a minute. Smells strongly of bright, resinous citrus, peach, orange, gentle herbal notes, a variety of fruity esters and very soft bitterness. Tastes of bright fruity hops, notably orange,Â tangerine, lemon and peach, mild bitterness and a very nice slightly sweet malt balance. As it warms alcohol becomes a bit more notable on the nose and caramel esters start to shine. Though this brew comes in at a decent 6.4% ABV it certainly doesn’t show. An enjoyable brew with a nice array of fresh hop esters and plenty of malty sweetness to not be overwhelmed. If you enjoy fruity hop esters but aren’t into intense bitterness this is the brew for you. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
October 8th, 2010 beckel
Today I have the 5th and most recent ale from Rogue Brewing’s Chatoe Series of BYO certified beers. Creek Ale as you may guess is their interpretation of a Belgian Kriek, which are brewed or blended with Cherries. This bottle has been brewed with Wheat, First Growth Dare & Risk Malts, First Growth Revolution Hops, Montmorency Cherries, Pacman & Belgian Yeasts.
Pours a very dark reddish brown hue. One finger of off white head is produced and fades within a minute. Smells strongly of dark pitted fruit esters from the malt, mostly plum and a bit of cherry, earthy yeast esters and some malty sweetness. In the flavor you finally get more of the cherry esters as well as some notable plum and gentle grape, clean wheat and barley esters, some malty sweetness and gentle tartness from the cherries. As the brew warms the caramel character of the malt starts to shine through and compliments the variety of fruity esters very nicely.Â Body is medium and the mouthfeel is very clean for the style leaving your palate quite refreshed. Coming in at 6% ABV this ale is an easy drinker.Â An enjoyable brew with a variety of pitted fruit esters Â but not a lot else. If you enjoy simple, fruity, dark Belgian Style Ales this might just be the beer for you. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
October 7th, 2010 beckel
Today I had the pleasure of checking out the newest liquor store in the 612, Lake Wine & Spirits. ConvenientlyÂ located onÂ Grand & Lake Street which happens to beÂ within a mile of my humble abode. Overall the store was clean and well stocked for being only a week old. A solid selection of wine, liquor and most importantly beer was present and reasonably organized. I’m sure I will rant more about them in the future but right now I have a beer to drink.
While there I picked up four out of the five beers in the Chatoe Rogue series of Rogue beers. All of which are GYO certified and brewed with 100% Oregon ingredients, many of which are grown by Rogue Brewing and being labeled as First Growth. Currently I am enjoying the third beer in the series entitled OREgasmic Ale. Brewed with First Growth Dare & Risk malts, Williamette, Sterling & First Growth Revolution hops and Rogue’s favorite yeast; Pacman. (Note: Rogue is one of the best breweries about listing their ingredients but I must note in this case the bottle I have and their website do not list the hops identically, oh well.)
Pours a lovely hazy, completely opaque orangish brown hue. About two fingers of very tight, creamy, tan bubbles are created and remain for almost five minutes. Leaving a good deal of residual head quite a bit of lacing for Pale Ale.Â SincerelyÂ surprising me that there is no wheat in this ale as the head retention is simply amazing. Aroma isÂ fantasticallyÂ hoppy with notes of orange and lemon citrus, gentle herbal hops, fruity esters and wonderful caramel malt esters and soft bitterness. Flavor is full of rich sweet malt, mellow orange & other citrus esters, finishing with modest hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy and body is medium. As I continue to drink I notice more and more grassy hop flavors, particularly lingering on the palate after consumption. Some of which might have to do with the freshness of the hops. As the beer warms the creamy malty sweetness becomes more and more apparent and the citrus hop esters continue to compliment the sweetness even more wonderfully. If Rogue were to make caramel candies with citrus and bitter esters similar to this brew they may be on to something amazing. Over all a very delicious brew that I would happily consume often. A bit too sweet for me to drink all night, though certainly doable with a reasonable 6% ABV. If you enjoy Pale Ales and are looking for more than just hops this ale will be right up your alley. I think even those who are less in love with hops will enjoy the creamy caramel character that this ale brings to surface in aÂ trulyÂ fantastic way. If you want more classic Pale Ale characteristics consume this ale colder, if looking for more malt give it a bit more time to warm up. Better yet consume it slowly and enjoy it in all of its glory. After this brew I am very excited to try the rest of the series. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
February 10th, 2009 beckel
About a mile from work on my ride home today my bicycle decided the logical thing to do was to break its chain. Lovely. Luckily as I approached the four way stop there wasn’t a ton of traffic and I was able to Fred Flinstone to a stop with little fear.Â I had just stopped at the liquor store and a bus had recently overtaken me prior to breaking my chain so I was very tempted to crack open a brew and wait for the next bus, unfortunately Minnesota laws don’t cater to that. Oh well at least we have a new amendment to a bill in the house HF546,Â to allow for off-sale licensing of brewers between 3,500 and 7,000 BBL, give it your support! Fortunately my story continues positively, after fiddling with my bike for a while and waiting for the bus a friendly gentleman approached me and asked if I needed help. I told him the situation and he offered to give me a ride. After some nice conversation and a short drive to The Alt all was well thanks to some help and a shiny new chain that didn’t deserve the abuse of going on my dirty ass drivetrain. So time for some beer. Today I am enjoying a bottle of Dry Hopped St. Rogue Red Ale from the lovely Rogue brewers who hail from the land of Oregon. I first sampled this ale at the Rogue tasting hosted by The Four Firkins last month and was wonderfully satisfied so it only seemed logical to consume some more and give it a proper review.Â This brew pours a hazy brown with red hints that is completely opaque brightening slightly when brought to light. This pour created over three fingers of frothy off white head that lingers for a number of minutes. I would suggest pouring this ale a bit carefully, this particular bottle foamed up as soon as I popped the cap (though previously none of the other bottles did). Aroma is sweet and malty but intensely hoppy with robust citrus and bitter notes. Flavor is very nice, obviously a seriously dry hopped ale. First comes the malt, largely sweet but hearty and nicely balanced by the bitter hopsÂ that round off this brew. There are a number of citrus and floral hintsÂ as wellÂ but it is a bit hard to pick out individual flavors as this is such a full flavored ale, guess I need to drink more. The body is light for such a hoppy beer and the moutfeel is reasonably smooth. With a humble 5.1% ABV this is a wonderful choice when you want something immensely flavorful but not so strong it will knock you on your ass after a few. Though this is a rather hoppy ale and isn’t the best beer for those who do not enjoy bitter flavors the malt characters make this one delicious and nicely balanced Amber Ale. Anyone who enjoys a nicely hopped ale and doesn’t mind a decent amount of malt to compliment should absolutely try this beer. A perfect compliment to any spicy meal. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
January 6th, 2009 beckel
So yesterday was another lovely tasting event at The Four Firkins with a nice gentleman named Tom from Tri-County Beverage & Supply pouring samples of 8 different Rogue Ales. Though I’ve been less mobile with all the snow on the ground and lazy about making the usually very enjoyable ride down the Greenway to The Four Firkins, I could not resist comming down when I heard they were doing a Rogue tasting. I have been a fan of Rogue for a number of years, ever since my roommate who lived in Portland, Oregon for a number of years shared some Dead Guy Ale with me, but have not had the opportunity to sample many of their ale’s as they tend to be a bit on the pricy side because 22oz bottles are what is most available in Minnesota. After a nice ride and a short treck through the snow due to an unplowed Greenway exit, I entered the rather crowded shop and proceded to the samples. Layed out infront of me were 7 220z bottles and one 750ml ceramic bottle from their XS Series all lined up in order from lightest to darkest to encourage proper sampling. Very pleased to see 6 ales I had never tried I jumped right into a sample of their Juniper Pale Ale. Tasty stuff, pale but with some nice flavors and a bit of hop bitterness rounded off with a unique kick from the juniper and perhaps the yeast strains. Though I went out of order and didn’t sample it until the end the Dead Guy Ale was tasty as always; simple, flavorful and incredibly drinkable. A wonderful ale for any nice spring day. Next in line was the Smoke Ale which was decent and certainly a very smoky ale in both aroma and flavor. One parton refered to it as tasting like smoked sausage and I have to say I agree, it would go lovely with a nice hearty breakfast of hickory smoked baccon, eggs and hashbrowns. Not as dark and heavy in body as Surly’s smoke but certainly more intense of a smoke flavor. Then came the Dry Hopped Saint Rogue Red Ale, Yummy. This was a delicious and wonderfully dry hopped red ale, reminding me more of an IPA. Hops cover this ale’s aroma and flavor wonderfully but is not overly bitter, provided you are used to hops, it is a wonderful example of what dry hopping can do to an ale and would be in my fridge right now if my bag weren’t already too full of ale and will undoubtably be properly reviewed sometime soon. Then comes the ale of the season; Santa’s Private Reserve which I expected to be a Stout but it actually a Red Ale. A good ale with some very nice smooth well rounded hop flavors, but a bit on the sweet side. Now we have the ale I was most currious about, Rogue’s Chipotle Ale. Peppers are noticable in the aroma but not overbearing. The flavor is incredibly unique, it tastes of peppers but is not particularly spicy, that is until the finish where you will get a nice spicy flavor in your throat and the back of the mouth, probably good for my sinuses. Not a beer I could drink too much of but certainly a courageous experiment and a small glass would likely compliment a less spicy meal nicely. Then came the beautiful ceramic 750ml bottle of Rogue’s Imperial India Pale Ale,though I have sampled this ale before and you can read my review here I couldn’t help but partake in some more and it was certainly enjoyed. Then comes the dark stuff in the form of Shakespeare Stout a wonderfully black and relatively rich brew. A relatively simple but creamy and nice stout that I wouldn’t mind trying more of in the future. Over all it was a very fun time as it is always satisfying to browse the beautiful wooden shelves full of marvelous brew and chat with other beer lovers that show up to sample the wares. Cheers to Alvey and Tom for hosting and hopefully I’ll see you there next time.
October 13th, 2008 beckel
Today we have another ale from Rogue Brewing out of Newport, Oregon that is sure to be a delight. Dead guy ale, a Maibock is one of Rogue’s staple beers and has won to date 25 awards. So when I saw the double version I couldn’t resist picking it up particularly as my roommate who lived in Oregon for a number of years would be sure to want to try it as he first introduced me to Dead Guy Ale. I have a lot of faith in the brewers over at Rogue and I’m sure I won’t be disappointed not to mention the fact that this year Double Dead Guy Ale got silver in the World Beer Championships. Nicely packaged in a bright red 750ml bottle this beer is sure to attract some attention. This doppelbock cascades quite marvelously as you pour producing about 2 inches of very tight off white head that persists for a few minutes and leaves a bit of lacing on the glass. The color is a marvelous deep but bright red that is rather transparent. Sweet roasted malt aromas hit the nose just right hiding the slightly alcoholic hint, very nice.Â Wow from the initial sip of this beer it almost seems like there are remaining sugars that could be fermented further though that is obviously not necessary with its 9% ABV. Flavor is sweet but well rounded off with nice roasted malt flavors. As you continue to drink this beer you can pick up some of the bitterness that hits your palate towards the back of the mouth with this beers 72 IBU. Mouthfeel is light as is the body of this beer making it very drinkable. Rogue recommends pairing this beer with pork which sounds delightful to me but I think this wonderful ale would go well with pretty much anything particularly light meat. If you like roasted but sweet malty beers and don’t mind a touch of balancing bitterness and alcohol content you are sure to enjoy this beer. I would highly recommend this beer to any craft beer fan. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
August 12th, 2008 beckel
I had seen this beer taunting me from the shelf wondering what the hell it was a number of times, so I finally decided to pick one up and read the bottle only to discover it is made by the wonderful Rogue Brewery out of Newport, Oregon. The Morimoto Black Obi Soba is one of three beers launched as a collaboration with Masaharu Morimoto an award winning chef who you may know from the show Iron Chef. These beers are made with Soba, also known as buckwheat which is actually not a wheat but part of the rhubarb family and a staple in Japanese cuisine because of its impressive nutritional properties. This particular beer is dedicated to Rogues Japanese distributor Phred Kaufmann and apparently is a remake of their original Phred’s Black Soba Ale. Now onto the good part. This beer pours with close to an inch of marvelously brown tinted head that is quite frothy and stays for quite a while. Color is black with deep red colors sneaking in while in the light. Aroma is interesting and hard to place, I mostly get malty sweetness, almost fruity like cherry. The flavor of this beer even more interesting, a dull fruit flavor hits the palate first that reminds me of cherry but is nowhere near as sweet which is finished by a malt like flavor that makes this beer very smooth, presumably from the soba. Overall this beer is somewhat flat in most of its flavors, though this is not that uncommon in a porter this is a different one, obviously the grains used in this beer contribute a lot. Not a bad beer, a bit sour in the initial flavor but a relatively smooth dark ale in the finish. RateBeer refers to this beer as a fruit ale, and Beeradvocate as a porter and I must say I agree with both. If you like a dark, not particularly malty beer with some sour but not artificial fruit flavor this will do you right. The ABV of this beer is not listed but the original Phred’s Black Soba AleÂ is rated at 5% and I would be inclined to believe this one is about the same. Anyone who is curious about how irregular ingredients effect a beer will likely appreciate this one. Give it a shot and ride your bike.