If you scoped out my microcosmos piece in this week's issue of the Source, you only got but a taste of what drinking this wildly interesting beer was actually like. Initially, I was inspired to write a lot more and wanted to truly capture just how romantic it can be to immerse yourself in the tasting of beer-- one of the world's greatest beverages.
So in the interest of full disclosure-- here is the rest of my essay on Rogue's Bacon Maple Ale.
I Like My Beer Like I Like My Doughnuts—and I Can’t Be Any More Specific Than That. Or Can I?
A review of Rogue's Voodoo Doughnut Bacon and Maple Ale
By Ethan Maffey
When I heard that Newport Oregon brewery Rogue Ales had released a beer mash-up that included the legendary bacon-topped maple bar from Portland’s Voodoo Doughnuts, I figured there was a good chance mankind had gone too far this time.
While individually, it’s very hard to put things into your mouth much better than beer, bacon, and maple bars, It was going to take some convincing that these items could be built together into a cohesive beverage worthy of not only drinking, but also worth shelling out 13 bucks for.
Still, when two iconic Oregon establishments are melded together with a never-been-done-before concept, it’s impossible to deny yourself the promise of a rich experience. So I called around town trying to find a store with Rogue Ales bottled pork and doughnut liquid concoction in stock and ended up finding one bottle at The Brew Shop on Third Street. I told the guy on the phone to hold it for me and I rushed down there to pick it up.
Once home, with my bright pink 750ml bottle of beer, I immediately set out to pose it for a quick photo shoot prior to consumption. As is my routine, I grabbed my pint glass from Portland band The Ascetic Junkies—the only glass I use when tasting something special for the first time, and carefully popped the top. As I poured the smoky red ale into the glass, notes of sweet maple quickly wafted into my nostrils and beckoned my tongue to press against the roof of my mouth in anticipation.
A delicate head of foam appeared, producing tiny audible crackles as it dissolved. I was growing thirstier by the minute. Yet I held back my lust and continued snapping suggestive photo after suggestive photo until I had a winning portrait of the beer bottle and three-quarters full glass. Then, as I could stand it no more, I ravaged the beer for a nice and cool medium sized gulp.
The maple scent hit me again as I raised the glass toward my face, but dissipated into a hazy backdrop once I dispatched the velvety smoked bacon ale to my taste buds. I let the beer marinate on my tongue for three or four seconds before finally swallowing. Rich, dark bacon initially dominated but the maple returned for a sticky sweet finish.
I half expected my stomach to scold me for sending such a bizarre beverage down to it, but instead, it had the opposite reaction. Every point of sensory input involved with consuming food and drink sent signals back to my brain indicating that what I just drank was in fact—absolutely delicious.
I took another sip and to my surprise the beer was no longer a novelty. I found that I had already settled in to the ale as if it were one I was long familiar with. I held the glass out and gazed at the beer with approving eyes, then with a nod, verbally commended the beer by saying “that’s pretty damn good.”
I knew my girlfriend would be coming home soon and was expecting me to have dinner on the table for us. Earlier in the day a Facebook friend—who already had his own experience with the beer suggested it would go well with pancakes. To me, it sounded like perfect sense so I whipped up a quick brinner of applesauce pancakes, bacon, and scrambled eggs. To my delight, Rogue’s Bacon and Maple Ale paired wonderfully with the meal.
In the wake of my undertaking, I must admit, this ale is definitely not for everyone. Most likely, many people—even diehard fans of eclectic beer, won’t be as impressed as I was with this bacon-y, maple-y mistress. It’s a niche beer, crafted for a sub-set of the ale drinking population—the sub-set whose taste-buds are as insanely genius as the Brewmeisters who thought to mastermind this beverage in the first place.