Everything is better with bacon. A club sandwich would be a boring turkey sandwich but thanks to bacon, it’s a culinary staple famous across the country. The classic BLT would be a mushy mess of lettuce and tomato without bacon. That old pair of shoes collecting dust in the back of the closet? Cover it in bacon and that disgusting shoe becomes a delicacy in some far off land. There’s even bacon wrapped tofu for the vegetarian.
If you’re ever a contestant on Jeopardy and don’t know the answer, then just say, “What is bacon?” and you’ll automatically get the question right. Bacon is the answer for everything and according to International scientists, it’s the only ingredient that can successfully covert a vegetarian back to a contributing member of society. Actually, I made that up. However, I didn’t make up adding bacon to beer – Oregon’s Rogue Brewery and Voodoo Doughnuts collaborated on this work of genius and took it to the next level by topping it off with a heroic dose of maple.
Voodoo Doughnuts broke the traditional doughnut mold and pulled the doughnut out of its common variety slump. You won’t find chocolate glazed, maple, jelly, apple fritters or Boston cream doughnuts on the menu. Instead you’ll find riffs on these traditions such as the “No Name” a raised yeast doughnut with chocolate frosting, peanut butter and rice krispies. Or “Captain my Captain” a raised yeast doughnut smothered in vanilla frosting and Captain Crunch. Then there’s the star attraction that’s been copied by dozens of doughnut shops since Voodoo opened in 2003, the “Bacon Maple Bar”. A doughnut topped with strips of savory bacon nestled on a bed of sweet maple frosting. This unconventional doughnut was the inspiration behind Rogue’s astonishing Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale.
However, it wasn’t fate that brought the two together. “The “collision of crazies”, as we like to call it, with Voodoo was simply born when I cold-called the Voodoo owners because I wanted to meet them,” explains Brett Joyce of Rogue Brewery. “I was an admirer of their products and their branding. We got together, had a few beers, and the partnership just evolved naturally from there. The fun part is that neither of us is sure which one is crazier!” This artisan beer is made up of a baker’s dozen ingredients that includes seven malts, apple wood smoked bacon, pure maple, two hops, Rogue’s pacman yeast and their tongue-in-cheek free range coastal water.
When you crack open the signature voodoo pink colored bottle, the maple and doughy aromas hit you like you just opened the door to a doughnut shop. The smell alone is heavenly when pouring the copper brown ale into a frosty glass. Its flavors are loaded with bready malts with lots of maple dough and smoky bacon sitting in the back. The idea of maple bacon ale may lead you to the wrong conclusion that it’s treading a fine line with novelty but it works. More importantly, it has added a new component to bacon. Rogue has made bacon refreshing.
The beer is light and satisfying without overwhelming you but it’s the maple bacon aromas coming off the beer that makes it gratifying to the last drop. If you close your eyes and smell it, it could very well be a dozen blended maple bacon bars. It’s not for everyone but I find comfort in that knowing there will be more for me because underneath all the maple and bacon is a foundation of premium ale that balances malts and hops eloquently.
Many beer critics and self-labeled connoisseurs have been skeptical to this ale in their stuffy ratings. The problem is they’ve over analyzed this beer like a 10th grade English Literature class picking apart Shakespeare. In doing so, they have sucked all the fun out of what this beer is about: a sense of adventure to combine an eccentric brewer with an off the wall doughnut to create something original and gratifying. If that doesn’t work for you then for the love of God, there’s bacon in it folks and everything is better with bacon.