When in Portland, you must of course visit Powell’s Books. Within walking distance is another landmark, Rogue Brewery. We popped in for a leisurely meal with beverages, little suspecting what surprises awaited.
I started with the Hazelnut Brown Nectar, which is rich and creamy, a total winner. The Long Suffering Husband had something from a near-empty barrel, the name of which (alas!) escapes me. Whatever it is, it’s not listed on their website. I think it was some type of Stout.
Rogue has been around since the 80’s and is famous enough that we can buy their beer out East. In the Portland airport, the souvenir shops are well-stocked with their product. Rogue combines the most delicious beer with the most off-putting names in all brewerdom: Beard Beer, made with yeast from some guy’s beard (ugh).
If that doesn’t float your boat, how about Dead Guy Ale? (I was afraid to ask). And then there’s the nauseatingly-named Voodoo Doughnut series (“Voodoo Doughnut Pretzel, Raspberry and Chocolate Ale”).
I always wondered about names like these. Are they metaphors in the style of wine descriptors? (“Charles, I detect a soupçon of chocolate pretzel in this ale, and there is raspberry on the nose…”) No, it turns out that these are actual ingredients. The Voodoo Doughnut ale is designed to be consumed with dessert. The Pepto-Bismol pink bottle is amusing, but doesn’t do much for the appetite. We stayed away from the Doughnut ales.
Lately we have been sampling the food at brewpubs in Cleveland, with hit-and-miss results. Brewpubs tend to have meat-heavy menus with lots of salty, fatty popular favorites like burgers, nachos, chicken wings, pretzels, and sausage. Some of the chefs take the food seriously and some don’t, and you’re lucky if there is more than one vegetarian option. Rogue had extremely good food, albeit served in the brewpub idiom (and in huge portions). They offer hummus and a kale salad with miso dressing, but I fear we gave in to temptation and consumed little but carbs and fat.
All the food was good, but I couldn’t get over the side of tots, which was enough to feed an army (somehow we managed). Rogue makes a very tasty tot, and a crisp tater tot is a great match for many different styles of beer. We continued our tipple with a flight consisting of Wasted Sea Star Pale Ale (not my favorite), Brutal IPA, Fresh Roast Ale, and the Don Imperial YSB. Of these, I was most impressed with the Brutal IPA–crisp and not too bitter in spite of its name.