Rogue Brutal IPA: Making Terroir Taste Good

Rogue Brewery has taken the Terroir movement to heart, growing all their ingredients within the state where the reside, and making some pretty good beer with it at the same time.  Truth is this is the ONLY way Terroir works.  If you get apples grown in your state but they are small and come with worms, you aren’t going to buy them no matter how local they are.  Same with beer, if the beer is no good, you will buy something else.  Well Rogue has taken the challenge and really run with it.

They actually have two farms that grow exclusively for the brewery.  A Hop farm in Independence, Oregon just south of Salem in the Willamette Valley, and a Barley farm in the Tygh Valley, over in Eastern Oregon.  One would think, and probably rightly so, that the provincial nature of where the hops and grains are grown might somehow affect the flavor negatively.  I was suspicious too, but I got this bottle as a Father’s Day gift from my son, so I was going to find out.  Usually when breweries do this sort of stuff, or they go all organic I pretty much write them off as being too kitchy with their marketing, and they do these types of stunts to develop a market, rather than making great beer.  I thought so, until now…

There are several things that Rogue does really well.  First is their location for their main brewery, Newport, Oregon!  If I could work anywhere in the world Newport would be the place.  It is a Picturesque little community on the Oregon coast that sits at the mouth of the Yaquina River and has a beautiful little bay and marina.  It is truly one of my favorite places on earth.  They have painted bottles!  That is awesome, and they have very branded artwork on each one.  I am disappointed with breweries that have gone away from paint for the less expensive paper label.  Listen, if I’m paying $13 for a bottle of beer I want a little paint on my bottle.

I have criticized Rogue in the past for being shamelessly similar in flavor from their porter to their ale.  It was all over hopped and so samey same I wrote them off for over a year.  I talked about it here.

But that doesn’t seem to be the case any more.  I don’t know if the locally grown ingredients have anything to do with it, but this brew was different, and refreshing, and damn good!  The Photo doesn’t do it justice, but the beer is a bright orange ambery color and it tastes like a good hoppy IPA should.  But it doesn’t taste like every other Rogue product, and that was the surprise for me.

So Rogue is committed to the environment, grows all their ingredients locally within the state of Oregon, supports Oregon agriculture, makes great tasting beer, and has painted bottles.  What more do you need to know?  Go out and buy some of their stuff.  It is solid and is beginning to make me think that there might be something to this whole Terroir thing.


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5 Comments on “Rogue Brutal IPA: Making Terroir Taste Good”

  1. Clayton
    June 24, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    Glad to see Rogue getting some love… they’ve been a longtime all-star for me and I’m glad they’re not succumbing to too many of the crazy beer trends these days.

    • Don
      June 24, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

      Yeah, not too many, only the biggest one. But it works for them. They have really made the most of what they can do flavor wise with the local ingredients, and frankly I think it has served their brewery well. Now if we could just get them to bring down their prices a touch on the Old Crustation…

  2. June 24, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    Yes it’s a biased source, but There’s still a grain of truth in it. I’m not sure if we want to be supporting companies such as Rogue who treat their employees like this.

  3. June 24, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    I didn’t know that all their ingredients were procured in-state. That’s pretty cool maybe I’ll look for them a little harder at the stores. Thanks Don for the great insight.

  4. atattooedtale
    June 24, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    I pretty much wrote Rogue off awhile ago, as well. I think using their Pacman yeast for everything ended up making everything taste so similar, and usually with a heavy dose of diacetyl. But I have been enjoying the Chatoe Rogue stuff. I think they need to quit making a gazillion beers. The Dirtoir black lager was probably the best Rogue beer I’ve had, and it was one of the very few not made with the Pacman yeast, go figure.

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