Rogue is the brewery that turned me on to craft beer. Like a lot of people, the gateway beer I tried in my early drinking days was Guinness stout. Suddenly, a beer that didn’t taste like malt-flavored water! Other British beers, like Kilkenny and Boddingtons, gave me my earliest taste of beer styles beyond American macro lager. After many pints of Guinness I decided I needed to try an American stout, and the folks on Beer Advocate pointed me towards Rogue’s Shakespeare Stout. The complex, delicious beer blew Guinness out of the water, turned me on to American brewers, and remains one of my favorite stouts.
Rogue brewmaster John Maier describes the brewery’s brewing philosophy as “variety is the spice of life”, and the 60-some beers that Rogue has brewed back up this statement. Even removing limited release and discontinued beers, Rogue brews an amazing 30+ seasonal and year-round beers. Learning to love craft beer, you could buy only Rogue brews and hit pretty much every style – not to mention one-of-a-kind brews like Chipotle, Hazelnut and Orange Honey Ales. Among the field of beers that Rogue puts out, the American Amber is second to only the Shakespeare Stout in my heart and on my taste buds.
As is becoming custom, I’ll let you see what Rogue has to say about the brew;
Style: Amber Ale Food Pairing: Beef, Seafood
Tasting Notes: Tawny in color, with a coffee aroma, tight head and a delicate roasted malt accent. Generous use of hops and a smooth finish.
9 Ingredients: Malts: Northwest Harrington and Klages, 95-115 and 135-165 Crystal.
Hops: Kent Golding and Cascade.
Yeast & Water: Rogue’s Pacman Yeast and Free Range Coastal Water.
Specs: 13º PLATO53 IBU
The American Amber, like most of Rogue’s stable, is available in the Portland area for about 5 bucks a bomber. I picked up a 22oz of the American Amber at a local beer shop, and served it a touch below room temperature in my massive Redhook ESB glass.
On the pour, the beer is without a doubt an amber. Quite a pretty ruby red body, edging just a bit towards orange. Gorgeously clear, with some active (and attractive) carbonation that flows up to a red-tinted, off-white head. The head is a couple of pillowy inches thick, and doesn’t disipate quickly. The nose is much more sweet caramel malt than the coffee that the description suggests, although there is a bit of coffee aroma there. Some roast and toast in the nose too, and the unmistakable scent of Cascade hops charges in at the finish.
Hopheads should keep an eye open for this brew, because it is a pretty aggressively hopped amber. The malt at the start of a sip is simple and to the point; bready sweetness with some caramel, roasted nuts and a bit of the proprietary Pacman yeast. This front end sweetness is balanced by some citrus hops and bitterness at the end of the sip. The mouthfeel of an amber is one of my favorite parts of the style, and this one is wonderfully full, creamy and chewy, with enough bitterness to make me smack my lips after a sip. Really drinkable – full and complex enough to stay interesting, but not as much of an assault on the taste buds as some extreme beers.
The American Amber, like New Belgium’s Fat Tire, is another great gateway beer for macro drinkers. Not only that, but it stands on it’s own as a tasty and fully developed American-style Amber. Since it’s one of the few Rogue beers offered in 6-packs, I’d suggest getting some long necks to session and share with your buddies.
It’s also worth mentioning that Novare Res is hosting the 2nd annual Roguepalooza this August 7th and 8th, switching over all their taps to Rogue brews. It was a hell of a lot of fun last year, and a great (and relatively inexpensive) way to try a bunch of different beers from the brewery.