I’ve honestly never really been a fan of Rogue Brewing out of Newport, Oregon and somehow that makes me feel guilty. I don’t know why…maybe because thousands before me and millions after me have loved and do love their beers. Is there something wrong with me? Did the Roguepiphany somehow bypass the Kristyn exit for greener fortuitous pastures elsewhere? It’s not as if I haven’t tried as the dozens of Rogue beers tasted are a testament to. So where have I erred…or have I?
Let’s postulate for a moment.
Rogue is good, sometimes really good, but where she falls far short of my discerning threshold is at the door of greatness. Just as I think Rogue is finally going to go all the way – disappointment and solace throws me into the arms of other tastier greater beers. For the many Rogue brands and re-brands which have satisfied, all that many more have left me alone in my thirst. And maybe just maybe, I may be wholly impressed, a truly memorable experience so rare I can count them all on one hand. Truth.
But I am not here today to pummel Rogue with the cynic stick; I am here to encourage others (myself included) to never give up the hunt…quest if you will…for that pinnacle moment of beervana (cherubs, harps, and angels included) as glass touches lips, beery goodness flows forth, and the tastebuds render their final verdict. What shall it be? One will never know if one never touches said glass to lips to let said beer flow over buds ready to taste…which is exactly what I and dozens others did on June 24th of this year, 2011. Much to Tim’s delight, I enjoyed this adventure through fields of scorched earth and blackened hops aplenty, a sacred journey of savorance shared by peeps and Hurricaneites alike.
Remember: Hurricane Grill & Wings of Vero Beach, Florida is the original craft beer destination with wings and no prayers needed, just friends and fun in the Florida sun.
From peeps familiar to new faces bright eyed and bushytailed (until they get a few beers in them), pint after pint of Dad’s Little Helper Black IPA flowed into glasses eagerly ravished. A brand new Rogueventure for me, tasting book was at the ready along with an unbiased mind free of skepticism and cynicism.
I damn well tried at least.
In listening to Mark Carbone of the V&B wax poetic on this specific beer just days earlier, my expectations were quite high indeed. Who would triumph? My inner skeptic? Hope? Truth? In reality it ended up being a ménage-a-trois of all three expectations being met for better and for average.
Pouring a dark brown with burnt wood and black leanings, her café au lait head sat atop a medium body and clean mouthfeel. The nose highlighted roasted oats, ashen twigs, and burnt hops along with brittle dark chocolates and dark fruit stones. The palate was light around the sides while the middle featured burnt twigs, charred wood, dark fruit stones, and pure black cacao beans. The finish was burnt hop cones with ash permeating the breath.
Parched, thirst inducing and good. But great? No.
In typical Rogue fashion their house yeast (you can call him PacMan) was director, producer, and actor. This isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy more than my own few glasses of Dad’s Little Helper Black IPA…because I did along with great friends and friendly coworkers who graciously tolerated my mad roving camera skills. It’s hard to stay out of the way when trying to capture the moment and as many of them as possible before last call. I know this memory of mine won’t remain intact forever and even if it does, I’ll have my Love to share them with time and time again.
This reflection of events may seem like an old bitter quibble instead of an ode to exploration and curious indulgence but it’s really the latter. The greatest moments in these beery days of mine involve each and every minutiae, PacMan yeast included. Take nothing for granted for all is experience, life, perspective, and all is good. A few weeks have passed since the Rogue tapping at my local Hurricane and the next is literally just a few days away. What lies ahead are anticipation, excitement, and the thrill of the unknown.
In the end, if you come across Dad’s Little Helper Black IPA, whether bottle or draft, have some. Live life and drink it, too. You will be glad you did no matter what.
(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)