Instant Beer Review | West Coast Edition: Rogue Ales Public House – San Francisco

American tourists can be an ugly breed. A feral mix of presumption, suspicion, indecision and muffin tops. I usually avoid all tourist traps, but for the San Francisco leg of my trip I went into the heart of whiteness that is Pier 39. What the hell, I wanted clam chowder pronto. With the proper set of dark sunglasses to hide behind, I used the opportunity to examine the herds up close. Questions that come immediately to mind are such things as: 1. What sorta mirrors are some of these folks looking into whilst dressing themselves, something bought at a funhouse estate sale? And kids these days are showing entirely too much skin! …shit I sound old. 2. OMG this country is god damned fat. I don’t mean TV fat where a little chub goes a long way. I mean arms at 90° angles to the body fat. Spherical. Globe-like.

I guess point 2 answers point 1. We Americans just keep growing after puberty. Making clothing more like a layer of skin than a comfortable, breathable fabric.

Yep that’s mean, but truthful. It’s not to say your usual tourist isn’t kind, unlike myself. But there is a suspicion involved, a wariness of the unusual. There is also a fierce tribalism. An instinctual need to name drop hometowns, then immediately band together with anyone from their area or adjoining state. It’s a pride-fulness that goes against Jebus…or something…

Hold on, are you drunk right now?

……yes……a little. But I have a good excuse. I spent the last hour at Rogue Ales Public House drinking 2 sets of samplers. Then an Anchor Steam here at Pier Market on Pier 39. All in the name of…something…entertainment, I guess.

Speaking of research-tainment(?), I was also up in Napa Valley. The mecca of middle-aged wealthy winos. Grape fields, warm sandy winds, sun, and grey haired horny-toads.

It’s beautiful. Quaint. Fancy. Other things I can’t put into words because I was ripped on wine the entire time. I’d write a review of my wine tour, but it’s all a little fuzzy. So now I’m in San Francisco.

Maybe you should consider a nice quiet rehab program.

Fair nuff. Maybe after these last west coast beer reviews.

Now back to the beer. Here’s a little bit-o-info on the joint:

This southernmost outpost of the Rogue Nation opened August 26, 2003. It is located in the heart of San Francisco’s fabled North Beach neighborhood (at the intersection of Powell and Union, across from Washington Square Park), between Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf. Formerly Mel’s Steakhouse and Little Cities. Outside seating and 40 taps. – link

2 sets of samplers of 4-4oz beers each, with tip runs about $20. San Fran’s an expensive town.

For the first round I went with the Honey Orange Wheat, Morimoto Imperial Pilsner, Dad’s Little Helper Black IPA, and Imperial IPA (I²PA).

Wait, didn’t you just tell us you can’t order fruit beers in the last review?

Yes. But this is for science. And I ordered 4 beers in total. That makes it manly enough.

If you say so.

I does. Now on to the drinkin!

First up, Honey Orange Wheat (5% ABV). This wheat had the taste of honey and some orange, but otherwise it was rather boring. A bit sharp yet still watery. I even noted a slight skunk in the finish. Not a fan. Next!

Now the Morimoto Imperial Pilsner (8.8% ABV) was the total opposite. Wow. Massive mouthfeel. Smells and tastes like a pilsner but there is a lot of malty goodness. Hints of wood, spice, citrus and the malt lingers which makes me happy. It’s a very complex beer. I’m in love.

Next is Dad’s Little Helper Black IPA (6.8% ABV). I had high hopes for this beer since I LOVE black IPAs. But damn it, kindofa bummer. Smells good, toasty malt aroma. Rich coffee color. I take a drink and the first thought is watery. It’s got roasted coffee, bread and maybe grapefruit notes and finishes dry, still it’s weak. I’m sad meow.

And finally the Imperial IPA (I²PA)(9.5% ABV, 74 IBUs). Unfiltered and aged for nine months, using Saaz, Cascade and Northwest Golding hops. This beer has a dark golden color, smells of citrus. Great full creamy mouth-filling flavor! It’s rather tasty. Hints of citrus, pine, orange, grapefruit. There is also an interesting spice involved that I cannot describe. Although I am not impressed with the hoppy kick. It doesn’t exist. More of a burn than hoppiness in the finish. No matter. A very good beer.

Well that was fun, I thought. There sure are a lot more beers listed on that wall. Why waste an opportunity to walk down the steep San Francisco streets non-sober? Onto round 2.

This time I went with the Paul’s Black Lager, Chipotle, Double Dead Guy, and Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout.

Paul’s Black Lager (5.2% ABV) smells of bourbon, coffee and chocolate. It has a rich black color and coffee colored head of thick foam. I’m immediately struck by the coppery roasted malt taste. The copper-ish note makes the beer rather bright adding nicely to the roasted malt which leaves a coffee finish that lingers. The mouthfeel (man, I dislike that term) is so so. I’d call this a good beer, but not great.

Chipotle (5.5% ABV). That’s all the chalkboard said. Chipotle. Alrighty. Smells faintly of smoke and peppers The color is almost amber. The peppers give the beer a bright spiciness that only hints at the heat in the back of the throat. It’s not bad. Chipotle works in beer. Cool. I’d still call it a novelty, mainly because I would not want to drink more than one or two of these.

Double Dead Guy (9.5% ABV). Mmmm, sweet caramel, toffee and a bit of liquorish aroma, maybe even bananas. Full rich taste with banana-like hazelnut malty flavor. Hint of hops to balance off the malt. The finish is very smooth, kind of like a bourbon barrel, biscuit aftertaste that lasts and lasts. This is a very drinkable beer. With such a high alcohol content, it’s a dangerous beer. I may have a few more.

And finally for round 2, the Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout (6% ABV). On a nitro tap, which gives a stout that creaminess that we all know and love. It’s got a dark, almost black color and tan head. Spicy, smoky, molasses aroma. And the taste is the same. Malty and spicy with chocolate expresso and nuts. It’s not as full as I would expect, but she ain’t bad. I like the lingering spice.

Well, there you have it. 8 beers in one post. Beat that Peter, Doug and George!…I’m sure they’d tell me quality over quantity. Touché underachievers.