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Beer Reviews: Rogue Brutal IPA

In the diverse world of craft beers, where innovation and tradition blend seamlessly, Rogue Brewery stands out as a beacon of creativity and quality. Among its standout offerings is the Brutal IPA, a beer that promises a unique experience for the palate. This review delves into the heart of what makes the Brutal IPA not just a beverage but a journey through the artistry of beer crafting. From its bold flavors to its intricate brewing process, join me as we explore the essence of this celebrated brew from Oregon’s Rogue Brewery.

Rogue Brewery, nestled in the heart of Oregon, has long been synonymous with pioneering in the craft beer movement. Known for its commitment to quality and an unyielding spirit of innovation, Rogue has produced some of the most memorable brews in the craft beer scene. The Brutal IPA is no exception.

Conceived as a tribute to the boldness of the India Pale Ale (IPA) tradition, it combines a rich history with Rogue’s signature twist on classic styles. This beer is not just an offering but a statement—a manifesto of Rogue’s philosophy of pushing boundaries while honoring the craft’s roots.

My Review and Tasting Notes on Brutal IPA from Oregon’s Rogue Brewery

My oldest brother and I have somewhat opposing viewpoints when it comes to American microbrews. He expresses fairly unbridled support for American microbrews. However, I take these beers on more of a case-by-case basis, preferring European beers from the UK instead. Lately, it occurred to me to try more of the American models in an attempt to see whether or not any of the beers Kim likes have merit. To that end, I tried an offering from Rogue Brewing, one of his favorite craft brewing companies.

The day I went to my liquor store, I was in the mood for something on the bitter side. So, in addition to a couple other bitters and IPAs, I picked up a bottle of Rogue’s Brutal IPA. According to a brief research session, Brutal IPA was first brewed in 1996 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Portland, Oregon’s Horse Brass Pub. Thanks to customer demand, Rogue continued production for the pub, eventually bottling the beer for more widespread consumption.

Until recently, the beer was called “Brutal Bitter” and, at 6.2%, was listed as an imperial bitter. Since then, the name has changed, making the beer appear (to me, at least) to be an American IPA. The 6.2% alcohol listed on the label at least seems to support this theory. So, I grab my favorite tasting glass from the kitchen and pour myself some Brutal IPA. Brutal IPA is a slightly hazy beer with moderate carbonation and a dense, slightly orange mousse-colored head. Head retention is good.

Up front, the aroma is all hops. Pleasing aromas of grapefruit and pine, supported by hints of earthiness. Hops provide a pleasant juiciness. Buried beneath the hops is a trace of caramel maltiness. Unfortunately, maltiness doesn’t provide as much backbone as it could. Taking a sip, Brutal IPA offers a moderate body and a slick mouthfeel, skewed slightly thin. The flavor is citric juiciness up front, leading directly into hop flavors, which nicely mirror what was offered in the beer’s nose. As with the aroma, there’s not much malt providing backbone. The finish is lingering and assertive, though not brutally bitter.

Overall, I’m slightly conflicted in my opinion of this American IPA. All in all, Brutal IPA is miles ahead of many beers I’ve tried. The only real problem I have is that the beer lacks complexity, seeming to rely chiefly on hops to provide flavor. It’s tasty enough, the hops provide nice flavors, and there’s just not much malt holding things up. I’d really recommend Brutal IPA for anyone who enjoys well-made, craft-brewed ales.

In all, Rogue’s Brutal IPA is worth a 7.4 out of 10.

John Crafton

Written by

John Crafton

John Crafton, a seasoned beer reviewer with a decade's experience, is celebrated for his refined taste and extensive knowledge of brewing. His passion for craft beer has led him across the globe, tasting and reviewing a diverse array of brews. John's writing simplifies the complex beer world, catering to both newcomers and connoisseurs.