There will always be some small part of me that loves Rogue Dead Guy. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, it was my very first micro beer—or, at least, the very first one that I remember. Up until then, I’d only ever tried the occasional bland German lager, watery Irish stout, or macro schwill like Killian’s Irish Red. The Dead Guy was a work of art in the midst of all that mediocrity. I’d never tasted anything like it before. It had this incredible blast of sweet flavors with just a hint of bitterness, and a clean, refreshing finish. One sip invited a second, and that trademark Rogue drinkability meant that a third couldn’t be far behind. There was just enough to the beer to excite me without overwhelming me; while other beers could be too strong, bitter, or heavy, the DG was that perfect balance—the ideal beer.
Eventually, of course, I moved on. I began to appreciate IPAs and then Belgians, and eventually, the DG just didn’t do it for me like it once had. Whether it was the price, the competition, the lack of availability, the bad bar lines it was pouring from, or the fact that I just enjoyed other beers more, I’m not exactly sure, but it’s rare that I seek it out like I used to or order it when there are other beers available that I haven’t yet tried.
Fortunately, Geoff just did me a favor by tapping the Dead Guy’s sequel, the Double Dead Guy, at Bailey’s. While it’s not as revolutionary to me as that first Dead Guy I had so long ago, it certainly doesn’t skimp on the deliciousness factor and it really is twice the flavor of the original in one glass, maybe even three times. Clocking in at a whopping 9%, you’d expect it to dig a grave in your tongue, but it still retains something of Rogue’s session philosophy when it comes to beer-making; in other words, while I can’t imagine having more than one of these per night, it’s certainly not as harsh as I was expecting.
It’s got gobs of caramel sweetness, incredible booziness and retains only a little of that toasted “maibocky” background flavor, but the finish still manages to clean itself up tidily. The sweetness dials down, the booziness disappears, and you’re left with just the tiniest warming sensation on your tongue. And compared to something like the Deschutes Black Butte XX, it does actually taste like a more intense version of the beer it’s modeled after rather than something just entirely different.
While the DDG doesn’t quite surpass the brilliance of Lucky Lab’s 5-Ton for strong ale dominance on the current Bailey’s tap row, it’s an impressive beer nonetheless and well worth a try, especially for anyone who harbors an affinity for the original Dead Guy but has moved on to bigger beers. I don’t know how it’s possible for a Dead Guy to grow up, but this one certainly has.