It’s a demanding business, this beer reviewing malarkey. Always on the look-out for new and exciting beers to try, opening bottles, pouring a brew, and sipping on all manner of exotic concoctions…..it’s all go. Still, someone’s got to do it – and I suppose it does have it’s compensations.
On the subject of seeking out new beers, I guess I’m not the only one doing a spot of hunting as new beers appear on the supermarket shelves daily. Lucky for me – lucky for you.
Recently, my local store has seen an influx of a number of quality beers from across the water. No, unfortunately not from Belgium. The water I was referring to was the Atlantic Ocean…and thankfully, I’m not talking about Mexican beers either. I’m talking the US of A.
Rogue Ales began life back in 1988 when three industrialists founded a brewpub in Ashland, Oregon. Since then, they have expanded their operation somewhat and now produce 25 different brews including this one, American Amber
They pride themselves on using only the finest hops and barley malt, free range coastal water (whatever that is) and Pacman top fermenting proprietary yeast. Their beers are free from preservatives, additives and chemicals, and are not pasteurised.
THEY SAY: “Tawny amber in colour with a coffee aroma and tight head. A delicate roasted malt accent, generous use of hops and a smooth finish. American Amber is created from Northwest Harrington, Klages and Crystal Malts. Kent Golding and Cascade Hops.”
Rogue Amber Ale pours a dark, tawny amber in colour with a thin, tan head that fades relatively quickly and leaves only a flimsy lace effect. There’s a rich caramel and toffee aroma which is interspersed with a strong, spicy citric hop aroma, along with some floral notes. There’s also a faint, roasted malt tone with traces of coffee in the background.
Medium bodied, it has a smooth and creamy mouthfeel, and an initial deep and roasted, malty taste which is fairly bitter – as in dark chocolate. The hops are very evident, giving a heavily spiced, citrus (orange/grapefruit) quality. There’s a suggestion of dark fruit, possibly figs, but it’s pretty subdued and really doesn’t amount to much. The finish is crisp and refreshing with an almost metallic bitterness leading to a residual aftertaste of roasted malt.
At 5.2% ABV, this beer wasn’t quite as hoppy as I expected. Having said that, there was a fairly prominent hop profile, it just didn’t dominate it. I thought the bitterness from the heavily roasted malts, combined with the hops tended to leave the beer slightly unbalanced with a little too much emphasis on the bitterness and not enough sweet malt to counteract.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, far from it. The last few dregs were slipping down my esophagus around the same time the empty bottle was still winging it’s way through the air towards the recycling bin. “Luckily, my throwing arm is a tad more accurate than my drinking arm,” I ruefully thought to myself as I wiped away a dribble or two.
As for food pairings, well, this being a beer from the USA, it’s probably best to pair it with food from that part of the world….you know; pizza, franfurters, tacos, etc.
Just kidding. I think this beer would complement most unadventurous foods but is probably best as a session ale with maybe a few nibbles to munch on.
I bought this 650ml bottle at Safeway, and paid 2.99 for the privilege. It’s a nice beer but a little over-priced, even by rip-off Britain standards.
Would I drink it again? – Not to be too amberivalent about it, yes.