Great Makes Good Look Bad

Brewery and Country of Origin: Rogue Ales of 2320 Southeast Osu Drive, Newport, OR, 97365, USA

Date Reviewed: 8-08-12

Allow us to be a little soapboxy for a bit. A few months ago, news went around of a school district in Downstate NY forbidding some graduating high school seniors from wearing clothing from the top tier colleges they were accepted into and attending in a month or so. Why? Because the school felt that it was not fair to the students who weren't accepted into these prestigious institutions. Like prohibiting teachers from using red pens for correcting exams, the school district didn't want to make inadequate students feel bad because they clearly didn't study and work hard enough to get into The Ivy League. It makes no sense to us to punish studens who deserve to be recognized for their academic achievement, and instead enable mediocrity. For this reason, everyone wins. Everyone gets a ribbon, a trophy, a Kit Kat bar. And when everyone is special, no one is. That's simply the way it works out to be. If every car made in 2012 was a great car, then they'd all be average. People have to accept that by definition, there is always going to be a winner and a loser; a best and the worst. Preferences. This website wouldn't exist if all beer was genuinely great beer. Like we said, it'd just be beer in that case. Fortunately (and rather unfortunately), there are great beers, and then there are some that you'd only prefer if your other option was to play in traffic. Of course, the great beers get all of the attention. Rightfully so. Who wants to go on about beer no one cares about? People who prefer cheap beer don't read about it anyway. And unlike the students in that NYC area high school, we shouldn't focus on the beers that didn't perform well. We aren't going to feel bad for the brewers who decided to produce a lackluster product. Fortunately for us, there are brewers who do better. Much better. And when that rare moment when you get your hands on what is truly an awesome brew happens, don't let it go to waste. By far and away, not everyone or everything is special. And as mean as it sounds, it's good life happens that way.
Date Sampled: 8-04-12 (10-14-11 original) At: The Yardhouse (Fenway), 126 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA, 02215, USA
Beer Style: American Brown Ale
Alcohol by Volume: 6.20%
Serving Type: Keg, 32 oz Yard House Half Yard Glass
Rating: 4.26


Rogue's Hazelnut pours smooth with a dark rich, reddish bronze color, and moderate carbonation action which forms a half inch medium density foam head. Only slight lacing occurs down the glass, and because this beer is filtered, it shines rather than glows when held to the light.


The smell of this beer gives you a good idea as to what ingredients dominate the flavor profile. Very prominent malty, sweet, and caramel aromas instill excitement in any malty beer lover.


This is a medium bodied beer with an average weight. A moderate viscosity ensures that this beer is still fairly easy to drink, but with some real substance. There is a moderate level of carbonation, and a fairly smooth overall feel. No lingering finish.


Perhaps most notable is this brew's extremely pronounced malty set of flavors. Very well balanced right up to a subtle bitter aftertaste. Caramel, roasty, and a slight amount of biscuity flavors make this a very enjoyable, sweet, and low attenuated beer which most will find very satisfying. As the name would imply, there is a definite, but not overpowering nuttiness to this brown.

Our Take

Of course, we'll start by saying you won't like this beer if you aren't into malty brews. If you are open to the idea of a sweet, well balanced, roasty masterpiece from one of the nation's most prolific craft brewers, then you're really in for a treat. Rogue's Hazelnut is by far one of the best browns we've ever had, and for good reason. There are only a couple things off about this beer: there isn't enough substance (weight or feel) to it, making it less physically satisfying, and the finish isn't as defined as we'd hope. That's it. As far as very malty brown ales, everything else is exactly the way it should be. In truth, Rogue has made a beer that doesn't challenge the browns of the Old World. It humiliates them. Readily available for enjoyment on draught nationwide, The Hazelnut Brown Nectar is simply one of those beers you'd be punishing yourself for not trying. And that really, is all there is to say.