We are “… a global alliance without borders, its citizenry possessing an unswerving allegiance to the Rogue within, unfettered by limitations imposed by others, commonly-accepted BS or rules totally lacking reason.”
Rating: 91 points
Stats: American Pale Ale. 6.2% ABV. 46 IBUs. Newport, Oregon.
Colour: Dark golden, hint of amber
Mouth Feel: low carbonation.
Pairing Notes: Salmon
I admit, I’m cautiously considering legal action against Rogue for plagiarizing my spirit, but reason tells me that I don’t have much of a chance of proving anything, so my option is to join the “Rogue Nation” and endorse their philosophy as my own.
When I reviewed their Dead Guy Ale last summer, I wrote words that are just applicable today: “… 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.” So if you want to learn more about this impressive company — and I strongly encourage you do so — check out my “Dead Guy” review which has more to say.
But sincerely, when I read works like those written on the back label of this bottle, I get crazy ideas like quitting my job, moving to Oregon, and asking how I can work for a company that sounds like it is my kindred spirit. To read their “Declaration of Interdependence” explains it all:
Rogues take risks.
Rogues are willing to shun titles and personal financial success in the pursuit of the greater good.
Rogues pursue the long shot.
Rogues have respect for diversity.
Rogues are never satisfied to rest on past laurels.
Rogues work hard.
Rogues are driven to succeed in their chosen field.
Rogues ignore the accepted patterns and blaze their own trails.
Rogues have raw talent and focus on that talent.
Rogues are honest with themselves and others.
Rogues are rebels.
Rogues have one foot in reality to let them get the job done, but they are, nonetheless, led by their dreams.
But to the beer — oh yes, this is a beer review, isn’t it? As for this new beer which dares to dream … well, in a word, “Wow.” Pouring a beautiful but hazy, almost ruddy brass, colour, this beer is the antithesis of mouthfeel that Renaissance and their Enlightenment so gloriously screwed up. This beer, quieted within minutes of the photograph and on the tongue was like goose down slathered in duck fat. Ok, I’d admit I have fowl on brain today, but you get the idea. Indeed, this American IPA definitely has an “English” accent which is more than charming — it’s delicious. It drinks soft, smooth, and incredibly buttery. And out of that comforting duvet of a first taste there immediately emerges what you’d expect and want to see in a beer that calls itself a ‘brutal IPA’ because it is going to slam your tongue with hops and flavours immediately. And at a mere 46 IBUs, this beer packs a punch well-above its weight because it does what all beers should truly strive to achieve and that is ‘balance.’ Brutal or not, this not a ‘mean’ beer that attacks you like Mike Tyson in his prime. But pound for pound, this is a deft beer, the Sugar Ray Leonard I dare say, smart, artful, and precise. It recognizes you don’t have to overwhelm with hops to create ‘bitters’ — it proves that ample bitters in balance with the balances and alcohol will more than satisfy the taste of any hop head out there.
What it gains in this balance is both mouthfeel which will blow you away, yes, but it gains my praise because it then leaves a great tableau, an unblemished boxing ring, where flavours and style flourish … without the astringency that befalls beers that are just ‘hops.’ And what are those flavours? It’s west-coast to a tee with a tonne of citrus (pink grapefruit and mandarin orange peel especially) with a nice sweet tropical highlight in the form of pineapple (so yes, a hint of ‘pine’ and apple might both independently be detected as well). The malts provide a nice bit of caramel, perhaps even a ‘burnt orange’ effect with the citrus, but the malts are largely in a supporting role.
My only real criticism is — and this is really more like criticizing an A-student and saying how s/he could be better — that because the beer is so incredibly smooth and the carbonation so not a factor, that this actually drinks/tastes ‘sweeter’ than it probably is (think back to my ‘flat-Coke’ analogy in my Enlightenment review for an explanation as to why).
All in all, though, this is one of the best pure IPAs I’ve had in a long time and may be the nicest ‘feeling’ IPA I’ve tasted.