As I stood, staring off into the void of my friend’s backyard while the beginnings of a homebrew boiled on the stove, I fantasized about hops. I was fascinated by the sharp and pungent bite of pellet hops we’d added only a few minutes earlier, but a yearning emerged. How much more satisfiying would it be to grow, cultivate, harvest and use your own hops in your own beer? To see them start as soots and end up as a bucket of fresh cones?
Not having a backyard myself, I think I’m a long way off from realizing that dream. But brewers at Rogue have released limited and exciting brews featuring ingredients grown at their own brewery – including the first growth of “Dare malts” from the Rogue Barley Farm, and Revolution Hops from the Rogue Hopyard. (Along with some pacman yeast and free range coastal water, of course). Because of their revolutionary motifs and hops, their logo is a great piece of graphic design – a bold fist clutching hops and barley.
With all the boldness of the logo – I expected a bold hop-forward brew. But instead, I should have read the label. “Medium bodied with a lush rich maltiness” oh – the malts are front and center here. Cool. Haven’t had one of those in a while…
It poured a respectable yellow to orange, with a pouffy head. The smell was that of a nutty malt and a lightness or spiciness that was really interesting. The taste wasn’t disappointing. Clean, drinkable with a really smooth finish, the malts are doing most of the talking. I was hoping for a fresh hop burst, but this is a nice subdued brew. Almost uncharacteristically delicate for Rogue, this one is one that is thirst quenching at the same time that it is light and delicious.
This may be a stretch, but I feel like this is somehow a humble brew from Rogue. Presented with a little bit of… restraint. I’m tempted to pick up another bottle and hold it to compare with next year’s version (second growth?) but I’m not sure if this will be an annual release. All in all, I respect their pursuit of a really independent sentiment – and of a tasty brew.