Rogue’s Voodoo Bacon Maple Ale

“It smells like maple and bacon and doughnuts,” she said holding the glass to her nose, squishing her face into a tiny ball. The Missus was not impressed in a positive way.

Such is the give and take of Rogue Voodoo, a maple, bacon and “doughnut” beer that sits at 76 on Beer Advocate. It seems you either love it or hate it.

For what it’s worth, I loved it despite my wife’s alternate impression. I am a big fan of smoked beers, although it usually ends up being smoked porters. Rarely do you find something that features three different kinds of smoked malt (Cherrywood, Weyermann Beechwood and House-smoked Hickory) but also applewood-smoked bacon as a listed ingredient. Yes, this is so much an American beer you can almost salute it.

Perhaps it was just the advertising, but even the pour of the beer made me think of bacon as the dark yellow/light red ale sent foam toward the top of my glass. As it settled, it wafted immense (and fantastic?) smells of sweet maple and light smokiness. It really does smell like bacon drizzled with syrup. The fact alone that this smell can be duplicated in beer form is amazing. If you are a bacon fan, it is even more amazing. The “doughnut” part of the beer comes from the sweet malt aroma, as the name is more tied to Voodoo Doughnuts than the beer actually tasting like a doughnut. This beer, however, would be perfectly paired with a doughnut.

I decided to pair mine with some Morningstar vegetarian bacon strips on account of my mostly vegetarian diet. While the taste of the beer alone had wonderful smoke flavor followed by maple, the bacon really helped to bring the beer aspect forward. Depending on what you’re looking for, that could be a good thing. I found that eating the bacon and drinking the beer enhanced what light bitterness the beer had (30 IBU), but took away from the complexity of all the other great flavors you obviously buy this beer for. Voodoo starts remarkably sweet and crisp but has just a little bit of bitter as it goes down the gullet.

The first glass of the 25-ounce bottle was good and I let the rest sit out while I drank it. I only cared slightly less for the second go-round because as the beer warmed, it only made the maple much more pronounced and took away from some of the balance of the beer itself. Again, this is a good or bad thing on a very subjective basis.

I really enjoyed it and I’ll probably grab another bottle. Cheers to Rogue for this one.

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