Another deviation from the official Beer Hawk Advent Calendar! Looks like I should have a bottle from Flying Dog. Instead I’ve got a bottle of Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve. Try as hard as I can, I can’t see a BBD, or even the ABV on the bottle? What’s worrying me is that most of the images of this beer I can find on the web, including the official Rogue site have red labels and mine is a green one? Even more worrying is that Journey to the Beer Store posted a review in December 2015, complete with picture of a green bottle?
The name is the obvious giveaway that it’s only a seasonal brew, a take on this Oregon brewers Saint Rogue Red ale. It actually looks a deep amber, rather than out and out red. There’s a very slight haze in the beer and the final pour released a small amount of almost granular, lumpy sediment into the glass, as though it had been bottle conditioned. It smells malty and it tastes malty and that was the overpowering taste, as opposed to the double hops that Rogue say it is brewed with. Yes, I could taste the hops, but they weren’t the vibrant angelic chimes that they should have been in this Christmas beer, more a doleful lament on a lonely old church bell.
Verdict – I suspect someone’s thrown me a bottle in that’s towards the very end of it’s sell by date? If it’s fresh beer then I’m afraid it’s only pretty average.
ADDENDUM – Rogue have kindly been in touch with me, the 12oz bottles, that’s 330ml in Europe, do have the green label. Apologies if I have misled anyone. Indeed I may have misled myself! I will be in contact with Rogue for further details and I will update you as soon as. They have been very encouraging with the Tweets we have exchanged, and I thank them for that.
FURTHER ADDENDUM – I received a really nice letter from Rogue apologising wholeheartedly if I thought their beer had had a rough trip getting here. They also sent me two really cool Rogue branded Spiegelau style IPA glasses. Nice touch Rogue.