By Rachel Simons
Photo by Rachel Simons.
Lemon Chiffon Crueller Ale
City of Origin: Newport, Oregon
Beer Type: Ale
Bitterness: 20 IBU
In the world of beer, being creative means sometimes getting a little weird. Creativity breeds innovation and often that means taking risks. Depending on how your gamble works out, people will either see you as a genius of brewing or a mad scientist that should have never been given access to malts and hops. Still, if nobody takes that leap of faith, both the brewer and the drinker won’t ever find out what could have been.
At Rogue, the brewers hear that persistent little “what if” and see it as a challenge to swing for the fences as hard and fast as they can. Teaming up with the famous Voodoo Doughnut shop in Portland, OR, Rogue has created a series of beers based off of the bakery’s unique confections.
Out of the three that I have tried (I was unable to sample the Bacon Maple Ale because they put actual bacon in it), the fourth and newest brew, the Lemon Chiffon Crueller Ale, is the most delicious and closest to its namesake.
With just the first whiff of the bottle, I was hit with the tart smell of lemon juice. After tasting, the lemon is still there at the forefront, but you also get to enjoy the sweeter, subtler notes of vanilla bean and even marshmallow.
To be fair, Rogue states straight on the pink-painted label that they add a little lemon and vanilla extract to maximize the doughnut inspired flavor, but it’s not as if most of us don’t reach for those little bottles ourselves when we do our own home baking.
Along with the other ingredients, Rogue adds four types of malts and two different varieties of hops, yet both the quirky concept and bottle design lets the imbiber know that this beer was definitely not made for the brew purists and snobs. That crowd may scoff and say that a beer based off of a doughnut is silly and even preposterous, but if craft breweries didn’t believe in the spirit of experimentation, we would have nothing to drink except generic and tasteless beer. What a sad existence that would be.
True, the Lemon Chiffon Crueller Ale is not for everyday drinking and there will probably be a lot of people who won’t even want to try it. For me however, this beer is a sweet and surprising treat with a kind of weirdness that I can get behind. I can’t wait to see what the genius mad scientists at Rogue come up with next.