Beer: Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale
Brewery: Rogue Ales
Style: Brown Ale
Go ahead and read that name again. Donuts. Ale. Maple. Bacon! If I were to rewrite the song about favorite things from The Sound of Music, those would be the first four words.
For Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale Newport-based brewery Rogue Ales met minds with another Oregon institution: Voodoo Doughnut, a Portland shop known for wild donuts like the Loop, a vanilla-frosted donut covered in Froot Loops, and the Voodoo Doll, a person-shaped chocolate donut filled with raspberry jelly with a pretzel stake through its little donut heart.
The brew's based on Voodoo's Maple Bacon Bar, which is basically your average maple Long John with two thick strips of bacon laid across. It contains a baker's dozen of ingredients, including actual Applewood-smoked bacon and the same maple syrup used in Voodoo's signature doughnut.
Despite the covetousness a brew called Bacon Maple Ale would obviously inspire, Rogue raised much ire in the beer community with the way they chose to release it. Initially, the brew was available only at Rogue's pop-up store in Portland, and only by the case -- meaning you had to buy 12 bottles at once, to the tune of around $150. As demand for the beer increased, so did frustration at this setup, and Rogue soon pulled a Qwikster, releasing the brew into its regular distribution network.
But it's on Arizona shelves now, and I am joyous. Poured from its Pepto-Bismol-like bottle into a snifter, the beer's cider-brown with just a touch of haze. At the top of the glass, a thin, off-white head fizzles away to a thin ring. At the bottom, chunks of solid yeast propagate. Think of them as bacon bits.
And then we get to the aroma. Dear god, the glory of it. Smoked wood leads, as it should -- the beer's brewed with a variety of smoked malts: Briess smoked with cherrywood, Weyermann smoked with beechwood, malt smoke in-house with hickory. Maple syrup is next, followed by savory bacon and sugary cotton candy. The sweetness reminds of donut glaze, like a maple bar. Turn down the smokiness just a touch, and this would be perfect.
The flavor's a softer version of the aroma, but combines all the best parts. The smoke has been turned down, balancing beautifully with maple syrup and savory bacon and sausage. Soft carbonation brings life to the brew's medium-light body, while the clean finish shows off just a touch of bitterness, imparted by Rogue's estate-grown hops.
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If you've ever awakened late to the aromas of sizzling bacon and maple-drenched pancakes, you've lived the scene Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale captures. Grab a bottle, share with some friends, and see if it doesn't become one of your favorite things.
Food pairing suggestions:
A meal of eggs and toast washed down with Voodoo Doughnut will give you all the flavors of breakfast, but speaking from experience, the beer sings when paired with pigs in blankets. From the beer's sugars complementing the sweet, bready coating to the savory bacon combining with salty hot dogs, every bit of the combination is harmonious.
Zach is a Certified Cicerone, an accredited guide to beer.