Wednesday, December 21, 2005
One of the best choices for a diverse selection of excellent micro-brewed beer is Rogue. In 1988, three guys looking to try their hand at making great beer created Rogue Ales Brewery. Originally starting as a brewpub in Ashland, Ore., Rogue quickly joined the ranks as one of America's finest microbreweries by virtue of the sheer quality and variety of their product. After a flood destroyed their Ashland brewpub in 1997, they moved to their current location in Newport, Ore., thereby enabling them to produce the volume needed to meet consumer demand. However, this has not affected the quality of their product. If anything, Rogue has gotten better.
All Rogue beers start out with the finest barley malt, hops, yeast and the most important ingredient of all—free-range coastal water. The brewery has 34 different varieties of beers at present, many of which are available exclusively at their brewpubs. However, seven are available in the Jackson area at locally owned McDade's or Lagers Beer Emporium and come in either 22-oz. single bottles or 12-oz 6-packs; check these retailers for availability.
Originally brewed at Rogue's Ashland brewpub and known as Ashland Amber, American Amber Ale has a nice ruby color and pours with a thick head. It has a well-balanced flavor of hops and sweet malts and finishes dry with a slight taste of caramel. Many types of cuisine can be paired with this ale, including blue or cheddar cheeses, Polish Kielbasa or grilled salmon with mango salsa. It also makes a great aperitif.
Rogue first brewed Chocolate Stout for export to Japan before introducing it to the American market on Valentine's Day, 2001. It is opaque black in color and has only a slight head when poured. True to its name, it has a bitter-sweet chocolaty taste that also hints of coffee and almonds. Like most stout beers, it is best served at cellar temperature, which is approximately 55 degrees. Surprisingly, this beer couples extremely well with buttery cheeses like fontina, gouda, brie and havarti, as well as smoked or grilled beef and homemade fudge.
Dead Guy Ale is probably Rogue's most popular beer, first brewed to honor the Mayan Day of the Dead on Nov. 1. It is a German style Maibock brewed with proprietary "Pacman" top-fermenting yeast. It pours a deep honey color with a nice, frothy head. The taste is a hearty blend of hop bitterness and sweet malt with a smooth, carbonated finish. Heavier foods go well with Dead Guy including barbecue, smoked or grilled chicken, or Bavarian pork tenderloin stew.
Rogue's version of traditional English Brown Ale is their Hazelnut Brown Nectar. When poured into a glass, it has a caramel brown color and a tan head. Roasted hazelnut dominates the aroma and taste throughout, along with a taste of hops at the beginning and chocolate at the end. This complexity makes it perfect with fontina, asiago, Colby, or parmesan cheeses, beef stew or chocolate fondue.
Mocha Porter is Rogue's dessert in a glass, pouring thick with black color and a creamy brown head. Aromas of roasted coffee and chocolate enhance the flavors of black coffee, fruity hops, cocoa and smoke that bathe the palette. It finishes with a creamy and smooth body, making it an ideal accompaniment with gruyere or Jarlsberg cheeses, smoked chicken with pasta salad, Swedish meatballs or tiramisu.
Described by Malt Advocate Magazine as "a more adventurous ale than most," St. Rogue Red Ale pours a hazy copper color with a nice tan head. Although there are malts present in the smell and taste, hops dominate this robust ale. Sharp cheddar cheese, roast beef au jus or grilled tilapia with steamed vegetables complement this ale, with its slightly bitter hoppy finish,
The flagship of the Rogue brewery, at least in terms of local availability, is their Shakespeare Stout. This delicious stout beer pours thick like black oil with a nice, frothy brown head. Roasted malts and chocolate infuse the smell, but hops initiate the taste while malt and dark chocolate make for a slightly bittersweet finish. Shakespeare Stout is versatile enough to be paired with many foods, including camembert, smoked gouda, or Swiss cheeses, shrimp scampi, rack of venison with forest mushrooms or chocolate torte.
I'd just like to note in addition to this fantastic article that Martin's also has a good selection of Rogue products. Back in the day, Rogue was also the hallmark beer of the much-missed Musiquarium--especially Dead Guy, which you could always find on tap.
- David McCarty
Hey David: Many thanks for mentioning Martin's in reference to this article- a glaring oversight on my part ;) I appreicate the positive feedback as well- cheers man. Alex
ahh MQ i wish it were still here