Brew Review: Chipotle Ale

8 Oct

Brew: Chipotle Ale

Brewed by: Rogue Ales (Newport, OR)

Style: Chili Beer (5.5% ABV)

Another chapter in the Rogue Ales story.  Once again this is a brewery that never fails to un-impress me.  They have beers all over the US and are recognized throughout the world.  They are continually pushing crazy beers though their brewery (beard yeast used, maple bacon ale) that only seem to cause a rush to buy them so the aficionados can say they first, bought them and then second tried and either loved or poured down the drain.  This is a great blog forum that talked about these ‘novelty beers,’ the responses are in the comments.  On to the chipotle ale, I don’t know how I am going to feel about a spicy beer.  I don’t really know where this fad came from, I think it started with Stone Brewing in CA and a few of the other big names, like Rogue here, took it up to try and catch another ‘fad’ beer like the black IPA of a year or so ago.  I think spice, like chili spice, belongs on my tacos and not in my drink, maybe this beer will change that idea.

The chipotle ale poured out a clear copper color.  Looked like amber ale, maybe a bit lighter than say an Avalanche Ale but still fairly red with some brown in there.   There was a big pillowy white head that rose up from the beer.  Overall, a really good looking ale. 

The aroma is not as pungent as I was expecting.  I was thinking that this was going to be a beer with a big aroma, with the chilies present that is, but it was fairly tame.  I picked up some faint smoky notes and a bit of spicy pepper.  But that was about it, like I said tame.  A slight bready bit from the malts but that’s about it.

The taste was something different though.  There was a ton going on in this brew.  The smoke and spice are present from start to finish.  Not overpowering but the heat from the peppers is somewhat off-putting.  At the beginning there are some bittering hops but not too much.  The smoke and spice continue on throughout the beer with lingering heat and spice in my mouth. 

I think the beer did what the brewers set out to do, put chilies in a beer.  But really what else were they trying to do?  If you really wanted something spicy couldn’t you just have some salsa?  Couldn’t you just drink Tobasco if you really wanted to drink the heat?  I suppose that you could say that the extreme hop beers are sort of the same thing and the huge roasty stouts are similar as well.  They both take a certain ingredient and exploit it in a beer.  I think in the end it’s my personal preference to keep the chili spice out of my beer and in my food.

Final Grade: C

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