Well, friends, we’ve made it through another work week. For many of you, this probably signals the start of a long stretch of time off. Whether or not you celebrate the upcoming events, you can’t help but to be aware of the bearded dude in the red suit popping up everywhere. In fact, he showed up on a surprise shipment that came in from Rogue, in the form of the Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve.
When I opened up the packaging, I was first struck by the almost psychedelic mushrooms on the label. Now, perhaps it’s the lumeshot-crazy watch guy in me, but I really wanted those ‘shrooms to glow. Alas, they did not (they weren’t even UV reactive). Fortunately, that was the only disappointment I had with this bottle. The mushrooms indicate one of the ingredients used in this particular dark ale – something called a candy cap mushroom. These lend a mild maple flavor to the blend, which is nice this time of year.
Now, you might be worried that this means that the Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve is some saccharine sweet mouth bomb, but that is very definitely not the case. I didn’t find it to be overly sweet, nor was it particularly bitter. Almost like, you know, it was balanced. While I initially picked up a mint note in the glass at first, it settled into maple territory quite quickly.
For that first sip of the Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve , you get a very creamy, smooth mouthfeel, and then you pick up the maple. With that note through, it blends into something that I more commonly associate with a cookie. Not a sugar cookie, but something that has a very wheat-y batter. What I settled on is that it’s sort of like a mild gingerbread cookie (not one that punches you in the teeth) that subbed in maple for the ginger.
Once you get past the maple cookie goodness, the Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve settles into what it is – a dark ale. It’s a welcome change of pace for these cold (almost) winter days, and it’s bringing a much different flavor profile than we might expect for a dark ale. I think we can credit those trippy mushrooms for that, no doubt. Seems like every year, Rogue comes up with something different, and this 2019 release is just the right kind of different. rogue.com
- Amber hue
- Cream head
- Slight mint nose up front – settles into maple once in the glass a bit
- A cookie like note to it. Not sugar cookie, but a battery wheat.
- Not sweet but not bitter
- Creamy mouthfeel with a touch of fizz
- The maple flavor is there, but not as intense as like in maple syrup or maple candy
- Settles down to an ale flavor, which is the style
- Really wished the mushrooms on the label glowed!
- Think of it like a thick chewy gingerbread cookie, that uses maple instead of ginger
Details from Rogue
- Style: Strong Ale
- ABV: 8.1%
- IBU: 20
- Packaging: 22 oz bottle, draft
- Availability: November through December
- Ingredients: 2 Row, Munich, Brumalt, C-40 & DextraPils Malts; Belgian Candi Sugar, Candy Cap Mushrooms; Rogue Farms Grown Cascade Hops; Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water
- STYLES – STRONG ALE, MUSHROOM BEER
- This year, Santa visited us in Newport and brought along some candy cap mushrooms that he had picked himself. He said they would add a delicious maple flavor to the brew, and boy, was he right. Boasting a deep, sweet maple flavor and aroma, this year’s Santa’s Private Reserve is certain to bring the holiday cheer.