throughout my many years as a beer enthusiast, I have met countless
individuals who would tell me they liked to take a drink now and then, but
they just could not appreciate the taste of beer. “Ah,” I would exclaim, “I
think perhaps you simply have not tasted the right beers.” And its true.
Beer is so much more than Budweiser, Miller, Coors, or Heineken. At its
worst, it may be watery and bland, but at its best it is complex and the
equal to any fine wine or liqueur.
Beer is also very diverse. There are sweet beers and bitter beers, light
beers and dark beers, fruit beers and spice beers, weak beers and strong
beers. There are beers made with smoked malt, beers brewed with honey, and
beers made with fruit. In sum, there’s a beer for everybody. You just have
to know where to look for it. In fact, there are many brews today that most
people would not even think of as being beer, or at least not what they
normally perceive beer to be.
One such beer is Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar. For many, the first sip
is sure to be a surprise, but if you happen to enjoy hazelnut coffee, you’ll
absolutely love this brew. It has the unique spicy nuttiness of hazelnuts
combined with the dark bitterness of coffee, and you’ll be surprised how
closely the coffee and the beer resemble one another.
Nut brown ale is a long-standing English style, though it does not
actually use nuts as an ingredient. Rather, the name refers to the nutty
taste that lightly roasted malts can impart. Rogue, however, has gone a step
further with the addition of Hazelnut extract to their brown ale. Rogue
Hazelnut Brown Nectar is brewed with an impressive grain bill:
Beeston Pale Chocolate malt
Crystal 80 malt
Crystal 135 malt
Hugh Baird Brown malt
Great Western 2-row Pale malt
It is hopped with Perle and Saaz varieties. Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar
has won many awards, though its category placement seems confused at times.
Should it be a brown ale, or a fruit/spice beer? As recently as May 31st of
this year (2002) it took a bronze medal in the Experimental beers category
at the Australian International Beer Awards. At the California Brewers
Festival, on the other hand, it is judged as a brown ale, where it took
second place in 1999. However you judge it, it’s a fantastic and delicious
Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar pours to a dark brown color with a light
creamy tan head formation and a nutty sweet nose. The palate is a sheer
delight: creamy with a touch of brown sugar sweetness, toffee, caramel,
chocolate, coffee, and of course hazelnut. The bittersweet chocolaty notes
combine nicely with the hint of caramel to suggest Toffeefay candies
from years past that combined hazelnuts chocolate and caramel. The finish is
slightly bitter and gently coffeeish with subtle roasty notes.
Just a wonderful, innovative beer that would serve nicely in place of coffee
with a rich dessert. Take my word for it. Even if you think you don’t like
beer, you may just love Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For
reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.