Here’s my take on Rogue Brewery…a well-respected ale factory that the Aleheads often malign.

Clearly they’re doing something right, as they’re a huge success story in the craft industry and they’ve been plugging away for over 20 years. Everything they do is consistent, high quality, and some (Not me) would say innovative. My problem with Rogue lies completely with taste and perception. Their basic lineup, taken as a collection, is just plain meh when it comes to flavor profiles. Nothing bad, but nothing great either. I hate to use the term “Watery” to describe their beers as that makes up most of the total bill on any beer. But really, most of their basic offerings are just plain watery. Out of the basics my only exception to this is the Shakespeare Stout, which I think is pretty damn good for the style (Again, good, not great).

Now when you get into some of their “Extreme” beers like their Imperial Porter and Barleywine, you’re getting into some pretty great brews. Therein lies my other problem with Rogue – Perception. I first got into Rogue with the Dead Guy Ale, a good but not great Maibock (Not that I’ve had all that many interpretations of the style). After that I went straight to some of their higher-octane brews and really enjoyed the direction they were taking me. From that point on however I was always left with disappointment. Imperial this, double that, ginger and any other unholy concoction that they could put in a bottle.  I just gave up on them all together. Others however seem to hold Rogue on the highest of pedestals because of their so-called innovation. If I saw quality new offerings I’d be happy with the way Rogue was heading, but every time they pull me back in I just leave with a feeling of emptiness (Or queasiness in the case of the Soba Ale).


  1. Here here! Although, I would put a small plug in for their Old Crustacean. It’s a solid barleywine and representative of the great work that Rogue can do when they’re not screwing around with chipotle and orange honey flavors.

    1. The Old Crusty was what I was referring to when I mentioned their barleywine. I was able to find a few very, very old pony bottles (7oz.) a couple years back and the aging was spectacular. In terms of domestic barleywines, I’d put Rogue’s up there against the Anchor Old Foghorn and the Sierra Big Foot anytime. That’s what frustrates me with Rogue. How can they make something as spectacular as the Old Crusty yet produce so many other mundane examples of other basic styles?

      1. Could be a symptom of “Sam Adams Disease” which I touched on a little in the Sam post. You can pretty much get Rogue anywhere these days. They expanded into a ton of markets very quickly and part of the reason they were able to do so is because they “dumbed down” a number of their beers. That sounds incredibly elitest, but in all fairness, I am significantly better than every person ever.

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