In my review of Rogue’s American Amber a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that the brewery’s Shakespeare Stout is probably the brew that turned me on to craft beer. When I think of a good stout – especially in the slightly hoppy American style – Rogue‘s brew is the first thing that I think of. Balanced, rich, creamy, dark and flavorful are all apt adjectives to describe the Shakespeare Stout.
I’ve had this beer many (many, many) times from the bottle, but before RoguePalooza at Novare Res I’d never had a chance to drink it on tap. Even more exciting, Novare put the Shakespeare on a nitro tap, giving the brew a creamy, nitrogen-infused quality. If you’re wondering exactly what effect nitrogen has on a beer (instead of CO2), look at the famous Guinness stout – the widgets in the canned and bottled versions have roughly the same effect at a nitro tap, and the same tech give the beer it’s famous pour.
Since I provided a stat sheet for the Amber in my review, I’ll do the same here for Shakespeare Stout.
Style: American Stout Food Pairing: Beef, Desserts
Tasting Notes: Ebony in color with a rich creamy head, earthy flavor and
a mellow, chocolate finish.
Malts: Northwest Harrington & Klages, Crystal 135-165 & Beeston Chocolate, Rolled Oats & Roasted Barley.
Yeast & Water: Rogue’s Pacman
I had the Rogue Shakespeare Stout in an pint glass, enjoyed on a warm summer night on Novare’s deck. The beer looks jet black in the glass, although holding it up to light reveals hints of brown along the edge of the glass. The head is wonderfully thick, and from the tap looks like a dollop of cream on top of the pint. The head lasts for most of the pint before meandering off, and leaves quite a bit of lace on the pint. The nose is mostly bittersweet chocolate, with some strong barley and espresso scents as well. Worth noting is a surprisingly strong hop aroma, a nice bit of citrus you don’t find in many stouts.
Shakespeare Stout doesn’t come at you softly – this beer is a roundhouse kick of malt. The strongest flavor from the beer is some very roasty, almost burnt-tasting chocolate malt. I definitely don’t mean burnt-tasting as an insult, as the beer has an incredible coffee, cocoa and brown sugar taste. The rolled oats bring on the “earthy flavor” mentioned in the brewery’s description, and Cascade hops allow for a pleasantly bitter finish. The beer is full-bodied for sure, with a mouth-coating and chewy mouthfeel. The finish is a touch dry, and the whole presentation makes for a beer that hollers “drink me!” after each sip.
In Henry VI, Shakespeare wrote “”I will make it a felony to drink small beer.” Perhaps Rogue had this line in mind when they brewed the Shakespeare Stout, because this beer is the opposite of small. Unique, flavorful and intensely drinkable, this beer should be on everyone’s “must try” list. Plus, once you’ve had this you’ll be able to say you’ve had at least one of the dozens of beers named after books and authors. Do a fellow book-and-beer lover a favor and split a bomber of this incredible stout.