Beer Review: Rogue & Voodoo Doughnut – Bacon Maple Ale

My birthday was last weekend (April 15, to be precise), and to celebrate I flew out to Portland, Oregon with my girlfriend. We drove out to the coast, stuck our toes in the Pacific Ocean, spent a day exploring the Columbia Gorge and its glorious waterfalls, and also took some time to gallivant around the eclectic city that is Portland. One of our stops was the famous Voodoo Doughnut — “The Magic is in the Hole!” — home to many odd endeavors.

Eric standing outside Voodoo Doughnuts

Eric standing outside Voodoo Doughnuts

Here, take a look at a few of their most popular items:

Captain my Captain: Raised yeast doughnut with vanilla frosting and Captain Crunch
The Loop: same as above but with Fruit Loops instead
Triple chocolate penetration: Chocolate cake doughnut with chocolate frosting and coco-puffs
Memphis Mafia: Fried dough with banana chunks and cinnamon sugar covered in a glaze with chocolate frosting, peanut butter, peanuts and chocolate chips on top

But, to me, most intriguing was the Bacon Maple Bar (even Anthony Bourdain is a fan!): Raised yeast doughnut with maple frosting and bacon on top

It’s as awesome as it sounds.

Later on our trip, we stopped in at Rogue Ales Public House, the downtown brewpub for one of my favorite breweries. I couldn’t believe my eyes when, as soon as I walked in, there were a dozen large pink bottles of beer sitting out. Pink bottles of a Rogue & Voodoo Doughnut collaboration: Bacon Maple Ale! This sounded so ridiculous that I had to bring back a bottle home with me.

Tonight, I couldn’t resist the urge any longer.

Rogue & Voodoo Doughnut - Bacon Maple Ale

Bacon Maple Ale
Brewery: Rogue Brewery [Newport, OR, USA]
Style: Smoked Beer
ABV: 5.60%

The Bacon Maple Ale has 13 ingredients: (list courtesy of rogue.com)
Malts: Briess Cherrywood Smoked Malt, Weyermann Beechwood Smoked Malt, House-smoked Hickory Malt, Great Western 2 Row, Munich, C15, C75 Malts
Speciality: Applewood-Smoked Bacon, Pure Maple Flavoring
Hops: Perle, Sterling
Yeast & Water: Pacman Yeast, Free Range Coastal Water

Three smoked malts and applewood-smoked bacon… yeah, smoky doesn’t even begin to describe this beer. When poured into a glass, it doesn’t look much different than your typical ale (clear amber appearance), but the taste would be quite the surprise for the unsuspecting drinker.

Breakfast. That’s what this is. Bacon and lots of maple syrup. The syrupy taste makes this an awfully sweet beer, but the smokyness helps balance things out. It’s definitely a two-headed monster, however. The bacon/maple combo appears first, followed by a smoky finish. A hoppy aftertaste also lingers on the back of the tongue.

My initial impressions were glowing — I was surprised at how drinkable this novelty beer actually was. Subsequent tastings became a little too sweet for my liking, but not to the extent that I didn’t want anymore.

A bottle of Bacon Maple Ale will pour two tall pints, so it is a good option to share with another curious beer drinker. I probably won’t go out of my way to drink this again — it is available mostly in Portland, after all — but I am glad that I was able to try this unique brew. Bacon lovers, give this a shot.

7/10

Beer Review: John John Dead Guy Ale [Rogue Brewery]

John John Dead Guy Ale [Rogue Brewery]

John John Dead Guy Ale
Brewery: Rogue Brewery [Newport, OR, USA]
Style: Maibock
ABV: 6.40%

I am a fan of both Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale and barrel aged beers, so when I saw Rogue’s John John Ale sitting in the local store, I had to pick up a bomber of it. John John is basically Dead Guy Ale that has been aged in whiskey barrels for at least two months, so it definitely seemed like something that would be right up my alley.

When poured into a glass, this ale has a hazy copper look to it and a nice whiskey smell. The initial tasting has light whiskey notes, but also a much sweeter taste than I expected. The whiskey flavor becomes more prominent as the glass grows lighter, which I am appreciative of. Unfortunately, that’s about it when it comes to flavor. There is a slight detection of oak and maybe a little vanilla, but the barrel dominates everything.

This is essentially a darker version of the Dead Guy Ale, but it is a bit too “one note” for my liking. John John Ale is not a bad beer at all, but it is a bit disappointing in terms of barrel aged options. If you want a stronger Dead Guy, I would advise the Double Dead Guy Ale.

6/10

Dead Guy Ale [Rogue Brewery]

Dead Guy Ale
Brewery: Rogue
Style: Maibock
ABV: 6.5%

Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale is the brewery’s most popular beer, accounting for 40% of their total sales. The beer was created to celebrate the Mayan Day of the Dead, and it is modeled in the style of a German Maibock. Poured into a glass, the Dead Guy Ale has a hazy amber look to it (or “deep honey” as labeled by the brewers themselves). Upon tasting, I noticed a strong sense of caramel and a hint of berries underneath. The lingering taste was slightly bitter, yet sweet.

Dead Guy Ale is an easily drinkable beer, and will go down quickly. There is a reason this is Rogue’s flagship beer, and it is good to see it getting respect across the nation. I have yet to dig into the rest of the brewery’s catalog, but I will certainly be making an effort to do so after this.

8/10