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Look out, folks: Red is the new pale.
For years, pale ales and IPAs have dominated the craft beer market with their huge hop flavors and big bodies. Meanwhile, less-stylish red ales have seemed to dwindle in number. I remember that in college, Killian's Irish Red was huge -- you'd find it everywhere. Granted, Killian's is a crap beer, but its disappearance from most pubs and bars may have as much to do with the style as make (after all, it's a Coors beer, and Coors has enough retail clout to push it if it wanted to). Basically, reds haven't been too popular.
Enter St. Rogue Dry Hopped Red Ale, a big, bold, gloriously hoppy brew from Rogue that's gobbled up acclaim as of late. And... this just in, St. Rogue was today named the World's Best Pale Ale at the Third Annual World Beer Awards in London, England. Take that, Mr. IPA.
What did the judges have to say about St. Rogue? Welp, Rogue's big red won its style, category, and overall round at the five-month-long competition (talk about a bender). Judges said St. Rogue sports...
"Great fresh hop flavours but also the right malty balance... Brilliant
and big... Really classy... Ruinously drinkable... A brave beer, intense
and rich hop nuances..."
Ditto here. My previous favorite hoppy red, North Coast's Red Seal (which we reviewed in August), is similar in build but different in character. Where Red Seal is crisp with a deep, mouthwatering bottom and plenty of bitter hops, St. Rogue has a much more even midrange. It's not tinny or coppery sweet but balanced throughout, like a well-played chord. Thanks to the dry-hopping, St. Rogue's bitter hop component is balanced by a floral, honeyed scent. And it's great with food -- absolutely stunning, actually. I'd kick a bottle back with a plate of smoky barbecue or spicy chicken wings slathered in creamy blue cheese. (Strong cheese in particular pairs excellently with this red.)
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You'll find St. Rogue at Whole Foods, BX Beer Depot, and Total Wine & Spirits. So what are you waiting for, hopheads? Get off your IPA wagon and give this Big Red a try.