Hazelnut Brown Nectar, Rogue Brewery

I am a teacher and the end of June is a very stressful time. I have been trying to get report cards filled out, meeting with parents, organizing end of year activities, while planning and marking for each new day. Now we are so close to the end of June that I can actually relax and enjoy one of these beers that was so thoughtfully given to me a couple of weeks ago. So in celebration of the last working weekend of the school year, I ordered some Indian food, put on the NHL entry draft and cracked the seal on Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown Nectar. It’s a beer that I have wanted to try for some time now and it’s the first one out of the thirty-some beer that was gifted to me. I think this is as good a time as any to give it a shot.

Rogue is a brewery, based in Newport, Oregon, that I have had some familiarity with, having tried their Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout and their Rogue Dead Guy Ale. Both of these beers are quite good and that is why I was excited to see Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown Nectar as part of the package that was presented to me by my co-workers.

My first impression of the beer, along with the complete Rogue lineup, is the attractive, oversized bottle (650 ml). It’s something that immediately draws the eye when you see it on the store shelf. It’s dark brown with an illustrated label that makes you want to clink glasses with the man on the bottle. He looks like someone I could share a beer with.

As I poured the dark amber beer into a standard pint glass, I was impressed with the rich colour and the foamy head that formed, although the head didn’t stay put for long (most was gone before I could grab my camera and get a decent shot of it. See picture). Even with the head dissipating quickly, it is an attractive drink that draws the eye with caramel tones and a  vibrant amber.

The beer doesn’t have as strong of a smell of hazelnuts as I was expecting, which was disappointing. I was expecting an aroma of nuts, perhaps a roasted smell, but all that really came through is a faint hint of malts. With a name Hazelnut Brown Nectar, I was anticipating a beer with distinct hazelnut aroma, but was left wanting, at least when it came to smell.

The feel of Rogue’s Hazelnut beer is thinner than anticipated, but this isn’t a bad thing. It’s a smooth drinking beer that you could easily drink all night. Nut beers tend to be lighter in feel than some stouts or porters, but I was going into this expecting something a bit heavier.

The taste of Rogue’s hazelnut beer is satisfying. You get hazelnut flavour on the tongue, but what really hits you is the malt flavour. It is full of taste without being heavy or daunting. There is no bitterness because of the variety of malts present in this drink. The lack of aroma is is made up for on the taste. It’s robust and you can detect the hazelnuts.

Overall, this is a quality beer from a great brewery. It wasn’t everything that I was expecting it to be, but I’m ok with that. It’s refreshing, full of flavour, and it is something that I would definitely recommend. The beer that I can most closely compare Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar to is Newcastle Brown Ale – but with hazelnuts. This is a beer I am glad to have sampled and I will be looking into adding more Rogue beers to the list.

I am looking forward to vacation and I think this beer, along with the Indian food (and Ken Holland’s performance at the draft. Go Red Wings!), was a perfect kickoff to summer.

Scores

Appearance: 4.5/5

Aroma: 3/5

Feel: 3.5/5

Taste: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

Total: 19/25

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