Rogue Ales' Voodoo: Donut Maple Bacon Ale
Smoked Beer - 5.6% ABV
Drink/avoid: DRINK (One time only - then avoid like green meat)
Let me be clear: I love bacon as much as the next meat-atarian, but this craze with bacon has gone a bit too far. We don't need things like Tactical Bacon or bacon soap (however, I find the bacon plush perfectly acceptable - "I'm bacon!"). We can add to the list of unnecessary baconables Voodoo - at my palate's behest.
Before I slice open this review, let's clear up another issue so that I don't look like a hypocrite. I expressed admiration over a brewery attempting to extend its reach in my review of Rivertown's War. It is refreshing to see a brewery doing something differently than everyone else. I understand that this is a wacky invention, and that some people genuinely enjoy it. That's not my beef with this beer; I'm displeased with what I refer to as "false advertising." More in the review:
I poured a pint for myself and a small sample for Chelsey, since she was very curious about this one. Looks pretty great - it's a hazy copper with great lacing and a big white head. It already smells smokey when I pour it. I like smokey beers.
I take a good whiff of this one - smokey malts....and I guess that's bacon. It has a very porky aroma...smells like 1982. Let's taste it...
Wow. Not a good wow. It tastes (unsurprisingly) like bacon. They use real applewood-smoked bacon in it. Malts hit up front (briefly), which gives you a quick hit of sweetness before the porky smokeyness strikes. Some maple flavor enters near the end, but it's completely overridden by the pork.
Drinking this beer was not a pleasant experience, and it turned out to be a drainpour, no matter how hard I struggled to finish it. However, like in an Animal House fraternity hazing ritual, I'm going to recommend you drink this at least once. And in this case, I'm the Omegas and you're Kevin Bacon.
Hop/malt balance: 1.5/4
Mouth feel: 2/3
So, what do I think should have been done to improve it? Why is it "false advertising?" Because it's not just a bacon ale. It's a bacon maple donut ale. There are two massively underrepresented flavors that could have added a lot of sizzle to this beer if they had been played correctly. The maple and the donut aspects would have made this beer a winner - if I could have found them for more than a split second. What's my point? Don't call it a maple ale and give me less than a tease of maple. I want that syrup to tickle my taste buds. And how is it a donut ale? The flash of malts I tasted at the beginning? Please. And would it hurt to grab a hint of hops here or there?
This beer was a flop rather than a crispy, refreshing beverage for those reasons. At least, that's my opinion. Try it and see for yourself...just make sure I'm there when you do.