While the library is just down the street, why do we display our literary collections in obvious places in our homes?
Why does a person brew beer at home or bake an apple pie in the oven when the product is readily available just down the street at the local grocery store?
It seems to be hardwired into our DNA to cherish things and strive to obtain them in our name. Perhaps it’s selfish, or perhaps just part and parcel of survival. After all, if you own something, you can pass it down to your offspring, helping to ensure their survival. Perhaps we do so to enjoy the freedoms of ownership. I could paint a mural of the Dalai Lama on the outer wall of my home if I wanted to because I own it…not so with the house I used to rent. Who knows…it just makes us feel good.
When it comes to making beer, there is an indescribable joy that comes to the brewer when he/she takes more ownership of the process. Both Mike and I have experienced this at many levels, whether it be the transition from brewing with extracted malts to extracting the sugar from the malted barley ourselves, making our own candy sugars, or even extracting own sugars from carrots. As a brewer, the more you own the creative process of beer making, the more you love your final product.
This is why Rogue’s Chatoe Rogue First Growth Single Malt Ale is such an interesting beer. They own the creation of the beer. Instead of ordering burlap sacks of hop pellets they grew their own hops. This is not unheard of. A few other major craft breweries have done the same. Rogue went a step further…they grew their own barley. In this day and age, that is mostly unheard of.
Chatoe Rogue First Growth Single Malt Ale is an impressive display of individuality, self subsistence, and simplicity. The beer is a part of the GYO series: Grow Your Own, and is made of:
Malts: Rogue Barley Farm first growth Dare™ malts.
Hops: Rogue Hopyard first growth Revolution Hops.
Yeast & Water: Free Range Coastal Water and Pacman Yeast.
So how does the beer taste?
It’s good, but not mind blowing. A good review can be found HERE. It is mild, but flavorful. The hop profile is unique; while it is singularly hopped, there are European and American Qualities. The sweet malt backbone comes across as grainy and raw. There is a Pilsner-ish quality to it, but hints of caramel, herbs, and honey come across.
As the beer washed down my throat, I was not swept up in a rapture of amazement. Heaven did not descend to my level. I did not pass out. While Chatoe Rogue First Growth Single Malt did not elevate me to the seventh level, it was good and refreshing. And it possessed a unique quality…a signature that cannot be forged. Some beers I like for their breathtaking flavor, and others, the idea alone inspires me, as was the case this time.
Rogue makes many great beers. Many of them, in my opinion, taste better than this. With that in mind, were I Rogue, this is still the brew I’d be most proud of. Next time you find yourself asking, “Oh rugged individualism, where have you gone,” Consider Rogue.