Before this day I have only ever had a few brews from one of the most Popular West Coast Breweries out there, Rogue Ales. One of which being The Bacon Maple Ale, the others, a couple variations of Dead Guy, and a few John John Ales. It is unfair for me to judge the brewery based on those beers alone but I have had a… meh?… impression of them for as long as I have known about them. Luckily my favorite bottle shop in North Carolina, Bottle Revolution, gave me the chance to get a feel for what these people can really produce. I picked up a bottle of Juniper Pale Ale, American Amber, Hazelnut Brown Nectar, and Mocha Porter. I figured this would be a pretty good set up being they are essentially new to me and I never hit any of their breweries before moving out this way and a couple of them are part of my 1001 Beers Series haha!
The first one I took a taste of was the American Amber. It was a decent beer, very clean. The flavor was sweet, a bit like toffee with the hops really coming through in the finish. Again, decent. I know I shouldn’t have but upon first taste I was like, “This is nothing like Fat Tire…”.
Next I moved onto the Juniper Pale, Beer Number 16. It actually has a cool story behind it and kind of put some expectations into my mind… on the good end and the bad end of the spectrum.
Juniper Pale Ale was first brewed to commemorate the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.
I really appreciate that, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth as well. Was this brewed to appeal to the masses or for the love of beer… and adding juniper berries to it. Actually, one of the John John Beers I had, was the John John Juniper, and I loved that so I was expecting good things from this one. I don’t feel that it lived up to that one, but then again I looked at them as two different beers. This one had an odd sweetness to it. I want to attribute that to the juniper but I have no way to reference it really. I thought it was pretty light for a Pale Ale, even with my “It should be assertive but not like one of those mass produced IPAs” stance. I guess being it is a “Winter Ale” some things are to be expected? It was a nicely brewed beer for sure. I actually preferred this one over the amber as of this point. But I was ready to see what else they had.
I don’t know why but I chose the Mocha Porter next. Figured it made more sense to do a brown before a porter, but hey, what are you going to do? This is Beer Number 17. The thing that stood out to me on this one was the dark malt nose and the length of time the head lasted. It was kind of coffee-esque, but assertive nonetheless. Very impressive I thought, then again, that is to be expected from someone like Rogue?
The Mocha is a prime example of the U.S. porter style, a beer that was inspired by its English cousin but has burst out of the blocks with plenty of Yankee twist.
I thought this beer was really light for a porter and maybe I do not properly understand the U.S. style but it was nothing like porters that I feel represent it, i.e. Deschutes Black Butte. It went into my mouth like water. The dark malt bitterness creeped up at the end and a burnt, dry, coffee flavor lingered in my mouth. I was kind of disappointed with that one. Porter is one of my favorite styles and while I know they are not all great, this one just kept me wanting more. The beer grew on me more as I drank it but a lot of what disappointed me followed from sip to sip.
Finally The Nut Brown. This was my favorite of the bunch. It had a nice assertive bitterness but light and sweet at the same time. It was almost everything I look for in a brown ale. The malt did not come across as too dark, the light flavor working with the medium mouthfeel just set this thing completely right. This is for sure a beer that I would revisit. This whole time I was thinking that there would be nothing significant from Rogue that in this selection.
984 Bottles Of Beer To Go!