I am a man on a mission. I've moved too many times and been faced with too many colorful aisles of micro brews to choose from. I've decided to put an end to the madness...and try them all. My plan is to chronicle my journey for all of you, whether I encounter success or failure. So sit back and enjoy and if there's one or two brews that you would like to suggest...please feel free to let me know and I will hunt them down as if...I were a Man On A Mission. - Doug (on the road since 2011)
Friday, February 17, 2012
Rogue Imperial India Pale Ale - The Rogue Brewery - Newport, OR
Wow...you have to hand it to The Rogue Brewery. They always seem to find some innovative way to set themselves apart from every other brewery out there. When everyone was busy jazzing up there packaging with flowers and hipster motifs, Rogue showed us that the big bottle (750ml) was for more than just brown-bagging it to work. They were plastering the working man all over their packaging. And now, they've introduced the ceramic bottle (complete with stopper) to bottle their fine brews in draught form. This is avant-garde at it's finest. These guys are not just industry leaders...they're standard-setters, and as usual, I'm like a kid waiting in the endless roller coaster line, anticipating what promises to be an amazing, tasty ride. Here's what the website had to say:
Style: India Pale Ale Food Pairing: Pork, Beef
Above and beyond an India Pale Ale—I2PA is radically hopped with an intense aroma and hop bitterness.
100% Floor Malted Maris Otter Pale Malt, Great Western 2-Row Malt; Saaz, Northwest Golding, Perle, & Cascade Hops; Free Range Coatal Water & Pacman Yeast
World Class Package:
Draft, 750ml Ceramic
Jack Joyce, Bob Woodell (past U of O fraternity brothers), and another friend, Rob Strasser, were approached by Jeff Schultz, Bob's accountant, and an avid home brewer.
Construction began in June of 1988 in Ashland along a very scenic little stream called Lithia Creek. The 10 bbl brew system was set up in a basement with a 60 seat Pub above. The first brews were Amber and Gold. The Brewery and Pub opened in October 1988.
While the Brew Pub was located in a very pretty and scenic location, had a beautiful deck and enjoyed moderate success and the beer was great, Ashland was not to be Rogue's only adventure. Ashland was basically land locked, and frankly we were losing our butts in Ashland, trying to sell our hand-crafted ales. Rogue needed room to grow and grow we did. So Jack set off in search of greener pastures.
In early February of 1989, Jack wandered to Newport in search of the perfect place for another Rogue Pub. Legend has it that a terrible and unusual snow storm struck and Jack found himself stranded on the Historic Bay Front, with no way up the hill. He was forced to walk the streets until he met up with Mohave Niemi, founder of the famous Mo's Clam Chowder. She took him to the original Mo's restaurant, gave him a bowl of hot clam chowder and told him about her dream of living above a Bar and how she might just have the perfect spot for the next Rogue Brew Pub. The large building sported 3 full time apartments upstairs, a sweater shop, an Art Gallery and 1,100 sq. ft. of empty store front and an 800 sq. ft. garage that was currently being used to store antique cars. Mo offered the vacant space and the garage to Jack at a very generous price, under two stipulations: that a picture of Mo herself, naked in a bath tub, be forever displayed at the Pub (it's still there today just to the left of the Bar) and that Rogue "feed the fisherman", meaning that we give back to the local community. This building was known as the Front & Case Bldg.
In Feb of 1989, construction began on the Bay Front Brew Pub. Making this a step up in the world by going from a basement in Ashland to a garage in Newport. The front of the house also was being readied. The back bar was originally from the old Elk Tavern.
In May of 1989, John Maier joins Rogue after a stint with Alaska Brewing. John is a former Senior Technician with Hughes Aircraft Co. in El Segundo, CA from 1975 to 1986 and Seibel Institute graduate.
The Pub opened in May of 1989, with a small but enthusiastic customer base, made up of curious locals who dropped by to see what was going on and never left. Many joined in and helped with the construction and other projects as needed. The names of many of these early customers have been immortalized with brass plaques that grace the bar today. One of the most notable of these future customers was Chuck Linquist. He was retired, was a home brewer, and had an interest in microbrews. He was also bored and wanted to do something useful. We consider him one of our first employees. His handiwork is still visible at the Pub, the shelves that line the bar area, the light sconces, as well as the memorabilia on the shelf above Mo's picture, that Chuck brought back from Europe.
First off, let's begin with the presentation. The ceramic bottle lends an extremely nostalgic, old-world appeal to the brew. You can't see the beer, but like a Christmas present, the anticipation alone will drive you wild. The pour was a little rough. This is most likely due to the narrow opening present in the bottling. It produced a choppy pour which contributed to an overactive head. Although tight, it just seem to form too quickly. The coloring is gorgeous. A slightly golden appeal, with just a hint of amber...very inviting. At first sip, you're smacked around by the hopped-up taste. This is one brew that is sure to satisfy all of the hop-heads out there. It truly grabs you by the shoulders and just slaps the crap out of you. At 9.5% ABV, you expect an alcoholic taste to the brew...but you truly don't expect the taste that accompanies this one. It is truly a wonderfully addictive brew. There is NO bitterness to this brew whatsoever. It just rolls over you bringing nothing but flavor and a tremendously addictive taste. Long live Rogue.