Friday, September 20, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter & Banana Ale – Rogue Ales

            About a year ago I had a beer that was like no beer I had ever had before, the Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale.  It was everything that I hoped it would be and then some.  I have since had a few bottles, and it did not age well.  Fortunately, Rogue released the next beer in the Voodoo Doughnut lineup a couple months ago, the Chocolate, Peanut & Butter Banana Ale.  I picked up a bottle, and could not wait to try it, then life caught up with me and it was a couple weeks before I was able to open my bottle.

 The latest beer (yes I realize it was released back in July) is based upon the Memphis Mafia doughnut from Voodoo Doughnuts, a fried doughnut with banana chunks and cinnamon, glazed and topped with chocolate frosting, peanut butter, peanuts, and chocolate chips.  While that certainly does not sound even remotely healthy, it does sound insanely delicious!  So, I guess the real question is, did Rogue pull off another Doughnut-inspired beer, or are there simply too many competing flavors?  Alternatively, does the banana taste like banana or banana extract?  Perhaps the beer would leave a lot to be desired, after all a Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ale is not for everyone and there was a very real possibility that I would not enjoy the latest Voodoo Doughnut Ale.  On to the review.

At Beeradvocate, Rogue Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ale has a score of 65.  Over at ratebeer, it has a score of 29 overall with a 55 for style.  Neither of the ratings sites offers a very positive perspective.  Then again, they didn’t like the Bacon Maple Ale either… some people just don’t like odd beers.

They Say:

A Collision of Crazies

Rogue Ales has again collided with Voodoo Doughnut to create Chocolate, Banana & Peanut Butter Ale! This unique artisan creation contains a dozen ingredients including chocolate, banana and peanut butter to match Voodoo’s "Memphis Mafia" doughnut- a nod to Elvis' entourage.
Malts: 2-Row, C-150, C-175, Carafoam Special II & Chocolate
Hops: Rogue Farms Revolution & Independent
Adjuncts: Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Banana
Yeast: Pacman
& Free Range Coastal Water

Voodoo Doughnuts adds:
            Rogue Ales has once again brainstormed with Voodoo Doughnut to introduce to you... Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Banana Ale!

This unique artisan creation contains a baker's dozen ingredients including chocolate, banana and peanut butter to match Voodoo Doughnut's "Memphis Mafia" doughnut- a nod to Elvis' entourage.

I Say:

            Rogue’s Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Banana Ale pours an opaque brownish black with a thick, creamy tan head that holds excellent retention, lasting through almost the entire glass, leaving behind moderately heavy lacing.  There is a very strong, upfront note of banana in the aroma, backed up by milk chocolate, and slightly sweet malts with a sweet, nutty finish.

            The flavor is bready, with a light milk chocolate note, hints of banana and nuttiness, rounded out by a lingering banana flavor that tastes more like banana extract than fresh fruit.  On the back end there is an odd, lingering carob flavor in the after taste, rather than the fuller chocolate flavor that came forward at first.  Fortunately the flavor did not linger long.  Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Banana Ale is light-bodied with a moderately high level of carbonation.

            While being an interesting beer, the Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Banana Ale falls short of being great.  The flavors seem a little muted on the back-end  and the aftertaste does little to round out the experience.  It also seems a little too light bodied to support the flavor profile of the beer.  Had this been a medium or full-bodied beer, it would have been far more enjoyable, in my opinion.  Sadly, this beer was not as enjoyable as the Bacon Maple Ale; I do however look forward to any upcoming Rogue/Voodoo Doughnut collaboration beers.

            Feel free to pick up a bottle of Rogue Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Banana Ale if you find it near you, because it is interesting, it just falls short of what it could have been.

            That’s all for today! Check back soon for another post!

            Happy Drinking!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Red Poppy – The Lost Abbey

                I’m a big fan of sour beers.  I keep meaning to brew one myself, but am hesitant to because I don’t want to contaminate my fermentation vessels with all sorts of funky bugs.  So, when I really want a good sour beer I only have two options, make the trek out to my local liquor store and see what they have in stock, or peruse my beer cellar to see what I have down there.  Fortunately, this time I had a bottle of The Lost Abbey Red Poppy Ale that I picked up on my most recent trip down to Illinois.

I have heard a lot of good things about Red Poppy Ale and was hoping that it would live up to the hype.  Heck, even Tomme Arthur, the director of Brewing Operations for The Lost Abbey, calls It “one of the more exceptional wild beers” that the brewery releases.  It is a bit pricy at $10 for a 12.7 oz bottle, but The Lost Abbey has a solid reputation for producing good beers so I hope it really is worth the $10 price tag.

                At Beeradvocate, Red Poppy Ale has a score of 95.  Over at Ratebeer, it has a score of 100 overall with a 97 for style.

They Say:

                Perhaps no country embraces the use of fruit in beers more so than Belgium. Numerous traditional as well as regional specialty ales are infused with every sort of fruit imaginable. In this way, the flavor of the fruit becomes especially prominent.

Red Poppy Ale is a veritable celebration of Sour Cherries in an explosion of aromas and tastes. Brewed from a brown ale base and aged in our oak barrels for over 6 months, this beer is not for the faint of heart.

The Golden Poppy is the state flower of California and the Red Poppy is found in Flanders Fields where our inspiration for this beer comes from. This beer is 5.5% ABV and is available in 375 and 750 ml bottles and on draft at inspired locations.

ABV: 5.5%

I Say:

                Red Poppy pours a moderately clear reddish amber with a thick creamy khaki head that holds moderate retention and leaves thin lacing in the glass.  The aroma is complex with notes of dark cherries and oak blending with figs, leather, balsamic vinegar, a hint of caramel and a definite wild funk.  Hints of an almost lime-like citric tartness rounds out the aroma.  This is definitely an interesting and extremely complex beer.

                The flavor has begins with dark cherries up front, followed by a moderate acetic and citric tartness and a mild earthy funkiness.  Oak mingles throughout the experience, and the finish is exceptionally pleasant with notes of fig, and light caramel malts.  Red Poppy is light bodied, but not thin, with a moderately high level of carbonation.

                This is an excellent Flanders Red Ale, and it’s easy to see why it has high scores at both Beeradvocate and ratebeer.  It is very complex, and is definitely a strong example of the style.  I really like the beers that come out of The Lost Abbey and this is no exception.  If you are looking for an insanely good, complex Flanders Red Ale there are few beers that come close to this one.  That said, the question remains of whether or not it lives up to the $10 price tag.  If you are looking for a very good Flanders Red and have the cash available then by all means, pick up a bottle.  If not, you can certainly find another good example of the style, for quite a bit less than $10.  However, if you are like me and pick up a bottle of beer from The Lost Abbey whenever you can find one, then this is definitely not a beer to be missed.

This is also a beer that should become considerably more complex with age, so you may want to pick up a few bottles if you can find it, to track the progression.  The good folks at The Lost Abbey are even kind enough to mark a vintage on the bottle so you don’t have to.

                That’s all for today, check back later this week for my next post!

                Happy Drinking!