It’s great to be unveiling 'Beer Geeks' Season Two tomorrow with our visit to Rogue Ales in Oregon. I’m used to the passion craft beer fans can exhibit for their favorite beers, but rarely have I seen any group like Rogue’s fans. They call themselves the Rogue Nation (Michael, our Director of Photography Greg Barna, I, and the rest of our crew were honored to be inducted into the Nation while we were visiting). For these folks, Rogue is much more than great beer – it represents a mindset visible in the way Rogue approaches brewing: quiet devotion to perfection with a reverence for agriculture and tradition - mixed with an eagerness to think outside the glass (as Michael would put it). By the way, I didn't say the fans were quiet – they can fill a taproom with sound in an instant!
Rogue’s legendary brewmaster John Maier leads by example. Brilliant. Quiet. Seemingly even shy. Til he opens his mouth and nails you with a droll zinger. We enjoyed chocolate stout floats at Rogue’s restaurant and as he stirred the ice cream and beer into sort of a mush, John noted that he was ‘releasing the aromatics.’
John is also eager to share his knowledge. We spent much of two days with him and he was always explaining what Rogue does and especially why. Great brewing requires thought and intent – what beer do I want to make and how do I best achieve that goal. John is simply a master.And he is a very smart man – when we visited the beehives where Rogue gets honey for their honey kolsch and their mead, he stayed back at a safe distance while Michael and the beekeeper got in close.When it was time to sample some of that honey kolsch though, he was right in there with the crowd.
This is a great way to kick off season two – and every other episode coming up will be just as exciting, entertaining, and interesting. We follow Rogue with a visit to Noble Ale works in southern California to see how the new brewer, Michael’s old friend Evan Price, turned everything around and staved off potential disaster.
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