I am not sure this is my first Rogue ale, but I do not recall any others. As Rogue is coming next month to Jungle Jim's for a tasting, I picked up a bottle of Northwestern Ale after the Two Brothers brewing tasting. Put away and nearly forgotten, I put it in the fridge last night to try tonight.
It pours a bit fizzy. It is a deep red with a creme color head. When gold, the Cascade hops are quite noticeable in the nose. As it warms a bit, the Munich malt comes up to blend with the hops. The nose is very nice and inviting.
The drink starts with some hop bitterness and crystal malt sweetness. The 80 IBUs make their presence quite known. Mid-mouth is a swirl of cascade spiciness, malt sweetness, Much malt mouth feel and Willamette bitterness. The finish is all hops and mostly the bitterness of the Willamette.
During consumption, the head stays as a thin layer of creme and clings to the sides of the glass. The crystal malt (or Carastan as the label says) has a stronger presence as it warms up, but it never gets close to the hops. There is the slightest hint of chocolate malt, but the beer needs to get quite warm to detect it. Had I not read the label, I am doubtful I would have noticed. The label also lists "Free range coastal water" as an ingredient. Ok, what does that mean? No city water? They have to herd the water from a local field and get it into the brewery?
It is nice and hoppy. A definite keeper.