Yesterday I had a lunch meeting that ended up being pushed to 2:30 and moved to Brgr in East Liberty*. Since I was going home after the meeting I decided to have a beer(!). In the spirit of trying something new, I chose the Rogue Chipotle Ale.
If you follow me on twitter, you know it was SPECTACULAR. I am certain I gushed.
Really this is going down as one of my all time favorite new beer experiences. I felt like I did the first time I had a SeaDog Blue Paw Wheat. Surprised not once but several times, intrigued, delighted, and more. That is to say drinking this beer is a layered experience.
The smell, always the first hint, is subtle, not giving up what is in store for the palate. The first taste is slightly sweet, slightly hoppy, solid but not beefy ale taste. Very quickly that is followed by the smoke. The smoke hits on the back of the tongue so it was a surprise, of sorts. I knew it was coming, it had been described to me, but I admit to wondering if the smoke was more hype than anything because it isn’t in your face immediately.
When it does come I’d describe the flavor as both soft and big. That is to say, I’ve had smoked foods that are downright bitter. I’ve had food/drink where the smoke flavor greets you from across the room. Rogue Chipotle does neither. It is soft in that for me it came in on the back of my tongue so it lacked brashness, but it wasn’t a small smokey flavor once you got there. The sweetness of the ale carried the big smokey flavor well but because of it’s late start the ale taste wasn’t overwhelmed by the smoke either. This is definitely Ale, and it is definitely smoked.
Then the final layer appears. Much like the smoke, the heat sneaks up on you. I was expecting it to be hot (Chipotle!) and only ordered it when I was assured it wasn’t going to scorch my mouth.
I hate to admit it, but I’m a Scoville wimp. I dislike spicy food. I cannot taste anything past the first bite, and that is just no fun for me.
But occasionally you will come across a food where the heat is more of a follow up to the flavor, where it plays a supporting role rather than pushing every other flavor off stage. This Chipotle Ale was such an experience. And I loved it.
Literally at least a minute after I set down my glass, I felt it. My mouth was tingling. Not in a sharp, hurty way either. It was an experience resting between a taste and a feeling and I loved it. The entire beer drank like that too. It never got too hot. It never lost its complexity. This is a beer that delivers multiple moments of unique taste and feel.
After buying a disappointing microbrew case two weeks ago, Rogue Chipotle Alre reminds me of just how satisfying beer can be.
Roasted chipotle peppers produce an eye opening chile flavor in this deep golden ale with a malty, smoky aroma and smooth, crisp flavor.
Malts: Harrington, Klages & Maier Munich.
Hops: Cascade and Willamette.
Specialty: Chipotle Peppers.
Yeast & Water: Rogue’s Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.
*Yet again I forgot to take pictures. Still wonderful. Still the best french fries I think I’ve ever had.