Weekly Beer Geek: Dead Guy Ale
- Article by Luke G
- May 31, 2012
Dead Guy Ale
The Beginning: I remember an old roommate who enjoyed Dead Guy Ale, and I remember not liking it much. Of course, that was back when my innocent young taste buds didn’t understand beer at all, let alone GOOD beer. So I figured hey, how can I not give it another try? Of course, I’m always a little bit worried when I try beers like this. Like Stone breweries, Rogue seems to hang a lot on to their cool name and interesting label, and sometimes that points to a beer that wants to appeal to people TRYING to look like they have good taste.
The Brewer’s Pitch: Dead Guy ale began as a private label for a Mexican bar in Portland, Oregon in the early 90’s. It ended up being so popular (with a boost from Grateful Dead fans) that they expanded it into a nationally distributed beer. Dead guy is now in the style of a German Maibock - associated with the month of May and spring in general, a true Maibock is a lager brewed to the strength of a bock (around 7% ABV). Rogue actually has a proprietary strain of yeast, called “Pacman yeast” (again with the funny names) along with a 4-malt blend and coastal water to make this brew. They pitch it as a deep honey-brown with a soft malt smell and hearty flavor that goes well with smoked pork and spicy food.
The Beer: Dead Guy is honey-gold with hints of orange and two fingers of dense golden foam, slightly hazy. The nose is malt, bready and pure, with no smokiness or roast smell. The beer is middling-light in taste but the texture is dense and smooth, nearly syrupy in its thickness. There is a deep graininess to it with a bit of an edge of malt. Quickly rising to the top is a spicy hoppy taste that carries light coriander notes reminiscent of Belgian Whites, which moves to the palate and lingers after swallowing. There is a definite aftertaste of hops with a burn on the back of the throat.
The Breakdown: This is a hell of an ale, nothing unusual but damn good nonetheless. If you are an ale drinker then buy a bottle right now. If you go more in for lighter, bitter beers like Pilsners or IPAs, well, the price tag might be a bit high for your enjoyment. They don’t lie when they recommend it with smoked or spicy food, since the afterburn is perfect to complement smoke or thick flavors and the heavy body will coat the tongue and save you from spice without drowning it out.
The Bottom Line: Somehow, I have problems picturing deadheads sitting around and enjoying a nice high-end ale. I guess they’re getting old and respectable now, but come on, guys!