I don’t like easy beers. By this I mean I like beers that challenge me. I want to experience brews that have something to teach me, something to remind me again why the world of beers and brewers is such a great place in which to live. The latest beer that I want to share with you is one of the brain-warped creations of the folks at Rogue Ales in Oregon: Rogue Chipotle Ale.
Rogue Chipotle Ale is one of those beers that falls into the category of “experience beers”. When you first hear that someone has had the balls to brew a beer with chipotle peppers you probably roll your eyes and dismiss it as a novelty. No one would want to drink a beer with a pepper flavor, right? Wrong. It has definitely won a place in my library and I’ll be back.
This beer pours a gently turbid light amber with a head that is surprisingly strong for this style of ale. The foam has a very small cell structure that levels off into a thick, off-white blanket atop the bubble strewn liquid. The aroma is a combination of sweet malt and floral notes with just a slight twinge of what’s to come. You think you can make out the faint smokiness of a blackened jalapeno but dismiss it as mere imagination. The first taste greets your buds with a slight sweetness and malt backbone that runs interference for the chipotle peppers.
Rogue Chipotle Ale could have been content to be like any number of amber ales with its duo of Cascade and Williamette hops dancing the pa de duex with a trio of Harrington, Klages, and Maier Munich malts. The sameness ends here.
Imagine the kiss of a sultry senorita south of the border. At first it’s sweet, almost coy. The forbidden nature of the affair begins to present itself and the taste moves to another part of your mouth. Your lips begin to tingle and your tongue feels the gentle warmth begin to make itself known. The chipotle peppers were there the entire time. They hid behind the veil of malty sweetness waiting for just the right moment to slink into the room.
The hop profile of the Rogue Chipotle ale is not overwhelming and at a mere 35 IBUs presents just the right balance of bitterness and bite to compliment the spiciness of the peppers. This beer does not go gentle into this good night. The heat is definitely compounded with each sip and it hangs on to the back of the tongue like a one-night stand that went right. You want to see this one again and the rarity of the feeling makes it all the more irresistible.
The mouthfeel is reminiscent of a light pale ale with a crisp and present finish. If you aren’t into the compounding nature of capcaicin you may want to sip this one slowly. The heat definitely layers and just might numb your palate a tad.
Rogue’s Chipotle Ale is another grand experiment in taste for the brewers at Rogue and where others may have hidden behind the corner, eyes covered with a hesitant hand, Rogue said to hell with it. There is no danger in failing, only danger in never attempting to succeed. It is not a beer for the faint of heart. It’s smoky, spicy, malty, and gently hopped and would be right at home with a fire-grilled chile relleno and tequila chaser.
This isn’t an everyday beer and if you aren’t careful you just might need a restraining order against it.