after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

going Rogue

with one comment

rch and mh say:  The next day of the trip was the one that mh was looking forward to the most – the brewery that inspired the whole trip – and it did not disappoint. First it was another early morning and another long drive as we drove from Eugene out to the Oregon coast, and then up the coast to Newport, OR. For those of you that don’t know, Newport is an Oregon version of the kind of seaside towns that people generally associate with Maine on the east coast. Small, extremely focused on fishing/seafood/marine-related things, and a cross between touristy and all about the locals who actually live there the whole year.

Anyways, on to the beer. Newport, OR is the world headquarters of Rogue Brewing. Rogue was the 25th largest craft brewery in America in 2011, but I suspect most people would have guessed they were higher. That’s because you can find Rogue beers on tap and in stores in all 50 glorious states of the union. Deschutes, in contrast, is only on tap in 18 states, but is the fifth-largest craft brewer. Different strategies, I guess. Business details aside, Rogue is a heavy hitter in the craft beer world. We arrived at their headquarters in the early afternoon for tastings, some food, and a tour.

Like Deschutes in Bend, Rogue has a bar in “downtown” Newport and then the brewery itself, as well as several brewpubs in other places in Oregon.  Rogue’s most famous beer is its “Dead Guy Ale”. mh bought it for the first time in college just because of the name and the picture on the bottle! Below is a picture of the logo from the upstairs bar at the brewery.

Dead Guy Ale is one tasty beer. It is not a pale ale or an IPA (two very popular styles right now). In the words of Rogue Brewing, Dead Guy Ale is “In the style of a German Maibock”. It is amber colored, but not too heavy or too hoppy.

One of the first things we learned upon arriving was that Rogue was not named after its original location – in the Rogue River Valley – but because the brewmaster, John Maier, wanted to literally be a bit different than the completion, a bit “Rogue.” Maier is a big guy in the beer world; a former home-brewer who made the transition to brewing on a much, much larger scale. He also comes up frequently when talking to people at Rogue – it is clear that you see his “vision” in all of the beers they make, and the employees are very proud of his influence.

You walk in and through the actual brewery to get to a merchandising room and a set of stairs to take you to the bar. There, they have just about every Rogue beer on tap. And there are a lot of them:

They also have Rogue’s newer line of spirits. That’s right, Rogue now makes gin, whiskey, and rum. More on those in a bit. One upside – when you walk in, the bartender immediately pours you 3 oz of the “special” beer of the day. In this case it was the Dad’s Little Helper Black IPA. It was hoppy but also a bit malty and creamier than a normal IPA. It was a nice way to start our visit!

We started out with tasters, inexpensive small pours of four Rogue beers. We each got four different ones, giving us a chance to taste eight of them. Quick quiz: can you tell which of these pictures came from a traditional digital camera and which came from the camera on a Droid Razr Maxx (mh is very jealous of rch’s new cellphone, in case you couldn’t tell)? Favorite beers in the tasting included the Chatoe Rogue Single Malt Ale (similar concept to a single malt scotch or single vineyard wine – Rogue is now growing their own organic hops), the Dry Hopped St. Rogue Red, and the Brutal IPA. The Brutal IPA actually is not that brutal – when it was released it was seen as extremely hoppy, but after the explosion of super-hoppy IPA’s over the last decade, it now seems a lot smoother.

We also got some food, specifically some delicious “Irish Nachos”. Think perfectly cooked potato wedges instead of chips and you’ve got the idea. Excellent way to soak up some beer before the tour.

After officially joining Rogue Nation (25% off the t-shirt that mch purchased), we headed down the road to the Rogue Distillery. Rogue has been producing spirits for a few years, but the distillery just opened to the public recently. Things are going well so they are expanding. Here are pictures of their current building (pictures shows the *entire* distilling operation – this is an extremely intimate environment that, combined with the friendliness of the distiller, made for a great “tour” and discussion) and the new building they are moving production into.

We did other things in Newport as well. We went down to Agate Beach to see the large piece of wreckage from the Japanese tsunami washed up on American shores, we had a delicious seafood dinner at Shark’s (the Cioppino, in particular, was great – as advertised), we tried the clam chowder at Mo’s Original Restaurant (good but I’m still going with the Boston variety as the best!), and we finished our evening at the Rogue Ales Public House on Bay Street. But this trip was pretty much about the Rogue Brewing Company. And we were not disappointed. Great beers and a great visit.

From Monday to Wednesday we drove from Medford to Klamath Falls to Bend to Eugene to Newport. We traveled about 450 miles (or about the distance from Boston to DC), got to see old friends, we tried a lot of great beer. Mission accomplished – so far.

Thursday morning, we woke up and drove to the Willamette Valley for two days of touring wineries and drinking lots of Oregon Pinot Noir (t jumps in: Wine!  Did someone say wine!?). Our winery tours on Thursday and Friday will be the subject of our next post, before we wrap it up with a description of a tremendous dinner we had at Paulée, a fantastic new restaurant in the heart of Oregon wine country.

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

29 June 2012 at 11:11pm

One Response

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  1. ABA is considered American Strong Ale = you might want to do a vaerity pack,keep in mind though Rogue speciality beers typically only come in a larger bottleTo answer your question my fave is Dead Guy Ale it also comes in 12oz bottles

    Sio

    18 July 2012 at 9:32pm


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