03 January 2007

KOTBR Review #10 - Rogue's Dead Guy Ale

In tribute to the President Gerald Ford, Karl Stauss (brewer of PBR), and the Godfather of Soul - James Brown, all of who had passed away in the previous week, the Knights of the Beer Roundtable gathered at Deano's last Thursday to review - appropriately enough - Rogue's Dead Guy Ale.

We warmed up with a Bell's Double Cream Stout, a beer out of Michigan, in honor of the 38th POTUS. Our plan was to then follow-up with a PBR off the retro-menu, but Deano's was out (we'll get to that later). And, unfortunately, there isn't a beer brewed in NYC on the menu.

Deano's staff must have been mourning the loss of the three legends, because they were off their game. Nick, the Bartender, was gone for the night or something, so I'll blame the dirty deed on that fact. We have chosen Deano's primarily for its atmosphere, meaning a bartender that takes care of you, shoots the breeze with you, and makes the joint lively. With Nick gone, so was the atmosphere. I guess next time, we'll just call ahead to make sure our favorite bartender is working.

After leaving Deano's after only one warm-up and the reviewed beer, Jason, Jim and I headed to MacNiven's for some Manna from Heaven, more commonly known as Hopslam on tap. Very nice. Even better on tap than from the bottle (who's surprised by that?).

And on our way back to our 'hood, Jason and I got real brave. We've heard some buzz about the new beer cave at the Rural Inn Liquor Store, located on the southwest corner of the interesection of Rural & Michigan on the near-eastside. Keep in mind that one of the new cop sonor monitoring devices is located directly across the street from the Rural Inn, and we were pulling up around 12:30 AM. We were somewhat timid, but the lure of good beer close to Irvington made us brave, like good Knights are. And lo and behold, our bravery was rewarded. The owner's claim to have the best selection of micro and imported beers inside the 465 Loop is accurate. We both chose a 4 pack of Dogfish Head's 90 Minute IPA, for a mere $6.99. So let me recommend the Rural Inn, though I may also recommend going during the daylight hours.

Now on to the reviews . . .

JASON: This week, the pearly gates of heaven welcomed some incredible spirits, including President Ford, James Brown, and former Pabst brewmaster Karl Strauss. Our hope coming into the latest gathering of the knights was to theme our drinking around the memory of these fine individuals. Some PBR to start, then something from Michigan , finished with a New York brew.

Well, the plan didn’t reach full fruition. Deano’s Vino was uncharacteristically off last night, in that they were out of several beers on their menu (including PBR) and they had a pinch-hitter behind the bar that wasn’t very attentive (I only consumed two beers and not because I was the DD). While one bad visit won’t ruin Deano’s for me forever, it did make for a difficult drinking environment.

We adjusted our plans and found a beer that seemed appropriate for our desired theme: Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale. Deano’s stocked it in 12 oz. bottles. This maibock pours with a light, creamy head and has a copper color to it. It is a bit cloudy, allowing some light to come through. There wasn’t a strong aroma to DGA; it is very mellow, maybe slightly sweet. It does not put on a false façade as it tastes just like it looks: creamy, mellow, with a medium malt. There was a surprise, though. As I went along, there was a slight hoppy bite in the back of my mouth at the finish of a drink. Surprising and pleasant. The DGA left a creamy yet cleansing feel in the mouth. No strong, unpleasant aftertaste.

Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale is a great beer. You think it will be a standard red along the lines of Killian’s, and you discover that it is creamier, maltier, and more flavorful than you expect. Simplistically complex. Much like the men we were honoring that night. Much like death itself.

Shit, that’s too deep. I need another beer.

Rating: 3.5 mugs

JIM: I’m old enough to remember Chevy Chase’s clever portrayal of President Ford in the very early days of Saturday Night Live. Yes, Chevy Chase was actually funny at one point in time, and yes, I am that old. On the show, Chase would appear in no make up and effect no voice impression of the president. Rather he would simply enter the set and take an awful pratfall. In fact, legend has it that Chase became addicted to painkillers because of doing the Ford bit once too often. The purpose of Chase’s pratfalling was to poke fun at President Ford’s propensity for taking a tumble. Ford once famously fell down the steps of Air Force One while visiting Austria.

So that brings us to Deano’s for our review of Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale. As Jason mentioned, we decided to review Dead Guy in honor of . . . well, all of the famous guys who died recently. And, as Jason also mentioned, Deano’s was having an off night. The restaurant fell, so to speak. But instead of a purposeful fall, like Chevy Chase taking a dive through a break-apart desk, I think Deano’s fall was a pure accident, like President Ford’s mishaps. So I expect our next visit to go more smoothly.

To the beer – As I mentioned in my last review, I wasn’t too impressed with Rogue’s products until reviewing Santa’s Private Reserve. Dead Guy Ale boosted Rogue’s reputation further in my eyes. Dead Guy is a quality ale. Oddly, it has very little nose. This was the first time, in fact, that I was hard-pressed to describe the nose. As for the color, I can’t describe it because our bartender neglected to bring me a glass for the beer, and she was so inattentive to us that I never bothered to ask for one. The flavor, however, I can describe as very pleasant. This is a malty beer with caramel notes. It has a small amount of hoppy bite, but the bite is note prevalent. Dead Guy goes down very smoothly and isn’t filling at all.

My rating: 3.5 mugs.

CHRIS: I've long been a fan of the Dead Guy Ale, a german-style maibock. It was the first beer from Rogue that I had tried, and it kept me coming back to try others.

It has a copper/amberish color, and it gives great head. Uh, wait. I mean it's head is good. Uh. Shit, you know what I mean.

I couldn't pick out much of an aroma, but I also perpetually have problems with that. I can't fault the beer for that.

It's medium-bodied, I would say, and has a well-preserved flavor balance of malts and hops - a little more malty than hoppy, but not overly so. Again, a good balance. We've been heavy on hoppy beers lately, so it was nice to back to one with some malts. It leaves a good malty after-taste, but nothing overpowering.

It's not my favorite beer in the world, but it is a good beer. I go along with the 3.5 Mugs.

Renee - I didn’t note my warm up beer except that it was a delicious, heavy Belgian ale pretty much the only thing they had on the list. However, my real surprise was when it was my turn for the Rogue’s, they were out! As any gracious knight would do, Jason offered me a taste of his. Since then, feeling a need to actually, you know, drink the beer before I rate it, I’ve since had the Rogue’s and like it! This dark amber brew gave a smooth, mellow nose over a creamy head. The taste? Smooth, nutty, not sweet but not overly hoppy either. Nice work for a Dead Guy! Hail James Brown! Hail Gerald Ford! 3 mugs

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