Rogue, Dirtoir Black Lager

Rogue Brewing
Grade: B+

I didn't want to like this beer. I took one look at the labeling and said "no way." I mean come on, "Chatoe Rogue?" Really? Slogans like "Grow the Revolution" and "GYO" (grow your own) cover the bottle. Proprietary hop strains named "Independent" and "Revolution" were used, not to mention a house made malt variety called "Risk" (notice the TM folks!). Rogue is a brewery that produces an astounding number of beers, and sometimes it seems like the marketing department has more control over what goes out the door than the brewer John Maier does. With this particular beer however, it seems like the master brewer who launched the "brewery of a thousand labels" had a major part to play in its creation.

It's impossible to see anything through this incredibly black beer, even the head is the color of deep dark hazelnut. Chocolate, coffee, roast, and some lager sulfurs are in the nose. There are some sweet caramel and toffee notes in there as well. This is certainly one of those beers I can just sit here sniffing. The mouthfeel is nicely medium, walking the line between a big chewy stout and the crisp lager that the label says it is. Roast, coffee, nuttiness, dark bitter chocolate, as well as some surprising hop flavor and bitterness. Wasn't expecting to find herbal, spicy hops in such a stout-like beer, but I guess that's just me being color prejudiced. There are some lager sulfurs in the flavor as well, more in the aftertaste. Reminds me a little of mega-swill lagers, but only for a second.

The dark roasts are nicely balanced here, the flavors are rich, forward, and generally delicious. Like I mentioned before, the body isn't very full at all, and that lets each sip go down very easily. The finish carries a lot of that coffee and chocolate with it, but no acridity or unwelcome bitterness. Generally, I like this beer. It's like a big, flavorful, dry stout that met a nice shwartzbier and got it on. The bastard love child is Dirtoir Black Lager, which I am happy to adopt as a new go-to dark beer. Some may say (like yours truly) that the idea of an entirely estate made beer is a rip-off of Sierra Nevada's. Well even if that's the case, it isn't necessarily a bad thing. Gimmicky? Maybe. But good.