Well, they can’t all be winners, folks.  I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with Rogue brewing, but I’m really starting to loose some of my optimism when I try something new from them.  Now, you can’t chalk this up to me becoming some kind of jaded snifter-swirling beer snob.  Well, not this time at least.  I would accept that as a possibility if my criticism hinged on it being just boring, but dang it all if this one wasn’t down right bad.  How bad?  I didn’t even finish it.  It seems like for every winner like their Double Chocolate Stout or HazelNut Brown Nectar, they have a flop like that Voodoo Maple Bacon Doughnut debacle or… THIS.

I picked up a bottle of their Chipotle Ale a little while ago, hoping to have something that was a bit ‘out of the box’ in flavor.  The fact that they were a pretty low price of about six wing-wangs sealed the deal, but in retrospect, I should have picked that Clown Shoes PIMP collaboration I had my eye on.
Disclaimer time:  this beer has a bit of a split reputation on beer review websites.  Some, even those called experts on some sites, will rate this pretty highly.  Others, they’ll average rather low.  More of my theories on this later.
I poured a hand full of fingers of this into my chalice and observed.  Where I was expecting this to be as dark as a Mole, or at least as dark as New Belgium’s Cocoa Mole, it was a a golden amber.  Hazy, but with just a bit of white head and good lacing.  The aroma wasn’t to disconcerting, but was kind of similar to a German smoke beer, rauchbier.  Very smoky, a bit malty, and even a touch of hops.  A very crisp basic “Ale” scent, besides all the smoke.
Here’s where things get a little…  boned up.  I taste, and the first thing I get is SMOKE.  Not like a camp fire, like a straight up arson.  Worse yet, arson on a Band-Aid factory.  Some impurities in beer have been known to produce a “band-aid” or medicinal flavor, usually when a fermenting vessel isn’t properly cleaned.  I don’t know if that is what happened here, but it was bad.  The smoke itself reminded me of actual liquid smoke seasoning, in a kind of artificial flavoring way.  It was kind of hard to get past this and parse out the rest of the flavors, but I did get a very nice sweet malt and the tangy cascade hops.  As for any actual chipotle flavors… There was a little bit of a bite after a few tastes, but nothing on the level of other chili beers.  No real burn, no jalapeno-style fruity/vegetable flavor, just… smoke.  A kind of smoke like I’ve never gotten from an honest chipotle.
Truthfully, if I ever see this on tap, I will try it to make sure.  I really don’t think the beer I had was meant to taste the way it did.  Hell, I’d almost be tempted to toss a little actual chipotle in there to balance out that huge artificial smoke flavor.  But the band-aid flavor, I guess I can give that one as an impurity.  A darned shame, and a waste of six bucks.  I think Rogue needs to get back to their roots and work on how their beers taste, rather than how they sound.