Tasting: October 4, 2012
Style: Imperial Stout
The first known brewery in the United States opened in lower Manhattan in 1612. By 1860, there were 1,269 breweries operating in the US with more than 1,000 of these breweries located in Pennsylvania and New York. The number of US breweries ballooned to an all-time high of 4,131 in 1873. The industrial revolution and the expansion of transportation helped increase manufacturing productivity. As a result, the number of breweries dwindled to 1,568 in the early part of the twentieth century.
In 1919, congress established the framework for prohibition. For about 14 years, breweries were mothballed or converted to produce non-alcoholic near beers or soda. April 7, 1933 saw the repeal of prohibition and just two months later there were more than 30 breweries operational. In the 20th century, the amount of breweries in the US would never climb to the heights seen before prohibition.
In 1983, only 51 brewers ran 80 breweries and 6 of these brewers controlled 95% of all beer production. And then in 1985, it began. Appropriately, Jim Koch of Boston Beer introduces Boston Lager at a re-enactment of the first Revolutionary War battle. I’m not sure what else they were judging but, three months later, Boston Lager is named the best beer in America at the Great American Beer Festival. But it certainly was a breath of fresh air. Just three years later in Oregon, Rogue began brewing some exceptional beer. I was a beer of the month club member (circa 1991) and I recall receiving “Dead Guy Ale” as one of my monthly offerings. It was a revelation and a landmark beer that still stands the test of time.
Reports in 2011 had the number of US breweries at 1,989 and climbing. It seems we’ve entered an age of hyper-local beer.
Rogue Double Chocolate comes in a very eye-catching candy apple red bottle. ABV is moderate for an double stout at 8%. I’m a little surprised since the original gravity is 22 degrees plato. I can describe this simply as a mocha latte. It’s creamy, chocolate over moderate coffee. A little thin. A better example is Southern Tier’s Chokolat — check it out. This one is an 87 in my book.