BOOZER DAYS: Rogue’s Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale

Because we love beer almost as much as we love burgers, we thought we might as well spit some words on the brews. Each week (or as close as we can get), we lock two beer aficionados, simply known as Doc and El Borracho, in a room with a notepad, pencil and a stockpile of beer. Whatever we can decipher from their alcoholic scribbles we bring to you with Boozer Days.
Doc: Despite his nickname, Doc is, in fact, not a doctor of any kind. Rather, Doc acquired his handle from El Borracho for his ability to read above a fifth-grade level -- a skill that warrants an advanced degree in the eyes of El Borracho. Intellectually (and, occasionally, physically) aroused by the bounty of our beer-filled world, Doc is always eager to sample pints from around the globe and learn the stories behind them. Happily married, Doc has often joked that he'd leave his wife for a proper pint. His wife has yet to find this amusing. El Borracho: A patron of 90 percent of the nation's bars during his 45 years, El Borracho's knowledge of beer is surpassed by only a select few. How he has accrued that knowledge has not always been a savory process. As a result, several outstanding warrants have prompted El Borracho to sport his trademark Luchador mask whenever he appears in public -- earning him the rapt attention of both Mexican wrestling fans and fetishists. Single -- and most likely permanently so -- El Borracho is the (sometimes) proud father of seven children in eight states. (It's complicated.) El Borracho's connection to Doc is something of a mystery, but many suspect the involvement compromising photos.

Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale by Rogue Ales

(Newport, Oregon) Type: Brown Ale | Alcohol: 5.6% |


Doc: The Rogue marketing department hit all the high notes when packaging this bad boy. But the final product resonates like William Hung with a head cold.

Aunt Jemima would be having none of this shit.

El Borracho: "Doughnut," "Bacon," "Maple," those are some of my favorite words in the world, well, right after ... Doc: We can guess. The point is, there is a massive promise made by those words and the bold packaging of Rogue Voodoo Doughnut and this is an instance where the concept doesn't live up to the product. El Borracho: That's not to say this is a bad beer, but the rogues at Rogue set the bar so high that they could only hope to reach it with what would have been a near-perfect beer. And we both agree that there's a big hole in the Voodoo Doughnut.  


El Borracho: Not even Ray Charles could miss this bottle on the shelf. Colored Pepto-pink with the top hat-rocking Voodoo Doughnut witch doctor sporting the traditional Rogue pose, you could probably spot this sucker a few time zones away. Doc: Combine the reference to a few of our favorite food groups, like "bacon" and "doughnuts," with one of Oregon's more intriguing food destinations and there's no way this brew gets left on the shelf when we're making a beer run. El Borracho: Even when you pour it out into your chalice of choice, you're on pins and needles waiting for the first sip. Doc: The beer pours a deep amber color that makes it even more appetizing. But once you close your eyes and let your other senses join the party. That's when the cracks in Voodoo Doughnut's pink armor start to show up.  

The Taste

Doc: You can't even start a discussion about the taste before you discuss the smell. There is nothing subtle about the pungent aroma of maple wafting off the top of your mug. El Borracho: I'll put it this way. One autumn, this sweet little lady from Vermont and I spent the afternoon enjoying some of Aunt Jemima's best body oil... Doc: That's syrup, El B, Aunt Jemima doesn't make beauty products. El Borracho: Only to those who lack imagination. My point is, even on that fantastic fall afternoon my nose has never been so overwhelmed by the smell of syrup.

Looks can be deceiving...

Doc: While I can't possibly imagine what that day was like for El Borracho, and I thank God for that, I can concur with his assessment that the smell of the maple overpowers just about everything else in the brew. At least until you drink it ... El Borracho: The idea for this beer came from pairing some key elements from Voodoo Doughnut's signature creation -- namely bacon and syrup -- with a brown ale. What you're left with is a nose full of syrup and a mouthful of smoke, which is as close as you'll get to bacon flavoring. I love smoky beers -- you may recall our extremely positive review of Left Hand's Smoke Jumper Porter  -- but there's not much palatable about the smoke that suffocates my taste buds. Just bad juju. Doc: It's not that the beer hits a lot of bad notes, but when I take a big swig, I want to think about a camp fire and some crackling pork in a skillet. Instead, I find myself remembering my grade school days, brooding over a morning plate of Eggo's.  

Final Verdict

Doc: As a standalone beer, you can do better. Much better. El Borracho: Let's face it, this is a novelty. You wouldn't want this beer every day ... or even more than once. But like my maple-infused afternoon in Vermont, it's something fun to try once. Doc: I think this is going to be a successful beer for Rogue, but it really shouldn't be. The promise advertised on the bottle goes unfulfilled and I can't say I'd buy this again. However, I think there is a significant market out there who care more about the experience of Voodoo Doughnut rather than the actual taste. That said, I don't think I'll have any difficulty passing on a second bottle.  

Suitable For ...

Starting conversations (people notice that bottle...) Novelty if you're bored by basic brews Shelf ornamentation Pairing with actual bacon and doughnuts (hey, it's 5 o'clock somewhere ... and you gotta get that bacon flavoring somehow)  

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