Readers may have felt that there's been a recess in activity on the blog of late, and they'd be dead right. This is because my drinking has been reduced to bottles at home, and even those are limited to economical options (such as Lidl's savage 4 for €5 deal on Franziskaner Weissbier - there's the fridge sorted for the next few weeks) or the isolated adventure bottle. C&R Drinks recently took charge of Rogue in Ireland, and as such you'll be seeing more of these in fridges and shelves - and hopefully tapped in bars - from now on. When I saw these two, I decided I'd finally give them a go.
Rogue's Dead Guy Ale is not in fact an ale, but a lager. A Maibock to be exact, and it certainly fulfils the necessary criteria at face (or nose) value. The aroma gives candy sweetness and biscuity malts with a grapefruit tail, like a much nicer version of the Flensburger Frühlingsbock. The taste continues in a similar vein, with a sugary, malty opening that never threatens to overpower the fruity citrus follow-up. A light buttery toffee note at the end is the perfect counterweight to the light bitterness found throughout.
Predominantly malty, but not dominantly malty, with surprising balance. I nice beer all round, and a good rendition of the style.
More adventurous is the Juniper Pale Ale, a beer brewed with - you guessed it - juniper berries. If you're anything like me, you might not know what a juniper berry tastes like, and therefore struggle to find it in this pale ale, but that's no matter. Because whatever they're putting into this stuff, it works. Far from the fruity or spiced beer overtones I was expecting, this beer opens up just like any other U.S. 'west coast'-styled pale ale. The pine and citrus peel bitterness to the fore immediately brings Goose Island's IPA to mind, which is very much welcome in my books. The taste doesn't pick up on the strong bitterness you might expect after the aroma, but it still seems to pack all those lovely floral and fruity hop flavours into the beer. I might be tempted to say it has a touch of spice or floral curiosity from it's namesake ingredient, but I fear I might be imagining that.
It's delicious, yes, but I'm not quite sure if I could be convinced to part with money to try it again. Especially when it doesn't seem to have achieved much with it's special ingredient.