As I’ve written before, when any company can connect their values with mine, it portends a great experience. So with a bottle cap that reads “Dedicated to the Rogue in Each of Us” and with the trilogy of high-power words around the neck, of Dare * Risk * Dream, I was already impressed.
I then did a little reading on Rogue Ale’s website and found that these are not just words, but “Dare” and “Risk” are also names of two of their own proprietary malts …. I also learned that they have an outlook that reminds me a lot of our local Beau’s in terms of community, devotion to team, and commitment to quality. Read this, their “Creed” — and then read their “agreement” and “values” that follow:
Rogue is a small revolution, which expresses itself through handcrafted Ales, Porters, Stouts, Lagers and Spirits, and this is the way we conduct our business. The spirit of the Rogue brand, even the name, suggests doing things differently, a desire and a willingness to change the status quo. A Rogue Ale, Porter, Stout, Lager or Spirit is crafted to give it unique character, innovative in its makeup and brewing, a process that has not compromised quality. We believe if a Rogue Ale, Porter, Stout, Lager or Spirit cannot be all of these things, it should not be made at all.
They certainly set a very high bar for themselves, indeed. I was even more impressed….
I actually picked this beer up a few months ago intending it review it as part of my Ales Bells series. After all, I had heard so much about this brewer, renowned for many world-ranked beers, including some pale ales of exceptional esteem. And it seemed a great addition to the line-up, a German beer, a Maibock “ale” from a company called “Rogue Ales.” Then I discovered that contrary to anything written on the label, a Maibock is actually a lager; it’s not an ale at all. However, Rogue claimed that they did this in an “ale style.” So you can see my conundrum: is it an ale because it uses top fermenting as a method, or is it a lager because it calls itself a Maibock?
Well, as soon as I poured the beer, I knew the dominant characteristic of this beer was going to be its malts. You could easily pick up the unmistakeable aroma of the malts. For lack of another term, it smelled like “beer” … and while this won’t do it justice, it is the sweet residual smell of beer that sticks around long after it has been drank. Those are the malts I smelled, sugary and sweet.
The pour was beautiful: good carbonation, not too dynamic, and a beautiful dark-golden/light-amber colour with a bit of sediment … the good stuff. Off the nose, it is sweetness with the hint of a beautifully freshly baked bread (the sugars and yeast being the triggers for this scent memory) with just a hint of fruit. All in all, a lot to remind me of the smells of a candied/caramel apple. I was drooling before I took a sip.
For all the malts, however, that first sip was not an over-powering sweet bomb like so many malty German-inspired brews. The hops provide balance from start to finish, which is impressive given that the beer doesn’t taste overly hoppy … but still, there are very decent hops in this pour. In the middle, there is some melon, some pepper, definitely some alcohol, and a creamy toffee mid-finish, sweet and very very smooth. And the ending? The hops come to the centre stage, cleanse the palette, wash away the sugars, and leave you wanting another long sip. Yum.
Ultimately, I think this a beer that is well named: Dead Guy. Why? Well, because I think it is a bit like the powerful fright of stumbling across a corpse before calm sets in and you realize it can’t hurt you. (Laugh with me … please). Really, this a beer with great personality, not shy, clearly with elements and structure, but with incredible balance and smoothness. Some beers find the balance or even the smoothness … some find personality and spirit. Rarely do you find a beer that can pull them all off to produce a beer that is truly world-class and memorable and be a company that you want champion. A tough act to follow ….
Stats: Maibock Ale. 6.5% ABV. 40 IBUs. Newport, Oregon.
Colour: Golden amber-apricot
Mouth Feel: Medium carbonation.
Pairing Notes: n/a