Ok. The sun’s shining, there’s a smell of barbecue in the air, I’ve looked at about as many wedding venue brochures as I can take and i’m going to see Fleet Foxes in a couple of hours. Time, I think, for a beer. So it's out into the garden I go with a brace from Rogue.
I do like Rogue's beers, even if they do have a habit of tasting similar. Saying that, I don't drink enough of their stuff to really get a hold on 'their signature', so maybe that last comment was unqualified.
Anyway, it's a taste I like and the intriguingly named Brutal Bitter (6.5abv). You wouldn't get an English brewery deeming their bitter 'brutal', would you? It'd be something like 'Morally Questionable Bitter', or 'Bitter That's A Lot Nicer Once You Get To Know It'. It's not that brutal either (Those playful Americans!) - it's a nice beer, albeit a standard US Pale amped up to 11. Bitter, in the traditional English sense it ain't, but it does have a nice creaminess to the body that is sometimes missing from the more hop-leaning US brews. Copper in colour, and with a massive, high bitterness, it's a refreshing, decent beer despite being a little thick - it's surprisingly balanced, too.
Next up, American Amber Ale (5.6abv). One of my favourite styles; and it doesn't disappoint. Lighter in colour than the Brutal Bitter, but much sweeter, and with a less pronounced malt backbone. The hops come through on the nose and at the end of the sip, leaving a slight pepperiness. Ultimately, for me, it'd be too sweet to drink a lot of, but for lovers of US Crafts (ie Me), it's a pleasure to drink.
I like Rogue. I like their beers (a lot of them; over 150, I reckon), their image, their ethos. I liked them even more after finding an enlightening profile of Rogue Leader Jon 'More Hops' Maier on Youtube. Still hands-on despite his age, Jon embodies the spirit of American Brewing - especially for Rogue. Check it out.