FROM THE YBN EDITOR’S DESK : Another quick one – Rogue Goes Organic…

by Harvey Gold on May 23, 2011

… or maybe Organic Goes Rogue

Remember, yours truly may or may not know what he’s talking about, but since we first started this site, I’ve sampled and talked about a lot of different beers, often trying to aid my continuing education by discussing what I’m tasting with more experienced brew drinkers. So maybe I’m missing something between the lines here, but here goes:

I picked up a 22 oz. bottle of Rogue’s GYO (Grow Your Own) First Growth “green” series offered under the “Chatoe Rogue” nom de plume, Ditoir Black Lager,” and took it to a BBQ this past weekend. It had been out of the fridge for about half an hour when I opened it, so at a temperature that allows the flavors and bouquets to open sooner in the tasting session.

Into an 8oz. glass it poured very, very dark (which I tend to like), with a small but attractive tan head. The nose, also minimal, spoke malt.

There seems to be a lot of range of mouth feel for Black Lagers. Some can be light and refreshing like the low ABV Pious Monk Dunkel from Church Brew Works we’ve reviewed. Then there are ones like this. The Dirtoir is easily as heavy as most porters and some stouts we’ve sampled. This is not a hoppy beer, but shows pronounced hop generated bitterness, explained by Rogue’s advertised wet hopping. With the maltiness of the brew, the weight and mouth feel, it was natural for me to immediately look to my palate for chocolate and coffee, the “dark” components. This was also based on that feeling of what I call a residual “dirtoir” on the tongue, like a little unsweetened chocolate that stays with you after the dusted truffle. As a result, I had little to no success in my search for other, subtler flavor notes, as this simply isn’t a subtle beer.

I drank more with food, and frankly, it was a brew that owned the room… yet without lighting the room up. I’m quite the fan of Rogue, two of their brews making my Top Twenty. Interestingly, while one was their “Supergroup” release, John John Juniper, the other, their Mocha Porter, speaks dead on to the way Perry Marcus closed his review of the Dirtoir Black Lager in Beer Advocate:  “medium bodied mouth feel with average carbonation. goes down easy enough, but with more tasty beers out there i probably won’t be gunning for this one again.”

I always like to sniff the bottle hours later or the next day, so the next morning I smell lots of sugar, caramel, and something residual that I interpret as figs. Smells great, better than the beer itself played out last night.


An interesting label, Rogue listing the ingredients (belying my fig reference, confirming the chocolate one), the geographic location of the hopyard and barley farm…yet I’d love to hear more from people in the know what the deal is with the organic, “green” thing going on in the craft brew world. I understand some it’s simply part of the artisan culture, but I’m not aware of the brewing process attacking the ozone, nor do I see any non-organic beers cracking any Top Ten Carcinogen lists. I have no interest in viewing a beer starting with “Well, for an organic beer it’s…”

Enlighten me, please.


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