Bacon and maple syrup. It's one of those classic pairings, like peanut butter and jelly, fish and chips, Justin and Selena. (What? Bieber Fever is the new West Nile virus, and the mosquitoes are out in full force.)
It's great on a doughnut and amazing in an ice cream sandwich, but beer? Seems like a bit of a stretch. Nonetheless, when I came across a lone Pepto Bismol-pink bottle of Rogue Brewery's Bacon Maple Ale at Plano craft beer emporium Kegs & Barrels, I had to buy it. I choked a bit when it rang up at $14 and some change for a 750mL bottle, but no matter; my sense of curiosity toward all things porcine and sweet made it a practically mandatory purchase.
I've enjoyed some of Portland-based Rogue Brewery's other handiwork, and I'm quite familiar with delicious creations of the Rose City's famous weirdo-doughnut purveyor Voodoo Doughnuts, whose Maple Bacon Bar inspired this special edition, limited-batch brew, so what could possibly go wrong?
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As it turns out, quite a bit. I waited until four of my beer-enthusiast friends were gathered for a special pre-Schlitterbahn edition breakfast, figuring the maple and bacon flavors would go nicely with our pseudo-egg McMuffins (and make a good precursor to the vodka gummi bears we'd packed for our excursion).
The beer poured an attractive coppery color, with a thin, foamy head. The aroma wasn't exactly promising, but it wasn't quite troubling, either -- it had the aroma of a lazy weekend breakfast, mostly sizzling bacon with a hint of pancakes and warm syrup.
It wasn't half-bad on the initial sip, with the maple sweetness coming through loud and clear, but the finish was all wrong: like chewing on a piece of hickory wood, as one poor taster said. Imagine passing out by a campfire that hot dogs are being cooked over, your mouth agape as you drunkenly snore away; when you wake up, this is what your mouth would taste like. Smoke and greasy meat and bad choices.
I'll stick to consuming my breakfast and beer separately; sorry, Rogue, but this is one idea that probably should've never left the drawing board.