Beer review: Rogue Ales’ Voodoo Bacon Maple Ale

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From the December 20, 2012 edition

About the brewery:

For the last couple decades, Rogue Ales has been the most recognized brewery from Oregon — a state that boasts a ton of great breweries. The company has seen significant, continuous growth since its inception in 1988. There are a number of brew pubs, beer halls and public houses throughout the Pacific Northwest, and the company even started producing spirits in 2003.

Rogue Ales has produced a variety of excellent beers over the years, the most recognized being the Dead Guy Ale. The Chatoe Rogue series — produced entirely at the Nano brewery located at the Rogue Farms Micro Hopyard — was established in 2011 and are some of the best beers the brewery has ever offered. Rogue has also recently created two limited-release beers inspired by the Portland landmark Voodoo Doughnut.

About the beer:

It’s often said that bacon makes everything better. Unfortunately, I found the one occasion where that isn’t true. Then again, Rogue’s Voodoo Bacon Maple Ale doesn’t really taste like bacon.

Given the name — and the pink bottle — I expected a sweet beer with a bacon finish, similar to a maple-frosted Voodoo donut topped with slices of bacon. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Any sweetness is over-powered by smoked malts (Briess cherry wood smoked malt, Weyermann beechwood smoked malt, house-smoked hickory malt). It results in an over-powering smoke flavor with hints of some kind of odd meat-like flavoring. None of it is in any way enjoyable.

I subscribe to the idea that wasting beer is a definite no-no. But I have to admit that after pouring a pint of the Voodoo Bacon Maple Ale and taking a couple sips, I knew I wouldn’t finish the entire 750 milliliter bottle. I finished the pint, ruefully, and attempted to pour another one. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it and the remainder went down the kitchen sink the next morning.

If you like smoked beers, give the Voodoo Bacon Maple Ale a shot, but at $11.99 a bottle, it’s an expensive experiment.

Photo by Meghan Ralston