It's a while since my last American amber ale. A crying shame because it's a style I really enjoy when it's done well. I must take a crack at brewing one some time. Today's specimen is St Rogue from the eponymous Oregon brewery and the label gives us a datablast of vital statistics, ingredients and methods, plus a sizeable screed on cattle husbandry just for completeness. No ABV, however. I had to resort to the Internet to find out it's a manageable 5.2%. I'll keep the 66cl bottle to myself, then. Good.
I don't think I was expecting bottle conditioning and my haphazard pouring left me with an unsettlingly murky dark red beer with lumps in the bottom and floaty bits. However, the heady sherbet hop aroma indicated that this isn't the sort of delicate ale that suffers from a bit of yeast infusion. Also good.
The first thing I noticed on tasting was the fizz. When that subsides there's quite a big-bodied beer underneath, but it gives the impression of busy biting burp-water at first. Perhaps a more controlled approach to carbonation would benefit it. When the flavour kicks in, it's all chocolate biscuit to begin, adding a zingy orange element after a second. Childhood memories of Viscounts and United bars are stirred. The sherbet we met in the aroma lingers long on the palate at the finish, aided by that full body. I imagine that brewery-fresh it would be amazing.
It does get a little bit overly heavy and even sickly as it warms -- which serves me right for being greedy. But keep it cool, drink it young, and this is one of the best American ambers I've tasted.
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