Rogue Encounters

On a recent trip to Portland I had the opportunity to visit several local breweries and pubs including the Rogue Distillery and Public House.  Even though the Rogue brewery is not situated in Portland the brewery has left its indelible and unmistakable mark on the city.  In fact, I first became aware of Rogue a few years back at Portland’s Saturday Market where I was amazed to find beer samples amongst tooled leather (Ben Milam you rock)and hand knittables.  This time I was floored once again to learn Rogue has expanded their line-up to include spirits; pink gin, dead guy whiskey and white rum to name a few.  Learning we could not sample spirits in the open air market we decided to head over to their public house to sample some libations.

The Distillery and Public House is located in a pretty standard Portland building generously decorated with banners and flags.  Inside this ‘more is more’ philosophy permeates every square inch of the pub, which has Rogue surfboards, placards, Growlers, beer ephemera, overstock and I haven’t even mentioned the gift room.  There is also an adjacent area where visitors can sample the liquors and tour the distillery on select days.   But this is a beer blog so I will try to minimize my aesthetic reservations and get to the good stuff.  The waitress brought us a binder loaded with tons of information on the entire Rogue line-up and then little Photostats of the taster trays to write out our official selections.  Did I mention that a quick query about our age resulted in two free samples arriving at our table…nice touch!  After much soul searching, and a couple of misfires, I selected the Chamomellow, Buckman’s Ginger Ale (a guest brewer), Honey Orange Wheat and Chipotle Ale.

First up the Chamomellow, a very light and tepid ale that has a slight hop element.  Like the name suggests this beer is somewhat akin to a Chamomile tea being mellow to drink with a slight floral note.  The colour is pale and there is little in the way of head.  This ale is quite nice really and I can see it being an excellent sipper when served quite cold.  Next up the ginger ale, this beer has a very thick head that lingers long after pouring but I find the ginger is not strong enough for my tastes.  Much like the rest of the Rogue line-up, and perhaps all of the Northwest, the hops tend to dominate other flavours.  The Honey Orange Wheat has the lovely cloudiness of a wheat beer, a nice amount of head and slight carbonation.  Not to sound too repetitive, but I feel the honey taste is too mild yet the orange really comes through.  A strong hopiness is there to remind you that yep, you’re drinking a Rogue Ale.  Finally, I round out my taster tray with the Chipotle Ale.  Spicy beers are a bit of a novelty for me, less an everyday drinker and more of a whip this out to surprise company kind of beer.  This ale pours with very little head and has a clear golden colour.  It is clean to drink with the heat coming through after you swallow.  Overall good times had by all but a warning to other vegans stick to the ales and don’t come expecting to sample the food menu.

Out of a possible five I would give this Pub a 4.0

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