I’ve got a confession to make. I used to be a Rogue junkie. The Dead Guy Ale was my first great beer love and the big reason I made my alcoholic-drink-of-choice switch from Bailey’s Irish Cream (no joke!) to craft beer. But over the years, I’ve had a sort of falling out with Rogue. While I still believe they make some of the tastiest damn beers on the planet, I’ve got two major problems:
1) Their prices: It’s getting prohibitive, especially compared to other local competitors like Deschutes, Bridgeport, and Full Sail. You can find a six pack of any of the latter for $7, but just try to find a sixer of Brutal Bitter for under $11. Bottom line is if it’s down to a 22 ouncer of St. Rogue Red for $5 and a Ninkasi Believer Double Red for $3, it’s kind of a no-brainer which is ending up in the grocery cart.
2) Their beers on tap: I don’t know what it is, but I’ve never had a Rogue Dead Guy on draft that I was satisfied with. Meanwhile, the bottle version still brings back all those warm and fuzzy feelings I had for it back in the old days. I can chalk up some of the dissatisfaction with going to places that aren’t cleaning their tap lines or are serving the beer too cold, but when you try it at the brewery or one of the public houses and it’s still kind of flat and off, you begin to question your sanity first and Rogue’s kegging procedures second.
Anyway, this whole long rant has been a circuitous way of getting around to some great news for all my fellow disenchanted Rogue fans. Bailey’s has the Shakespeare Stout on Nitro right now, and it’s sublimely delicious. For anyone that doesn’t know this already, nitrogen is used instead of carbon dioxide and the result is a bigger, thicker body and a creaminess that will remind you of the best pints of Guinness you’ve ever tasted. The Shakespeare is a perfect beer for Nitro, with its big coffee and chocolate bitterness and chewiness coming out strong, but being cushioned by a thick pillow of creaminess and sweetness. It’s one of the best beers I’ve had off our special tap and reinforces my theory that Rogue beers CAN be great… and affordable! As usual, we’re selling our 20 oz Imperial Pints for just $4.50.
It’s reason enough to convert even the most jaded drinker back to the Rogue Nation. Now, if only I could convince Geoff to put Dead Guy on …