Beer Reviews by Tom Becham

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Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Pretzel, Raspberry and Chocolate Ale

For me, Rogue is one of those breweries that I never know about. They do some very nice brews. They also do some wild experiments and come up with some dreadful disasters. I would say that in a sense, they are a lesser version of Dogfish Head. Dogfish Head does wild experimentation, and are hit and miss. But Dogfish Head tends to have a decent success rate, and even their failures tend not to be completely hideous. Not so for Rogue.

Especially the previous editions of their Voodoo Doughnut Ales. Packaged in garish pink 750 ml bottles, until now, I had regarded the Voodoo Doughnut series (named after an iconic bakery in Portland, Oregon, and patterned after the flavors of their most popular baked goods) as purely gimmick beers.

The Bacon Maple Ale was a true abomination, tasting basically like a sweetened bottle of Liquid Smoke (trust me, it’s not as good as it sounds).

And the Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Banana Ale tasted like none of those things, and was just a mediocre beer on its own merits, regardless of the supposed flavorings.

So, I approached their Pretzel, Raspberry and Chocolate Ale with more than a little trepidation.

Thankfully, Rogue hit the nail on the head this time.

This beer pours a lovely reddish-copper. A short-lived, caramel-colored, fizzy head brings some liveliness.

The aroma of Pretzel, Raspberry and Chocolate (PBC from here on) contains caramel and chocolate malts, and pungent hints of raspberry. Not sure if it’s real fruit or extract. If real fruit, I think it’s likely to also contain juice.

It is on the palate where this beer really scores major points. The first flavor is massive bready malt, akin to what one would expect in the best of German bocks.

Following this are brief glimpses of the raspberry. The fruit does not overpower or oversweeten, but its presence is readily identifiable.

On the finish is the distinctive flavor of chocolate malt (boosted by actual chocolate? Likely not.), providing a bittersweet baking chocolate impression.

All in all, Rogue has redeemed themselves and their Voodoo Doughnut series with this one. This is not just a novelty beer. Definitely try this one if you have the opportunity.

TomBThat’s Tom Becham. Right over there. To your left. WHAT, you DON’T recognize him? He lives in Oxnard, CA and he’s a famous beer writer.

New Beer Grotto Lets Customers “Try Before You Buy”

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beer-news10DEXTER (WWJ) – Craft beer is a big business in Michigan, but how do you figure out which one suits your taste? A new business opening in Dexter hopes to put an end to the mystery.

Michigan is the number five craft brewing state in the country, with more than 180 microbreweries and brew pubs, but many people have never even tasted a local brew.

“People are afraid to try new things simply because of the price of a six-pack at a grocery store or at a convenience store,” Lisa Mano, manager of the Beer Grotto, told WWJ’s Marie Osborne.

Mano said most people go to the store and see a display of craft beer, but have no idea where to begin.

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