You’ll have to go back, I mean wayyyyy back to the start of Aleheads.com to understand my feelings on the once-in-a- while beloved Rogue Brewery. Since we’re all a bunch of no-talent assholes, one of the Aleheads favorite topics of discussion is “What’s the most overrated brewery”. Well, for my first post to the fledgling blog of Ales, I titled an unabashed article “Screw you Palin, I’m not going Rogue”. To sum up, Rogue puts out some incredible beers that every good drinker should drink, but they put out a slew of others that will bore your socks off. As an overall brewery I simply haven’t been impressed enough and quite often I get flat out kicked in the crotch, which sometimes I like, but sometimes I don’t. Like a good kick to the pills though, for some reason I keep going back for more. I’ve been hurt in the past, but maybe this time it will be different? Let’s see what Rogue has to offer up this time around and check out Chatoe Rogue Single Malt Ale.
You may be asking yourself, “Doc, after so much disappointment over the years, why even bother with Rogue again”. I’ll tell you why. I know for a fact that Rogue is a phenomenal brewery doing things the right way and pleasing thousands of palettes across the land. I know this fact, so I feel that it’s just me that comes away empty with their offerings. Other Aleheads feel my pain, but I think I’m the only one that feels obligated to put those feelings to print. The real reason that I’m diving back in, beyond anything else, is because I found a bottle of something special that I don’t think I’ll ever find from another brewery. “Ever” might be an exaggeration, but when you read the label of the Chatoe Rogue I think you’ll feel the same way and that ale will make its way into your shopping basket without another thought.
Chatoe Rogue Single Malt Ale comes from a simple concept that’s very Roguesian in nature known as GYO, or Grow Your Own. Rogue Barley Farm first growth “Dare” malts, Rogue Hopyard first growth “Revolution” Hops, free range coastal water, and Pacman yeast. Read that last sentence again just to get a sense of what they’re working with here. A few breweries and even more brewpubs and homebrewers grow their own hops, but it’s rare that you’ll find a bottle on a package store shelf. Free range coastal water and Pacman yeast? I’m guessing the water’s available for the taking out in Oregon and the yeast strain is commercially available just about anywhere. Your own malted barley though? That’s pretty cool. The only other sampling I’ve had that can even compare to the Chatoe Rogue is the Sierra Nevada’s Estate Ale, which does indeed use their own hops and barley grown on site. To be honest, I wasn’t crazy about the overall flavor of that beer. Maybe Rogue has a better feel for things.
I poured the Chatoe Rogue Blonde from a painted, 22oz bottle that I always hate since I can’t reuse it for homebrewing (I guess I could, but who wants to be reminded of the former contents of your own containers?). Appearance is very bubbly, golden in color with straw hues, and light in depth of character. Nose presents bready malts, touches of sweetness, grain, and slight citrus overtones (Less than slight actually). I was hoping to get smacked around a bit by some heady, homegrown West Coast hops, but alas there’s very little present. For the style a heavy dose of hops would be both awkward and unneccessary, but I’m a little awkward and unnecessary myself so I wouldn’t have minded a bit. The taste is dry and ordinary to put it lightly. Not that it’s a bad beer, just very plain. Hmmm…I feel like I’ve said that before about Rogue. Mouthfeel is similar to what you’d get from a good Pilsner, light and crisp but it grabs a hold of you and provides a nice ride. Drinkability is high since it goes down easy and doesn’t require a ton of thought to get through. That’s not really a good thing I guess.
Overall I was pretty disappointed but that’s where my criticism will stop. Oh yeah, the 2.5 hop rating is where my criticism will stop. Look, I didn’t care for this beer all that much but I applaud Rogue for attempting a project like this and would be crushed if they stopped with this bottling. If anything I look forward to buying any further examples that come out with any modifications they like since it’s a cool concept that few breweries have the means or the know-how to duplicate. Would I head back out to grab another bottle? Absolutely not. I’m not even sure I can recommend the beer to others but I encourage anyone to judge for themselves. Maybe once again I’m misguided in my perceptions of Rogue. Prove me wrong kids, prove me wrong.