In a dark and crowded dimly lit pub that offers craft beer and locally sourced food, I had the first sip of the Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar. I had just come in from a long day outdoors; at first I had tried to snowshoe, but alas… gave up to due to the lack of powdery white stuff that is supposed to be covering the ground. A long hike instead had provided me with enough excuse to dip into the pub for a pint of beer.
At first glance the Hazelnut Brown Nectar looks like your typical brown ale: light, reddish-brown in color with a generous amount of head. This is in fact the only thing that is typical about this beer. The smell of the beer is what hits you first as the nutty aroma is almost seductive and begs you to come back for more.
The hazelnut extract that Rogue uses while brewing is the reason the smell comes through so greatly. Little did I know at the time, this beer has won many awards internationally for its flavors.
At first sip of the beer one can determine it tastes exactly as it smells and boasts the flavor of nuts, caramel, butter cream, brown sugar and malt. It can be described as a creamy deliciousness of flavors that all work in symphony to produce an exceptional brew. The more I drank this beer the fuller the flavor came out, and before long I was off to order a second round.
Moderately carbonated, this beer went down smooth and easy. The taste of the hops is slightly covered up with the hazelnut flavor; the bitterness that often accompanies a brown ale is only tasted slightly at the finish.
There was no room for an aftertaste as the true flavor remained from start to finish. I paired this beer with the in-house-made sticky toffee pudding, which really brought forth the caramel flavor in the beer. Pairing this with a chocolate brownie loaded with whipped cream is my next mission to discover (if I can squeeze out any chocolate flavor from the beer).
What I enjoyed most about this beer was the surprising authentic taste of hazelnut. Few breweries can master the art of adding a flavor like this and have it come through in such a big way. From the smell to the taste and to the flavors it hides beneath the layers; Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar surprised me in all the best of ways.
Did we mention the really awesome tap handle as well? Coming in at 6.2 percent alcohol, this brown ale seems to be the perfect choice after a long day outdoors for the individual looking for something lighter tasting than a stout. More info at http://www.rogue.com/roguebeers/.
Special thanks to Baker Street Station for the great recommendation!