The Death of Coffee: Friday Beer Selection

Friday, May 04, 2007

Today's beer selection is an American take on a British standby. If you've ever had a British brown ale - smooth, low carbonation, malty-sweet - you know what a standard it is. But as we've done with everything in our Great American Quest for the Extreme, Rogue Ales Brewery presents us with

Hazelnut Brown Nectar.

As an avid coffee-drinker as well, this beer contains the best of both worlds of beer and coffee: hazelnut and...beer.

What I like about Rogue, besides for the fact that they brew terrific beer, is that they actually list their ingredients right on the bottle right down to the "Free Range Coastal Water."It gives homebrewers a chance to try to copy truly incredible beers. On top of that, Rogue has started selling their specialized yeast strain, Pac Man. This is the strain of yeast they use in most, if not all, of their beers and they have cultivated it and made it available for home brewers. I am thrilled.

I digress. The beer:

This is a really creamy looking beer, with a nice light tan lace. It is a lovely shade of dark mahogany with reddish hues when held up to light.

There is a huge malty assault on the nose, with a very prominent hazelnut aroma. Underneath it all is a well-balanced toasted and roasted malt with a hint of a deep fruit (think date or prune).

We have another winner here. This beer has a balanced mix of toasted and roasted malts up front with a big backbone of sweetness; just like a solid British brown ale should have. And along that same line is a medium body with low, smooth carbonation that roils and boils as it settles. There is just a quick burst of spicy hops for balance. Along the way there are hints of chocolate and charred wood with that same hint of prune fruitiness found in the nose. But what sets it apart from just any other solid British brown is this lovely, sweet, mild nuttiness from the hazelnut extract. There is no mistaking its presence, but it does so much to the overall character of the beer.

This would be an amazing dessert beer. I imagine what this tastes like along a heavy square of tiramisu or a nice thick chocolate cake; the same stuff you'd drink coffee with. But now that you have a hazelnut beer, who needs coffee?

7 comments:

Bob 8:04 AM  

I think I still might need coffee – hazelnut beer or not. Downing two cups of beer in the morning before 7 am is likely to land me on an episode of "intervention".

Is it just me, or does it sound really funny drinking a hazelnut beer?

Please don't serve it at the Democratic National Convention. We will never appeal to middle America drinking this stuff. Don't get me wrong, I am sure its great beer. Smitty's recommendations have NEVER been bad ones and I have sipped a Rogue before. Good shit.

Seriously, I will give it a shot. (In the evening) Do they have it at Odies Big Ten?

Smitty 9:07 AM  

Yes. You can find it among over 600 other kinds of beer at Oades Big 10 on Clippert and Kalamazoo (the one closest to 127).

We will never appeal to middle America drinking this stuff

The income-level that is the highest consumer of beer is $55,000 - $75,000. So much for "middle America."

George 2:45 PM  

If you ever get out to the left coast, there's a Rogue Bar in San Francisco that has cinched my fandom of their brews. I'm always concerned about a brewery that makes so many types of beers, that the lack of focus will cause a lack of goodness, but that doesn't seem to be a problem with Rogue.

Smitty 2:59 PM  

George:

sa monay craft breweries now, led especially by Sammy A, really branch out into several seasonal specialties on top of trying their hand at 6 more more "year-round" brews. The experimentation is awesome, and they really get very talented brewers who tend to not toally blow it.

One exception is Bell's, which I have noticed a recent plunge in quality and experimentation/originality. I eamn, you've got at least 5 more major breweries in MI that are trying really different and delicious things and Bells seems to be dumbing-down.

Mike 8:15 AM  

I had Rogue Hazelnut Nectar about a decade ago I think. Definitely a one beer at the end of the night, sip it from a snifter sort of brew though.

I think I made the mistake of starting an evening with a couple of these, and really turned myself off. But if they're still around I may try one. But I haven't seen it around here in years.

I see Brutal Bitter and Shakespeare Stout from time to time, but not much else.

Roger,  12:25 PM  

Alas, Pac Man is a seasonally released yeast strain from Wyeast. It is a strong fermenter even at cooler temps that allows Rogue to get away with using so much crystal malt. A great yeast, but not really much different from the Chico strain.

Of the Rogue beers I've had-- Dead Guy, Chocolate Stout, IIPA-- nothing has really tickled my fancy.

Smitty 1:42 PM  

not really much different from the Chico strain

I hadn't heard that. But knowing that will save me mucho dinero...

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