Over the last week I was fortunate enough to spend some time with great friends in OBX (Hatteras, NC) and I decided it was finally time to bust out the Rogue Voodoo Bacon Maple Ale. Definitely the perfect time for a morning tasting with no responsibilities for days, so that is what we did once we got the bacon sizzling. Rogue, located in Newport, Oregon, is known for well… their rogue attitude when brewing beer. When I saw the bright pink bottle on the shelf offering a bacon flavored beer, I can’t say I was too surprised. This beer is named after Voodoo Doughnut, a legendary Portland donut shop known for their crazy toppings which I am proud to say I was able to recognize after seeing them on Donut Paradise (Travel Channel) a couple of years back. Don’t judge. With a little encouragement from the store keeper, I decide to make the $12 (22oz bottle) purchase to see if they could pull this off.
I poured out three four ounce samples for my first willing tasters and I. The appearance was a deep orange, maybe copper with white head. Nothing too strange there, but then I take a wiff of the aromas detecting a nice maple scent. Mentally it was tough to comprehend a sweet, sweet maple scent coming from my beer despite being fully aware of what I was getting us into. I was actually surprised that the bacon did not really stand out, though there was a smoke aroma which some may say is the bacon. Time to taste; so we clink the glasses to our morning start and dive in. Holy smoke! The 3 smoked malts used, to include house-smoked hickory malt, are quite overwhelming. Maple is definitely there, along with a hint of bacon and grain/wheat. The mouth feel is very smooth and moderately dense. I have only tried a couple, but the smoke taste immediately brought to mind a Rauchbier (specifically Sam Adams Bonfire Rauch). Overall, I was disappointed that the flavors didn’t really balance out well as the smoke flavor was way too harsh. It was definitely worth try, but I would not recommend buying this beer unless you have some friends around to finish the bottle with you. When I return home to write my review based on my notes and conduct additional research I realized this is considered a smoke beer (Beer Advocate) which some may say is the same as a Rauchbier. I did not taste expecting this, so I may not have been so taken by the smoke had I known. Hard to say either way. I give credit to Rogue for keeping it Oregon weird and will continue to try their off the wall ales. However, I have to give a rating of 2 Mugs out of 5 on the Draft Notes Scale.