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Rogue Brewery blends chocolate and beer seamlessly

Based in Oregon, the Rogue brewery is known for its daring and inventive creations. Its flagship beer, Rogue Dead Guy Ale, won the silver medal in the World Beer Championship from 2005 through 2007 and is available nationwide wherever good craft beers are sold.

Courtesy of rogue.com

Outside of the Dead Guy Ale, the Rogue company offers a delectable variety of different brews, including the Juniper Pale Ale, Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout and “Dad’s Little Helper,” a creamy black IPA with tasty hints of almond.

Besides a plethora of delicious nectars, what really sets the Rogue brewery apart from other craft brewing companies is the fact that every beer it brews is 100 percent free of chemicals, additives and preservatives, a rare phenomenon in any food or beverage item these days but especially rare in the beer world. The name “Rogue” is certainly appropriate, because every beer that comes from this brewery is uniquely crafted and without equal elsewhere in the craft brew world.

Rogue’s Mocha Porter, a popular winter seasonal, is the quintessence of its unique flavor pairings. Porters by nature are dark, strong beers whose hoppy taste comes from the brown malt used in the brewing process, making them ideal for more exotic tasting ingredients to be added, ones which may give the beer a more interesting flavor. The essence of chocolate that goes into the Mocha Porter is simultaneously sweet and decadent like fine dark chocolate, but not so sugary that it overpowers the thick malt composition. Just brushing the line between sweet and tart, the Mocha Porter is a dazzling delight to the taste buds that is as surprisingly mellow as it is decadent.

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass, this beer yields a milky consistency and a dark brown color that borders on jet black, unleashing a strong aroma of chocolate and coffee. The half-inch thick foam settles quickly but leaves plenty of lacing atop this black brew, and mild carbonation keeps the taste refreshingly crisp. Strong hints of oats and roasted malts are complemented by an under taste of bitter coffee, with a lightly acidic edge that is just sharp enough to remind the drinker that they are indeed drinking a beer and not some effete chocolate delicacy. A mouthful of chocolate essence accompanies the thick finish, with an aftertaste reminiscent of cocoa and dark ale.

While the chocolaty taste is pronounced it does not overshadow the hoppiness in the composition, creating a delightful balance between sweet and tart that makes for a pleasant imbibing experience. The only downside of the taste is that it is so rich and flavorful that it makes an ordinary bar of chocolate seem just plain dull by comparison. Montezuma himself would surely have been envious of this masterful aggregation of cocoa and alcohol that defies all taste logic.

While the Mocha Porter is an excellent complement to beef or pasta dishes, it is best paired with desserts that require a lot of chocolate, such as cake or even brownies. For choco-holics, the Mocha Porter is a dream come true because it has a sweetness all its own that few other beers can compare to. Anyone looking to expand their beer horizons outside the realm of IPAs and lagers would do well to pick up a six-pack of the Rogue Mocha Porter and indulge in its decadent chocolaty goodness. Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker; just remember not to overdo it, or Hershey’s bars may never seem as good.

Emily Brightman can be reached at ebrightman@student.umass.edu.

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