I’ve been working in the
area for a couple of months, and down here the best specialty beer store is Beverage World, just over the border into GA. Beverage World is a cool store, with an impressive selection. Plus they go the single bottle solution one better, in that they have twenty kegs on the premises, so you can try one ounce samples for fifty cents, eliminating some of the risk of buying beers you may not like. Anyway, while there I noticed a new variant of Rogue—Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Ale. It’s hard to miss. The bottle is painted Pepto-Bismol pink, and it’s a generous twenty-five ouncer. The price was steep ($12), but I found a friend willing to split the cost with me, and so we snapped it right up. Chattanooga, TN
Going in I naturally had misgivings. That’s a lot of different flavors in one combination, and these flavors are clearly not common ones to put in beer. But I couldn’t resist it—I love maple syrup, doughnuts, and bacon separately, so together they might be an excellent beer bouillabaisse, a brew orgy, if you will. We cracked it open, and had at it. The odor was very sweet—I’d say the doughnut/maple smells predominated, in a pleasant way. The color was a brownish-orange—a crappy color for say, a car, but not necessarily a negative one for a beer.
Here’s where I stop writing nice things. It tasted like swill. Utter garbage. At my first sip my co-investor was momentarily concerned that I was going to puke, and he wasn’t far off. You do taste the billed flavors, but they most assuredly do not complement each other. It tasted like Rogue had brewed up a regular beer, then dumped day old doughnuts, inferior maple syrup, and a can of potted meat into it, stirred it around, and called it a day. (I understand the process was surely more sophisticated, but that’s what it seemed like.) I took a second swig to confirm the first one, and much later a third. My taste buds fairly screamed their protest with every encounter.
Well, “misery loves company” is an adage I certainly think is true, and that, combined with an impulse to socialize further, led me to go door to door at the hotel, offering samples to the rest of my crew (readers of a past post might recall I did the same with the snails, only in that case I was sharing a tasty treat). A steadily growing group of people came with me as we visited my colleagues like an August version of Christmas carolers, only instead of giving out pleasant singing we provided a bizarre, repellent alcoholic beverage. The consensus was consistent—pretty much everyone hated it. I can only remember one positive review. A few other folks did praise it with faint condemnation, but that’s about the best it got. A few people were visibly (and understandably, I admit) mad at us after their trial.
So there you have it. Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Ale is an abomination, a Frankenstein’s Monster of a beer, shambling through the countryside, terrorizing the peasants, slaying the livestock—okay, this metaphor has gone off the rails, but you get my point—it’s unmitigated crap. Please don’t, however, take this as criticism of Rogue brewery as a whole. I’ve enjoyed many of their other varieties, such as their Dead Guy Ale, their OREgasmic Ale, and their Brutal IPA. Plus I give them props for going out on a limb, taking a big risk. But, sometimes when you gamble you lose, and this was one of those times.
Finally, also don’t think this bad experience has crushed my willingness to try other exotic beers. For example, I’ve heard of brewery which makes a peanut butter and jelly sandwich-flavored beer. There’s a good chance it’s gross, but I can’t wait to give it a try.