Rogue is one of those long-standing breweries that has reached “heritage” status in the American craft beer landscape, but because they’re so familiar, I tend to overlook them when I’m picking my next beer. And if I’m being honest, some of their offerings like Beard Beer (brewed with beard yeast) and their Voodoo Doughnut series (brewed with everything that can give you diabetes) feels overly gimmicky to the point of turning me off entirely. But I can’t deny that Rogue makes a handful of tasty beers, from the kind of weird Chipotle Ale to the simple, malty goodness of Dead Guy. One of their latest concoctions, an IPA called Promise Gone Aw-Rye, eschews the gimmicks altogether and lands squarely in that “tasty” category.
The IPA pours dark rosy with a huge creamy head and subtle nose. It’s all about the malt first and foremost, with a rich, silky mouthfeel that borders on the realm of being velvety. It’s made with Rogue Farms’ own dream rye, which provides the backbone of a substantial malt bill that also includes 2-Row and Munich. If you’re like me, you expect that rye to impart a bit of spice to the beer, but the malts that Rogue has put together contribute a soft, almost wheat-like character. On the other side of the coin, you have Liberty hops (again from Rogue’s farm), Centennial and Simcoe—all providing heavy notes of grapefruit and a wallop of bitterness on the back end. While hops typically take the spotlight in IPAs, I truly believe that the malt bill is the star here, which is a weird thing to say. In addition to that creamy mouthfeel, the malt bill gives you an enticing dose of biscuit flavors. It’s like eating a bowl of pretzels dipped in salted caramel ice cream. Not that this beer is sweet by any means, because the hops jump in and sling around plenty of zest and fruit-rind bitterness.
Overall, there’s great malt/hop interplay throughout, like a sophisticated dance between the ingredients. A give and take, like a well-executed waltz. Or the chicken dance. The result, of course, is an incredibly balanced beer that’s more subtle than you might expect from Rogue. It’s not a hop bomb. It’s not even a malt bomb. There’s no bacon in it, or beard yeast. It’s just a complex, well-executed IPA, which is probably something we’d all like to see more of from Rogue.
Brewery: Rogue Ales and Spirits
City: Newport, Oregon
Style: Rye IPA
Availability: Limited, 22-ounce bombers