I recently I added a pair of Spiegelau IPA glasses to my ever growing beer glass collection. They’re pretty sweet, and anyone who’s a fan of hoppy ales should definitely get a pair. But I’m not here to talk about the glasses; head over to 250beers if you want a more in depth look at them. My focus is on the beer that I christened these glasses with, a beer that I’d been storing in my “cellar” while I waited for an occasion special enough to warrant opening it. And yes, I considered getting these glasses as a special occasion (it doesn’t take much). That the beer also happens to be number 147 off the epic list was a bonus – the Rogue XS Imperial India Pale Ale.
What’s on the bottle?
This is, hands down, one of the coolest bottles of beer I’ve seen. And I’m not even talking about labels or any other superficial stuff; I’m talking about the actual vessel that this beer is held in. It’s a 750ml ceramic bottle (that’s right, CERAMIC!) that’s kinda shaped like a divers oxygen tank. It’s also coloured an awesome gun-metal-grey, which just emanates toughness. The labelling is pretty sparse, with Rogue written up the side of the bottle and the XS logo (“Have a Rogue XSperience”) at the top being the main features. But who needs a fancy label when you’ve got a gun-metal grey ceramic oxygen tank?!
However, the most eye catching feature would have to be the swing top lid, the same that you commonly see on Grolsch bottles. I’m assuming its presence means you can drink half the beer one night and save the rest for the next night. So that’s exactly what I did…just replace the words “save the rest for the next night” with “save the rest for the next morning”.
What’s in the bottle?
The pine notes are obvious from the start, declaring that this beer is the true American hop bomb I expected it to be. On the tongue there’s a little honey sweetness, some citrus tang…but these are all secondary really. This beer is a bitter bastard. It’s dry, and bitter, and dominating, and bitter, and long lasting, and bitter. And it’s bitter. It’s that chewy type of hop bitterness that hangs around on your palate, causing your mouth to produce extra saliva in a vain attempt to save itself.
As it warms the bitterness subsides and the sweetness increases a bit, and there’s a bit of a boozy kick. But I also get the feeling that my tongue is going numb. I think it’s broken again…
Unfortunately the flip cap doesn’t hold the carbonation that well, which softens the beer significantly. This allows the sweetness to come forward seems to lower the bitterness as well. But that familiar tongue numbness starts creeping back…
There’s no doubt that this is a BIG beer. But let’s face it, I knew that when I bought it. It’s a Rogue Ale after all, and it has ‘Imperial’ at the start of its name. Yes, I was fully aware of what I was getting myself into…and that’s why I had such a big smile on my face while drinking it.
As a side thought, lots of people are talking about cans being the new preferred vessel for selling craft beer in. To all the brewers that read this post: single batch beer in ceramic bottles. Think about it. I’d buy it
Second side thought. The IPA glasses worked a treat. I guess. It’s hard to say, since I didn’t test them against a regular glass. Sure did look good though.
Fact from the book…
There’re arguments over how this beers nickname should be pronounced. Some say it as I-2-PA, while others swear its I-squared-PA. Myself? I’ve always been in the Double-IPA camp. It just rolls so nicely off the tongue.