Sometimes, we follow traditions not out of respect for the past, or nostalgia, or even from force of habit. Occasionally, it's out of a sense of morbid completism, to see something through because you've already wasted time and effort on parts of it. Like, back in the days of rental videos, when you gritted your teeth and watched a crappy movie to the end because you paid a couple of bucks for it, and had already spent 45 minutes watching it.
So it is with me and the Rogue Voodoo Doughnut beer series. The first, the Maple Bacon flavor (see September 10, 2012 post) was a traumatic but important milestone for me--it was, without doubt, one of the very worst beers I've ever had, maybe THE worst. Because of this, and also because it became a social event with my friends and coworkers, I'm oddly tempted to try subsequent Voodoo Doughnut attempts (but not to try the Maple Bacon one again--all these feelings and opinions I'm talking about are significant, but there are definitely limits). They're always extremely overpriced--$12-13 for a 25 ounce bottle, and yet I know that, sooner or later, I'll give in and buy each successive one. I doubt there's a limit to this. I think Rogue could do a special heated Lima Bean/Carrot/Soup/Coffee flavor (my least favorite foods/food qualities or forms) and still I would grudgingly punish my taste buds with it.
I have been a little remiss, though. The Pretzel/Raspberry/Chocolate type actually came out over a year ago, and I tried it, but I neglected to post about it. (I did post about the second one, the Peanut Butter/Banana/Chocolate flavor, and that's discussed in my September 8, 2013 post, along with more background about the separate Voodoo Doughnut shop.) Today I'll be discussing the Pretzel one and the latest, the Lemon Chiffon Crueller Ale.
So, you may ask, how does a brewer get pretzel, raspberry, and chocolate flavors into a viable beer? As it turns out, not very effectively. I detected a hint of chocolate, and some raspberry taste, but I couldn't discern any pretzel. Although, that doesn't mean this beer was terrible--despite the disappointment about the lack of advertised weird flavors, it still wasn't bad. I had no problems finishing it. It was a bit worse than the Peanut Butter/Banana/Chocolate one, but still okay. An average "C" rating for it.
I had a similar reaction to the Lemon Chiffon Crueller Ale. Despite the presence of actual vanilla beans and marshmallow, at best I could taste a tinge of sugary sweetness. The lemon was apparent, though. This beer grew on me. At first I thought it was average, like the Pretzel/Raspberry/Chocolate one, but by the end I promoted it slightly to the Peanut Butter/Banana/Chocolate type--a C+. Not great, but decent, slightly better than average. Its' citrus flavor also reminded me of a shandy type of beer (see August 31, 2014 post), which made it an appropriate choice for a summertime beverage. But the price is a deterrent--I would consider buying the Lemon Chiffon Crueller and the Peanut Butter/Banana/Chocolate beers again, but not very often. There's too many other beers out there that I haven't tried, or have tried and enjoyed more. But, the Voodoo Doughnut series has definitely seen dramatic improvement--it's odd when the first one is terrible and the "sequels" are vastly better.
Again, though, I do give Rogue and Voodoo Doughnut props for making an entertaining package for their product. The characteristic, striking pink bottle with the fun Voodoo character on the label surely attracts the eyes of potential customers walking down the aisle, and helps convince them to give it a try. For example, in one beer section I observed a little girl trying to grab one of the Lemon Chiffon Crueller bottles. Hopefully it was because of the bottle's color and presentation, and not because she's the only kindergartener who needs to go to the Betty Ford Center. Also, the label notes that the Voodoo Doughnut beers are made with "free range coastal water," so even the most moralistic drinker can rest assured that they're not contributing to the cruel exploitation of caged water molecules.
And I'm sure Rogue is busy at work on the next Voodoo Doughnut creation, so expect another one of these posts in 2016.