Rogue Ale House
1339 NW Flanders St
Visited on May 23, 2008
I sometimes feel that once you’ve been to one Rogue Ale House, you’ve been to them all. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not outstanding. The one in downtown Portland is no different. It’s an interesting, eclectic spot with a ton of beer on tap and good food. I think if this had been anywhere other than Portland and if I’d visited it at any time other than in the midst of hitting multiple other outstanding brewpubs, it might have scored even higher marks.
Downtown Portland just blocks from several other microbreweries, Rogue splits the difference between hometown dark and slightly dingy pub and upscale, pricey brewery. Flags hanging from the ceiling and other decorations give the place a slightly – if you will – roguish feeling. It’s the upscale brewpub that doesn’t want to be pretentious. Half the place is dedicated to seating, the other half to a bar with televisions. Next door they distill their own spirits. But no actual brewing on premises. I wish it were bigger, that there were more televisions and that it would pick what it wants to be.
I wasn’t really hungry but beer does funny things to a man’s stomach. I went ahead and ordered the hummus plate after a few beers. It came with pita pieces, chopped tomatoes, artichoke hearts and olives. It was a great plate. The hummus is made with their Hazlenut Nectar and is delicious. The rest of the menu is, I dare say, local, fresh and tasty.
First of all, Hazelnut Nectar and Dead Guy Ale are two of my all-time favorite beers, and I refuse to dock Rogue points just because I’m used to them and can get them anywhere.
But what about those not commonly available in bottles? Here they serve a plethora of out-of-bottle experiences along with five more from Rogue-owned breweries that bear different names. The sampler only comes with four pretty big, four-ounce glasses, so there’s no way you can get through their huge menu of beers.
I mainly they had imperial versions of every style: porter, IPA, stout and amber. They were good, but so is any huge beer with lots of malt, hops, and alcohol. This is in stark contrast to Deschutes, whose house brews are not over the top but still delicious. But kudos for experimentation into the big beer categories.
The first bartender I talked too was an idiot. I asked if they could turn their one TV to the NBA All-Star game, to which he replied they were only playing Winter Olympics coverage. I’d have no problem with this, except that the TV didn’t have the Olympics on it at all. The more experienced bartender took care of me, though, and continued to do so all night. He was great.