Going Rogue at World of Beer

Holding festivals in Columbia can be tough during football season, but with the Gamecocks on the road in Kentucky this past weekend, there was a flood of events going in and around the city on Saturday. I opted to start my day with a 5K race and proceeding to gorge myself at Viva La Vista, an annual food festival that showcases all the restaurants in the Vista area of the city.

But the main event – for me, at least –  was a Rogue tap takeover at World of Beer featuring more than 30 different beers, including a lot of cask, nitro and vintage versions of some of the Oregon brewery’s heavier offerings. WOB’s had some great tap takeovers recently, with Allagash and Southern Tier sticking out in my mind, but Rogue’s offerings took it to a new level.

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I started off easy enough with OREgasmic Ale from the Chatoe Rogue line of beers. A 6% pale ale, it was one of the better organic beers I’ve had, with a spicy hop profile and a nice malt balance. I followed that up with the other end of the spectrum in a 2010 XS Russian Imperial Stout. What a phenomenal beer. Liquid velvet with a huge bitter coffee taste and an incredibly creamy mouthfeel.

After that was a nitro version of the Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout. It was a bit watery, but the bitter dark chocolate and big roasted qualities made up for it. After that was a cask version of the Brutal IPA. True to its name, it was brutal on the palate. Dank as hell with massive lemon and pine notes. I also got to sample some of the John John Juniper (smooth and with big juicy juniper and cucumber notes) and the Morimoto Soba Ale (a weird nutty and wheaty beer).

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I had the chance to meet fellow beer geek and Untappd friend Mike while I was enjoying my drinks, and as my wife and I were getting ready to leave, he let me know that Southeastern Rogue rep John Lasseter had stopped by with a box of hops and malts. What I figured would be a quick stop before heading out turned into a few more hours. And a few more beers.

I opted for an XS Old Crustacean Barleywine and a Double Chocolate Stout, the latter of which tasted like alcoholic dark chocolate milk. John was also nice to share another bottle of John John Juniper and the much despised – by everyone but me, apparently – Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Ale. John and his wife were both really cool and happy to just sit and talk shop for the night.

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With any good tap takeover, the goal is to showcase a brewery and give people the chance to try beers they might not otherwise have access to. That said, Rogue’s event Saturday was an absolute success. I feel as if I’ve never given Rogue a fair shot in the past. While I’ve always liked their beers, it’s nothing I ever jump hurdles to try. But after last weekend, I have a newfound appreciation for them. Their beer and their people are both really solid and if they were looking to land a new fan, they’ve got one.

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