Monday, August 28, 2006


Last Thursday night I made my second visit to San Francisco's ROGUE PUBLIC HOUSE, an offshoot of Oregon's Rogue Brewery that I'd ignored for far too long until this year. Rogue are roundly hailed as one of the top and most experimental breweries in the United States, and it appears that they have the sales needed to support said experimentation. At least in certain parts of the west coast, Rogue is one the best-distributed craft beers going, and the brewery is underwriting several of these "public houses" along the coast as well. While the place is a little short on atmosphere, the beer selection is knockout.

I started big and bold after pestering the barkeep with questions about all the ones I hadn't heard of. He got me sold on something called Rogue's BREWER ALE, which he said was only on taps but which this picture to your left shows was a lying lie told by a liar. Beer Advocate calls it a Dopplebook; another site calls it an "American Strong Ale". I call it a mystery wrapped in an enigma. It was one of the oddest beers I've ever had - a dry, roasted taste but so strongly hopped & full of alcohol I couldn't tell if it was coming or going. It was experimental enough that I almost called it a "pour out" (the unkindest cut of all) halfway through, yet by time I finished the pint I was kind of won over. Strange brew, though, my friends. 5/10. I decided to "go light" next, and tried a Rogue I've never had before but seen many times - the JUNIPER PALE ALE. I loved this beer (8.5/10!). Sweet, berry-like taste and an exceptionally smooth finish. I could drink this every night - it was just bitter enough to be interesting and not a namby-pamby pale ale. This is the sort of classic, drinkable beer that Rogue's made their name with, though I'm glad they are keeping active & not standing pat.

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