Fearful Symmetries

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23 April, 2013

Chatoe Rogue's Roguenbier Rye Ale



Chatoe Rogue is a series of beers from Oregon's Rogue Ales which feature ingredients grown by the brewery itself on land that it leases from local farmers. Here, Roguenbier Rye Ale is brewed with barley, rye, and hops that Rogue grew themselves. Considering just how much this much this endeavor must cost, I am surprised that bombers of Chatoe Rogue beers are only $7 at Jenifer Street Market. Contrast this with the $15 bombers of The Great Dane's barleywine this past winter.

Roguenbier is a roggenbier, a German rye ale. A cousin of the hefeweizen, the roggenbier replaces the wheat with rye but uses the same type of yeast. Although Germans have been brewing with rye for ages, my understanding is that the roggenbier as we know it today is a very modern invention, dating back to the 1980s. I suppose that in a nation so steeped/mired in tradition the roggenbier is the black sheep of the deutsche bier familie but I think it's a wonderful idea.

Rogue's take on the style begins with its deep reddish brown color that borders on the opaque. It looks like a heady elixir that means business. The stuff is bubbly and I got a decent head but it didn't stick around long. It certainly had one of the odder aromas my nose has taken in for some time. The smell was toffee-like but a musty, smoky toffee. But there was also that banana-tinged ester aroma lurking in there.

On the tongue, Roguenbier has a medium body. The first thing you taste is the sharp, black peppery rye flavor. Soon enough, however, the spicy hops appear and join the show. While not at IPA levels, the hops here are much stronger than I thought they'd be and compete with the rye for your tastebuds in a spicy-bitter showdown. Sadly, the mellow banana flavors of the esters produced by the Weissbier yeast are quite subdued and only make an appearance near the finish which is slightly bitter and dry.

Vintage's Tippy Toboggan (Full disclosure: I know Scotty the brewmaster.) takes a different tack by letting the rye give a firm accent to the beer without overpowering the yeast or the other grain. And the hops contribute to the balance instead of competing for dominance. Truth be told, I could barely taste the malt here. TT is a bountiful medley of grainy, spicy, and fruity flavors that is quite sessionable at 4.7% ABV while Roguenbier is TT's older, wilder brother that emphasizes the bolder flavors and packs a bit more punch at 5.5% ABV.

I personally prefer Tippy Toboggan but Roguenbier is a good brew. The former I can drink all night while splitting a bomber of the latter with The Dulcinea proved to be just the right amount.

Junk food pairing: Let the moldy, spicy goodness of the creamy cheese food product filling of Buffalo Blue Cheese Combos melt over your tongue while drinking Roguenbier.

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|| Palmer, 6:14 PM

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