As some, or many, of you may know I am into beer. Let me rephrase that I am into good beer. There are some beers that I absolutely refuse to drink (e.g. Coors, Bud, etc.) due to their lack of flavor and quality beer merit. I am not saying that I only like darker beers, though this is by far my preference when choosing a beer in the liquor store, I do enjoy many lighter beers. However the key to a good light beer is still flavor and complexity in my view.
In addition to liking beer a lot I was also brought up in a home that not only encourages but supports wholeheartedly trying new beers and seeking out the most interesting beers one can find from around the world. Additionally, I have also begun to dabble in my own craft brewing with my lovely fiance so have learned about many of the techniques used in brewing beer to accomplish specific flavors. Because of this I feel as though I am fairly well qualified to discuss the various merits of one beer over another.
So now on to the meat of this post, a simple comparative review of Rogue Ale's Brutal Bitter and Dry Hopped St. Rogue Red Ale.
Let me start with the Dry Hopped St. Rogue Red Ale. When thinking of a red ale a reasonably standby that comes to mind is Killian's Red. A red ale tends to be on the maltier side of ales with a crisp sweeter finish. Something that is not bad and definitely an enjoyable beer. What Rogue has done with this beer is in addition to adding hops during the initial brewing process they also added more hops during the first fermentation process, called dry hopping. By doing this it allowed that "bitter" flowery, grapefruit flavor to really invest itself in the beer. Because of this, in addition to the solid red malty nature of this beer there is a strong and salient hop flavor that comes through with every sip. I think the complex nature of this beer that they have created definitely makes it a great one to keep in the fridge and to match up with strongly flavored foods like barbecued or smoked fresh sockeye salmon.
Now onto the Brutal Bitter. Let me start with quoting the Rogue Ales website with regard to their Brutal Bitter:
"Dedicated to Justin Fisch, the Shade Man, and the official beer of the Rogue Nation. Brutal combines Oregon hops with English Malts. The Oregon grown Crystal hop is a triploid variety developed from the German Hallertau aroma hop variety with contributions from Cascade, Brewers Gold, and Early Green. Crystal is the only hop used in brewing Brutal and it provides a massive amount of aroma without dry-hopping."
This description is easily spot on. Rogue has accomplished something very interesting in this beer. By taking a traditional English style beer, a bitter, and creating something wholeheartedly American and amazing out of it. They do this by using English Malts and then using a highly refined American hop in order to create a wonderful mixture of sweetness to bittnerness throughout all while keeping with a beautiful aroma.
I don't think I could pick a favorite of these two different beers at all. In fact it would honestly depend on my mood for the day. However, if you are capable of purchasing these or any of the fine beers made by Rogue Ales I strongly suggest you do. They are worth every cent and every sip.