Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar ale

On the night of my 41st birthday, at the Arooga’s in east York, I tasted Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown Nectar ale for the very first time. Had I done nothing else for my birthday, it still would have been one of the best birthdays of my life. That’s how good this beer was! It was like tasting perfection. As much as I like to tout the wares of breweries like Founders, Dogfish Head, and Victory, it’s becoming evident to me that Rogue is my overall #1. And the Hazelnut Brown Nectar is up there with anything I’ve tried off the Rogue line.

Granted, brown ales in general are not the most exciting beers. Usually they’re “okay” but hardly extraordinary. But this particular variation on the brown ale theme is truly out of this world. The concept: add hazelnut extract to a traditional English brown. The result: a rich and improbably smooth beer that’s nutty, sweet, and crazy wicked delicious. Eight different kinds of malts give this ale a pleasingly toasty flavor, and the hazelnut brings an added dimension of yum. At only 33 IBUs, there’s very little bitterness to counter all that malt sweetness. Yet by no means is it “too sweet”. Like all of Rogue’s ales, HBN is flawlessly balanced and absolutely bursting with flavor. Some may call it a “dessert” beer, but personally I’d prefer it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If I’m making my top ten beer list, this one’s getting a spot for sure. Hazelnut Brown Nectar? More like nectar of the gods!

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