After a busy summer off, spent attending to work and family, I happily find that the time is fast approaching for my favorite festival: The Great Canadian Beer Festival! This has got me to thinking (as I am occasionally wont to do) about blogging about some of the many superb beers that I have had since Beer of the Week Number Three.
There have been many beers, in uncounted styles, ranging from the mundane to the exceptional. But I think that this week I will go with something a little unusual: Rogue Ale’s fairly unique Chipotle Ale. I must admit I was a little reticent to try this beer, based entirely on a terrible experience with a cask-aged, jalapeno-infused beer about a year ago. And truly, a chipotle is but an aged, smoked jalapeno (click here for more about the process). But in the interest of furthering beer research I forged ahead. And in the interest of setting a mood, I listened to a Mariachi version of “Hotel California“- which I must say complimented the ale very nicely.
But enough about the setting. How was the beer?
The Chipotle Ale poured out a dark amber, coppery orange color (think iced tea), topped by a short, tight, off-white head. There is a moderate scent, predominantly toasted oak and smoke, as well as some savory notes. The flavor comes in much stronger, a lot of smokey oak and toasted grain as well as a bit of citrus hop bite, and a surprisingly restrained spice note. This is only to lull you in to a false sense of security, as it is on the finish that the chipotle shows up, stronger but not overpowering, and accompanied by toasted walnut and vegetal notes. I was impressed by this offering on two fronts: the judicious use of chipotle (it would have been easy to have it over-power the beer), and by the fact that it was a good beer, and not simply a novelty beer.
All in all another fine drop from the folks at Rogue. With all the smoky bits it comes off almost like a rauchbier. It wouldn’t fall under the “session beer” category for me, but I certainly enjoyed the ale and it’s definitely one to experience.