Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Beer From Ground to Glass: Rogue Ales & Spirits

Every year, Dan and I try to take a week-long vacation as a couple.  For our 2017 trip, we decided to take a road trip through parts of Oregon and Washington!

When you're married to a craft brewer, every vacation includes a taste of beer.  On our Pacific Northwest adventure, after flying into Portland, we started the trip off with a pit stop in Independence, Oregon, to visit Rogue Farms, where they grow hops and other ingredients for Rogue Ales recipes. 

Rogue Farms hop farm

Rogue also has spirits to call its own too, so it's come a long way from its basement beer operations in 1987!  It was listed as #30 in 2016's Top 50 Craft Brewing Companies by size, so you've likely seen it in your local bottle shop.

As most farms are, this one is out in the country!  There's ample parking, but no air conditioning.  But there's cold beer on tap, and you can bring a picnic if you want.  Tons of outdoor seatings and clean portajohns for your convenience.

If you come at the right time, there's a free tour.  You can see the lay of the farm as well as the hops harvesting and processing facilities.  We've toured a zillion breweries before, but this was the first hops operation we'd visited!  I was surprised to learn that the U.S. produces much of the hops for the globe, not just our own country, and the Pacific Northwest is where most of it is grown.

I wish we'd been there during the right timing to see the hop cones on the vines, or to see the harvest.  Those would be fantastic things to experience at Rogue Farms!  But I still loved that happy feeling of having a cold beer amongst the hop vines in Oregon.

As we continued our journey, we reached our first overnight stop, in Newport.  This also happens to be the home of Rogue's brewery.  You have FOUR Rogue options in Newport.  The Rogue Ales Public House is on Bay Blvd., and the Bed 'n' Beer is above it.  Yes, you can stay overnight above the bar!  There's also Rogue House of Spirits, if liquor is your preference.

We decided to visit Rogue's Brewers on the Bay, their two-story brewpub by the Marina near the aquarium.  You can take tours of the brewery and distillery, and pick up bottles and merch too.  In fact, to get to the brewpub and sales room, you walk through part of the brewery itself!

There's almost always going to be a wait, as it's a popular destination in town, but we found that having our party be 21+ in age meant we could be seated in the bar and not just the brewpub.  Score!

We tasted a number of their beers, which had some really great flavors!  They usually have 40 beers on tap.  We each got a full beer, which we ate with our tasty burgers, as well as some tasters to sample together.  That's the nice thing about traveling with my husband: we get to share samplers!  I think the only one that wasn't my speed was the chipotle ale.  Smoky flavors in a beer aren't my thing; but they had hazelnut and chocolate flavors in others that I loved!

There are even collaborative beers with my favorite Iron Chef, Morimoto.  I think that's pretty cool!  And you can even peek into the brewery from many of the tables within the brewpub.

We definitely enjoyed visiting both sides of Rogue Ales, from ground to glass!

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